Egypt, with all its 27 governorates, truly is full of diverse beauty thriving with rich cultural heritage. While we may not be able to travel across the country and explore all its hidden gems just yet, here is a small glimpse of what to expect when the time finally comes to plan these road trips for real.
Generally speaking, road trips are a different kind of travel adventure. Although they may take more time, and gas money needs to be taken into consideration, driving across the country and taking in the surrounding landscape has its own special kind of charm.
Since Egypt’s Northern governorates offer a different kind of experience from Egypt’s Southern governorates, below is an examples of one of two different types of road trips one can enjoy virtually through the selection of images below (and physically once time allows). The second part of this two part series takes you through Egypt’s Southern governorates.
Driving Through Egypt’s Northern Gems
Cairo – Ismailia – Port Said – Damietta – Mansoura – Tanta – Benha – Cairo
Stop #1: Ismailia
If one is planning to take on some of Egypt’s northern governorates by car, this plan is a great way to travel across the country’s northern hemisphere.
Begin by taking around a two hour drive from Cairo to Ismailia. Situated on the west bank of the Suez Canal, Ismailia is famous for its timeless charm and palm-tree lines streets, having been dubbed as “the city of beauty and enchantment.”
Known for its picturesque features in that it still holds remnants of a time passed, evident in its 19th and early 20th century architecture, Ismailia is like walking through postcards of Egypt’s colonial era.
Stop #2: Port Said
Just a short one hour and 15 minute drive from Ismailia, Port Said would be the next destination on this list. Once a bustling cosmopolitan city in its heyday, this particular governorate has a rich history.
Situated along the coast of the Mediterranean and North of the Suez canal, Port Said was one of the most famous and most used ports in the world back in the 19th and early 20th century. Although not what it once was, Port Said still carries an air of intrigue and its history shines through.
Stop #3: Damietta
Another short one hour drive away from Port Said, lies the little known gem that is Damietta, tucked away along the coast of the Mediterranean, and a place where the Nile meets the Mediterranean.
Damietta is known for its rich Coptic history, as well as being the main area of furniture manufacturing. In addition to this, it is also home to a wonderful corniche that many flock to throughout the year for a refreshing stroll.
Stop #4: Mansoura
Two hours away from Damietta lies Mansoura, nestled along the east bank of the Nile. Although not as popular and not as touristic, this small city is worth stopping by – if not for the few landmarks (such as El Shenawy Palace and Al Mowafi Mosque), then for the mere experience of observing how local life there is different to that of Cairo’s.
Stop #5: Tanta
After Mansoura, Tanta is another two hour drive away. This city is known for its own special festivals, as well as its sweets and cotton fields.
The city has various sites well worth a visit, but what is most noteworthy about Tanta is its annual Moulid of Sayid Ahmed el-Badawi (a vibrant eight day religious celebration, centered around the mosque and tomb of Sayid Ahmad al-Badawi, who founded one of Egypt’s largest Sufi orders).
Stop #6: Benha
Just an hour away from Tanta is Benha, a small and simple city surrounded by luscious farmland. Although the city itself may not necessarily be all that touristy, stopping by Benha’s countryside or farms on one’s way back to Cairo can be a refreshing breath of fresh air. From then on, Cairo is just an hour’s drive away.