You grew up learning about the pyramids, pharaohs and sphinxes, but you may not know much about the best cities to visit in modern-day Egypt. This incredibly diverse and complex country has a lot to offer beyond its famous historical attractions. As you plan your next Egypt trip, consider making a stop in one (or more!) of these special cities.
It’s likely that your Egyptian adventure will start in Cairo, a lively city that is home to more than 20 million people. Cairo is a busy city with people out on the street at all hours of the day and night. It’s dusty, loud and a little bit wild. With its eclectic mix of modernity and antiquity, Cairo has something for every traveler.
There are numerous sites to see in Cairo, but you won’t want to miss the Giza Necropolis (home to the pyramids), the Egyptian Museum or the incredible Cairo Citadel. If you enjoy street markets you’ll also want to stroll through Khan el-Khalili, a massive bazaar with souvenirs, crafts and other goods.
This ancient city is named after Alexander the Great. It’s just a short hop away from Cairo, and some travelers even choose to visit it as a day trip. There is enough to see and do here though that you won’t mind staying a little longer.
The Citadel of Qaitbay and Library of Alexander are a couple of noteworthy sites in the area. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, a 100-meter-tall structure that looms over the city, is also worth a visit. Alexandria is also known for having some of the best seafood in the world, so don’t forget to grab a delicious meal while you’re in town!
Luxor was once the capital of Ancient Egypt. Like most central cities it has countless attractions. One of the most iconic spots is the Valley of the Kings, an archaeological site that contains more than 60 tombs and burial chambers. Karnak, a massive complex of temple ruins, is also in the Luxor region.
Round off your visit to Luxor by seeing the Luxor Temple, the Medinet Habu temple and the Valley of the Queens, which complements the Valley of the Kings with 90 burial sites dedicated to female rulers.
Located on the banks of the Nile River, Aswan has been Egypt’s strategic base for centuries. Like other Egyptian cities it’s a stone’s throw away from several notable archaeological and historical sites, including one of the most famous of all, Abu Simbel. Located three hours outside of Aswan, the iconic statues and towers of Abu Simbel are a common day trip for travelers visiting this part of Egypt.
The Nubian Village is also located near Aswan on Elephantine Island. Filled with resorts, hotels and other facilities for visitors, it’s easy to spend a night or more at the Nubian Village. There are colorful markets, interesting historical sites and many things to see, do and eat.
Lastly, Aswan is a great jumping off point for a Nile River Cruise. These relaxing cruises often last 3-4 days and are an excellent way to see the ruins and remains of ancient life along the banks of the Nile.
If you’re craving blue seas, warm breezes and cool water, head to Hurghada, one of Egypt’s premiere beach towns. This modern resort area stretches for nearly 25 miles along the Red Sea and is very popular among divers. Red Sea diving is among the best in the world, and you can easily rent your own gear or join a dive trip from one of the many dive shops in Hurghada. If diving isn’t your cup of tea, check out Hurghada’s aquarium or visit El Dahar, the old town, for an authentic Egyptian experience.
Each city in Egypt has its own unique story carved by thousands of years of innovations, struggles and triumphs. Wherever your Egypt adventure takes you, you’re bound to have a impactful and memorable experience!