My Travel Bucket List: The history of Egypt is honestly overwhelming

Saying that I have a dream of going to Egypt isn’t particularly unique. It is a massive tourist destination that has long drawn in visitors from around the world. And it’s easy to understand why given the depth of ancient history contained in this country.

Egypt is almost unbelievably rich in historical sights to be taken in. And that goes well beyond the Pyramids of Giza, which look spectacular. Going there is an education in the history of the world, all inside one country in North Africa.

The sights/sites to see

Trying to decide which archaeological sites you’re going to go see in Egypt is like asking which one of your children you want to save. To be fair, those two choices are absolutely nothing alike but you get the point I’m trying to make.

Alexandria, Egypt

Early morning view, across the Eastern Harbor (Al Mina’ ash Sharqiyah), of the city skyline, Alexandria, Egypt, December 5, 2009. An unidentified man leans on a fence in the foreground and a, in the center background, is the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi mosque. (Photo by Derek Hudson/Getty Images)

Naturally, the Pyramids of Giza have to be on the list. Yes, it’s an obvious and touristy thing to do. At the same time, it’s an obvious and touristy thing that everyone does for good reason. Even if you only see them from a distance they are still amazing.

The city of Luxor is virtually surrounded by incredible archaeological sites that basically demand to be experienced. Karnak Temple. The Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut. The Valley of the Kings. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Luxor.

There is so much more than all of that. Saqqara is a necropolis complex of tombs and pyramids that includes an infamous Old Kingdom Step Pyramid. This is a spot that not enough people talk about, or include in their trips. You can bet I want to, though.

Spending time in the cities of Egypt

Going to Egypt’s various cities looks like an interesting experience on its own. Each one has its own history, sometimes going back several millennia. But just like the archaeological sites, it’s hard for me to decide which cities I want to go to.

Both Cairo and Luxor are obviously contenders. They are both close to some of the biggest sights I want to check out. Plus, there are a lot of interesting museums and more to take a nice wander through. Hopefully, they are air-conditioned because I am going to need a break from the heat.

I have to admit that Alexandria is particularly appealing to me. This city was the center of the Mediterranean world in the Hellenistic Age, from an intellectual and cultural perspective. Some of the greatest wonders of the ancient world called Alexandria home.

South from Cairo and Alexandria is Faiyum, a major city in Middle Egypt. I don’t know if this is a spot on a lot of tourist itineraries but it’s on mine. There is a lot to do in town but the Faiyum Oasis itself seems like a wonderful place to spend time.

Seeing Egypt from the Nile

Without the Nile, there is no Egypt. This river is quite literally the lifeblood of the country and its ancient civilization. There’s a reason why the vast majority of the country’s population has traditionally been clustered around it.

Nile River, Egypt

A man parasails in the Nile river during a training session in the Egyptian capital Cairo, on January 26, 2020, with the buildings overlooking the central Tahrir Square (R) and the island of Zamalek (L) seen in the background. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

I’m not generally one for cruises of any kind but sailing down the Nile has a lot of appeal to me. Many of the cities I want to go to and archaeological sites I want to see are on, or at least near, the Nile. It just makes sense to travel on it.

At the same time, there’s an undeniable mystique to this frankly mythical river. I genuinely want to spend time on the Nile, experiencing its power first hand. Civilizations have risen and fallen based on it. The Nile needs to be seen in its full glory.

The ancient archaeological sites. The cities. The Nile River. There’s so much to see in Egypt that it almost seems impossible to take it all in. But it’s also worth trying. And if I only see a few of the things on my extensive list, then I’ll still be a happy guy.