Beckoning like — well, an oasis — in the middle of a harsh, expansive desert, Bahariya is a respite from the dry sands of Egypt. Natural springs dot the oasis floor, shaded by date palms and fruit trees overhead. The black hills surrounding it are filled with quartz, and the lands contain several impressive ruins — including the Temple of Alexander the Great.
Once an ancient center of agriculture and commerce (even wine was produced here and exported to the Nile Valley) known as the Northern Oasis, it remains part of an important route and hub for visitors. Excavations have revealed thousands of ancient Egyptian mummies here, with more to be discovered. Painted churches and tombs can also be viewed. Both the lands and the remains of the civilizations that once dwelled here give an incredible sense of time and history.
Bahariya is the closest oasis to Cairo in Egypt — a mere 230 miles (370 kilometers) from the city. There is a regular bus service from Cairo to Bahariyya that departs from Turgoman Square. Bahriya is a great base from which to explore both the Black and the White Deserts.