Egypt for the Adventurer: Off the Beaten Path

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Aprille Muscara

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  • Egypt

  • Nature Escapes

  • Adventure Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Sightseeing

  • Guided Tours

  • Multi-City

sunset over a calm desert with a car and a person walking towards the sun
Curator’s statement

This guide is perfect for people who have already done Egypt's pyramids and temples - or for travelers who are more interested in Egypt's enchanting nature than its ancient past. From desert oases to the biodiverse Red Sea, welcome to Egypt.

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Where to stay in Egypt

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Adrére Amellal

One of Egypt's most unique stays, this electricity-free eco-lodge is a desert oasis.

Dive Urge

Beachfront property offering relaxed rooms, as well as diving courses and tours in the Red Sea.

Lazib Inn Resort & Spa

Upmarket property with chic suites offering views of the Faiyum Oasis.

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Things to do in Egypt

ocean horizon and blue sky

South Sinai

Calling scuba divers, free divers, kite surfers, wind surfers, and hippies. If you are any of the above, Dahab is probably already on your radar. Base yourself by the water in Dahab, and fill your days with the magic of Sinai:

  • Take a day trip to Nuweiba for Castle Zaman's legendary slow food lunch.

  • Hop on a boat to the legendary SS Thistlegorm shipwreck dive site.

  • Go on a sunrise trek in legendary Saint Catherine and visit the burning bush (are you sensing a theme here?).

  • End a day exploring the Colored Canyon with a legendary Bedouin dinner and bonfire
    Catch some legendary air in the Blue Lagoon.

The Western Desert

This is where you go to feel like you're on another planet. It's also massive and largely uninhabited. Here are the highlights:

  • Siwa: Its salt lakes alone are worth the journey to this beautiful oasis next to the Libyan border.

  • White Desert: Located south-west of Cairo, the mushroom-like limestone formations found here look like no other place on earth. Nearby is a mountain made of crystals and the Black Desert, with its coal-colored volcano-like mounds.

The Red Sea

While El Gouna isn't exactly "off-the-beaten path" (it's where Egypt's elite park their yachts), it isn't on the typical Cairo-to-Luxor-Nile-Cruise tourist trail. This resort city on the Red Sea Riviera was built by the country's richest man, and this is where his friends come to play. There are plenty of land and water activities, but El Gouna is really all about indulging in good food and vibrant night life against a backdrop of picture perfect turquoise waters.

Places to eat & drink in Egypt

narrow cobblestone street in historic city with trees

Bellies En-Route, Cairo: Learn about Egyptian culture through its delicious street food with charming local foodie guides. Good thing they offer tours in two parts of the city, because you'll want to book a second one after you finish the first.

Castle Zaman, Nuweiba: With stunning views of the Gulf of Aqaba, eating the slow-roasted organic meals by hand is encouraged here, where four times a year a sunbeam enters a hole in the floor and lights a candle in the underground vault.

The Blue Donkey, Fayyoum: Located in romantic, zen, and whimsical Lazib Inn, be sure to ask the staff about the story behind the painted donkey sculpture hanging upside down from the ceiling.

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Africa & The Middle East.