Welcome to my Egypt travel guide: the best places to visit in roughly 12 days. Egypt is one of the most impressive countries in the world. The mystery of the pyramids, the power of the pharaohs, the mummification rituals, the writing in hieroglyphics, the Nile river in the middle of the desert and the layers of history all accumulate to an incredible place.
How to not dream about visiting this destination? From a young age reading the pages of school books, Egypt always made me smile. The wait was long to visit Egypt but I arrived to a perfect trip. This journey needs to be well planned and programmed to make the best memories.
My name is Claudia Liechavicius. I am a Speech Pathologist and Journalist. I live in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil but my wings fly me all over the world. Traveling is part of my life since I was a child. Today with 57 years of age my passport is stamped in 105 countries. But this number doesn’t matter at all.
What really counts are the new experiences that I share on my blog and on my Instagram @claudia_liechavicius to inspire people. I love to travel with comfort and always choose charming and exclusive hotels. I travel to break paradigms, to see how life can be interesting and diverse in other countries and to understand life from different points of view.
It’s safe to say that my recent trip to Egypt certainly broke many paradigms and opened my mind to a new and diverse culture. I visited Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor. From Aswan to Luxor I took a cruise on the Nile River. 12 days in total and it was simply amazing!
Egypt Travel Guide: Top 3 Places to Visit
Egypt is scenographic. What a beautiful country. The Pyramids of Giza are the first place in any Egypt travel guide or on any travelers bucket list. They are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still around.
The complex comprises the Pyramid of Qeops (father), Quefren (son) and Mikerinos (grandson) and there is an enormous Sphinx carved in a single stone. Fantastic. What I recommend is that you NOT use horses in the complex. The animals are not respected at all. Go walking instead!
The second place that I loved was Philae Temple in a little island in Aswan. It’s one of the best temples to visit in Egypt. You can enjoy the temple at night with the spectacular Temple of Philae Sound and Light Show.
Lastly, the sunset on the Nile River with “feluccas” crossing was absolutely stunning to witness. A felucca is a traditional Egyptian wooden boat with a canvas sail and they come in many different shapes and sizes. Aswan and Luxor are the main places to board for a felucca ride in Egypt.
The Best Destinations to Visit in 12 Days
Cairo is the biggest city in Egypt and is home to the pyramids. I recommend staying for at least 2-3 days. The best places to visit in Cairo are Giza, Saqqara Pyramids, Cairo Museum, Ramsés Colossus, Mohamed Ali Mosque, Saladin Citadel, Tahir Square and Khan El Khalili Market.
Then fly to Abu Simbel and spend 3 days visiting Ramsés and Nefertari Temples. Fly to Aswan and don’t miss Philae Temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. Check out the unfinished Obelisk whose rocks were sent to Europe, visit a Nubian Village and sail down the Nile River in a “felucca”.
Next destination I recommend is Luxor where you can take a cruise there for 3-4 nights visiting historical places on the way such as Kom Ombo Temple, Horus Temple, Valley of the kings where you can find Tutankhamon’s Tomb, Temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Queens where Nefertari’s Tomb awaits.
If you want to relax by the beach and dive in the Red Sea, then make sure to check out the beautiful Hurghada or Sharm el Sheikh.
My Most Cherished Travel Memories
It was really fun to negotiate and buy products in the markets in Egypt. You must always bargain. It is part of the strategy. The price is always much lower than initially offered.
As you walk in the markets you will receive lots of offers from the sellers. If you want to stay quiet and get rid of them just smile and say “salam aleikim” (be in peace) and thank them with a firm “shukran”. They will respect you and let it be.
The hotels also made my experience special. In Cairo, I could see the contours of the pyramids from my window at Four Seasons at The First Residence. In Aswan I had the chance to stay at the legendary Sofitel Old Cataract where Agatha Christie wrote part of the novel Death on the Nile.
At the end of my trip, in Luxor, I had a very relaxing time at a place called Al Moudira. This charming hotel was located in a rural area only 30 minutes away from downtown Luxor.
Egypt is a destination where a good hotel is mandatory and enhances your visit tenfold. Do not hesitate in booking the best hotel you can in regards to safety, cleanliness, service and quality of food.
Essential Travel Tips for your Visit to Egypt
I had a great experience in Egypt. It was a great idea to read a lot about this country before the trip to understand the culture. I always loved meeting and talking with people to understand the country too.
One important aspect in Egypt is the religion. 90% of the population is Islamic. Men and women wear “galabeyas”, clothes that cover the whole body. Women wear scarves covering their hair, especially in smaller cities. They are shy and kind.
As I am blond and did not cover my hair (it is not a condition for tourists) I was always stopped in the streets for a photo. To show respect for local traditions my option was long dresses and loose fit clothes. Even so, I was always the one in focus.
The food for me was not the highlight of the country. But I still recommend Naguib Mahfouz Café in Khan El Khalili Market to try the Kochari, a national dish prepared with rice, chickpeas, pasta, tomato sauce and fried onion.
Egypt is just fantastic. But it is NOT a country where you can move freely. It requires caution and good planning. The levels of urban violence are low due to the country’s strict laws. What worries most are the terrorist actions.
There are areas to be avoided such as the borders with Libya, Sudan, Sinai and Gaza. It is important to have a driver and a tour guide to help you travel through the country safely. Be aware of this advice and you will have a great experience in Egypt.
Step back in time, dive into history and open up an ancient universe that is Egypt. Thanks for reading my Egypt travel guide: the best places to visit in 12 days. I hope you have taken some inspiration and valuable information for your journey to the enchanting Egypt!