Egypt

Holidays in Egypt – Culture, desert and the Red Sea

Holiday in

Egypt

Egypt , the land of the pharaohs, Cleopatra, the pyramids and tombs, the Red Sea and the desert. A country brimming with beautiful archaeological sites with many ancient treasures. We experienced this ourselves during our journey through this great country. Large in surface area, but certainly also rich in culture. Maybe you have been on holiday in Egypt, for us it was the first time. And that left a certain impression!

Holiday in Egypt – Last minute

A last minute to the sun was what we were looking for a week before departure. The drizzly weather in Belgium did not keep us at home. A trip to the sun could charm us now more than ever. Anyone who has gone on holiday to Egypt before knows that a trip can be fairly cheap. In addition, Egypt has captivated us for years with its fascinating history. Reasons enough for a holiday in Egypt!

Desert in Egypt
Sunset africa

sun in

December

After flying for six hours and at about 20 degrees warmer, we arrived in Hurghada . Together with Sharm El Sheikh, this is the most popular place to go on holiday in Egypt. Not surprising since all major hotel chains are located here. So is ours.

A huge complex with a huge number of restaurants and swimming pools became our residence for the next ten days. It should be clear that you are not missing anything here. The staff is also very attentive to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Sun, sea and a luxurious stay. It did us good.

Although it is tempting to stay in your hotel for days, we obviously didn’t. A day at the pool is more than enough for us. It soon becomes itch to explore. We almost always make a plan for the coming days upon arrival and how we will organize them. What was certain was that we wanted to visit the historical sites in Luxor, as well as explore the desert a little better. All other activities then give way. What’s extra is a nice bonus.

Luxor Day Trip

At half past four in the morning we left with a taxi (preferably no organized tour for us) towards Luxor. The drive would take a little over three hours. However, our taxi driver could not speak a word of English, which made the ride last even longer. There was something magical about driving through the mountains with the rising sun. The sky was all the colors of the rainbow. Nothing beats a beautiful sunrise. And in Egypt you will without a doubt find one of the most beautiful in the world.

After ten (I’m not exaggerating) checkpoints later, we arrived in Luxor. You immediately see that this city lives from tourism. The cruise ships are gathered at a common spot on the Nile and the tour buses all drive in the same direction. The same direction we went.

Karnak Egypt
Holiday in Egypt2

karnak

The first stop of our day was Karnak . Here you will find ruins but also remains of an ancient temple and several statues and hieroglyphs that have remained perfectly intact. Here you can really walk around for hours. Maybe days. You always discover something new. Historians and lovers of Ancient Egypt can indulge themselves here. But even if you like photography, this is a place you should not miss. It is advisable to go there as early as possible as it can get very busy here. However, you will not quickly feel that it is crowded because of the enormous surface area and the well-spread crowd.

Karnak is without a doubt our favorite place in Luxor. Because of the amount and excellent condition of the ruins and maybe also because it was the first place we saw and we were very impressed by it. Well worth a visit!

Valley of the Kings

Our next stop was the tombs of the ancient kings in the Valley of the Kings . This is also where Tutankhamun’s tomb is located. However, we did not visit that for a number of reasons including the “curse of the pharaoh” but also the entrance fee to be honest. The entrance fee of the entire archaeological site is already on the high side, but if you want to visit this grave, you pay extra. As a matter of principle, we prefer not to do this. We do not participate in money laundering.

The other tombs we visited were without a doubt at least as impressive. It is fascinating and at the same time incomprehensible that this really exists. That this could be built so many thousands of years ago, without machines, without aids and tools as we have now, is to say the least remarkable. There is no doubt that the Ancient Egyptians were extremely strong.

Temples Egypt
Egyptian Temples

Temple of Hatshepsut

After a flashy visit to the tombs we arrived a little further at the temple of Hatshepsut. This is a popular and well-known spot for photographers. The temple is precisely integrated into the huge rock formations around the palace. It looks very special. Beyond the view of this temple, we were less impressed with the finds here. If you visit Karnak, you have been able to see more than enough details.

If you have to make a choice I would definitely recommend visiting Karnak. If you are in Luxor for a whole day or even several days, then it is worth making a stop here as well. The three different sites we visited, including some smaller sites we encountered along the way, each have their own unique value. In some places you will even see archaeologists at work finding more and more treasures or unraveling certain hieroglyphs.

After a tiring but interesting day, we returned to Hurghada at sunset.

Holidays in Egypt – Red Sea

After an intense day, we decided to stay at the hotel the next day. The coast in Hurghada, and especially on Makadi Bay where we stayed, is beautiful. The water is warm and you can spot many different fish and coral as this is a fairly newly built area. The waves can be fierce, but that makes the image all the more unique. Keep in mind that the beach is more stony than sandy. Even if you want to get into the water, there is a good chance that you will have to walk over stones. Water shoes are certainly a useful tool to make swimming in the Red Sea more enjoyable. For the rest it is pure enjoyment here.

Traditional cuisine

Because we also want to eat traditionally as often as possible when traveling, we booked a table at the Egyptian restaurant in the hotel. Most Egyptian dishes contain a mix of barbecued meats, but there is also a choice for vegetarians. We were served different humus with traditional bread. Boiled vegetables are also a common (side) dish in Egypt. We also ate rice mixed with noodles. All very tasty!

Red Sea
Holiday Egypt - Sea

Holiday in Egypt: The desert

However, Egypt consists for the most part of desert. The drought and warm temperatures create a desert climate where there is hardly any precipitation during the year. Ideal for a sun holiday all year round!

The Egyptian desert, which is part of the Sahara, is unreal beautiful if you ask us. There are gigantic mountains to be found alternating with flat plains. We decided to take a quad bike ride for several hours so that we could really explore the desert. We came to amazing places including a part where the Red Sea meets the desert. A very surreal image but wonderful!

Sunset in the Sahara

Because we found both the desert and the sunsets in Egypt so impressive, we booked an additional activity to watch the sunset in the Sahara desert. The ultimate activity, right?

In any case, the route is not included. This one was bumpy, long-winded and painful! A jeep ride through the desert is definitely not pleasant. Certainly not if you have back problems or become nauseous easily. Keep this in mind! There were also small children on our tour and for them it was anything but a pleasant activity.

Arriving at a magical place in the desert where the mountains surrounded us, the last rays of the sun shone over us like a warm glow. The sun quickly set between two massive mountains and we watched the spectacle on a blanket with a glass of bubbly. One of the absolute highlights of the past year! The exhausting ride and almost broken back was all worth it.

Bedouin

After this unique experience, we were treated to dinner in a Bedouin village. Bedouins usually live withdrawn and separated from the rest of the country. In Egypt, most of them live in the desert in different locations. They do not identify themselves with the nationality or religion of a country. They want to live independently and survive on water and food and sometimes a camel as a means of transport. It can be dangerous to visit a Bedouin village as these people are very suspicious of outsiders. They are also often harassed by the police and army. They also sometimes attack civilians. In any case, it is fascinating to discover this lifestyle.

Jeep Egypt
Desert sunset

Hurghada City

After our planned schedule, we still had a few days left and we went to explore Hurghada City better. We didn’t know what to imagine in a city in Egypt and were prepared for anything.

As quiet as it is on the hotel zone, Hurghada City is so busy. About 160,000 inhabitants live here. You come across a mix of people and cultures. The majority of the population here is Muslim and you can see that in the (religious) buildings and the costumes of the women and men.

Hurghada City is characterized by numerous (souvenir) shops and restaurants. The houses and apartment blocks are in a dilapidated state. It is actually exactly as if you imagine yourself in a war zone. Not counting the violence, of course. You will also find several market vendors and a relaxing harbor where you can book all kinds of tours, but you can also walk around quietly. A tip: Don’t try to answer all questions from sellers or people on the street. Most just want money from tourists and have a chat, give some tips and then ask to pay.

A tip that we have followed is to visit the Al Mina Mosque. This mosque is located in the middle of the city on the water. As a woman you have to rent a robe at the entrance that covers your body and hair. The fabric feels light and it is a nice experience to feel like a ‘Muslima’ in the mosque. The mosque itself is beautiful. A restful place with an immense luster and full of golden details. A must visit in Hurghada City!

Egypt Holidays

Our first impression of Egypt was one to remember. Literally, because with a lot of back pain we went back to Belgium. But also full of beautiful memories of a wonderful holiday in Egypt.

Soon we will travel to Jordan where we will hopefully be able to admire the desert even more. Be sure to follow our adventures on Facebook and Instagram .

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