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Egypt Travel Planning – Sights and Routes

13 Oct

Egypt Travel Planning is the summary of the two-month trip through Egypt during the autumn of 2021 (October, November, and a bit of December). The pace of traveling was slow and flexible. I could go and stay wherever I wanted with a rented car (I rented the car only for one month) or with a bus (the first month I traveled only by bus).

Egypt Travel Planning

Egypt Travel Planning – General Planning

The travel planning for Egypt started two months before the trip. I used only the Lonely Planet Guide and ignored any other articles about Egypt from the internet. I considered that the guide book offered me enough, well-synthesized information to plan the trip. I could choose the places in the guide book where I wanted to go for two months – tourist places, UNESCO heritage sites, as well as off-the-beaten-track places.

Egypt Travel Planning – Fixed Plans

Before leaving to Egypt, I had booked/ contacted/ written / messaged:

– a car, which I booked a few days before buying my flight tickets (I haven’t paid for it though, it was a ‘pay at location’ booking, so I was a bit nervous they wouldn’t have a car for me)

– a flight ticket, which I bought almost two months in advance

– several Couchsurfing contacts who could have helped me with information, accommodation, and phone calls if anything happened to me in Egypt during my stay

– several Couchsurfing requests accepted in Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, and Hurghada (I messaged the hosts before the departure to Egypt as I knew I wouldn’t have time for messages during my stay in Egypt)

– a collaboration with a traditional desert camp in Siwa Oasis (at the border with Libya): here I wrote about Shamofs Camp in exchange for free accommodation

– a collaboration with a traditional desert camp in Dakhla Oasis (right in the middle of the desert oasis): here I wrote about the Bedouin Camp in Dakhla Oasis in exchange for free accommodation

Egypt Travel Planning – Intentions, but nothing fixed

When I traveled to Egypt, I wanted to do/ go to the following places (but I hadn’t fixed dates for them):

– stay in local, traditional camps as much as possible and enjoy their elaborately Oriental style)

– explore local fortified mud-brick villages (ksar, or qsar) and the oases in the New Valley (somewhat parallel to the Nile Valley)

– enjoy a felucca ride along the Nile (in Cairo or in Aswan/ Luxor)

– witness a camel market at Birqash (near Cairo) or at Daraw (near Kom Ombo)

– smoke shisa – ok, maybe just for the sake of a photo

– find awha / local coffee shops in Cairo or Alexandria and sip on a coffee there

– camel ride to the top of Mount Sinai and then come back on foot to St. Catherine’s Monastery

– snorkeling, maybe even try diving, in the Red Sea while in Dahab or Hurghada (maybe with one of my Couchsurfing hosts who were diving instructors)

Egypt Travel Planning – Final Result

The final result of the trip to Egypt, where I stayed for two months, is a series of ….. travelogues. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about Egypt. Which is your favorite place in Egypt? Why?

Egypt Travel Planning 2021
Egypt Travel Planning 2021

Cairo & Giza Plateau (3 days)

  • direct flight (2-3h) from Bucharest (Romania) to Cairo (Egypt) after one year of pandemic
  • explored the Giza plateau for a whole day (the pyramids and the Sphinx)
  • explored Coptic Cairo and the exotic Manial Palace 
  • explored Zamalek Island – climbed up Cairo Tower

Alexandria (5 days)

  • car ride from Giza to Alexandria, via the Coptic monasteries in Wadi Natrun 
  • explored Alexandria and its surroundings for three days
  • day trip to Rosetta (Rachid) 

Siwa Oasis (5 days)

  • bus trip from Alexandria to Siwa Oasis (far in the Sahara Desert, at the border with Libia)
  • explored Siwa Oasis and its surroundings for four days

Sinai Peninsula (10 days)

Sinai Peninsula, Egypt - Climbing Mount Sinai
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt – Climbing Mount Sinai (yellow – minibus, green – camel ride/ hiking)
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt - Jeep Safari & Hiking
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt – Jeep Safari & Hiking (yellow – car/ bus, orange – jeep/ hiking)

  • full night bus ride from Siwa Oasis to Port Said via Alexandria
  • explored Port Said along the Suez Canal for two days
  • night bus from Port Said to Dahab
  • explored Dahab and its surroundings for 7 days
  • camel ride to the top of Mount Sinai and hiking back down
  • jeep ride to the White and Colored Canyon
  • explored Sharm el Sheikh for an afternoon
  • night bus from Sharm el Sheikh to Cairo

One full week in Cairo (7 days)

  • explored Cairo Downtown for one day
  • explored Islamic Cairo for three days
  • explored the City of the Dead in an afternoon
  • explored the Giza Pyramids again
  • explored Al Azhar Park and Cairo’s Fortress (2x)

The Desert Oasis (10 days) – Bahariyya Oasis, Farafra Oasis, Dakhla Oasis, Kharga Oasis

Desert Oases, Egypt - Jeep Safari in the White Desert
Desert Oases, Egypt – Jeep Safari in the White Desert (yellow – car/bus, green – jeep)

  • long road trip through the desert from Cairo to Bahariyya Oasis
  • explored Bahariyya Oasis for one day
  • road trip from Bahariyya Oasis (by car), then to the White Desert (by jeep)
  • jeep ride through the White Desert to Farafra Oasis
  • explored Farafra Oasis for one day
  • road trip from Farafra Oasis to Dakhla Oasis via Al Qasr old town
  • explored Dakhla Oasis and its surroundings for two days 
  • jeep ride into the Great Sand Sea
  • road trip from Dakhla Oasis to Kharga Oasis via Balat old town
  • explored Kharga Oasis and its surroundings for one day

Luxor and surroundings – West Bank and East Bank (5 days)

  • road trip from Kharga Oasis to Luxor through the desert
  • explored Luxor’s West Bank sites – Memnon’s Obelisks, Deir al Medina, Madinat Habu, Valley of the Kings
  • explored Luxor’s West Bank (Hatshepsut Temple) and East Bank (Luxor and Karnak Temples)
  • explored Luxor’s East Bank downtown by horse carriage
  • explored Luxor’s West bank again – Tomb of the Nobles, Valley of the Queens, Ramesseum, Carter’s House

Aswan and surroundings (6 days)

  • terrible slow road trip along the agricultural road from Luxor to Aswan, via Esna, Edfu and Kom Ombo temples
  • explored Gharb Aswan for one day
  • ferry and boat ride to the Elephantine and Kitchen Islands (Botanic Garden) for one day
  • bus round-trip to Abu Simbel for one day
  • explored Aswan’s surroundings – Philae Temple, Gharb Seheil village
  • free relaxing (and car service day) in Aswan

Hurghada & Red Sea Coast (7 days)

  • road trip along the Desert Road from Aswan to Luxor West Bank and Qena – Dendera Temple
  • road trip over the mountains from Qena to Hurghada by the Red Sea
  • explored Hurghada for one day
  • day boat trip to Giftun Island – Orange Bay
  • relaxing day in Al Fayrouz near Hurghada
  • road trip from Hurghada along the Red Sea Coast
  • explored the Coptic Monasteries by the Red Sea for two days

Cairo’s Suburbs and surroundings (5 days)

  • road trip from the Red Sea Coast to Cairo’s suburbs in Abu Sir
  • relaxing day in Abu Sir
  • explored Memphis old capital and Dashur’s pyramids for one day
  • explored Saqqara site for one day
  • challenging road trip along Cairo’s ring road from Abu Sir to Cairo’s airport
  • late night flight from Cairo (Egypt) to Bucharest (Romania) – 10 days of quarantine din Busteni

This is the summary of the two-month trip to Egypt. Enjoy your reading and let me know your opinion about traveling to Egypt. Which is your favorite place in Egypt? Why? Where would you go?

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18 Responses to “Egypt Travel Planning – Sights and Routes”

  1. noel January 23, 2022 at 12:33 am #

    Wow two months to explore this magnificent country, I would love to do just a portion with highlights to the major attractions. Egypt has always been on my bucket list and one of these days I would love to do an easy tour to see highlights of the country.

    • Iuliana January 25, 2022 at 12:37 pm #

      I would suggest to not focus on the highlights, but to include also a bit of the desert oases – this is a true authentic experience.

  2. Grasya February 27, 2022 at 10:51 am #

    Wow couchsurfing is still a thing nowadays huh? I stopped being an active couchsurfer specially as a host now coz I feel like it wont be reciprocated once I go travel in their country. But maybe its just me. They say Egypt is not a safe place for solo female travelers but I might be wrong since you have spent a considerable amount traveling around the country. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Iuliana March 4, 2022 at 12:36 pm #

      Well, it is true I had to be a bit aggressive to avoid too much hassle from locals selling me everything possible on this planet – from napkins to real estate. But couchsurfing I always use it as I have the chance to meet new people and know more about the local culture.

  3. Jackie March 3, 2022 at 4:11 pm #

    I love that you had a clear vision on what you wanted to experience on your trip, and arranged couch surfing contacts. That is really smart, so you had a backup plan as well as someone you could contact in an emergency! It looks like your itinerary more than met your initial goals. What an experience to be able to spend such an extended time in Egypt!

    • Iuliana March 4, 2022 at 12:34 pm #

      I always do different things once I get to a destination than what I planned. Sometimes I drop plans, sometimes I say yes to experiences I would have never thought off.

  4. Joanna April 10, 2022 at 5:17 pm #

    I have been to Egypt in February and I envy you for going to so many places and experiencing so many amazing things. I wouldn’t have rented a car there, I found the traffic to be insane, especially in Cairo. I feared every time I got in an Uber. My favourite part of the country was in and around Aswan. I met some lovely people there and had an amazing time exploring on my own as well. I will definitely be back and, and when I do return, I will use some of your suggestions to plan my trip back.

    • Iuliana April 12, 2022 at 12:33 pm #

      I also feared driving in Cairo which is crazy. But in that craziness I found that they pay more attention than in my home country. I felt very safe driving in Aswan, they are very attentive and kind, especially with foreigners.

  5. Pilar May 13, 2022 at 12:15 pm #

    These tips are really useful for planning a trip to Egypt. I am planning to go myself in the very near future, so I will bookmark this post. Scuba diving in the Red Sea is amazing? Do you have some tips of how to get the best price quality for snorkeling and diving in the Red Sea?

    • Iuliana May 15, 2022 at 12:31 pm #

      The best tip to get a good price is to stroll the main pedestrian street in Dahab, ask for prices at all agencies and diving clubs, and then decide which one to go. Don’t book on the internet, because you pay additionally the commission of the booking platform.

  6. Linda (LD Holland) June 26, 2022 at 12:12 am #

    We spent a few times in Egypt on our first visit and vowed we would return. Your post gave me some good ideas for a return visit. It was great that you had your list of things you would do and others you might before you arrived. I see that I am going to have to plan a long trip to see all the major spots – even if we won’t likely ever have 2 full months for our visit. And leave a visit to the Red Sea Coast for scuba diving as a separate visit.

    • Iuliana June 28, 2022 at 12:19 pm #

      It’s actually cheaper to plan a whole trip in a country, than returning to see more an more. I personally can say I have seen everything I wanted in Egypt. Of course, there are many other places to see, but I can say I covered more than 75% of the country in depth.

  7. Umiko July 15, 2022 at 4:52 pm #

    After reading your itinerary, now I know a week in Egypt is not enough. I know you did slow pace traveling, but I still think at least two weeks is needed to do Cairo & Giza Plateau, Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and the Red Sea. These are the top places that I want to visit in Egypt. Who doesn’t want to explore the pyramids, the Red Sea, and Cairo on their first time in Egypt, right?

    • Iuliana July 16, 2022 at 8:45 am #

      All the places that you have mentioned are worth exploring for longer. You will find so many astonishing new things and facts about them. The Egyptian culture is a true gem.

  8. Ossama Alnuwaiser July 24, 2022 at 4:10 pm #

    Exploring Egypt for two months sounds like a great idea. I mean you have enough time to uncover its hidden gems and try their food and culture. You mentioned some great destinations that someone should visit when going to Egypt. Luxor and Alexandria are in my bucket list for while now.

    • Iuliana July 25, 2022 at 8:46 am #

      I liked both Luxor and Alexandria, but I must admit that I liked many other places people don’t speak so much about.

  9. Manjulika Pramod August 28, 2022 at 8:39 am #

    I have not been to Egypt and your two months look dreamy. What a trip you must have, the wonderful experiences you must have brought with you, I can only wonder. I really liked the preparation and how your worked out your travels and accommodations. I am sure you had a great culinary experience too. I would love to explore the major cities and of course the deserts. The pyramids, Nile have always been on my card. And then there is Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and the Red Sea. Egypt calls for a big time. Thanks for inspiring.

    • Iuliana August 28, 2022 at 10:16 am #

      I am happy that you found inspiration in this Egypt travel planning post. Planning is an important part of traveling, however being flexible and planning time to discover unexpected and surprising places is important as well.

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