Five underrated sites to visit in Egypt
Egypt is a truly stunning country to visit with a more culturally rich offering compared to many other nations. A country that links northeast Africa with the Middle East, holidaymakers generally go to Egypt for the Pyramids, Luxor’s Karnak Temple, cruising the Nile, and other typically common options. There are some great things to do off the beaten track, though.
Egypt’s ancient treasures and rich history are worth soaking up at some of the aforementioned more popular sites, but its lesser-known options are just as impressive. Of course, the appeal of visiting the Pyramids is understandable given the iconography of Ancient Egypt, with many of those iconic sites helping to form the country’s overall image. These types of settings are all visible through popular entertainment, too, be it in movies like Cleopatra and Death on the Nile or Egyptian-themed slot games such as Ancient Egypt and Pyramid Valley. With that in mind, it’s entirely comprehensible as to why holidaymakers tend to head to the more commercial tourist sites in the country, but they are potentially missing out on a more authentic Egyptian experience in the process. Below is a look at five underrated sites worth considering.
Located in Sinai near Taba and Nuweiba, the Colored Canyon offers visitors an overload of beauty, from stunning greens to purple and pink, all of which stem from the different types of stones which make up the canyon and the constantly changing minerals which alter the overall look of it. Colored Canyon is also one kilometre in length and provides a maze-like experience to its visitors, thanks to its unique paths.
Monastery of St. Simeon
Accessible by ferry or car, the Monastery of St. Simeon - which is also known as the Anba Hatre Monastery - was constructed during the 7th century and was sacked by the first sultan of both Egypt and Syria, Saladin. A much-loved domed oblong church in Egypt, it’s a structure worth exploring should you get the chance.
The Lost City of Heracleion
With it being hidden away for thousands of years deep under the sea, diving down to the depths of the ocean and checking out The Lost City of Heracleion is a truly amazing experience. You’ll certainly require all of the necessary diving qualifications, but once achieved, it could be the experience of a lifetime. Originally discovered by French archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team, the colossal face which is located 6.5 kilometres off Alexandria’s coast - alongside a whole host of other ruins and artefacts - provides divers with a glimpse into what it was like 2300 years ago.
The Shali Fortress
If you’re holidaying in or close to Siwa, then you simply have to allocate a day to check out the incredible Shali Fortress. A 13th-century mud-brick fortress, there is nothing else like it on this glorious planet of ours. With mud easily dissolving with heavy rain, it has left this 1920’s site with a unique look and feel. Although the public regularly flocks to see The Shali Fortress, locals have since gone after opting for more modern living arrangements. Climbing the hill is recommended for some truly stunning views, too.
For some, taking in a desert in Egypt is a must, but what if we told you there is a white desert which is arguably even better to look at? Located in Al Farafrah, the White Desert has been formed following centuries of erosion and sandstorms, a result of which has led to “ice-cream cone” structures and the “chicken and mushroom” formations which contribute towards making this chalk-rock setting so glorious.