20 Reasons Why You Definitely Should Visit Egypt In 2020
Updated: Aug 9
Recently Lonely Planet released their list of top 10 cities to visit in 2020... and guess who made it to number three? Our very own Cairo, Egypt!
Yep, our capital city beat out other fan favorites like New York City, Paris and Dubai to snag the number three spot. And while Cairo is definitely worthy of the accolade, Egypt as a whole deserves a little spotlight too -- so we're sharing 20 reasons why Egypt should be at the very top of your 2020 travel bucket list.
1. It’s one of the cheapest destinations you can travel to.
Egypt is cheap. Like, really cheap. As in, cheapest country in the world to take a taxi in. Or if eating is more your jam: Egypt is one of the cheapest countries on the 2019 Big Mac Index. You can extrapolate these two statistics and pretty much apply them to everything else in Egypt.
2. Year-round sunny beaches.
Home to both the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, Egypt has beaches that can easily compete with some of the best in the world. Even in winter months, it’s never too cold to sit on the Red Sea’s white sand beaches and soak up the sun.
3. Our world-famous museums.
The Grand Egyptian Museum unfortunately will be opening its doors in 2021 instead of 2020 as planned due to Covid-19 (ugh). When opened, it'll be the biggest archaeological museum in the world. It’ll also be home to the full Tutankhamun collection, with pieces on public display for the first time ever.
But don't let the delay get you down -- you can check out our other world-famous museums, like Cairo Museum in Midan Tahrir -- the museum’s collections exceed over 120,000 pieces, from the pre-historic era to the Roman-Greco period. There's also Karnak Temple in Luxor, which is considered the biggest open-air museum in the world.
4. Natural treatments and climatic physiotherapy.
The secret is out: Egypt is one of the best destinations in the world when it comes to therapeutic tourism -- those seeking natural treatment for various ailments, or seeking physical and spiritual cleansing.
Egypt is home to more than 1,300 natural springs, and their clay and minerals help treat bone, skin and digestive diseases. The 365 days of sunshine and dry climate in places like Aswan help respiratory and rheumatoid diseases. The sea and treatments like ‘sand baths’ are proven to help with skin diseases like psoriasis.
Best climatic physiotherapy destinations in Egypt: Safaga, Aswan, Siwa, Fayoum and Sinai.
5. The last standing Ancient Wonder of the World.
The Great Pyramid of Giza (known as either Khufu or Cheops) is literally the last existing Ancient Wonder of the World. At around 4500 years old, it’s kind of crazy that you can get so up and close to it, but indeed you can. Its surrounding pyramids and Sphinx are no less impressive, and it’s truly worth being on every single human’s bucket list.
6. A Nile cruise between Luxor and Aswan.
When was the last time you went on a cruise? Or better yet, when was the last time you went on a cruise that had regular stops to dock and see thousands-of-years-old monuments, tombs and artifacts? These five star, luxury cruises range from 3 to 5 nights, and are both affordable and an awesome option for all ages and families with young kids. You’ll sail down the river in Ancient Upper Egypt and see sights like the Luxor Temple (the world’s largest outdoor museum), Karnak Temple and Philae Temple (the last place where the Ancient Egyptian religion was practiced).
7. Camping in the Sahara Desert.
Egypt’s Western desert is a pristine, stark wilderness where you can camp, do Jeep safaris, sandboard, immerse yourself in natural hot springs and see the Milky Way and an infinite amount of stars at night. White chalk formations like in the White Desert area of the Egyptian Sahara are some of the coolest natural wonders (and very “gram-able”).
8. Disconnecting from the world at an Egyptian ecolodge.
If peace of mind is your end goal, then Egypt’s ecolodges are what you should be looking into for 2020. Whether you choose an ecolodge at a desert oasis, or next to the Red Sea, or at the very edge of the Great Sand Sea, you’re guaranteed to disconnect from your super plugged-in world; many of these places don’t even have electricity. Perfect for those who want to disconnect, eat fresh, get back in tune with nature and leave as small a carbon footprint as possible.
9. Scuba diving in some of the world’s very best dive spots.
According to the Reader’s Choice Awards 2019 on ScubaDiving.com, the Red Sea in Egypt was voted among the best in the world for: wreck diving, cavern, cave & grotto diving, shore diving, advanced diving and best value diving.
Notable Egyptian dive sites mentioned: Shark Reef (best dive sites), Daedalus Reef (best wall dives), Little Brother (best wall dives), Thistlegorm (best wreck sites, best night dives and best liveaboard sites), Dunraven (best wreck sites) and Blue Hole (most unusual dive sites).
10. Religious significance for the three Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
While the Ancient Egyptian religion is what usually takes center stage when people think of Egypt, the country is of extreme significance to the Abrahamic religions as well. In Egypt you can climb to the summit of Mount Sinai, where it’s believed that Moses encountered the Burning Bush and received the 10 Commandments. You can also follow the journey of the Holy Family (Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Joseph) from the Sinai peninsula into mainland Egypt and back again.
If you’re interested in more modern historical religious sites, Islamic and Coptic Cairo are home to centuries-old mosques, churches, and the Ben Ezra synagogue.
11. Ancient whale fossils in the desert, anyone?
Wadi el Hitan (Whale Valley) in Fayoum, Egypt, is home to something very strange and very cool -- whale fossils, but not your average whale; these whales had hind legs.
According to UNESCO (Wadi el Hitan is an official UNESCO Heritage Site): “These fossils represent one of the major stories of evolution: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. This is the most important site in the world for the demonstration of this stage of evolution.”
12. Medical and dental tourism.
If you need tests done, dental work or a medical consultation and don’t feel like going through thousands of dollars and weeks of waiting for an appointment in your home country, then Egypt is a great alternative. The medical sector in Egypt has excellent doctors, and the vast majority speak English so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier.
You can get an appointment with a dentist or specialized doctor of your choice in just a matter of days, and the consultation will cost you between 200-600 EGP ($11-$33), and the follow-up is free. Blood tests and other scanning are similarly affordable.
Kitesurfing is the world’s fastest-growing water sport, and not many know that Egypt is a treasure trove for both beginner and advanced kitesurfers alike. According to Kitesurfing Holidays, Egypt has 3 different placings in the 10 best spots in the world to learn to kitesurf (Soma Bay, Hamata and El Gouna). Our local tip is to add to those places Ras Sedr and Dahab, also on the Red Sea.
14. 10,000 year old rock art.
If you thought the pharaohs’ tombs were about as Ancient as Egypt’s history gets, think again. In the caves of the Gilf Kebir plateau in the remote Southwest Egyptian Sahara desert, Neolithic cliff paintings (pictographs) and rock carvings (petroglyphs) were found, depicting the daily life of those who dwelled there around 10,000 years ago. The most famous of those caves are the Cave of the Swimmers and the Cave of the Beasts.
15. That boat life.
We already talked about 5 star Nile cruises, but what about the rest of what Egypt has to offer when it comes to boating? Whether it’s something easy and quick, like an hour’s sail in of the famous Nile feluccas (little sailboats popular in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan), or a fishing boat in the Red Sea, or a glass-bottom boat (awesome family alternative to snorkeling), or even powerboats that you can rent out for reasonable prices in Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, the options of enjoying Egypt from the water are endless.
16. The crazy beauty of the remaining temples, monuments, tombs and artifacts of the Ancient Egyptian civilization.
This, like the Pyramids, is really kind of a no-brainer. The fact that you can literally walk into temples and tombs thousands of years old, and see the original art and hieroglyphics is really kind of mind-boggling. Sites like the Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Dendera, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Abu Simbel, Temple of Hatshepsut, Philae Temple and many others are always *so* much more interesting than anything you might have ever read about them.
17. The ability to have a super diverse vacation, all in relatively easy reach of each other, in the same country.
Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a journey into ancient history, a diving adventure, a mental, physical and emotional retreat, a city jaunt or a commune with nature, Egypt delivers all, in just a few short days. It’s not all sand and pyramids --although that would be pretty cool too-- which is what a lot of visitors fail to realize, and thus cheat themselves out of some of the best beaches in the world or some amazing retreats.
18. The views, oh, the views.
I’m just going to leave this here.
19. Egyptian food <3
Egyptian cuisine might not be super widespread internationally, but for us Egyptians, it's a national treasure. Our famous fuul, taameya (Egyptian falafel) and koshary are all cheap, nutritious and even vegan-friendly. And if you're a meat lover, our grills just can't be beat.
20. Egypt is a great winter destination. And summer for that matter. Basically, it’s an all-year destination.
It’s a million degrees below zero, and you don’t think you’ll ever see a not-gray sky again. This is where Egypt comes in -- even in the dead of winter, the sun is always shining and the skies are always blue.