How many times have we come across breathtaking photos on Instagram or Facebook and not believed it was in Egypt? Where are these places and why have we never seen them?

Egypt52 has the answer!

What started out as a bored engineering student and his friend going to the Citadel on a Friday’s whim became Instagram’s first Egypt-dedicated account, with over 5k followers. With a newly found love for travel, photography and Egypt, they decided to explore a new part of Egypt every weekend. For 52 weeks, they would set out, roaming the country and showing us what has been hiding in plain sight all along. As their passion grew, so did the initiative. Going to places they never thought they would, the group welcomed newcomers and have been joined by groups as big as forty people.

We met with Egypt52’s founder and CEO Karim Morcos to tell us what we’ve been missing out on all along and how to catch up. If people want to do it, he says, it couldn’t be any easier. They just have to look up the places, call up to book (if they even need to) and go.

Encouraged by his enthusiasm and the sheer beauty of the locations where he’s been (the photos below are all Egypt52!), we’ve brought you Karim’s recommendations. Whether you want to take a relaxing trip inside Egypt, or you’re stuck in Cairo and want some new things to see and places to go, he’s got you covered.

Saint Samaan Monastery – Cairo
Situated in Mokattam, this monastery’s churches and chapels are built inside caves and Morcos promises us it is exquisite. You can also pass by the nearby Zabaleen District, home to Cairo’s garbage collectors and its recycling hub.

Mogama’ El Adyan (aka. The Religions’ Complex) – Cairo
This place embodies Egypt’s spiritual history and diversity. With a Jewish Synagogue, multiple churches (including the Hanging Church), and Amr Ibn El As, Cairo’s first ever mosque, this Old Cairo district is sure to be a visit you won’t ever regret.

The beautiful Ben Ezra synagogue from the inside. Week 22: The Religions Complex, Cairo. #Egypt52

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Amr ibn El-Aas mosque. Week 22: The Religions Complex, Cairo. #Egypt52

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El Moez Street and El Hussein – Cairo
Walk through El Moez Street and you will feel like you’re walking through history itself. Mosques from different Islamic dynasties, Ottoman houses, and small antique shops with silver jewelry, old typewriters and house ware are just a few things you might see. A slight detour will take you into Khan El Khalili, where you have even more souvenirs to choose from. Feeling tired? You can always grab a cup of tea at El Fishawy, the famous old coffee shop where Naguib Mahfouz used to sit.

Relaxing, inspiring and with breathtaking views, Nubia and its villages have to be on your travel list. Still comfortably warm this time of the year, it is a perfect winter destination. You can always also include a stop at Luxor, Aswan and any of the islands in between!

At the top of Famine Stela mountain in Nubia. #Egypt52

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A recent favorite among young Egyptian travelers, Dahab offers a lot more than underground music festivals. On the top of the list are diving centers, exquisite nature and serenity. Morcos especially recommended a visit to Ras Abo Galoum, just off the beaten path from Nuweiba. Dahab and nearby Nuweiba and Taba are also perfect if you’re looking to escape Cairo’s traffic and weather.

One just can’t get over these colors. #Egypt52

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In Sinai, you can also take a more historical or spiritual route. Hiking up Mount St. Catherine to visit the monastery and Mount Sinai and passing by the Springs of Moses is sure to be a unique experience.

Morcos tells us that, despite the hectic trip to get there, this is a place that everyone needs to visit at least once. After all, what more do we need than an oasis in the desert? The pictures say it all…

A personal favorite, Alex is always a welcome trip. Convenient and urban, it still has a lot to offer. There’s a bit of everything, from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to the Qaytbay Citadel and the Greek Club. There is also the surreal experience (for a Cairene) of waking up to the sea!

If you have a long break, seize the chance and head to one of these places. If not, take a day trip to one of the many locations inside Cairo and explore for yourself.

For more information about Egypt52, the trips they plan, the places they’ve been, or just to revel in the beauty of their photos, check their Facebook page or Instagram.