Looking for Egypt’s famous cities to visit on your next trip?
Egypt is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is a land of pharaohs, pyramids, ancient wonders, and beautiful beaches.
Egypt has an abundance of alluring and captivating cities to explore, therefore choosing the right ones to visit during your holiday can be a challenge. In this blog post, I will provide you with the most famous cities in Egypt and help you decide.
From the bustling streets of Cairo, the serene banks of the Nile, temples in Aswan and Luxor, the coastal charm of Alexandria, and beach life in Sharm El Sheikh to the tranquil oasis of Siwa each city on this list will fascinate you with its distinctive character.
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Egypt Famous Cities: 12 Famous Cities You Must Visit
Egypt, a North African country known as the cradle of civilization has so many amazing cities and places that are worth the visit. Whether you are interested in history, nature, beaches, or shopping in traditional markets, you can find it all in Egypt.
It was difficult to choose, but here is my list of Egypt’s famous cities.
Cairo is not only one of the biggest cities in the Middle East and one of the most polluted cities, but it is also the capital city of Egypt. With its population of 20 million people, it is a very busy and chaotic city.
However, Cairo has two different parts. One is the old, dirty, busy part with many cars, noise, and total chaos. You will find most of the sightseeing in this part of Cairo.
The other side of Cairo is new and clean with residential buildings, offices, restaurants, and fountains and it reminded me of Dubai.
In any case, Cairo is a city full of history that should not be missed while in Egypt. Here are the best things to do and see in Cairo.
Best things to do in Cairo
Visit the Citadel of Saladin, one of the most popular sights for tourists. It is a medieval fortress where you can find several mosques and museums. For example Mosques of Muhamad Ali, Mosque of Al-Nasir Muhammad, and Sulayman Pasha mosques. Moreover, you will have a beautiful view of Cairo from here.
When you are in Egypt you must visit the Islamic Cairo, walk through El Moez Street, and visit mosques like Al Hussein Mosque, Alhakem Be Amr Allah Mosque, or Al Azhar Mosque.
Except for Islamic Cairo, there is a Coptic Cairo where you can visit the most attractive Hanging Church, Coptic museum, and more churches.
Go to see mummies in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilizations. There used to be the largest Egyptian Museum close to Tahrir Square, but all the artifacts have been moved to the new museum in Giza, which is the biggest museum now.
When you still have some spare time, you can go to Cairo Tower to see the city from the bird’s eye. There is also a restaurant at the top. Or you can take a cruise on the Nile.
Where to stay in Cairo
Hathor House – is a lovely hotel located downtown, so all the important sights are very close, and there are places to eat and shop around. Friendly and helpful staff and breakfast are included.
Only about 20 km away from the Capital City of Cairo is one of the most visited places by tourists, called Giza. Giza is the third largest city in Egypt, after Cairo and Alexandria and its population is above 4 million.
Giza is also known as Giza Plateau and it is located not far away from Memphis, which used to be the capital city of Egypt. Giza Plateau is a haven for archeologists and a very famous place for tourists due to the Giza Pyramid complex.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest pyramid in Egypt and the oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. They were built about 4600 years ago.
Except for the Great Pyramid, there is a Great Sphinx, which is a statue of a creature with a lion’s body and a human head. This statue is built from one piece of limestone.
Best things to do in Giza
When you come to Giza, the number one thing to do is to see the pyramids complex with the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx. I do recommend taking a guided tour here. This is really a special energetic place. You can also go inside one of the pyramids.
The second most important thing is to visit the Grand Egyptian Museum. I already mentioned that in Cairo there was the largest museum in Egypt and the artifacts have been moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum. This is the museum, however, it is still open only partially. Once it is completely open, you must definitely visit it.
If you still have more time, then Pharaonic Village and Giza Solar Boat Museum are worth visiting.
Where to stay in Giza
Great Pyramid Inn – You will not regret staying in this hotel just 5 minute walk to Pyramids and Sphinx. You have a beautiful view of the pyramids from the terrace and some of the rooms. Clean, great customer service, and if you stay more than one night, you receive complimentary airport pick up. Breakfast is included.
Luxor, known as the ancient city of Thebes is one of the most popular historical cities for tourists. It is sitting on the East side of the River Nile where most of the Nile cruises start or end.
Luxor is also known as an open-air museum with many temples and ancient Egyptian monuments. When visiting Luxor, you will move back in time and walk in the footsteps of pharaohs.
Best things to do in Luxor
The best thing to do in Luxor is visit the most important temples, like the Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, and Colossi of Menmon. For more information about temples, see my article here.
Other important archaeological sights to visit are the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens where the royal tombs are located.
To relax, you can take a Nile Cruise on a traditional boat Felucca.
Where to stay in Luxor
Steigenberger Nile Palace – is a beautiful hotel in the center of Luxor overlooking the River Nile. They provide Lebanese and international cuisine. There is an outside pool and the hotel is 1 km from Luxor Temple.
Like Luxor, Aswan is a historical city sitting on the bank of the Nile and visited by thousands of tourists. Aswan is located southernmost of all cities in Egypt.
Visiting Aswan is usually connected with visiting Luxor by Nile River Cruise. Aswan is also home to the vibrant Nubian people, whose rich culture and warm hospitality make a lasting impression on visitors.
The Nubian community, with its distinct language and traditions, has inhabited the region for thousands of years, and its unique heritage is reflected in its colorful handicrafts, vibrant music, and delectable cuisine.
Best things to do in Aswan
Many tourists come to Aswan to visit Abu Simbel Temple which is about 3 hours away from Aswan. You can also visit the Temple of Kom Ombo, Philae Temple, Unfinished Obelisk, and High Dam.
Also take a tour of the Nubian Village where you can experience the Nubian culture, and meet and talk to locals. As well as in Luxor, also in Aswan you can take a relaxing cruise on the traditional boat Felucca.
Where to stay in Aswan
Movenpick Resort Aswan – is located on an island on the River Nile. Boat transfer is provided by the hotel. This hotel has amazing views, customer service, and food.
Hurghada is located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the most popular city for beach holidays. Hurghada’s beautiful beaches are comparable to the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Hurghada used to be a small fishing village before tourism expanded here. Now Hurghada is a sought-after beach destination for people all over the world.
Best things to do in Hurghada
The best things to do in Hurghada are obviously enjoying the beach holiday, swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, diving, and practicing other water sports.
You can also go for a tour in the desert where you can do camel riding, quad biking, or sandboarding.
Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs, either from shops next to your hotel or you can visit Hurghada city center where there is a souk. If you don’t like to bargain the prices, there are shops called Cleopatra, where prices are fixed and you can peacefully look around and choose what you like for a given price.
You can also visit Senzo Mall which is the first mall open in Hurghada and is one of the largest in Egypt.
In the evening you can go for a nice walk around Hurghada Marina, and have dinner or drink in one of the restaurants and cafes.
If you have children, you can take them to the Grand Aquarium in Hurghada.
Where to stay in Hurghada
Titanic Royal Resort – Luxury resort located right on the beach with a lot of amenities for children, a playground, pools with different slides, and attractions. The resort has several restaurants and a spa.
6. Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh, the same as Hurghada, used to be a small fishing village before tourism arose. Also, Sharm El Sheikh is popular for its stunning beaches with turquoise water. However, Sharm is known as the best place for snorkeling and diving.
There are the best diving spots and several diving centers. Sharm is a sought-after destination by divers from all over the world.
Best things to do in Sharm El Sheikh
Enjoy a beach holiday in an all-inclusive resort, practice water sports, go snorkeling and diving. The best place for snorkeling and diving is Ras Muhammad National Park where you can see a lot of endemic species.
Sharm is also suitable for those who like nightlife and parties. Many restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs can be found here. The best part of Sharm for beaches and busy nightlife is Naama Bay.
For buying souvenirs you should visit Old Market where you can find all kinds of Egyptian souvenirs.
Where to stay in Sharm El Sheikh
Sunrise Arabian Beach Resort – Located right on the beach in the famous area of Sharks Bay. This amazing hotel has 6 restaurants, a lounge bar, a coffee shop, a spa, and three pools.
7. Marsa Alam
Marsa Alam is another city that rose from a small fishing village to a popular tourist destination. It has beautiful beaches with crystal-clear water and perfect spots for snorkeling and diving.
However, Marsa Alam is not like Sharm El Sheikh. It is a small town where you can enjoy a relaxing beach holiday, but there isn’t any nightlife and a busy life with bars and restaurants.
Best things to do in Marsa Alam
Relax and enjoy the sun, the beach, and swimming in the sea. Go snorkeling or diving. In Mars Alam, you can go swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat.
You can visit a natural pool called Nayzak. It is a natural small pool surrounded by a rock.
If you would like to be more active, go for a desert safari where you can do camel riding and quad biking.
Where to stay in Marsa Alam
Iberotel Costa Mares – This is a new hotel located on a stunning beach with a great snorkeling spot to see turtles and dugongs. The hotel is suitable for people looking to relax. There is an outside pool and fitness. The restaurant provides international cuisine and the staff is very helpful.
Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt, located on the North Coast. It was founded by Alexander the Great and now it is important Egypt’s port city.
Alexandria was home to the Great Library and Iconic Lighthouse. Unfortunately, both of these important monuments were destroyed by fire and earthquake.
Best things to do in Alexandria
Enjoy your beach holiday during the day and have a nice walk through Corniche in the evening.
Visit the new Library of Alexandria, which is the new one after the old one was destroyed. There are also several museums, art galleries, and a planetarium.
Instead of the Lighthouse, there is now the Citadel of Qaitbay that you can visit from inside and also walk up to get a fantastic view of the Mediterranean.
You should also visit Montaza Palace which is a museum inside and a beautiful park outside with a lovely view of the sea.
Where to stay in Alexandria
Sunrise Alex Avenue Hotel – is located on the beachfront in the center of Alexandria. The hotel has several restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as a pool, gym, and spa. Very professional and helpful staff will go out of their way to make your stay memorable.
Dahab is located in the South of the Sinai Peninsula and it used to be a small Bedouin village. Even though tourism expanded the city, it is still a small peaceful city with not busy nightlife and lifestyle. It is more a place for a peaceful holiday or a place from where you can take some more trips over Sinai.
Best things to do in Dahab
Relax on the peaceful beaches or go diving to explore the beauty of the underwater world. You can have dinner in one of the romantic restaurants with a stunning view of the sea.
For those more active, go for a desert safari. If you wish to explore Sinai, Dahab is a great starting point.
Where to stay in Dahab
Jaz Dahabeya – a beautiful hotel in a peaceful location on the beach. This hotel is suitable for relaxation and practicing many water sports, snorkeling, diving, and windsurfing. For children, there is a playground, and adults can use spas and massages.
10. Siwa Oasis
If you want to enjoy tranquility, natural beauty, and experience a traditional way of life, Siwa Oasis is the right place. Siwa Oasis is located on the western border of Egypt, close to Libya, so it is far away from Egyptian cities. However, the distance is worth it.
Siwa is an enchanting oasis with serene landscapes and a unique cultural heritage, surrounded by lush date palm groves, olive trees, freshwater springs, and salt lakes. People come here to disconnect from the noisy city, camp or stay in ecolodges and enjoy the peace.
The oasis is also home to the indigenous Berber people, known as Siwans, who have preserved their traditional way of life for centuries.
Best things to do in Siwa Oasis
The number 1 thing to do in Siwa is to swim in Salt Lakes. Siwa’s springs mixed with salt created many lakes and pools. These lakes are so salty that can be compared to the Dead Sea. Swimming here is not only fun and relaxing due to floating but is also healing.
Go to see Shali Fortress, which was built from mudbricks and salt around the village to protect the people. Today you can walk and experience the ruins of this Fortress.
Walk to the top of the Mountain of the Dead where are several rock Tombs.
Swim in Cleopatra’s and other natural springs. These hot springs can treat skin and pain problems. After swimming you can buy some souvenirs from the local Beduins. You can also try natural sand therapy for pain relief near Dakrour Mountain.
Visit the Temple of Amun, also called the Temple of Oracle or the ruins that are still standing there. There is a myth that Alexander the Great went to consult the Oracle about whether he was Pharaoh of Egypt.
Last but not least, enjoy the desert. Go for a desert safari and camp under the sky.
Where to stay in Siwa Oasis
Alexander Lodge – is a guesthouse with a restaurant, shared kitchen and lounge, garden, pool, and view of the mountains. Also, a sauna is available. Rooms have a shared bathroom.
Taba is located in the North of Egypt, close to Israel and Jordan. It is a small seaside town great for your beach holiday. It is not as busy as Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh so you can enjoy a lovely relaxing holiday here.
The closest cities to Taba are Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab. So if you are staying in one of those two cities, you can add Taba to your holiday plans.
Best things to do in Taba
As Taba is a seaside city, people usually come to spend some relaxing time swimming, diving, and practicing all kinds of water sports.
However, if you like to do more than just relax on the beach, you can go for a trip to Pharao’s Island where Salah El-Din Castle is located. It is a beautiful place as the Island is surrounded by gorgeous blue water.
You can go for dinner or a drink at Castle Zeman and enjoy the beauty of the sea.
In case you prefer a more active holiday and you are a fan of hiking, there are two mountains you can walk to. Colored Canyon and Wishwashi Canyon.
As Taba is surrounded by desert, you can go for a desert safari and experience traditional Bedouin life with camel riding and quad biking.
Where to stay in Taba
Movenpick Taba Resort & Spa – This beautiful hotel on the beach with a view of the mountains. This hotel has three pools and a spa.
12. Dakhla Oasis
Dakhla Oasis is actually not that famous. Not many tourists know about it. However, this large oasis has many ancient historical sights and hot springs that are unknown. Dakhla Oasis is one of the seven oases in Egypt located in the Western desert.
Best things to do in Dakhla Oasis
There are many historical villages that you can visit and explore. The most famous temple is the Deir el-Hagar Temple, which is probably the smallest temple in Egypt and was dedicated to deities Amun, Khonsu, and Mut.
When you are visiting this temple, you can also see The Necropolis of Al Muzwaqa where tombs are located.
In El-Qasr Village a fortress is located, which is a fascinating historical sight to visit. Other historical villages worth visiting are the Village of Mut, the Village of Bashindi, and the Village of Balat.
FAQs: Egypt Famous Cities
Do you still have some questions about Egypt’s famous cities? Check out these faqs.
What Are The Top Big Cities In Egypt?
The top big cities are Cairo, the capital city with a population of almost 10 million. The second one is Alexandria with a population of just over 5 million and the third one is Giza with a population of above 4 million.
What Is The Oldest City in Egypt?
The oldest city in Egypt is Fayum and it is also one of the oldest in Africa. There are historical sights to see, Magic Lake which changes colors during the day, and the natural reserve Wadi al-Rayan with beautiful waterfalls.
What Is The Richest City In Egypt?
The richest city in Egypt is the Capital city of Cairo.
Conclusion: Egypt Famous Cities
Each of Egypt’s famous cities boasts a unique charm and captivating history. From the timeless wonders of Cairo to the tranquil beauty of Aswan, and from the cultural riches of Luxor to the coastal allure of Alexandria, this ancient land promises an unforgettable journey through time and culture.
The 12 famous cities in Egypt welcome you with open arms, ready to reveal their secrets and leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.