El Fayoum is a city in Middle Egypt situated 100 kilometers southwest of Cairo. El Fayoum is Egypt's largest oasis, measuring in at around 60 kilometers long and 70 kilometers wide. Founded in around 4000 BC, it’s the oldest city in the country and is home to a number of important archaeological sites; the pharaohs built palaces here and the Greeks built temples.
Rich in nature as well as history, El Fayoum’s landscape extends to sand dunes, palm trees, lakes, and valleys. Home to an abundance of wildlife, Lake Qaroun is an important natural lake here, where locals and visitors gather for such activities as fishing, watersports, and birdwatching.
The Valley of Whales is another main attraction in the area. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this valley was once a vast ocean that was home to a variety of marine life. Today, it is the site of many fossils and skeletons of extinct whales, along with some fascinating rock formations.
A 4x4 vehicle is the best way to explore most of the attractions of El Fayoum. The best time for activities such as hiking and sandboarding on the dunes is October through April, when the weather is more mild.