14 Touristic Spots in Egypt that Every Local Must Visit

(Joseph Hill/flickr)

In a country where there is a sight worth seeing on literally every corner, you would think that our local tourism is off the charts. However, Egyptians do not nearly frequent their country’s magnificent sights as often as they should.

If we were to list all the places locals should visit even before tourists, we would fill the entire website with article after article.

We think everyone will enjoy the list below no matter what your age, taste or background. These are sights that will always remind us that there is, and could only be, one Egypt.



1. Salhuddin’s Citadel


Photo Credit: Noua Ebraheem

The sheer size of that thing is enough to stop you in your place and make you gawk in amazement. You really must visit the citadel by day and by night, as each has a completely different charm. It is only open to the public in the evening if there is an event or a concert being held, so make sure you attend regardless of what the event is.



2. The Hanging Church


The entrance of the church alone will make you feel like you stepped in a secluded spiritual oasis. The architecture of this church is quite mind blowing and it should take you at least a good couple of hours to get the hang of the history of its every nook and cranny.

If you are not well informed about the church, make sure you ask for a deacon to show you around because otherwise, you will not appreciate its amazing history. These guys know everything about the church and they do it for free.



3. The Red Sea



From kite surfing in Ras Sudr and windsurfing in Dahab to snorkeling and scuba diving in Hurghada and Sharm… Grouping all the cities that line the coast of the Red Sea in one go is almost sacrilegious. However, it would take us another article to talk about the true beauty and magic of each of them.

No matter where you decide to go, you can always count on these cities for amazing weather, crystal-clear waters and complete unplugging from the real world.



4. Bibliotheca Alexandria


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Aside from the fact that you could completely lose track of time browsing through books or reading one here, it also holds major events and concerts throughout the year. I cannot think of a more intellectually inspiring place to attend an event in than here.



5. Khan El Khalili



A personal favorite. This grand older-than-time alleyway bazaar is worth visiting year round. Like the Citadel, you should go there by day and by night. Don’t miss sitting at Al Fishawy cafe, because although it is a complete cliche, the atmosphere there (especially, at night) is incomparable to anything else.

Shop until you drop, have a refreshing glass of karkadeh and just spend hours and hours getting lost in what was once a center of foreign trade.



6. Mount Sinai and St.Catherine Monastery


Photo Credit: Telboy

Mount Sinai is where Moses is believed to have spoken to God and received the Ten Commandments. Just picture it all happening and how he must have felt when you go up there. Even if you are not a believer, climbing up the mountain and watching sunrise from its summit will surely be a transformative experience.

St. Catherine Monastery, on the other hand, is also a major Christian pilgrimage spot and one of the oldest monasteries in the world. A visit can simply not be missed.



7. Felucca Ride


This is one of the most fun Egyptian things to do with a group of friends. Bring some snacks and dance to sha3by music through the night. Riding a felucca is a surprisingly fun activity for solo days, as well. It lets you escape the frustrating traffic and makes you look at Cairo from a different, much calmer, angle.

And, if you happen to be in Aswan, then a felucca ride is a must. It is the incarnation of peace and serenity.



8. Al Azhar Park


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A favorite escape on days where the weather is just not cooperating. The biggest green space in Cairo will surely provide a relaxing change from the hustle and bustle of the city (just don’t go there on weekends).

Don’t miss a concert at Geneina Theater. The acoustics there are amazing and will surely feed any true music lover’s soul.



9. Cairo Opera House


This is the place to go when you want to pretend you’re the star of a beautiful romantic movie (and listen to great music, of course). From Egypt’s pride, Omar Khairat, to every December’s special, the Nutcracker, The Cairo Opera House hosts such a wide range of talents and genres that it is impossible for a month to go by without finding a performance you would be interested to attend.

Check their monthly schedule on their Facebook page. Then, don your fancy dress and get ready to have one of the most enchanting nights of your life.



10. Montazah Park and Palaces


This is one of the most beautiful spots in Alexandria. The first palace of the complex was built in 1892 by Khedive Abbas II, so you can imagine the history behind the place. You can even book your stay in The Helnan Palestine Hotel there to wake up to the beautiful grounds of the park and walk there every morning.



11. Tannoura Show At Wekalet El Ghouri


(Joseph Hill/flickr)
(Joseph Hill/flickr)

This landmark show is on every must-do list about Cairo for a reason. Set in what was once used as a market, the architectural marvel Wekalet El Ghouri dates back some 500 years.

And the show itself is nothing short of breathtaking, building in sound and visual intensity for a truly cathartic experience that every soul in the audience experiences.

Shows are twice weekly on Wednesdays, which are less busy and also when the younger performers are on stage, and Saturdays, when the more experienced crew performs – just be sure to go early to buy your ticket because they usually sell out. Then, explore the surrounding area of El Hussein or take a shisha while you wait.



12. Abu Simbel’s Sun Festival


Perhaps,this is one of the liveliest traditions of our ancient roots, not to mention the most breathtaking. The genius positioning of the temple’s axis enables the rays of the sun to penetrate and light up the sculptures on the back wall in an absolutely mesmerizing sight. The bi-annual festival takes place on October 22 and February 22, so mark your calendars from now.



13. Mosque of Ibn Tulun


The mosque is the oldest and the largest mosque in Cairo. You can tell how ancient it is the minute you see it. Its walls really do speak of time and of the amazing Islamic history Cairo boasts. It does not matter whether you’re a Muslim or not, getting lost in its huge grounds will be spiritually rewarding to anyone.



14. The Pyramids


I couldn’t not include it. Although some visits to the most famous sight in Egypt can be more tedious than enriching, every Egyptian must check out the ancient world wonders and Egypt’s icon everywhere. Contrary to common logic, the best time for a local to visit the Pyramids is during high tourism season.

That way, the souvenir sellers and camel renters will be busy harassing tourists with deals, and not you. Also, don’t even think about going there in the hotter months. You will hate the pyramids, you will hate Egypt and you will hate yourself for throwing yourself into desert under the scorching sun.

However, if you do visit them at the right time, you will be beaming with pride to belong to such an amazing and world-changing culture.



WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss 14 Things to Do in Egypt in 2014.

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