The moment you arrive in Cairo, it’s clear: Egypt isn’t like anywhere else in the world. The pairing of present-day energy and iconic ancient sites make it an absolute must-visit. After you’ve explored the Last Wonder of the Ancient World, go beyond the Great Pyramid of Giza to see Egypt from all sides at these fascinating places.
This massive archaeological site, which was covered in sand until the mid-1800s, lies south of Giza. Known for its famous Step Pyramid, Saqqara is the resting place for many pharaohs and their families. A stop in the Imhotep Museum reveals an overview of the artifacts found on this site. Discoveries continue to be made here to this day—a royal tomb filled with colorful drawings and carvings was just recently excavated!
2. Temples of Karnak and Luxor
The city once known as Thebes was ancient Egypt’s capital during the Middle and New Kingdoms. Visiting this region is as close as it gets to time travel. The ruins at the Karnak Temple Complex are spread across an area of two square kilometers. An avenue of impressive sphinxes once connected this complex to the Temple of Luxor, where stories spanning many dynasties are shared on the walls.
3. Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
This one-of-a-kind temple on the Nile’s west bank honors one of Egypt’s few female pharaohs. Tales of Hatshepsut’s life can be found on reliefs throughout the structure, which stretches across three different levels. One especially notable feature of this temple? Its design evokes classical architecture that would be found in Greece years later.
4. Abu Simbel
Chances are, you’ve seen a photo of this remarkable site. These larger-than-life UNESCO-protected temples can be found at Egypt’s southern edge. They were originally built for Ramses II and his wife Nefertari 680 feet from their current location. When rising waters due to the Aswan High Dam nearly destroyed the structure in the 1960s, a highly skilled team disassembled and reconstructed it in the place where it stands today.
Sacred to the goddess Isis, this island is home to striking temples covered in hieroglyphs. Did you know that every Tour Director leading our trips to Egypt is also a licensed Egyptologist? Turn to this local expert for every question you have about the history of this—and any—site in Egypt.
Insider tip: return to Philae in the evening to see the temple illuminated during a special light and sound show.
6. The Nile
Not everyone can say they’ve taken a cruise on the world’s longest river to the city of Aswan. (You can, though!) Follow the Nile past islands, Nubian villages, and the famed Aswan High Dam. If you’re wondering where the granite used to build the many ancient structures came from, look no further than Aswan Quarry. When the Nile flooded, waters reached this granite production area. This allowed ancient Egyptians to slide large stones from the quarry onto boats, transport them up to Luxor and Giza, and create remarkable monuments with them.
There’s a story behind every spectacular site in this wonder-filled Must-See Destination.