This September I will be traveling to Egypt for the first time. Finally! I have been dreaming of Egypt for as long as I can remember. Truly, I don’t recall a time where I haven’t longed for the chance to see the pyramids of Giza, imagining what they must have looked like when they were being built.
There is so much history in Egypt, and I want to see it all! To stand where pharaohs once stood, to sail along the Nile in a felucca boat, to see the art coloring the temples, sigh. Can you tell I love to dream?
Egypt is more than just pyramids though, which is why I’ve put together this bucket list of all the things that I want to do in Egypt. I won’t be checking all of these off my list during this September trip, but I will definitely be crossing off a few!
Welcome to my ultimate Egypt bucket list!
My Ultimate Egypt Bucket List
- Wander the pyramids of Giza – see The Great Pyramid of Giza
Probably what most people think of when they think of Egypt, wandering the Pyramids of Giza is the quintessential Egypt experience!
The last standing of the original Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids of Giza are a complex that houses the famous Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built over 27 years by Pharaoh Khufu.
Also a part of the complex are the second and third pyramids and their small complexes. The second pyramid to be built was Khafre’s pyramid. Khafre was the third son of Khufu, but his two elder brothers died, which is how he came to be Pharaoh. Egyptologists believe that the head of the Great Sphinx is Khafre.
And the third, and smallest, pyramid was built by Khafre’s son, Menkaure.
- Educate yourself at the Egyptian Museum
I love little more than spending a few hours reading the tabs beside incredible artifacts, and I can’t imagine a cooler museum than the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Seriously, every museum I go to that has an Egyptian exhibit is always my favorite, so I think the Egyptian Museum in Cairo will make me very happy!
- Get lost while shopping at the Khan El Khalili Market
Located in the heart of Old Cairo, this bazaar dates back to the 14th century. Here you can find everything from spices and scarves, from perfumes and carpets, food and jewelry.
- Sail the Nile on a felucca boat
What is a felucca boat you ask? It is a traditional, narrow wooden boat with a canvas sail, and a piece of Egyptian history. These boats have slowly sailed the Nile for thousands of years, transporting Egyptian wares and food.
Nowadays, felucca boats give us a chance to sail the Nile the way people have ever since Ancient Egyptian times. The deck is covered in pillows and cushions, and you spend all day and night there, that’s where you sleep!
While I’m in Egypt I will be spending 2 nights aboard a felucca boat. I’m very excited for these few slow paced days to relax and take in my surroundings.
- Get some R&R in Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh is Egypt’s answer to a resort town, one surrounded by epic dive sites, beaches, and close to Ras Muhammad National Park. This is the place to go for complete relaxation.
If you’re a diver you’ll love Sharm, it’s known for crystal clear waters!
- Relax in resort town Hurghada
Egypt’s OTHER resort town, Hurghada is often compared to Sharm El Sheikh. The main difference between these similar spots? Hurghada is more fast paced, whereas Sharm is quieter. Both are known for the incredible diving or snorkeling spots, so it just depends on what you’re looking for!
- Discover Alexandria
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.E, Alexandria came second only to Rome in the ancient world. Most famous for the Library of Alexandria, this library was one of the largest of the time. Julius Caesar famously burned down part of the library accidentally during a war, but it was restored.
Now there are plenty of things to do in Alexandria, but personally I think that just wandering around this historic port city is more than fulfilling!
- Take a hot air balloon over Luxor
Being dwarfed by the temples is incredible, but imagine looking out on Luxor, or ancient Thebes, from the air!
- Scuba dive or snorkel in Dahab
Once a quiet fishing village and now one of Egypt’s best loved diving areas, Dahab is the perfect place to spend in the water. Situated on the Red Sea, Dahab is really fascinating for several reasons.
First, it’s on the Eastern corner of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which is actually a part of the continent of Asia, not Africa! If that’s not cool enough, you can see Saudi Arabi from the main beach!
And, you know, all the diving and the fact that Dahab is a wind surfers paradise!
- Walk through the Valley of the Kings
What exactly is the Valley of the Kings? A collection of about 60 royal tombs, this is where royalty were buried for 500 years.
- Check out the tomb of Nefertari
Located in the Valley of the Queens, this tomb is known for being colorful and having incredible detail. Nefertari was Ramesses II first and most beloved wife, and he also built her a temple at Abu Simbel.
- Take a day trip to Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel is the small village that is best known as the home of the Abu Simbel temples. Located in upper Egypt near the Sudan border, there is something special about this place, and I cannot wait to see it! There isn’t much to do here besides checking out various temples, but that sounds right up my alley.
King Ramesses II is the one who is behind the construction of the Abu Simbel temples, the temples depict Ramesses II on either side of the entrance, and his wife, mother, and children carved near the feet.
- Visit the White Desert
- Make the trip to the Western desert to explore the oasis’s -Siwa, Bahariya, Faiyum
The Western Desert is a large area of land near the Libyan border, barren except for the seven oases that make this area true paradise. Technically there are five oases, and two quasi-oases closer to Cairo, which are Fayoum oasis and Wadi Natrun.
The five oases are the: most famous, Siwa Oasis, Dakhla Oasis, Farafra Oasis, Bahariya Oasis, and Kharga Oasis.
- Feel small while seeing The Valley of the Whales
The Valley of the Whales is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with fossils of some of the earliest whales. This desert was once an ocean, and you can still find teeth embedded in the ocean floor. Archaeologists have learned so much about whales due to this area!
- Be amazed by Crystal Mountain
A stop on many White Desert tours, Crystal Mountain is incredibly cool looking! Not actually a mountain but rather naturally formed arch between Farafra Oasis and Bahariya Oasis, the crystals that grow here remind me of the Aranui Cave in New Zealand; google Crystal Mountain!
I decided to add in this small section to my Egypt Bucket List, listing some of the MANY temples in Egypt; the ones that are very well known or special. The ones that I can’t stop thinking about!
10 Temples To Visit
- The Hathor temple in the Dendera Complex is known for being one of the most colorful, and best preserved, in Egypt!
- Be dwarfed by Karnak temple, the second largest temple in the world (the largest is Angkor Wat)
- Visit the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut
- Check out the temple of Kom Ombo, which is a double temple. It sounds really cool!
- The temple of Horus in Edfu. This is the second largest temple in Egypt!
- Visit the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut on Luxor’s East bank.
- Visit the Medinet Habu Temple, which is the mortuary temple of Ramesses III on Luxor’s West bank.
- Luxor Temple
- Already mentioned above, the Abu Simbel temples
- Go to the sacred city of Abydos, one of the most ancient in Egypt, and see the temple of Seti I.
Is this everything to do in Egypt? Absolutely not! I feel that this is the perfect “beginner” bucket list. These are the things that make me think of Egypt, and must do’s, in my opinion. But I’m sure once I actually go, I’ll be adding many more things to my ultimate Egypt bucket list, and I can’t wait to discover what they are! And then update this post 😉
What would be on your ultimate Egypt bucket list?
What on this bucket list do you most want to do yourself?