Hidden Egyptian Gems: 5 Places Most Travelers Miss

There’s much more to see in Egypt than just the pyramids. Discover five hidden treasures that most travelers don’t know exist.

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Egypt is a top travel destination. Flickr/Christopher Michel
Egypt is a top travel destination. Flickr/Christopher Michel

Egypt is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. Its unique and rich history continue to fascinate tourists and attractions. Top attractions in Egypt such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, King Tut and the Winter Palace Hotel, and the Valley of the Kings are never short of visitors.

During peak season, going to the most visited locations can be tiring since the crowds are huge and the weather is hot. However, there are still some lesser-known gems which many travelers to Egypt miss.

The fantastic thing about Egypt is that there is always something else to see, since archaeologists continue to make new discoveries. Thankfully, visiting Egypt has never been simpler, the online Egypt Visa means you can apply for a visa in minutes.

Here are five fascinating, beautiful, intriguing places which are off the beaten track. Don’t miss them when you go.

The Catacombs of Kom Al-Shoqafa, Alexandria

The catacombs of Kom Al-Shoqafa is a three-level underground cemetery complex which is about 100 feet below ground level. It dates back to the second century AD and formed part of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.

It is the largest Roman burial site in Egypt and it was accidentally discovered in 1900 when a donkey disappeared through the ground. It is one of the last major works which was dedicated to ancient Egyptian religion and demonstrates Alexandria’s fusion of Pharaonic and Greek styles.

The catacombs consist of dozens of chambers and a large banquet room with elaborate features such as sculpted pillars, statues, sarcophagi, and religious symbols.

Cleopatra once bathed in a cave within these rocks at Marsa Matrouh
Cleopatra once bathed in a cave within these rocks at Marsa Matrouh. Flickr/DYKT Mohigan

Cleopatra’s Baths, Marsa Matrouh

The cavern where Cleopatra used to come and bathe. It said that the Egyptian queen visited the bay on her honeymoon with Marc Antony. In the cave, there is a skylight and a pool of water.

What makes the place special is the way the water naturally enters and exits: it creates a pool of fresh, warm water, which is why Cleopatra chose this spot. The sight is not protected and is still used today.

The volcanic, natural hillside of the cavern also contains a stunning crater lake and the bay is covered in beautiful pine trees which line the coast. The jaw-dropping landscape is worth the visit alone.

The City of the Dead

Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen (City of the Dead) is one of the world’s largest cemeteries. It is a Muslim and Christian burial ground which stretched for several kilometres and is renowned for its thought-provoking beauty.

Some of the tombs date back to the seventh century and they are not your typical gravestones. They are ornate and extravagant and some look like small houses with an adjoining garden.

The City of the Dead has become the residential neighborhood for around half a million people. The streets are quiet, narrow, atmospheric and often unpaved. It is a truly unique place which is particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset.

At the entrance of Wadi Sannur Cave. Flickr/_ Mohamed El-Gayar
At the entrance of Wadi Sannur Cave. Flickr/Mohamed El-Gayar

The Sannur Cave, Bani Sueif

The quality and the rareness of the natural rock formations make the cave a unique and special place. The limestone chamber was unearthed by a blasting in a nearby quarry in the 1980s.

The rock formations are around 60 million years old and look otherworldly. When light is shone on them, the caves seem like something from a fairytale. It is a karst cave characterized by mesmerizing stalactites and stalagmites.

The rare caves are the best example of their type in the region, and they are some 700 meters long. The Sannur Cave is protected by the government after a decree was made in 1992.

Elephantine Island

The small, quiet island is a gem and can provide visitors with a welcome break from the crowds of tourists in Cairo and Giza. Because of its past importance in the ivory trade, its name means both ‘elephant’ and ‘ivory’ in ancient Egyptian.

The island has a rich history as it was important strategically as a trade and military port throughout the ancient era and during the Greek and Roman periods. As well as a thriving port settlement, the island was also the main cult center of the ram-headed god, Khnum.

Situated in Aswan, the island is now a paradise for visitors. It is a beautiful place to relax and there is a variety of attractions including temples, stunning gardens, museums, and an ancient fort.

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