With so much to choose from some places can be easily overlooked
With so much to choose from it can be easy to leave some places overlooked: There are dozens of hidden gems across the country capable of going head-to-head with our most popular and sought after destinations. These lesser known locations rarely ever fall short on the beauty or excitement that our most in-demand vacation spots have to offer, and can sometimes be a very welcome escape from the stress of crowds that are part and parcel with the country’s more popular sites. Here’s our rundown of a few places worth giving a shot:
One of the lesser known of the Western Desert’s six oases, Dakhla is where stunning desert views, hot springs and medieval towns collide. The village of Mut is the largest town in Dakhla and where you’ll be able to walk through the remnants of the mud brick town once inhabited by Ancient Egyptian settlers. The highly sulfurous and supposedly therapeutic Bir Talata is one of the most popular of the 500 hot springs surrounding Dakhla and can also be found in Mut. Even more impressive however are the Islamic style buildings of El Qasr village where Ayyubid settlers once lived during the 12th century. Dakhla has a number of accommodation options but if you’re looking for a more comfortable experience check out El Tarfa eco-lodge. At almost 800 km away from Cairo it’s a bit of a trek, but avoiding crowds at some of the more frequented oases is well worth the journey.
Kick back and enjoy green fields and one of the best preserved Ancient Egyptian temples in Qena. If you’re looking to try something a little different maybe consider visiting one of the country’s overlooked agricultural cities. In Qena City you can soak in the beauty of large stretches of agricultural land and a less hectic view of the Nile than you might be used to in Cairo. Maybe go for a walk on a quiet dirt road between sugar cane fields. If you’re itching for some more awe-inspiring historical sites, you can venture beyond the capital and tour the Temple of Hathor at the Dendera Temple complex, which is supposedly one the best preserved sites in the entire country. Missing from the temple however is the Dendera Zodiac, which has been at the Louvre in Paris since 1821. For more modern history check out some of the Coptic monasteries in Naqada too.
Go on a long multi-day trek through the Red Sea mountains: If you’re up for something a little more challenging and outside of your comfort zone try a hike in the Red Sea mountains near Hurghada. The hike, which is organized through a community tourism project run and headed by members of the Maaza bedouin tribe called the Red Sea Mountain Trail, runs 170 km long and takes about 10 days to complete. Along the way you’ll get the chance to experience the rough mountainous terrain tucked away from the luxury resorts that dot the Red Sea coastline. The organization only started running these trips in 2019, so it’s a relatively new endeavor that few people have ever experienced. The full 10-day trip requires some prior hiking experience and a certain level of fitness to complete but there are also shorter trips available for those who want a more basic introduction.