The Nile is the longest river in the world carrying in its waters 5000 years of civilisation. It plays a major role in Egypt as one of the main touristic regions. Back in summer 2009, I have done an all-inclusive cruise starting from Aswan, in southern Egypt and heading up to the northern parts of the country. The river cruise is definitely a good choice to tick out off the bucket list some of the must-see places in Egypt for a cheap price.
It is fairly easy to arrange a Nile Cruise nowadays. Tour operators like First Choice offer a wide choice of all-inclusive holidays in Egypt. The country is fairly cheap and has an amazing culture that seduces all visitors. I started my trip in Cairo, the capital, from where I took a night train to Aswan waking up to an amazing sunrise 12 hours later. I started the Nile River Cruise from there on a boat carrying hundreds of people taking the same all-inclusive holiday so it was a great opportunity to make friends as our excursions crossed over. The food was included too so I had some awesome dishes all day long and moreover some top entertainment for our Arabian nights in the Nile. Here a list of must-see places while sailing in Egypt:
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and one of the biggest cities in Africa and the Arab World! Cairo can be very chaotic as 20 million people live there and so it does not give a good first impression to its visitors but with some planning it is possible to enjoy the city. The Cairo Museum exhibits some exclusive pieces from Ancient Egypt. Khan El Khali Bazar is a must-see in Cairo, very good for shopping but I’d suggest to practice your bargaining skills beforehand. But the most important things are the astonishing Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. I just wanted to explore more of Egypt when I first saw the pyramids. They are really the definition of world wonders. Once there, you can arrange a little tour on a camel for few pounds!
Aswan is much smaller than Cairo so it is a relief to be in a small city and start to experience Egypt outside the melting pot of the capital. When I first arrived to Aswan, I have been taken to Aswan High Dam, an impressive construction! Following this, the program takes all travellers to the Arab-Soviet Friendship Monument which is in shape of a Lotus Flower. From Aswan, with all excitement, I boarded a ship for few days of sailing in the Nile River.
About 28 miles away from Aswan was the first stop of the cruise, Kom Ombo, a little town that offers big. Kom Ombo Temple is definitely a must-see! It is described as “unique” as it is a combination of two temples. A first one dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek and a second one to the falcon headed god, Horus.
The Temple of Horus in Edfu is by far the most complete and the best preserved temple in Egypt. It is believed that construction of the site took around 200 years. It is also said that this temple lays on the site of the Horus-Seth Battle. When I was there, I couldn’t believe that this was built between 237 BC to 57 BC and be so well preserved. Amazing! I have also done some shopping there as Edfu was the smallest town I visited in Egypt, therefore, prices are much lower than the hot touristy spots.
The name of Luxor means “Palaces” and this city is one of the main touristic destinations in Egypt. It has lot of attractions for visitors: from temples to ancient royal tombs and from a desert scenery to a refreshing river. The main highlight in Luxor is certainly the Valley of The Kings, it is an incredible archeological site, unique of its kind all over the world! It is believed that it is the burial place of most of the pharaons of Egypt of the New Kingdom. There are also many other things to see in Luxor such as Temple Karnak, the largest religious building ever constructed. Named as “most select of places” by Ancient Egyptians, this temple was a pilgrimage site for nearly 2000 years. In Luxor ended my Nile River Cruise but I chose to extend my stay in Egypt…
Hurghada is a fairly nearby city to Luxor so various tour operators suggest to combine a Nile River Cruise with a stay there. Definitely a good choice! Located on the Red Sea, Hurghada is Egypt’s main resort town destination with over 100 different hotels. By simply swimming all day in turquoise beaches, I realised that it was definitely the best thing I have done there. Hurghada is famous for its excellent sea activities like scuba-diving, snorkelling, jet skis, parasailing, windsurfing and sailing. But also famous for a vibrant nightlife.