Egypt’s best-kept secret
Known for lush farmland, picturesque dunes, the beautifully mesmerizing Magic Lake, and cascading waterfalls, Fayoum is one of Egypt’s best kept secrets. Home to the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site Wadi al-Hitan (Whale Valley), Fayoum is also one of Egypt’s most significant ancient cities and an area steeped in history and culture.
While the destination is well-known as the perfect weekend getaway for residents because of its proximity to Cairo, it isn’t always featured on the international travelers’ itinerary, but it is worth a visit. All you need to do is hop in a car or bus, drive less than two hours southwest of Cairo, and you will find yourself transported to a serene oasis surrounding the enormous Qarun Lake, one of the oldest natural saltwater lakes in the world. You can spend a quiet day or weekend learning about Fayoum’s traditional art and pottery, relaxing and dining on traditional Egyptian countryside dishes, and embarking on desert adventures!
What You Need to See
Enjoy a felucca ride on Qarun Lake against the backdrop of the mountains, then have a cup of traditional tea on the shore with your captain.
Learn to spin the pottery wheel in Tunis. The village’s pottery artisans are very friendly and will be happy to give you the opportunity to sit at their station and try your hand at turning clay into beautiful pottery.
Tumble over the dunes on a sandboard by the Magic Lake in the Wadi al-Rayan Nature Reserve, then explore Wadi al-Hitan, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site that is considered one of the most interesting paleontological sites in the world!