Landmarks of the atmospheric corners of Medieval Cairo include Midan Hussein Square with its tea houses and imposing Mosque of Sayyidna Al-Hussein, the Al-Azhar Mosque with the world's oldest university, the Museum of Islamic Art and the Citadel with its panoramic views of the sprawling city.
Understandably one of the country's greatest attractions, the Egyptian Museum houses over 130,000 exhibits, including Pharaonic and Byzantine art and sculpture, the Mummy Room and the celebrated Tutankhamun exhibition.
Great Pyramids of Giza
The pyramids are not among the world's most visited monuments for nothing. Few can fail to be awed by these great valedictions to the mortal world. For a magical introduction, attend the nightly sound and light show at Giza.
With the head of a woman and body of a lion, the Sphinx has bewitched visitors for centuries. Despite being used as target practice by Napoleon Bonaparte's troops, the presence of this enigmatic sculpture still haunts the site at Giza.
Straddling the Nile, Luxor is the site of the ancient city of Thebes. On the east bank lies the spectacular Temple of Karnak featuring epic statues, reliefs, obelisks and lotus-columned halls. With many other treasures, the town is a destination in its own right.
The relaxed, former frontier town of Aswan offers many attractions, including Elephantine Island in the middle of the Nile. Nearby is the Island of Plants upon which Lord Horatio Kitchener built a beautiful botanical garden in the 1890s. Aswan's Nubia Museum is another highlight.
Egypt's second city has a French colonial atmosphere, felt as much in the delicious patisseries as in the 19th-century architecture. Other attractions include the Greco-Roman Museum, Roman Amphitheatre and 15th-century Fort Quait Bey built on the foundations of the fabled Pharos Lighthouse.