A guide to making Egypt Itinerary beyond Pyramids and temples

We thought Egypt was the land of mystery because of the pyramids. However, after visiting Egypt, we realised it is mysterious beyond pyramids. When we look back at our Egypt trip, we are glad to have visited those many temples. There was not even one time that was “boring” or “less exciting.” As an architect who loves history, I would never miss out on any temple.

Somehow, all developing nations get highlighted for their negative things more than the positive. So is Egypt. To top it, about 95% of Egypt’s land is desert. So most of the world thinks there is no natural landscape in Egypt. Only when we travelled to the white desert, we realised Egypt’s natural wonder.

Birds eye View of house surrounded by palm trees in the heart of Luxor's desertf

Honestly, even after researching a lot before booking air tickets, we have missed many things. As a part-time traveller, when we can’t extend our holidays beyond a date, it becomes hard to choose what to see and what not to. Although you can’t miss pyramids and Egyptian temples, history and architecture may not be everyone’s cup of tea. After Egypt’s trip, we began to jot down other places we wanted to see. So we thought it might help you plan your trip to Egypt, which is a fine combo of – Architecture, History and Nature. We hope to do this sooner because Eight days in Egypt was nowhere near enough.

Index

Why is a short trip of 15 days to Egypt better than a long trip?

You got to be like them – laid back and take it slow

Though there is a lot to explore and experience in Egypt, we prefer to split the Egypt vacation into two parts. Egyptians are on their way towards a prosperous nation – financially and politically. As Indian citizens, we clearly understand the difficulties of developing nations recovering from 1900s colonisation. The infrastructure is yet to take good shape so that it may overwhelm many tourists like us. On the other hand, some people travel to Egypt for months together. As a part-time flashpacker, we recommend you experience Egypt part by part. So that the unorganised factors don’t bother you for long. Getting from point A to B isn’t easy. Public hygiene is yet to come to a decent state in most parts. Club Egypt with Jordan or Israel. 10 days in Egypt and go somewhere else before Egypt’s flaws overwhelm you.

Besides having money, Egypt’s weather must be the main criterion for picking travel time. We went in January winter, which was an offseason. Somehow we can bear the cold with good clothing, but not the soaring heat of 50*C in Egypt’s summers.

Places we have already visited in Egypt.

Clerestory windows in Karnak temple

If you have read our other posts, you know why we want to travel to Iran again. Obviously, we can never see everything in a place as a traveller. It doesn’t mean we want to go to the same country again and again. If we do so, there will never be an end. But Egypt is the only nation that we both strongly feel we should go to again. For sure, we haven’t had of Egypt enough. These are the places we visited back in 2019-

Unless you plan to cross the borders on land from Libya, Israel, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, Cairo will be your first landing point after flying. So did we. Cairo was amazing. But we aren’t happy with how we explored Cairo. Because of that sad Sand storm and underestimating the beautiful city, we wanted to see more of Cairo; we spent less time than what the city deserves. So Besides Cairo, I am leaving the rest out of what we have already seen from our next trip and hoping to see the Noth East, Northwest and Central Egypt more. It is tempting to add Nubian village yet again, but let me concentrate on Northern Egypt (Lower Egypt) for future travel plans.

Brown desert full of white lime formations

Future Egypt Itinerary

When you craft your Egypt itinerary, do a lot of research. Pick your likes and have a combo of nature, temples, rivers and dunes.

This itinerary may need solid 15-18 days, at least if you plan to take in a bit slower pace and by road. I can’t stress enough why you should not rush to Egypt. The places are beautiful beyond your imagination. The city traffic is more chaotic than you believe it to be. So pick a few places carefully if you are in Egypt for a shorter period.

Sharm-El-Sheikh at Sinai Peninsula Photo By Sergii Shchus

Baron Empain Palace at Cairo. Photo by –Yousef Salhamoud

  • Alexandria- The Mediterranean city of Egypt for some amazing Greek history. It is the most modern city in all of Egypt I read.
  • Siwa Oasis – Turquoise water holes, adobe citadels, ancient mud houses and desert – These can be any nature lover’s dream. Since it is 150km away from the Libya border, taking special permissions from government authority may be necessary.
  • Cairo – Obviously pyramids at Giza again, more mummies in the new museum, Coptic Cairo, Baron Empain Palace ( A strange building that looks like an Indian temple), Gharbia Governorate for jasmine farms, hopefully, an affordable Belly dance show and Kosher meals at Abu Tarek.

Scuba diving in the Red sea of Egypt. Photo by –Aviv Perets

  • Faiyum – One of the oldest villages in the world amidst Turquoise lakes and waterfalls.
  • Wadi Hitan National park – to see the skeleton of 14 million-year-old whales in the desert!
  • Menia- A huge land full of conical dome cemetery
  • Dandarah – The most colourful temple in all of Egypt.
  • Hurghada- Scuba diving & the turquoise water of the Red sea for some sunbathing
  • Sinai Peninsula- for beaches and the mosques Sharm-El-Sheikh, canyons hiking, St Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Taba and cross the border to Israel!

Sinai Peninsula Canyons. Photo by – Dyaa Eldin Moustafa

Most travellers underestimate Egypt as we did. I hope this plan of ours comes alive sooner, and as you are now clear about the natural wonders of Egypt, you can make your own combos that got history , architecture and nature too.

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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