Best Things to Do in Faiyum – 2023 Guide

Hello there! Let’s travel to a secret treasure in Egypt’s upper region called Faiyum. Ever wondered where you can find a cool mix of old stories and amazing natural views? Your search ends at Faiyum Governorate. It’s also known as Fayoum City or Al Fayoum.

This city has an awesome history that goes back many, many years. Faiyum has lots of fun places to visit and things to do, no matter what kind of explorer you are. Check out the ancient ruins at Wadi Rayan that hold secrets from long ago, or just marvel at the stunning lakes and oasis.

From really old, mind-blowing structures to encounters with wild animals, Faiyum City, which is close to Cairo, has got something special for anyone who drops by.

So, are you ready to explore the best things to do in Faiyum? Prepare yourself for a unique adventure that you’ll never forget!

1. Spend Some Time At Wadi El-Rayan

wadi el rayan

If you want a really cool adventure in Faiyum, don’t miss out on visiting Wadi El-Rayan. It’s a pretty amazing spot right in the middle of the Fayoum Oasis. This Oasis is in the city of Fayoum, and it has an incredible place called Lake Qaroun. Wadi El-Rayan has tons of fun things to do and jaw-dropping sights that will make you go “wow”, like a temple.

This spot is famous for its really cool waterfalls and super clear lakes. As you wander around this magical oasis, you’ll see water falling from cliffs nearby, making a peaceful place that’s just right for chilling out.

At Wadi El-Rayan, though, it’s not only about the breathtaking views. It is a paradise for everyone who likes the outdoors because it is also home to a variety of species. You’ll be pleased to note that there are several bird species in this area. The variety of birds in Al Fayoum, from graceful herons to vividly colorful kingfishers, is quite delightful.

How To Get There

Firstly, head to the main bus station in Faiyum. If you don’t know where it is, the locals or the folks at your hotel can definitely point you in the right direction! At the bus station, you’re looking for a microbus or a colectivo; it’s a kind of shared mini-bus, going towards Wadi El-Rayan.

The fees for the bus are usually not too much, but always have some extra Egyptian pounds just to be safe. Prices can change, but they’re generally quite reasonable.

Oh, and if you’re thinking about taking a taxi instead, it can be a bit more expensive, but it’s definitely more comfortable and faster. A taxi ride might cost you somewhere around 200 to 300 Egyptian pounds, but remember, prices can vary so always agree on the fare before you hop in! And the journey? It should take around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the traffic and the exact spot you’re starting from in Faiyum.

How Much Time Do I Need To Visit It

It’s good to plan to spend at least half a day there. If you leave in the morning, you’ll have loads of time to explore, take pictures, and maybe have a picnic.

If you’re really into nature and want to take it slow, enjoy the views, and maybe do a bit of bird watching, planning a whole day would be perfect! You can catch the sunrise, explore the area, relax by the lake, and catch the sunset, which is said to be pretty spectacular there!

Expert Tip

If you’re planning a trip to Wadi El-Rayan, try to get there early, preferably just after sunrise. Not only will this give you the chance to see the park in a softer light, but it’s also when the wildlife is most active. The birds are especially lively during the morning hours!

2. Visit the Qarun Lake

qarun lake

The largest saltwater lake in Egypt is located in Faiyum, which also has a ton of enjoyable activities and breathtaking scenery that will astound you.

The fact that fishing, boating, and birding are all fantastic activities at Qarun Lake in Fayoum is one of its greatest characteristics. This enchanted lake in Fayoum thus has something to offer everyone, whether you enjoy fishing or just relaxing on the water.

The landscapes around Qarun Lake in Fayoum, like Wadi El Rayan and Wadi El Hitan, are just as amazing as the lake itself. The lake is right in front of a huge desert, and this creates an awesome view that will leave you breathless. Imagine standing by the lake and seeing this amazing picture that nature has painted – golden sand dunes and bright blue waters together in perfect balance. It’s a view that will make you really appreciate the amazing natural beauty that Egypt has to offer.

How To Get There

If you’re using public transport, you can catch a local minibus, and it’s super pocket-friendly; it should only cost you around a few Egyptian pounds. These buses are pretty frequent, so you won’t have to wait long!

But if you want a comfy ride, grabbing a taxi could be your go-to! It may cost around 150 to 200 Egyptian pounds. It won’t take too long either, about 30 minutes to reach, and you’ll be gazing at the beautiful lake in no time!

How Much Time Do I Need To Visit It

To really enjoy the lake and see the birds and maybe explore the nearby Faiyum Oasis, you might want to spend around 3 to 4 hours there. That gives you plenty of time to relax by the water, have a snack, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery!

Expert Tip

There’s this super cool place near the lake called the ‘Faiyum Oasis’; it has ancient artifacts and ruins! So, if you’re into history, you’ll definitely want to check that out too.

Read more: Everything You Need To Know About The Sleeper Train From Cairo To Luxor

3. Discover The Ruins Of Qasr Qarun

qasr qarun

The old Roman ruins are part of the fascinating history of this city, which used to be very bustling.

You’ll feel as though you’ve entered a time machine and traveled back to a period when huge buildings stood proudly against the gorgeous vistas of Fayoum when you stroll through what’s left of Qasr Qarun in that city. Be astounded by the intricate details and sheer amount of labor that went into creating these structures, which demonstrates how wise and talented the previous architects were.

One of the best parts about visiting Qasr Qarun in Fayoum is learning about its cool history. During your visit, you can find out how this city in Fayoum used to be a busy place for buying and selling stuff. And also learn how it helped connect different places and cultures during old times in Fayoum.

How To Get There

Buses are super affordable, likely just a few Egyptian pounds! They come by pretty often so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

Now, you also have the option of taking a taxi! It might cost you about 100 to 150 Egyptian pounds, give or take, depending on how well you can negotiate. Oh, and it’ll probably take around 30 minutes to get there, so it’s not bad at all!

Just a little tip: If you’re hopping on a bus, have some small change handy, and if you’re taking a taxi, it’s a good idea to agree on the price before you get in to avoid any surprise!

How Much Time Do I Need To Visit It

Now, to really soak it all in and not feel rushed, it’s a good idea to set aside about 2 to 3 hours. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to explore, snap some photos, and just chill and enjoy the vibes.

Expert Tip

When you’re exploring, keep an eye out for little inscriptions and carvings on the walls. They’re like hidden messages from the past! And, ask the local guides about the legends and stories related to the place – they have some really fascinating tales to share that aren’t in the guidebooks!

4. Learn About History At Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley)

Wadi Al-Hitan

Right in the middle of Faiyum, you’ll find Wadi Al-Hitan, also known as Whale Valley. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that gives an interesting look into the history of our world. It’s famous for its fossilized whale skeletons, which show proof of how old sea life evolved in Fayoum. As you walk around this one-of-a-kind place, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back to a time when these giant creatures lived in the oceans.

When you visit Wadi Al-Hitan in Fayoum, you’ll be amazed by how big and important these fossilized bones are. These preserved skeletons give us really valuable information about how whales changed and adapted over millions of years. It’s like going into a natural museum where you can see how these amazing creatures changed from living on land to living in water.

One super cool thing at Wadi Al-Hitan in Fayoum is Basilosaurus isis – a really old type of whale that lived in these waters about 40 million years ago. With a long body that looks like a snake, Basilosaurus shows how creative nature is and the amazing things that happen through evolution. Seeing this well-kept skeleton up close in Fayoum will make you really appreciate the wonders of nature.

How To Get There

Wadi al-Hitan is about 150 kilometers (that’s like 93 miles) southwest of Cairo. Getting there involves a bit of an adventure – you’ll be riding in a 4WD vehicle through bumpy desert sands. It’s like a mini desert expedition!

Since it’s a protected area, you can’t just wander in on your own. You’ll need to join one of those guided tours, and they’ll take you on specific routes to make sure everything stays awesome and safe.

Here’s a cool option: Some tour companies in Cairo offer day trips to Wadi al-Hitan. They’ll pick you up from your hotel in the morning, and you’ll spend the whole day exploring the amazing sights. Then, when the sun starts setting, you’ll head back to Cairo. It’s like a big adventure day!

How Much Time Do I Need To Visit It

When you’re planning a trip to Wadi Al Hitan, you’ll want to set aside a good part of your day to really soak in all the wonders it has to offer. It’s like stepping into a prehistoric world with fossilized whales and stunning desert landscapes. To truly appreciate it, plan for about 4 to 6 hours. This way, you’ll have enough time to explore, take awesome photos, and maybe even have a picnic while surrounded by ancient history!

Why Is This Place A Must-Visit

This place is famous for its fossils. These fossils might not win the “oldest fossils in the world” award, but they’re super special! What makes them amazing is that there are a ton of them all in one place, like a prehistoric party, and they’re really well-preserved. Some of them are so detailed that you can even see what these ancient creatures had for lunch! Yep, we’re talking about stomach contents that are still hanging around after millions of years.

5. Unveiling the Treasures of Karanis Openair Museum

One reason the Karanis Openair Museum is a must-visit in Faiyum is that it’s like a time machine that takes you back to the Greco-Roman era in Egypt. Imagine walking among the well-preserved ruins of old temples, houses, and baths and feeling like you’ve stepped into a history book! Plus, it’s an outdoor museum, which means you get to enjoy the beautiful Egyptian weather while learning about ancient times. It’s not every day you get to have fun and learn at the same time, right?

And guess what? Because the museum is outside, so you get to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful views while you explore. You’ll see temples, houses, and even baths that are super well-preserved. Just imagine walking around and getting a real-life glimpse of how people lived thousands of years ago. It’s like history class but way more fun!

Fun Fact

Here’s the exciting part: Recently, they dug up a bunch of ancient treasures there! Think ostraca (basically pottery with inscriptions), jars, shiny glassy vases, and even old coins. But that’s not all! They also uncovered loads of papyrus scrolls written in Greek. These scrolls are like time capsules, giving us a peek into what life was like during that time. We’re talking about things like trade deals (imagine ancient shopping lists!), tax records (nobody likes taxes, even back then), and civil contracts (like super old-school agreements).

Oh, and they even found the remains of public baths made of burnt bricks. Imagine soaking in those baths back in the day!

6. Visit Hawara Pyramid

hawara egypt

It’s a super cool structure that was built a long, long time ago by a pharaoh named Amenemhat III. The Hawara Pyramid is like a super old treasure chest that lets you see what life was like in ancient Egypt.

The design of the pyramid is different from other pyramids because it’s full of twisting paths and rooms inside. As you navigate through these narrow spaces, it’s like you’re on an awesome adventure trying to find your way. While you’re finding your way through these skinny spaces, it’s like you’re on an amazing adventure!

Once you’re inside, you’ll be totally shocked by how well-preserved everything is. The walls are filled with cool carvings and images that tell tales from the times of ancient Egypt and what their day-to-day life was like.

Important Information

If you’re a tourist coming from Cairo to visit these places, you’ll have some special company – a police escort!

How Much Time Do I Need To Visit It

If you’re planning to visit Hawara and Lahun, you can explore both places in a single day. It’s like a time-traveling adventure packed into one awesome day trip!

Expert Tip

It’s kind of sad, really. Almost all the stone from that amazing place has been taken away over the years. All that’s left now are bits and pieces of limestone paving and some big chunks of granite column drums. These are like the last remnants that remind us of how incredible it used to be. Imagine, once upon a time, it was this grand and glorious place, and now it’s like a puzzle missing most of its pieces. But hey, at least we can still see a glimpse of its former glory through these fragments!

Read more: 10 Unforgettable Experiences In Egypt You’ll Love

7. Tour The Local Pottery Workshops

egyptian pottery

If you’re looking for a super cool and different thing to do in Faiyum, don’t forget to visit the local pottery workshops. This activity lets you see how traditional pottery is made, talk to the talented people who make it, and even buy some awesome handmade ceramics to take home with you.

Visiting a pottery studio in Faiyum is like going on a special journey back in time. When you step inside, you’ll catch the smell of fresh clay and hear the artists busy shaping their creations. It’s a chance to experience history with all your senses and connect with traditions that have been around for a very long time.

And guess what? The best part is, you can chat with the artists themselves! They really enjoy sharing what they know and having a good chat with visitors. Don’t hold back from asking them anything you want to know about how they make pottery, or even ask them to show you how they do it. Believe me! You’ll be super impressed by how talented they are. It’s a really friendly and super cool experience that you’re gonna remember for sure!

8. Visit the Hanging Mosque

al aqmar

The Hanging Mosque in Faiyum is a super cool building that will leave you amazed. Picture this: the Hanging Mosque in Faiyum is a super unique building that hangs from a cliff, giving it a fantastic view of the surroundings. And that’s not all! The mosque has beautiful Islamic designs that are so eye-catching.

Right when you see the Hanging Mosque, you’ll be wowed by where it’s located. It’s right on the edge of a cliff and looks like it’s floating above the ground below. Just seeing this amazing sight is worth the trip, but there’s even more to see once you go inside.

From the moment you walk through the entrance, you’ll be blown away by how beautiful the inside is. The walls are covered in lovely Islamic designs and writing, which shows how talented the old artists were.

9. Discover The Fayoum Oasis

fayoum oasis

If Egypt is on your travel list, don’t skip a visit to Fayoum Oasis. Trust me, it’s a must-see, especially if this is your first time in the country. One of the unmissable spots there is this unique museum in the desert. It’s home to the largest prehistoric whale skeleton you’ll ever see, and an open-air fossil museum with 16 different types of animal skeletons. It’s such a cool place, and it was set up with the help of some Italian experts.

But hold on, there’s more. Make sure to visit the two lakes in the desert. Here, you’ll find a waterfall and some pretty interesting natural formations. This area is situated 30 meters below ground, and you get to drive 43 km across the desert to see the fossils. It’s an unforgettable adventure, I promise you! Then, picture this: a stunning blue oasis right in the middle of the desert, with three lakes on different levels connected by a small waterfall. It’s a sight to behold, especially in the spring and autumn, though it can get quite hot in summer. If you’re a fan of cool temperatures, winter is the best time to visit.

Unknown Fact

This awesome place is not just about history; it’s also about nature. You see, the Fayoum Oasis is one of the few spots in the world where you can find super ancient fossils and evidence of prehistoric animals.

But here’s the really cool part – it’s not just about dinosaurs. They’ve also found the fossils of whales and sea creatures, which is pretty mind-blowing considering that it’s a desert now!

Read more: 15 Best Places To Visit In Egypt With Family

10. Learn About History At The Lahun Pyramid

lahun pyramid

If you’re fascinated by history, from the time of the dinosaurs to the Islamic ages, then you’ll absolutely love the Fayoum Oasis in Egypt. One spot you just can’t miss is the Lahun Pyramid. It’s a little off the usual tourist routes, but trust me, it’s so worth it! This pyramid has got everything from temples and the famous Valley of the Whales to the gorgeous Lake Qarun and the stunning lakes of Wadi El Rayan. However, to experience the tomb chamber itself, get ready for a little adventure – it involves a 70-foot climb down narrow stairs and a 150-foot walkable tunnel.

Once you’re inside, you’ll see a flat rock about the size of a small room that might be a bit tricky to get over, especially if you’ve got any joint problems. But, the highlight of your visit will be the incredible granite blocks of the tomb – they’re an amazing example of Egyptian engineering. The pyramid itself is made of mud bricks and is partially ruined with lots of fallen bricks around it. But, you can see the corner spokes that keep it stable.

This pyramid is like a peek into the evolution of pyramid design. The best part is, it’s usually pretty quiet so you can enjoy this slice of history in peace. Even though it might not be as grand as the stone pyramids in Giza, it still sparks a sense of wonder. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

11. Walk Through The Tunis Village

Hatem Moushir, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You simply can’t miss a trip to Tunis Village when you’re in Faiyum. It’s a hidden treasure tucked away in the Faiyum Oasis and it’s got this really cool, artsy vibe. It’s famous for pottery – the entire village is buzzing with creativity. The local artists are super talented and make some of the most unique pottery pieces you’ll ever see, mixing old techniques with modern designs.

But what really makes Tunis Village special is that it lets you see what life’s like in the countryside of Egypt. Imagine a village cozily tucked between green fields and palm trees, right on the edge of Lake Qaroun. The view of the sun setting over the lake? Absolutely breath-taking! When you’re there, make sure to try some yummy local dishes, have a look around the markets, or simply find a comfy spot and soak in the tranquil vibes.

Unknown Fact

The villagers celebrate a special festival known as “The Festival of Colors.” During this lively event, people of all ages come together to paint beautiful murals on the walls of their houses. It’s not just about creating art; it’s a way of preserving their cultural heritage and telling stories through vibrant colors and intricate designs.

But here’s the twist – the catch is that every year, they wash away the old paintings and start fresh! It’s a symbol of renewal and the ever-changing nature of life. So, if you visit Tunis Village at the right time, you’ll witness a burst of color and creativity that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.

How To Get To Faiyum

If you’re coming from Cairo, you’ve got a couple of excellent options. You can hop on a train, and there are two of those that leave in the afternoon from the capital. Or, you can catch a bus that’ll take you right to the heart of town, making it super easy to reach the awesome hotels we’ve recommended in this guide. The bus station is on Gamal Abdel Nasir Road, and guess what? It’s right next to a petrol station, so you can’t miss it!

And if you’re starting your journey in Alexandria and want to head to Fayoum City, no worries! There’s a daily train that sets off bright and early in the morning.

Best Time To Visit Faiyum

The perfect time to explore Fayoum is from October to May. During these months, the weather is just right, with average temperatures around 24-25°C – not too hot, not too cold, just perfect!

The awesome thing about this time of year is that the climate is super mild, and there’s not much rain to worry about. That means you can plan all sorts of cool adventures, whether you want to explore charming villages or venture into the desert. And guess what? You can even do it during the hottest part of the day without breaking a sweat!

Now, here’s a little tip: You might want to avoid visiting during the summer months, especially around midday. That’s when the temperatures can soar well over 40°C (that’s seriously hot!), and even a walk around town can feel like a real challenge.

Bottom Line

So, there you have it. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a culture enthusiast, Faiyum, Egypt has something for everyone. From walking among ancient ruins and checking out prehistoric fossils to sailing on Lake Qaroun and learning pottery in Tunis Village, you’re in for one heck of an adventure.

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