14 Things to Do in Egypt in 2014

Explore the canyons and caves of Egypt's Red Sea. This one is off Dahab's coast.

This year, fall in love with Egypt all over again. As the Euro and dollar climb and inflation in Egypt skyrockets, get out of your comfort zone and re-discover the wonders of our country, or explore it for the first time. There’s a reason so many tourists come (maybe not so many these days) here and sites are just a flight or car ride away. Here’s a list of things to do in Egypt!

 

1. Go sandboarding: Since skiing isn’t really an option in this country, why not try the Middle Eastern alternative? Dune Raider Sandboarding does almost weekly trips from Cairo, but leave the booze at home – alcohol isn’t welcome.

sandboard

 

2. Visit Fayoum: Don’t miss Wadi Al-Hitan, the valley of whale skeletons and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For where to stay, we recommend Zad ElMosafer Guest House and Sobek Camp. It’s about an hour and a half from Cairo and is perfect for even a day trip with the kids.

fayoum
Fayoum
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Wadi Al-Hitan, Fayoum

 

 

3. Take a road trip to Siwa: A great excuse to stop at Marsah Matrouh, which has been pumped with investment recently, on the way. Don’t miss Cleopatra’s Beach and Rommel’s Beach. If long drives aren’t really your thing, fly into Burj al Arab and continue your journey from there. At the oasis, check out its renowned olive groves and palm gardens, the Temple of the Oracle and the Libyan souq. Consider staying at one of Siwa’s many Eco Lodges.

Cleopatra's Beach, Marsah Matrouh
Cleopatra’s Beach, Marsah Matrouh
Shali, Siwa Oasis
Shali, Siwa Oasis

 

 

4. Visit Abu Simbel: Better yet, experience the sanctuary during the famed Sun Festival, which happens twice a year around Feb. 22 and Oct. 22. On these dates only, the interior chamber of the temple of Ramses II fills with light. Meanwhile, sunrise illuminates the statuettes of Ramses, Ra and Amun in the central chamber.

The statue of Ramses II
The temple of King Ramses II, Abu Simbel
The Abu Simbel Sun Festival
The Abu Simbel Sun Festival

 

 

5. Visit Alexandria: Instead of spending hours in traffic going from Zamalek to Masr Gedida, go north and get out of Cairo for the day – it’ll take you the same amount of time, if not less. Get a taste of old Alexandria and have lunch at the Greek Club.

alex shrimp
Alexandria is known for its fresh seafood.
The view from the Greek Club.
The view from the Greek Club.

 

 

6. Take a religious tour of Cairo: You can hit the main spots in one day or plan a tour over several as most sites are nearby each other. Great for photographers.

mosqueinterior
Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel of Salah El-Din
stmarkschurch
St. Mark’s Church, Heliopolis
Ben Ezra Synagogue, Old Cairo
Ben Ezra Synagogue, Old Cairo

 

 

7. Take a safari in South Sinai: South Sinai is fantastic for hiking, trekking, rock climbing and otherwise just exploring its many hidden wadis and sensational canyons. The colored canyon is not to miss as is sunrise from the famed Mt. Sinai (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) – both of which you can reach from resort hub Sharm El Sheikh or hippy haven Dahab.

Colored Canyon, South Sinai
Colored Canyon, South Sinai
Mt. Sinai
Mt. Sinai

 

8. Visit the blue desert in South Sinai: Forget the black and white deserts, check out these incredible baby blue boulders. Also accessible from any South Sinai city.

bluedesert
Blue Desert, South Sinai

 

 

9. Take a dahabeya on the Nile: Leave the feluccas and Nile cruises for the tourists and explore a different way to see Luxor and Aswan. Dahabeyas range in luxury and price and offer privacy and comfort.

dahabeya
A dahabeya on the Nile
Suite
A suite inside a luxury dahabeya

 

 

10. Go on a health retreat: Get out of the city and get zen. You can join an organized retreat, such as those offered by Mandala Yoga, or create your own wellness-themed getaway to any seaside town. Instead of escaping for a weekend of partying, focus on your well-being: mind, body and soul.

mandala3
Mandala Yoga retreat in Ras Sedr.
Blue Lagoon, between Nuweiba and Dahab, offers unmatched serenity.
The Blue Lagoon just north of Dahab offers unmatched serenity.

 

11. Go fishing on Lake Nasser: Some fishermen travel from the other side of the world just to come fish at Lake Nasser. Lucky for you, it’s just a road trip or short flight away, located on the southern end of Egypt and the northern edge of Sudan.

lakenasser
Lake Nasser is internationally known as a prime fishing spot.

 

12. Visit Taba: Divers will love exploring the fjord, while those looking for a more historical experience should check out Salah El Din Fortress on Pharaoh’s Island.

Fjord Bay, Taba
Fjord Bay, Taba
Pharaoh's Island
Pharaoh’s Island, Taba

 

13. Take a dive safari: Go on a long weekend and put your certification to good use – or finally get one. Diving in Egypt’s Red Sea is world-renowned and unrivaled. Go on a liveaboard from Hurghada to Brothers Island or dive Dahab‘s notorious Blue Hole and Canyon. And if you’re not into scuba, you can always snorkel.

Swim with the sharks in the waters off of Brothers Island, Red Sea.
Swim with the sharks in the waters off of Brothers Island, Red Sea.
Explore the canyons and caves of Egypt's Red Sea.
Explore the canyons and caves of Egypt’s Red Sea. This is one is off Dahab’s coast.

 

14. Go kite surfing: Challenge yourself with a new hobby this year and try kite surfing. Egypt is a magnet for kite surfers for its almost daily epic wind conditions. The towns on the Red Sea coast are all prime kite spots – from Marsa Alam on the west side to Matarma Bay on the east.

Kitesurfing in El Gouna
Kitesurfing in El Gouna

 

WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss “10 Photos to Remind You How Beautiful Egypt Is“.
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