Ultimate Egypt Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Egypt-
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country between northeast Africa and southwest Asia connected by a land bridge created by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is an exceptional combination of fantastic historical monuments, beautiful desserts, remarkable beaches, and many other excellent elements that should convince you to visit the country at least once in your life.
Why Visiting Egypt?
When it comes to Egypt, the first thing that comes to mind is its culture and history and, consequently, some world-renewed sites like The Pyramids of Giza. It’s the oldest and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Other famous historical attractions are Luxor temple, Egyptian Museum, Aswan, etc.
There are tons of reasons for visiting Egypt. You may just expect historical and cultural attractions when thinking of Egypt. However, the country will offer much more than your expectations, from fantastic beaches to mouth-watering local foods, architecture, locals, etc.
Aside from historical aspects, you should know that Egypt has lovely beaches with soft golden sands. You cannot find anything like this in the world. These beaches are like a dream come true! Also, luxurious resorts, along with the beaches, offer fantastic and world-class accommodations for visitors. Agiba Beach, Cleopatra’s Beach, Gharam Beach, and Hurghada Beach are among the most popular beaches in Egypt with adrenalin pumping activities.
Egyptian foods are also delicious! Lamb kebab, Dolma, Kofta, Shawarma are among the famous foods you need to try in Egypt. In fact, Egyptian cuisine is influenced by its neighboring Middle-Eastern countries.
Interested in safari and desert experience? You should never miss Egypt’s desserts. Interestingly, over 90% of the land in Egypt is dedicated to desserts. Safari trip and camping can make your experience much more enjoyable!
Egypt Top Destinations
Click on each Egypt’s destination to read the full travel guide of the city.
Best Time to Visit Egypt
Egypt has a hot desert climate, and it’s extremely dry; however, the northern Mediterranean coasts receive rainfall in winter. Many of historical sites in Egypt are located in the desert where it never rains.
Temperature: 74° F (23° C) – 90° F (32° C)
Spring is typically warm with strong winds and consequently, sandstorms! Temperature reduces between March and May; however, the humidity is not bothering.
What to wear?
Sturdy walking shoes, long pants, lightweight tops, sunscreen, and sunglasses should be packed for spring.
Temperature: 104° F (40° C) – 122 F° (50° C)
Summer in Egypt is oppressively hot, even in coastal areas. However, summer can be a good season for beach lovers in Egypt. The hottest time of the year is between July and September.
What to wear?
Temperature: 91° F (32° C) – 77° F (25° C)
Autumn in Egypt is the peak season, and the weather is fantastic. Since the end of September, the temperature drops drastically, and the travel costs usually increase.
What to wear?
A light jacket, shirts, umbrella, sunscreen, and even a brimmed hat are smart packing elements in autumn for Egypt.
Temperature: 69° F (20° C) – 66° F (18° C)
In winter, the weather rarely drops below 10° C. early December can be a good time for travelling as the beaches are still warm and the prices are low.
What to wear?
As mentioned, the winter in Egypt is not that much chilly, but a light jacket and windbreaker can be helpful in winter.
Best Egypt Tours
Things to Do in Egypt
Delve into the past on a trip to one of the oldest and most influential civilizations of the planet in Egypt. Explore the historic sites, visit the tombs and exotic places of this country and then head out to the exciting places in the cities such as Ciro and have fun. You have a wide variety of options to choose from, from arid deserts to beautiful beaches. You can also enjoy nature amidst the sands in an oasis or among the chalk rock formations and spires in the white desert.
Marvel at the Pyramids of Giza
Can you really go to Egypt and not visit the Pyramids of Giza? It doesn’t matter how many times you have seen them; they never lose their magnificence. They are as old as history can tell, yet they are still standing, guarded by the sphinx. The complex is enormous and may need you to spare some time before you are done marveling at this wonder of the ancient world.
Words may not do the Pyramids of Giza justice; you have to see them up close. You may think some people are crazy for saying that aliens built them 5000 years ago, but seeing them for yourself, they may sound convincing. Nobody really knows how they were built, but a trip to the final resting place of the pharaohs is always worth it.
Walk in the Valley of the Kings
Although the Valley of the Kings may sound a little spooky to walk in a valley full of tombs, seeing the structures and learning this place’s history and culture is very exciting. There are over 60 kings and pharaohs of the Thebans of the 16th century BCE buried here. They are actually mummified and placed inside their tombs.
The complex is large, but some of the tombs are not open to the public. The entrance fee will enable you to visit some of these places but not all of them. Before entering the complex, ask which of the tombs is currently open and then decide which ones are more of a priority.
Visit the Abu Simbel Temples
There is more than one massive monument in Egypt, each impressive in their way. When visiting these places, be sure to check out the magnificent Abu Simbel temples. Before seeing the remarkable interior, you will witness four colossal statues of Ramses II guarding the entrance. Once inside, you will see eight more massive statues and mesmerizing wall paintings.
One of the two temples is dedicated to Ramesses II and the other to his queen. These temples that are more than 3000 years old were, in the 1960s, relocated to higher ground to prevent damages from flooding.
Explore All of Cairo
Being an old city held by Romans, Byzantines, Christians, Muslims, and having all their history and culture, Cairo is the perfect city for some exploring. There are religious buildings (mostly from the Islamic era) all over the city, giving it a very diverse history and culture. The best and most well-preserved buildings are the Muslim mosques. But if you spend enough time in Cairo, you can find the medieval texture and even older areas of this ancient city.
See the Ancient Egyptian Artifacts at the Egyptian Museum
If you want to hit two birds with one stone and visit a fantastic building along with ancient artifacts, the Egyptian Museum is the place. However, the facility will not be so noticeable while you are walking the exhibitions and viewing pharaohs’ everyday objects to their most important documents.
If you want to make the most of this visit and see as many of these mummies, statues, carvings, and relics, prepare to spend at least 2 hours in the Egyptian Museum. The building is located in downtown Cairo, making it an ideal starting point. You will discover bits and pieces of history and culture and then head out to see some of the city’s highlights.
Go on an Adventure in the White Desert
Temples and impressive monuments never end in the beautiful and ancient Egypt, but more than that, there are also natural environments like the White Desert, which are perfect for adventurers. While moving around the white desert area, you might assume that snow covers the mountains and cliffs in the distance. The truth is that the white you see in the distance is the chalk spires’ color and peaks in the distance.
Some desert safaris are exotic when you go riding camels and camping; this one, however, is impressive no matter what you do there. While there, you might want to have your camera with you to take some pictures of a place that you do not see every day.
Another Trip into History at Alexandria
Similar to Ciro, Alexandria is also an ancient city. As the name shows, the city was constructed by Alexander the Great and held several ancient monuments of the same era. It would be best if you made similar plans to explore this city like Cairo and discover its ancient elements. While doing so, keep an eye out for the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the top highlights of this city. Even if the historic sites are not your priority, you cannot ignore Alexandria’s beauty and the Mediterranean waters.
Enjoy the Beauty and Calm of the Abydos Temple
One of the less crowded temples of Egypt with delicate carvings and paintings is the Abydos temple. If you can plan your timing right, you can make a quick visit to a magnificent, ancient, and well-preserved temple and head out to see the Luxor temple and perhaps more. What is mesmerizing about this building is that it is covered in carvings and paintings in all of its areas. From the bottom to the top and even the ceilings are decorated and with detail beyond your imagining. Do not make the same mistake that most tourists make, and be sure to go to the Abydos Temple and enjoy her beauty.
Cruising on the Nile River
With the Red Sea and the Nile, Egypt is also perfect for those looking for watersports, relaxing, and cruising. If cruising is what you are looking for, then the Nile River is the place to go for. What makes a boat trip on the Nile exciting is seeing some of the country’s highlights as you pass them on the river. You can go on luxurious cruises and have a more romantic or family experience and try the budget boats and still enjoy the ride as you take pictures and enjoy the view.
Hiking at Mount Sinai
Another journey for seekers of an adventure or those interested in history and theology is hiking at mount Sinai. According to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments at this spot as God spoke to him from a burning bush. This site holds religious and historical significance, also having the St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of the hill where you will embark on a journey to the top. Mount Sinai is currently one of the famous places in Egypt for pilgrims or tourists looking to embrace this place’s beauty.
If nothing else, the sunrise and sunset in Mount Sinai are among Egypt’s exciting experiences that can be memorable to all travelers. Traveling alone or with others, make sure you do not miss this visit.
More Things to Do?
There are always things to do in Egypt worldwide, such as camel safaris and watersports, and even diving in the sea. You will get all the fun activities between deserts and the red sea. The ancient tombs and everything left from Before Common Era never ends, which is more or less up to you to discover.
More places like the pyramid of Djoser, Karnak temple, Luxor temple, desert Oases, and more are all considered highlights. However, it would help if you keep certain things in mind, for example, bringing a camera and taking pictures at some ancient sites is forbidden. Other than that, some sites’ prices are not fixed and may change from time to time, especially events.
Local Transportation in Egypt
Taxis are among the most convenient means of transportation with, of course, more expensive fares! Taxis must use a meter, and if not, you should negotiate the price before getting in not to be scammed.
Tuk Tuk is a popular means of transportation in Egypt, helping you have inexpensive transportation even on small and crowded routes. However, they are unsafe, and they don’t get you to popular destinations.
The metro system is available in Cairo with three lines and 92 stations covering almost all city parts. Also, there is another line under construction.
Carriage is a lovely transportation way, and you can take one to see provincial cities. They can take you to some places in the cities where taxis and other transportation means can’t.
The bus is one of Egypt’s most popular transportation methods, especially in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said, Sharm El Sheikh, and North and South Sinai. Transportation with the bus is one of the cheapest ways of moving around.
Microbuses are very popular in Egypt. They are a better means of transportation in comparison to buses. They are small, fast, and more convenient than the bus. The price will depend on the route, and you don’t need to buy tickets.
Uber is also available in Egypt. Besides, there is another application called Careem for online car-hailing requests. These services are better than usual taxis since you know the fare, and it’s calculated based on the distance and the destination. Also, they are faster and more convenient than the usual taxis in the cities.
Intercity Transportation in Egypt
The airplane is the best way of traveling between Cairo and other cities. They are, of course, more expensive, but they are fast and convenient. The local company offering these local flights is called Egypt Air.
The railway system in Egypt is the oldest train network in Africa and the Middle East. It’s the best way of domestic traveling for long journeys; however, It may not be satisfactory for short trips, trains are slower and less comfortable.
Intercity buses in Egypt are usually new and fast. However, they are cheaper and old ones as well. The new buses have toilets, videos, and expensive snacks.
If you want to go to a destination along the river, river buses can be an excellent transportation experience. It’s slower than other means of transportation, but they are enjoyable.
Nile taxis are the means of transportation for tourists who want to enjoy the Nile view. They are quicker than River buses offering two types of services. It would be best if you stayed until enough passenger ride in the first one, and in the second, you can pre-book for a suitable time.
Flight Deals to Egypt
Egypt Travel Costs
|Budget (2-Star Hotels and Hostels)||$10 – $50|
|Mid-Range (3-Star Hotels)||$50 – $150|
|Luxury (4 & 5 Star Hotels)||$150 and up|
|Vegetarian, Local, and Street Food||$1 – $2|
|Restaurant Meal||$5 – $12 (higher in luxury restaurants and hotels|
|Cairo to Luxor||$145|
|Cairo to Aswan||$155|
|Aswan to Luxor||$300|
|Round trip Aswan to Abu Simbel||$325|
|Cairo to Alexandria||$3-4 for the 1st class / $2-$3 2nd class|
|Cairo to Luxor||$17 for the 1st Class – $80 – $110 for a sleeper cabin|
|Luxor to Aswan||$8 for the 1st class – $5 for the 2nd class|
|Most Entrance Fee Ranges||30 EGP – 150 EGP ($1 – $2)|
|Valley Kings in Luxor||240 EGP|
|Giza Pyramids||200 EGP|
|Great Pyramid||400 EGP|
|tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings||400 EGP|
|Tomb of Queen Nefertari in the Valley of Queens||1400 EGP|
Best Hotels in Egypt
Find the best hotels in Egypt using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Egypt Travel Tips
No one, even locals, drink tap water, so you need to have lots of bottled water. It would be best to stay hydrated in Egypt as the weather is dry and hot on most days of the year.
Having a guide in Egypt is necessary for first-time travelers since it’s not easy to travel without a guide in Egypt compared to other countries.
The major language used in Egypt is Egyptian Arabic. Using English is increasing more and more among locals. You can find many people speaking English in major cities like Cairo; however, it can be rare in rural areas!
One of the essential skills in Egypt is bargaining! You need to negotiate when taking a taxi, shopping, etc. Keep in mind that everything in Egypt is negotiable, I insist, everything!!
The dressing has special rules in Egypt. It would be best if women cover their knees and shoulders. Also, they should cover their heads when visiting mosques and religious sites. Besides, you need to remove your shoes when visiting mosques. When you are in resorts and beaches, you are free to have bikinis and other swimwear.
Sleeveless shirts, tank tops, and gym attire are not acceptable in public places. However, swimwear or swimming trunks are totally OK in the resort and coastal areas.
You can barely find toilet papers in public restrooms. Therefore, it’s necessary to bring some when visiting public attractions.
It’s a global rule for tourists. Order your meal in food stalls, restaurants, etc., where tourists occupy it. With this method, you will make sure that the sellers are reliable.
Before getting any service or buying anything, ask the price. You may be shocked by the price that offer to you after.
Although taxis in Egypt are safe and available, Uber is the best choice since you select your destination and know the fare, so no negotiation is needed.
|Road Rescue||+2 012-2111-0000|
|Natural Gas Emergency||129|
|International Calls from land lines||144|
|Land line telephone bills inquiries||177|
|Land line telephone complaints||16|
|Cairo Airport (Terminal 1)||+2 2265-5000 – +2 2265-3333|
|Cairo Airport (Terminal 2)||+2 2265-2029 – +2 2265-2222|
|Railway Information||+2 2575-3555|
Currency & Money Tips
The official currency in Egypt is Egyptian Pound, variously abbreviated as E£, £E, EGP, or LE and made up from 100 Piasters. Banknotes are in denominations of 25 and 50 piasters as well as 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pounds. However, small notes are not as available as larger notes. Also, you can find 25 and piasters in the form of coins
How to exchange money?
Like other countries, you can exchange your money in airports, major hotels, banks, etc. If you want to bring some currency from home, you need to know that it’s possible to carry only 5,000 EGP, but you can bring 10,000 USD cash as well. Generally, major currency exchangers in Egypt are:
- Amex offices
- Travel Choice Egypt (formerly Thomas Cook) offices
- Commercial banks
- Foreign exchange bureaus
- Certain hotels
British pounds sterling (GBP), euros (EUR), and US dollars (USD) are the most accessible currencies for exchanging in Egypt.
Exchanging money in airports of Egypt is very easy, and the commission is similar to the banks. You will rarely face a problem regarding money exchange in the airports.
ATMs are the easiest ways of getting cash withdrawal. They are available in many major cities like Cairo and Alexandria. Visa card and MasterCard are the most popular credit cards in Egypt. If you want to use ATMs, make sure to inform your bank back in your home.
Food & Drink (Egyptian Food)
Egypt is a country that is rich in many ways, such as culture, history, and cuisine. The local and traditional food in this country is mostly safe, clean, and less spicy than neighboring countries. But since there are so many options, you might want to know what to eat in Egypt before you plan your trip.
Their cuisine mostly relies on meat, but there are also many dishes for a vegetarian traveler. Get to know some of their local cuisines, and as you travel, give their tasty sweets and desserts a try.
Since there is a lot of walking around and exploration to do in Egypt, it is best to know about Koshary first. It is not exactly a national dish, but it is popular among both locals and tourists. What earns Koshary a place on the top of the list is the availability and simplicity of the food. It is made with rice, macaroni, lentils, onions, chickpeas, and sauce. Spice and herbs are also added to make the taste and smell much better than it already is. It can be a little heavy despite not sounding like it. Mostly cheap and always tasty, be sure to give it a try.
Fatteh or Fattah is a dish for meat-lovers, usually served at feasts or valued guests. It is an ancient dish that the Egyptians and Arabs loved that uses a lot of beef and sometimes chicken. There is a special flatbread at the lower layers, and on top of the bread, layers of meat, onions, rice, garlic, yogurt, and sauce are seen. Other than these main ingredients, there are also vegetables, spice, and herbs, making the Fatteh very tasty and exotic.
Ta’ameya or Falafel
It is an excellent meal for vegetarians that you have probably tried back home since Felafel or Ta’ameya is famous and popular. It may not be the most exotic food you have tried since it can be found in almost all corners of the world. But the Egyptians make their own unique Ta’ameya, which can be a luxurious meal with many things on the side or a simple street snack. Do not pass the opportunity to give it a try as the Egyptian version of Falafel is something you should try.
Ful Mundamas or Ful Medamas is a rich snack and a popular breakfast. It is the most classic and ancient dish you can find prepared with fava beans that have been soaked in water overnight. The beans and the ingredients that are cooked in olive oil are served with eggs and pita bread. The combinations of spices and vegetables that can be added are limitless, making it something to try more than once.
Kabab and kofta
Kebab or Kabab and Kofta is a fatty food that looks simple, but it is a little tricky to prepare. The Kabab is grilled lamb meat, and the Kofta minced meat, shaped like a sausage and barbequed. This combination is served with various vegetables and tomatoes, as well as rice or bread. It is the perfect thing to restore all of your energy and fill you up with one of the most delicious things you can eat in Egypt.
The name is heard in other countries, you may have tried a Turkish Kofte or Kebab, but this one is different. It does not matter how many times you have this dish of Kabab and Kofta; it is always excellent.
Om Ali or Umm Ali
Om Ali or Umm Ali can be seen as a bread pudding, which translates to “Ali’s Mother.” The name may seem odd, but there is a popular legend behind this Egyptian original dish’s naming. This food or dessert is said to date back to the 13th century Egypt, which became popular among the Middle East people as well.
This delicious dessert is prepared with puff pastry, almonds, pistachio, milk, sugar, raisin, and coconut. There may be other ingredient combinations, but the taste remains the same, which is rather sweet. Either after a meal or during an evening, be sure to try the Om Ali or Umm Ali, and if possible, listen to the locals tell the legend behind it.
Shawarma is a trendy street food that is the best alternative you can try instead of fast-food. When you buy a Shawarma, you can see the meat being sliced and wrapped in bread. Layers of beef or chicken are grilled for some time and then made into a sandwich and topped with vegetables and local spices. You can see a Shawarma in a lot of places as the food is trendy and healthy. What makes the Egyptian version very unique is the bread they use.
Mahshi, which translates to “Stuffed,” is a very aromatic, tasty, and rich dish that can be ideal for vegetarians in Egypt. The base ingredients are rice, herbs, and spice, that is wrapped in vine leaves. Among the things mixed with rice, you can see many kinds of vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, cabbages, and bell pepper.
The same mix can also be stuffed into a bell pepper or even have some meat. If these versions interest you or you want to make sure it is meat-free, ask the staff.
The closest thing to a hamburger in Egypt is perhaps a Hawawshi, spiced and grilled beef or lamb. If you love meat to the point of a heart attack, this is your favorite food! Well, that was a little exaggerating but keep in mind that Hawawshi tends to be greasy, even the bread wrapping. It is not very expensive or difficult to prepare but very tasty and popular. The meat and various vegetables and the local bread are grilled and served pickled vegetables. If what you just read is not that tempting, wait until you catch its fantastic smell.
As the locals call it ‘Kebda,’ the liver is not appealing yet delicious street-side food. If it does not look lovely as you walk in the street, try the restaurants’ version. It is deep-fried with spices, garlic, and onions and served with vegetables or picked vegetables. It is always worth a try even if it does not have a very excellent appearance.
If you want to try a local and cultural experience, this is very much recommended. Again, if you cannot trust the street vendors, find a good restaurant or try it at a friend’s house. This delicious meal is perfect with a drink and can also be served as a sandwich. If you liked it on the first try, be sure to try the Alexandrian Kebda a try as well.
Mobile & Internet
Buying a prepaid SIM card is very easy in Egypt, and there is a huge competition between companies.
- Vodafone Egypt
- Orange Egypt
- Etisalat Egypt
- WE by Telecom Egypt
All operators offer a high-speed (4G) data system. However, except WE, companies offer 2G and 3G services as well.
You need to have your passport for the registration of SIM cards. Also, you need to provide an Egyptian address (your accommodation) as well.
Where to buy SIM cards?
You can buy a Vodafone SIM card from Vodafone Stores at the airport and around the city. There are specific stalls in Cairo International Airport, Marsa Alam International Airport, and Hurghada International Airport selling different kinds of SIM cards.
Holidays & Festivals
Some of holidays in Egypt, like Eid el Fitr are based on Lunar Islamic celendar and other holidays are based on Gregorian calendar.
|January 1 Bank Holiday||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|Coptic Christmas Day||7-Jan||7-Jan|
|Revolution Day January 25||25-Jan||25-Jan|
|Sinai Liberation Day||25-Apr||25-Apr|
|Coptic Good Friday||30-Apr||22-Apr|
|Coptic Holy Saturday||1-May||23-Apr|
|Coptic Easter Sunday||2-May||24-Apr|
|Eid el Fitr||13-May||3-May|
|Eid el Fitr Holiday||14-May||4-May|
|Eid el Fitr Holiday||15-May||5-May|
|June 30 Revolution||30-Jun||30-Jun|
|July 1 Bank Holiday||1-Jul||1-Jul|
|Eid al-Adha Day 2||21-Jul||11-Jul|
|Eid al-Adha Day 3||22-Jul||12-Jul|
|Eid al-Adha Day 4||23-Jul||13-Jul|
|Revolution Day July 23||23-Jul||23-Jul|
|Flooding of the Nile||15-Aug||15-Aug|
|Armed Forces Day||6-Oct||6-Oct|
|Prophet Mohamed’s Birthday||19-Oct||8-Oct|
Shopping in Egypt
Pyramids are the symbols of Egypt, and having mini Pyramids can be a good idea for decorations or just a reminder of your trip. You can also buy them as a gift for your loved ones.
Jalabeya is the traditional outfit in Egypt composed of a loose fabric similar to a dress for men and women. In major cities like Cairo, you can rarely find people wearing such clothes; however, people usually wear these clothes in rural areas.
Belly dance outfit
The belly is an Arabic dance comprised of specific movements and music. It plays crucial a crucial role in black-and-white Egyptian movies. You can find belly dance outfits in different cities. They can also be a fantastic gift.
Egypt is one of the most popular hubs of perfumes. There are some shops outside of Giza, and you can smell perfumes there. Shopkeepers will tell you about the origins of such perfumes. It can be a great souvenir and gift for your loved ones.
Papyrus is like papers used in ancient Egypt as a writing surface from the Papyrus plant found in Nile Delta.
Cartouche is a famous Egyptian souvenir, which is in the oval’s shape with a horizontal line that indicates a text enclosed. These texts can be found in Egyptian temples and sold in alabaster and stones. Also, you can find cartouches in the form of silver necklaces.
Glass sand bottles
Glass sand bottles and sand art is trendy in Asia, especially in Egypt. You can find them around the country; however, the mains hubs are Dahab, Luxor, and Aswan