Egypt is one of the world’s oldest and culturally rich civilizations. And there’s no doubt that, at the top of your list of things to do, is going to be the pyramids.
It’s stating the obvious, but if you go to Egypt without seeing the Pyramids, you’re wasting your journey! I mean, can you even say you’ve visited?!
Yes, the pyramids of Giza and the tombs of the various Pharaohs are a vital part of Egypt’s history and allure. But Egypt has a lot more to offer beyond the Great Sphinx.
So, after you’ve ridden a camel alongside the Great Pyramids of Giza, and spent time wondering how on earth they were built, here are another four things to do!
4 Things to do in Egypt After You’ve Seen the Pyramids
Visit the Khan el-Khalili
Khan el-Khalili is a must-visit bazaar and souk in the heart of Islamic Cairo. And while you may have visited markets before, this one is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
A visit here transports you back in time to an old Arab souk. Dating back to the 14th century, and having stayed true to its traditional roots, loud and boisterous Arabian merchants call you to their stalls, selling statuettes, souvenirs and silver jewelry.
Stroll through the intricate maze of skinny lanes and alleys – yes, nowadays there are also tacky toy camels and pyramid tourist junk, but you’ll find authentic Egyptian wares and incredible collectibles in most shops.
And there’s the distinct smell of exotic spices, everywhere.
If the hustle and bustle of trade gets too much, there are many historic cafes serving tea and soulful music where you can relax and soak up the culture. And, people watch.
Most shops and stalls open from around 9am to well after sundown (except Friday morning and Sunday), and vendors will expect you to put your haggling skills to the test. Haggling in markets is part of Egyptian culture.
It’s well worth noting the street names are you walk along, but better to embrace the experience of getting lost! English is spoken and merchants are friendly and helpful. This market is popular among both tourists and local Egyptians.
Image credit: Warren LeMay
Tour Other Historic Sites
As mentioned, Egypt is home to a wealth of historic sites beyond the pyramids, including Luxor and Aswan which are home to the majority of Egypt’s pharaonic sites.
Luxor in particular is a hot spot for Ancient Egyptian sight-seeing. We mean ‘hot spot’ literally, by the way; on some days, Luxor can be the hottest place on the surface of the planet. Take plenty of water with you if you’re visiting.
There are several noteworthy temples including the Temple of Hatshepsut and Karnak Temple, but what most people come here to see is the Valley of the Kings.
Lesser-known fact for those who go looking for Egypian wonders; Giza doesn’t have the nation’s only pyramids. You can also find some of the awesome structures at Saqqara – and they look very different.
When exploring the rest of the country, it’s worthwhile hiring a local who understands the terrain and history, as both are often extensive! Egypt Tours will come with a tour guide, who can explain the story behind each site in detail.
Take a Cruise on the Nile
The Nile is the longest river in the world, and its also known as the father of all African rivers. Its hauntingly empty deserts, incredibly fertile valley and beautiful monuments are some of the things you should expect to see when you go on a Nile cruise.
Nile River cruises come in all shapes and sizes; you can take day cruises, night cruises, or jump on a multi day tour; the most popular journey is the one between Luxor and Aswan.
The world’s longest river stretches far beyond Egypt, meandering through Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda, before finding itself at the beginning of the great Lake Victoria. So there are also many cruises that start in Egypt, and take you through multiple countries.
One advantage of a Nile cruise is it can be deeply relaxing to just sit back and enjoy the scenery and sun. But if you’re doing a short cruise, consider sailing at night. Temples and monuments are illuminated at this time, and it’s a completely different experience.
Indulge in Kushari
Also known as Koshari, this is the national dish of Egypt. It is made of macaroni, lentils, rice, and tomato sauce. It also has chickpeas and fried onions toppings, all mixed with garlic and vinegar.
Kushari dates back to as far as the 1800s and is a healthy dose of Egyptian flavors and spices. If your digestive system is not a sensitive one, you need to experience the Koshari!
This is a treat that every Egyptian visitor should experience. Especially when accompanied with homemade cheese. If you want to try and recreate it at home, here is a great Egyptian recipe.
Image credit: Basma [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons