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July 20, 2024

Schenelle Dsouza 
Cairo
When visiting Egypt, it’s always best to start with Cairo mainly because it’s probably the city you land in. Secondly, the capital city is among the most popular tourist cities and a main priority for most travellers making it a good place to start and often end your journey.
One of the largest cities in Egypt, Cairo’s popularity has also made it one of the most crowded cities with a population of 22 million people! And so tourists can expect downs like congested traffic, chaotic streets, and half a million tourists trying to find their way. But it’s a small price to pay to visit the city of wonders and ancient history.
While Cairo is not exactly by the River Nile, the river does pass through the city. Regarded as a city of contrasts, Cairo has the best of both worlds. On one hand, you have historical sites like the pyramids, and on the other side is a cluster of skyscrapers. While one side poses tranquil desert dunes, the other is crowd, chaos and confusion. At the end of the day, Cairo is the best city to experience authentic Egyptian culture while also getting an insight into modern-day Egyptian culture.
Where to stay 
Marriott Mena House is one of the highest-rated hotels in Cairo and with good reason. Named after King Menes, Mena House was a hunting lodge turned luxury hotel that opened in 1886. One of the hotel’s selling points is the undisputed views of the pyramids. And while there may be many hotels with a view of the pyramids, Mena House’s 40-acre garden adds to the appeal! The hotel is just as massive on the inside with 331 lavishly appointed rooms, some of which housed greats like Frank Sinatra and Charlie Chaplin.
For those who’d prefer waking up to the beauty of the Nile instead, Four Seasons Nile Plaza is your best bet. Located right in the heart of Cairo, the hotel offers a perfect blend of comfort, style and indulgence. When at the hotel, be sure to try out the Cleopatra Bath Ritual for a royal Egyptian experience.
Attractions 
The first and most obvious stop in Cairo has to be the Great Pyramids. Dating back thousands of years, the construction of the pyramids has both fascinated and confused people at the same time, mostly because it’s difficult to comprehend how ancient Egyptians with no power tools could have engineered something so enormous.
The Great Pyramids are divided into the Great Pyramid also called Khufu Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khaphre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure along with the three adjacent Queen Pyramids. Interestingly, the tips of the pyramids of Giza were built aligned with the stars on Orion’s Belt. Apart from the pyramids, the Great Sphinx is another attraction which along with the pyramids all sit on the Giza Plateau. Standing 20m high and 64 metres long, the Great Sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the face of a human. The statue is a meeting of power and wisdom that represents Pharaoh Khafre who commissioned it as part of his funerary complex. Travellers and tour guides have often suggested spending at least three to four hours on the Giza Plateau for a more wholesome experience.
A 40-minute drive away

A visit to

ancient artefacts dating from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era.

the golden sarcophagi of Tutankhamun, the Royal Mummies room, and an astonishing number of statues, jewelry,

the Grand Egyptian Museum home to more than 150,000 artifacts including the legendary complete collection of the boy king Tutankamun.

the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East, it has more than 17,000 artifacts. It also has the largest collection of pharaonic antiquities in the world.

Alexandria
One of the forgotten cities of Egypt, Alexandria or “Bride of the Mediterranean” as the locals call it, is a stunning Mediterranean port city near the northern coast. The city is recognised for its string of tranquil beaches and historically significant sites. Named after founder Alexander the Great, the city was once regarded as among the greatest cities in the world. While it may not hold that title anymore, Alexandria continues to be a culturally and historically significant city that still carries much of its ancient glory.
Where to stay: 
There’s no shortage of hotels in Alexandria, but staying at the renowned Cecil Hotel is encouraged. Located in the heart of the city, the Steigenberger Cecil Hotel was opened in 1929 by the Metzger family who later sold it to the Steigenberger chain. The hotel is best known for having hosted celebrated personalities like author Agatha Christie, singer Josephine Baker and Former UK Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill among others.
A classic renovated palace, the hotel boasts an old-world charm blended with a contemporary setting. The stunning view of the bay and a short 20-minute drive from the Alexandria airport makes this hotel the most convenient accommodation. Those wanting a more comfortable experience can check out hotels like The Four Seasons at San Stefano, Hilton Alexandria Corniche or the Helnan Palace Hotel at Montaza Palace.
Attractions: 
The city is a must-visit for history buffs with an abundance of Greco-Roman landmarks, museums and old-world cafes. The 15th-century Citadel of Qaitbay is quite the attraction given that it was built in the same location as the infamous Pharos Lighthouse. While some might argue that the lighthouse was a myth, you can find images of it imprinted on old Egyptian coins proving its existence.
Since the city is known for its rich history, a visit to Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a must for art and history lovers housing some of the most interesting museums. For instance, the Antiquities Museum where one can find artefacts found underwater from around Alexandria.
While much of the city is history, museums and ancient structures, there’s no shortage of breathtaking spots in Alexandria. The Stanley Bridge, Montazah Gardens (Palace), Alexandria Corniche, and Ras el-Tin Palace offer some of the most pristine settings in the city.
Aswan

 

Aswan, Egypt’s southernmost city, has the loveliest setting on the Nile and a languorous ambience. From here, you can visit the island Philae temple of Isis and the rock-hewn colossi at Abu Simbel, or embark on a cruise to other temples around Lake Nasser. Other sites not to be missed are Edfu and Kom Ombo, between Luxor and Aswan, and Abydos and Dendara, north of Luxor.

Luxor
Cairo 
Dahab
Giza 
Hurghada
Siwa Oasis

 

Schenelle Dsouza

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