A first timer’s travel guide to Egypt

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2023)

I recently travelled to Egypt on our 13 day King Ramses tour, the perfect trip for a first time visitor to Egypt a country full of exciting things to discover. Now is the ideal time to visit Egypt as you can experience the amazing sights without the crowds. Here are is my travel guide to Egypt, what to see and experience from the point of view of someone who has never visited the country before. My number one recommendation though is to have an excellent local guide show you around. From the legendary Pyramids of Giza to Abu Simbel and the amazing Valley of the Kings, there is no better time to visit incredible Egypt.

Discover Egypt: Egypt tours


1. The Pyramids of Giza

Nothing will prepare you for the incredible Pyramids of Giza. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen them on television or in books, that first glimpse across the skyline will leave you breathless. As you approach the pyramids you will be overwhelmed by their size and how incredible they really are. Take the opportunity to ride a camel into the desert and view 6 pyramids at once.

2. Explore Abu Simbel

Upon arriving at the incredible temples of Abu Simbel you soon forget about your early morning wake up call. The drive a few hours south of Aswan is well worth the experience of seeing these temples up close. Nothing will prepare you for the grandeur of the figures of Ramses and the incredible detail inside the temple. Be sure to visit when you’re in Egypt to appreciate it for yourself.

3. Sail the River Nile

The River Nile is a life source to so many people throughout Egypt so there is no better way to appreciate it than sailing on it. The three days and two nights on board the traditional Felucca is the perfect way to relax and take it all in. You have the opportunity to swim in the river at our dedicated sandy beach swimming spot which is the perfect way to cool down and freshen up.

4. Luxor Temple by night

In the daylight, Luxor temple looks like many of the other temples you visit on this incredible tour. However, when the sun is setting and the lights light up this incredible place you see a whole different side of the temples. The temple lit up against the night sky creates an atmosphere that you won’t forget. The pillars seem more detailed, the faces seem more dramatic and the stories of the temple feel more alive.

5. See sunrise over the Valley of the Kings

What better way to appreciate the incredible city of Luxor and its surroundings than by flying over it at sunrise. Sunrise balloon trips are an optional excursion on this tour and again are well worth the early wake up call. As you soar over the West Bank of Luxor you may see the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut as well as the Valley of the Kings but you are guaranteed incredible views of the Nile, locals going about their daily life and a feeling of serenity like no other.

6. Be humbled by Karnak Temple

The last temple we visit on this tour is Karnak. In my opinion, the best is saved until last. The enormous scale of Karnak Temple can only be truly appreciated as you walk through the area dedicated to Amun-Re. The Great Hypostle Hall is made up of 134 pillars, each 24 metres tall standing in 16 rows. As you walk through this incredible hall be sure to look up and appreciate this temple in all of its magnificence.

7. Explore the Markets of Khan el-Khalili

If souvenir shopping is your thing then be sure to save time, energy and some money for Khan el-Khalili. Wander through the tiny streets and be greeted by the smiling faces of the shop vendors. You can buy nearly anything here from traditional water pipes to scarves, instruments, spices and miniature stone pyramids.

8. Travel with an expert

There is no way my experience of Egypt would have been anything like it was, if I hadn’t had travelled with our amazing guide. Haytham, our guide, is a Cairo local and has been working with On The Go for more than nine years. There is nothing about this incredible country he doesn’t know or won’t tell you. His knowledge of Egypt's history, the quiet shady spots to enjoy whilst listening to the stories of a sight, the best photo spots as well as the most delicious street food will ensure you don’t leave Egypt disappointed.