Environmental Therapy & Healing
Climatotherapy in Pyramisa Isis Island in Aswan
Who does not deserve some pampering while enjoying a lovely Nile view? Ever since ancient times Aswan has been famous for its environmental therapy. The Pyramisa Isis Island hotel offers a variety of therapeutic treatments to help relief aching parts of the body specially arthritis, joint edema, rheumatism and skin inflammation. It starts from burying aching parts of the body in the sand to Mud, Yellow and Grey Sand Bath treatments, along with other treatments.
Photo by Matt Davenport
Gabal Dakrour (Dakrour Mountain) in Siwa
Located in south eastern Siwa, that’s a place that’s worth driving all the way to Siwa for 12 hours from Cairo. What it’s famous for is its hot sand healing characteristics. You’re buried in the sand up to your neck, during summer heat -so that the sand is hot as well- for 20 min, 3 to 5 times a day, and wait for magical results to happen.
Sand Dunes by Ernie R.
Menaville Resort and Spa in Safaga
Another climatotherapy haven visited by patients from all over the globe. This is a great place for patients suffering from diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis to get the appropriate treatment, through a highly trained & qualified team of professionals who tailor specific treatment programs according to each patient’s case. Patients can also enjoy and benefit from the curative properties of the hotel’s natural black sand.
Photo by Karl Cossio
Snorkeling, Diving & Wreck Diving Spots
Ras Muhammed in Sharm El-Sheikh
is Egypt’s most famous national park and diving spot, and among the most known diving sites in the world. Beside its crystal clear waters, Ras Muhammad witnesses the annual migration of several marine species, in addition to stunning mangroves, and coral reefs with a diversity of vertebrate and invertebrate species.
Diving at Ras Muhammad National Park by Peter Forster
Blue Hole in Dahab
It is a world infamous diving spot, a very challenging one known as the most dangerous and deadliest on earth, however it appeals to divers just as Mt. Kilimanjaro & Mt. Everest appeal to mountaineers. It is well worth mentioning that it’s not the most beautiful dive where exceptional marine life is spotted, it’s just a signature dive only accomplished by the experienced, well prepared and none faint-hearted. The reason why it’s dangerous is that the dive is so deep, which makes nitrogen narcosis get hold of the diver (the ability to make decisions), so divers keep getting deeper without having air supply or ability to take decisions, and they unfortunately lose their lives.
Video by Elena Konstantinou
The Bells area at the Blue Hole by Jeremy Rover
Dahab’s Eel Garden
You don’t have to be an exceptional diver to enjoy Dahab’s eel garden, as there is a lot to spot while snorkeling. This is the place to see tens of long eels popping their heads out of the sand, and vanishing back in again. It is also home to barracudas and the rare sea grass ghost pipefish.
The Fjord in Taba
Along the coastal route from Nuweibaa, 15km south of Taba, a flashing blue color will stop you, this is how you know that you made it to the Fjord. An amazing beach and diving spot, offering crystal clear water, dazzling coral reefs and an exceptional marine life. For experienced divers The Fjord is the place, the Fjord Banana is an alternative to the less experienced.
The Fjord by Sarah Othman
Island of the Pharoah (Geziret Fer3on) – also known as the Coral Reef
Another strategic fortress built by Salah El-Din easily reached by boat from Taba coast. Other than visiting the fortress, it’s an amazing diving spot and offers views of Saudi Arabia & Jordan.
Pharaoh Island by 岑 寂
Ras Shitan (Devil’s Head) in Nuweibaa (depth 12-40m)
30 minutes north from Nuweibaa is Ras Shetan diving site. The original name is Ras Shataan, the name is derived from the way Ras Shitan is formed which is on the two sides of a huge rock. Experienced divers out there get ready for an unforgettable dive that offers underwater canyons, caves, mountains, plateaus, hard corals, well preserved landscapes, puffer fish, you name it, and most of all anemones coming in all colors.
Ras Shitan by Rowan El-Shimi
Nature, History & Magical Scenery
Shali Fortress in Siwa
This 13th century mud brick fortress was made out of an organic material known as “kershef”, which is basically salt rocks brought from the surrounding lakes combined with mud and clay. It was four to five stories high, and hundreds of people were housed at this spectacular labyrinth. In 1926 after heavy rainfalls, the fortress was heavily damaged, and its people moved out. Now only few buildings are used as storage.
Photo by Arian Zwegers
Djara Cave in Dakhla
Located in the midst of the Eastern Sahara Desert towards El-Dakhla Oasis. Djara cave is the natural result of pure water in contact with dry desert climate, that created incredible formations and a caving experience that is rarely found around Egypt.
Video by Tribe Expeditions
Djara Cave at El-Dakhla Oasis
Saluga & Ghazal Islands in Aswan
Saluga & Ghazal are two small granite island in the River Nile of Aswan, home to 94 species, which make them a Bird Watching paradise on earth.
Bird Watching in Aswan by Ross Funnell
Castle Zaman between Taba & Nuweibaa
A castle that is newly built in an old architectural style with stones brought from nearby mountains, and has a very authentic down-to-earth setting. It overlooks the Gulf of Aqaba, and is located between Taba & Nuweibaa. That’s the perfect place to spend a day on the swimming pool while enjoying your favorite drinks, or chilling by the beach, and have a scrumptious meal at their well decorated restaurant during the day or at night while marveling at the stars.
Sunset over the pool at Castle Zaman by walidhassanein
Camel Back Riding at Giza Pyramids
No matter how cliche it might sound, but visiting Egypt’s great Pyramids of Giza is a must, and they are best enjoyed while camel back riding. Make sure that you haggle with the camel rider, as they tend to price really high.
Camel chilling out by Giza Pyramids by Chris Ford
The White Desert (El-Sa7ara El-Beida) in Farafra – Western Desert
Situated 45km north of Farafra, and is named White desert thanks to the white to cream colored rock formations in the shape of giant mushrooms, or pebbles. It is a 300m protectorate, where people enjoy safaris and camping in the midst of the desert.
The White Desert by Marc-Olivier Bergeron
Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria
Built in the 15th century AD, and was considered as one of the most important defensive strongholds along the Mediterranean Sea coast. It is the best spot to experience Alexandria’s fresh air, and sea breeze, and the Corniche is best enjoyed while eating ice cream from Jelaty Azza.
Citadel of Qaitbay
Lake Qaroun in Fayoum
Only 80km from Cairo, 20km from Fayoum lies Lake Qaroun where water sports and fishing can be practiced, as well as Bird Watching.
Lake Qaroun by Rachid H.
Philae Temple (also known as Temple of Isis)
Temple dedicated to the goddess Isis, is a magnificent temple only reached by boat. It was nearly lost after the construction of the high dam of Aswan. But was luckily rescued through joint cooperation between Egypt & the UNESCO, and was moved in big blocks to Agilka Island, its current location.
Photo by Tours Egypt Memphis
El-Montazah Palace & Gardens in Alexandria
If Giza Pyramids are Cairo’s landmark, then El-Montazah Palace & Gardens are Alexandria’s landmark.
Montazah Palace by Islam Kotb
Culture & Art Performances
Tanoura Show at Wekalet El-Ghoury
An Egyptian folk dance performed by Sufi dancers at Wekalet El-Ghoury situated at the famous El-Moe’z St. Art performances are each Saturday and Wednesday from 8:30pm, with free admission.
Tanoura Show at Wekalet El-Ghoury by Marwa Morgan
The Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina)
Opened in 2002 in the city of Alexandria, built for the purpose of becoming a center of excellence and cultural exchange in the Mediterranean region, is a major library that holds thousands of books and references, even historical ones, and is a cultural center where a variety of performances take place.
Photo by Dallas Ewing
Salah El-Din Citadel
Constructed by Salah El-Din El-Ayoubi on Moqattam hills, overlooking the whole city of Cairo to be his defensive point against Crusaders’ attacks. It is now a preserved historic site, with mosques and museums, and it hosts some musical performances. Its main landmark is Muhammad Ali Mosque.
Photo by Omnia Mamdouh
Palace of El-Amir Taz
Is the main entrance to medieval Cairo, located on the intersection of Saliba Street & Suyufiya Street in El-Darb El-A7mar. It was owned by one of Sultan Qalawun’s son, and is currently a historic site, and it hosts sometimes musical performances and other big events.
Palace of El-Amir Taz by El-Watan News
The Colored Canyon in Taba
Is a hiking & climbing haven for those who like to wander, and is one of the top nature wonders of Sinai. What you can expect is a maze of sandstone rocks in hues of magenta, red, yellow, and purple reaching up to 40 meters high. It’s not advisable to go there in summer as the weather can get very hot, and make sure to go with a group to better enjoy it, and to be more safe.
Al-Qataneyah Dunes for Sandboarding & Barbecuing
It’s the best getaway from trafficy noisy Cairo, located 80km southwest of the city so in less than an hour you can enjoy the emptiness of the desert, the soft sand dunes of Qataneyah while surfing -sand boarding- them at high speeds, & enjoying a BBQ with family & friends.
Photo by Surfing the Nations
Wadi Degla in Cairo
Located near Maadi, it’s a great escape from noisy Cairo & around 20 minutes drive from down town, a place to hang out with family & friends to enjoy a barbecue. Those who enjoy adventurous activities Wadi Degla you can enjoy hiking or mountain biking.
Wadi Degla by Rachid H.
Wadi El-Gemal Protected Area in Marsa Alam
Another escape for those seeking adventure. With its 1977 meters Gabal Hamata as a main attraction where ibex and gazelles are still found, and a protected area covering more than 60km, you are up for hiking, swimming, diving, & bird watching.
Qulaan Bay Resthouse by Rowan El-Shimi
Photo by Hossam El-Hamalawy
El-Gilf El-Kebir National Park in the Western Desert
is a sandstone plateau in El-Wadi El-Gedid (New Valley), in the remote southwest corner of the Western Desert and southeast of Libya. It is known for its rugged beauty, remoteness, geological nature, dramatic cliff paintings, and rock carvings that showcase a human and animal life that once existed in this area.
Heading to El-Gilf El-Kebir by Paul Robinson
Hiking the Blue Desert in Sinai Desert
Only few kilometers from St. Catherine’s monastery lies the Blue Desert, where rock formations were painted in blue by Jean Verame the Belgian artist in 1980, to commemorate the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. In order to accomplish the project, Verame received a grant of ten tons of blue pain from the United Nations.
Couldn’t find photos of the Blue Desert so here is a photo of Sinai Desert by Jonah Bettio
Wadi Lahami Lagoon for Diving & Kitesurfing in Marsa Allam
Located 5.5 hours from Hurghada Airport, and 180 km south Marsa Allam. Wadi Lahami lagoon is located at a remote area, which makes it off-the-beaten track compared to its peers in Dahab & Sharm El-Sheikh. It’s truly a water sports escape.
Kitesurfing by Konstantin Zamkov
Town of Saint Catherine
Is a hiking and trekking hub, travelers go there initially to climb Mt. Sinai, or Mt. Moses to witness the break of dawn on their peaks & enter the monastery. Located in the Sinai Peninsula at an elevation of about 1600 meters above sea level, at the foot of Mt. 7oreb (known locally as Gabal Moussa – Mt. Moses), this is where the Old Testament records, Prophet Moses spoke to God, and is famous for its UNESCO world heritage site of St. Catherine’s Monastery founded in the 6th century; the oldest Christian monastery still in use for its initial role.
St. Catherine’s Monastery by Dion Crannitch
A piece of desert that was a wide sea a million years ago. It is named the Whales Valley after the fossils of whales that it still has, along with a variety of rock formations that are best enjoyed at break of dawn, the Whales Valley offers overnight camping, barbecue and marveling at the stars.
Rock formations by Tom Horton
Ras Abu Gallum Protected Area near Dahab
Nubian Ibex by orientalizing
Hotels with history
Old Cataract Aswan
Travel back in time by staying at the legendary 19th century Victorian Palace on the banks of the River Nile.
View from Old Cataract by Omnia Mamdouh
View from inside by TrevorLowe
Mena House Oberoi El-Haram in Giza
is initially a hunting lodge that was built in 1869 for King Ismail Pasha, that offers dazzling views of Giza Pyramids and hundreds of acres of greenery. The Mena House Oberoi is another proof of the Royalty that once existed in Egypt.
View from Mena House Gardens by kris
Auberge El-Fayoum in Fayoum
Built in 1937 to serve as a hunting lodge for King Farouk, and had an important role in the Egyptian Film Industry, this is where lots of black 7 white movies were shot. And it still preserves its sense of royalty.
Photo from Auberge El-Fayoum’s official website
Marriott Palace in Zamalek
Built by Khedive Ismail in 1869 to host Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, as the guest of honor for Suez Canal Inauguration, interior-ally designed by a German designer, and over a million exotic species were planted by a French landscaper. The Palace went through several phases, but since 1970 it’s become a 5 star luxury hotel with up to 1250 guest rooms and luxurious amenities. This is where Royalty is experienced at its best, and its Christmas decorations are among the best in town.
View from outside by Sebastian White
Winter Palace in Luxor
Built in 1886 by British explorers, overlooking the Valley of the Kings, a few kilometers away from Karnak Temple, and once a retreat for the royal family. This is a unique chance to experience Royalty at a Victorian Palace, while surrounded by Pharaoh temples and ancient civilization.
View from outside by tim rich and lesley katon
Lodges, Eco-lodges & Guesthouses (Eco-tourism)
Hadouta Masreya (An Egyptian Tale) Guesthouse in Nubia – Aswan
Located at Gharb Sehel, in the Nubian Village in Aswan, is a 9 rooms guesthouse with ensuite or shared bathroom facilities, that accommodates up to 21 people. This place is very unique with its typically Egyptian style, and in each room you would find lyrics of the Egyptian musical icon Mohamed Mounir’s songs.
Photo by Hadouta Masreya’s official Facebook page
Anakato in Nubia in Aswan
A guesthouse that was built in 2008 as Gharb Seheil’s main getaway with one exclusive Nubian House overlooking the River Nile in Aswan featuring an authentic Nubian style, accommodating guests from all over the world. Now Anakato has 3 houses (Wer – Owy – Toski), staying in Gharb Seheil is an experience that you won’t experience anywhere else in the world.
Photo from Anakato’s official website
Al-Tarfa Ecolodge in Dakhla
Bordered by Libya to the east & Sudan to the west, known as a “desert sanctuary”, this is the best “in the middle of nowhere” getaway. At El-Tarfa Ecolodge you’ll be surrounded by beauty, pampered in their fully equipped spa, meditating & doing yoga, eating fresh organic foods, swimming & enjoying luxury in the best primitive down-to-earth yet luxurious way.
One of the rooms by Al-Tarfa
3al Ganoob Eco-lodge in Marsa Alam
3al ganoob started with the idea of supporting Deep South Eco-lodge in Marsa Alam. After tourism in Egypt was hit hard in the last few years, and 3al ganoob was no exception, this is when friends of the owner decided to organize a yearly music festival to revive tourism in this area.
Adrere Amellal in Siwa
Another desert escape sustaining the idea of turning Egypt into an eco-tourism destination, offering a wide range of facilities and lots of pampering.
One of the rooms by W
Taziry Eco-lodge in Siwa
This desert sanctuary that is loved and visited by celebrities from all over the world, such as Robert de Niro is another example of how eco-tourism has evolved over the years in Egypt, and what the environment is capable of offering to us.
Taziry – The Ecovillage from Taha Chaabi on Vimeo
Zad El-Mosafer Guesthouse in Fayoum
In 1962 the Egyptian poet Sayed Hegab came to Tunis Village with his Swiss wife Evelynne. They fell in love with the place and decided to build a house and a pottery workshop to revive the pottery industry in Fayoum and teach pottery making to generations after. And Zad El-Mosafer was built in order to support this area, and encourage eco-tourism.
Photo from Zad El-Mosafer’s official Facebook page
Pottery making in Tunis Village by Karen Melchior
Cleopatra’s Bath in Siwa
Located in Siwa Oasis, and is one of its landmarks. It’s basically a pool that is fed with water from natural hot springs, it’s the best way to cool off the heat of a hot summer day. It is said that Queen Cleopatra swam in this pool during her visit to Siwa, hence the name.
Cleopatra bath by Vyacheslav Argenberg
Oyun Moussa in South Sinai
When heading to the City of Saint Catherine, only 20km south of Ahmed Hamdy tunnel, don’t forget to drop by Oyun Moussa, home to water sources at which it is believed that Prophet Moses stopped while leading the Israelites in their escape of the Pharaoh’s wrath. It’s believed by the locals that the water has healing properties, which was not proved scientifically.
Sinai Desert by #tom #maladova
Boulaq & Nasser Water Springs in El-Kharga Oasis
These water springs famous for their natural treatment properties specially for rheumatism, stress and other skin diseases are located 20km south of El-Kharga Oasis, the water temprature rises to 43 degrees Celsius.
El-Kharga Oasis by Charlie Phillips
Mut Talata Hot Springs in El-Dakhla Oasis
Take a dip at the hot sulphur springs of Mut Talata rich with minerals, and beneficial to the inside and outside of the body.
One of El-Dakhla’s water springs by upyernoz
Monuments, Temples, Mosques & Churches
Abu Simbel – 300km southwest of Aswan
That’s a once in a lifetime “has to be visted” temple, carved in the mountains to commemorate Ramses II’s victory at Kadesh battle. What is truly unique about it is that it was built and positioned in a way that on October 22nd & February 22nd of each year the rays of the sun would penetrate into the sanctuary to illuminate the sculptures on the black wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the ancient god connected to the underworld. People come from all over the world to witness such a phenomena.
Temple of Ramses II by Serdir
The Temple of the Oracle (known as Temple of Amun) in Siwa
Who would think that Siwa Oasis would have its share of Pharaonic temples? When in Siwa you have got to see the remainders of a great civilization that once existed.
Temple of Amun by Eduardo Jezierski
Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo
This mosque takes you to another era where sultans still ruled Egypt, it is huge and very impressive, and an Egyptian landmark that is not far from Salah El-Din Citadel.
View from inside by Asim Bharwani
The Hanging Church (Al-Qenissa Al-Mo3alaqah)
Considered the oldest Coptic church in the era of Old Cairo (Fustat), it’s named hanging or suspended as it was built on the ruins of two old towers that remained from an old fortress called 7esn Babylion (Fortress of Babylon). And dedicated to The Virgin Mary.
The Hanging Church by Pablo Pecora
The Coptic Cemetery
An underrated Cemetery that has very old tombs and sculptures. After you visit the Hanging Church, Babylon Fortress, and the Coptic Museum, you cannot miss this cemetery.
Coptic Cemetery by Scott D. Haddow
One of the oldest and most amazing streets of Islamic Cairo. Start your walk from Al-Azhar Mosque up to El-Hussein Mosque, Bab Zweila & Bab El-Fetouh, along the way are houses and schools that once witnessed a great Islamic civilization.
Photo by Christopher Rose
Al-Moez St. at night by Christopher Rose
Marassi in the North Coast
The North coast is currently the main Egyptian summer escape, specially Sidi Abdel Rahman, which is few kilometers drive from Marina. Once in Marassi be surethat you it all; beach fun, swimming pools, nightlife, & restaurants.
Photos by Marassi’s official website
Agiba Beach in Marsa Matrouh
Drive further down the road, about 24km west of Marsa Matrouh be ready for a surprise; “Agiba” is a small piece of paradise on earth, clear, and insanely turquoise waters that cannot fail to tempt you to take a dip.
Agiba Beach by Mohamed Saeed
Restaurants & Cafes
Sequoia in Zamalek – Cairo
Whatever what your preferences are, Sequoia is undoubtedly one of Egypt’s hottest spots, given it’s unique location on the Nile & it’s setting that changes all the time offering a truly unique experience on the River Nile’s banks.
Sequoia’s stunning setting & Nile view by Magalie l’Abbe
Taboula Garden city in Cairo
Although Taboula now has several branches, Garden city remains the best. A Lebanese restaurant with a typically Egyptian atmosphere. Their mezza menu is enough to please all taste buds, their main dishes are not-to-be-missed as well.
Photos from Taboula Garden City’s official Facebook page
Andrea Mariouteya in Cairo
Nowhere else can you eat chicken with herbs as tasty as Andrea’s, also their grilled seman, enjoyed with their freshly baked bread with tehina or baba ghanoug.
And this is how bread is done
Photos from Andrea el-Maryouteya’s official Facebook page
Felfela Down Town in Cairo
Whether Egyptian or non-Egyptian being in Egypt without paying a visit to down town makes your trip so incomplete, and if you have foreign friends they cannot leave Egypt without eating at Felfela down town restaurant, it’s truly one of Egypt’s landmarks, try their ta3meya, koshari, ma7shi, foul, sogo2, the list is just endless!
Ta3meya frying by Christopher Rose
Kebdet El-brens in Embaba – Cairo
Yes it’s in Embaba, and doesn’t have the hippiest setting, or the chic-est atmosphere, but this is undoubtedly “the place” to enjoy Egyptian cuisine at its best! Their molokheya is out of this world, it is delicious to the extent that you can drink it like soup, eat it with bread or pour it on rice with beef (roz bel la7ma). The roz bel la7ma is another story made with samna baladi (yes it’s heavy & yes you’re completely off your diet on that day), oh and their kebda (livers). Try it for yourself, I promise you that you’ll be completely addicted to it.
Photo by a Tripadvisor reviewer on Kebdet El-prince’s page
Abou Ashraf in Alexandria
This is one of the best fish & seafood places in Alexandria, they serve “catch of the day” seafood, with the best range of salads. Try their renga salad that has a texture similar to tehina, their pasta with butter sauce and of course any seafood dish grilled or fried, specially their samak sayadeya with potatoes.
Photo by enjosmith
Negmet Sinai (Sinai Star) in Sharm El-Sheikh
Located at the old town of Sharm, and is a highly recommended seafood restaurant serving the fresh-est catch of the day seafood. You cannot miss their grilled squid, shrimps & their fried shrimps as well.
Photo by Uwe Schwarzbach
Balbaa in Alexandria
This place has it all, BBQ, Seafood, Ma7shi (stuffed vegetables), you name it! Their Fried ducks served with roz bel khalta, and fries is highly recommended, served in a crazy big portion! Balbaa is in Sidi Bishr & there is another one that is huge next to Carrefour.
Alexandria’s Corniche by Pietro Ferreira
Naguib Mahfouz Café
A little escape close to Khan El-Khalili, this is the place to take a break from the haggling at Khan El-Khalili in the quietness of a restaurant/cafe with an authentic Egyptian style, and music from old times.
Lunch at Naguib Mahfouz by Dan Lundberg
Discovering Hussein area is like a treasure hunt, and having tea with mint or cold karkade (hibiscus) at El-Fishawy cafe is part of the experience, so make sure to have it.
Tea with mint at El-Fishawy Cafe by Charlie Phillips
Now that you have a list of 65, don’t forget to check our Part 2 for more ideas to get the best out of Egypt.