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Egypt Travel Guide: Overview

If you’re looking for a truly exotic and ancient travel destination, there’s no place quite like Egypt and this Egypt Travel Guide is here to help you plan the perfect trip. This fascinating country is home to some of the world’s most iconic historical sites, from the Great Pyramids of Giza to the temples of Luxor. And of course, no visit to Egypt would be complete without a cruise down the Nile River.

But Egypt is more than just a historical destination; it’s also a land of stunning natural beauty. From the Red Sea coastline to the oasis towns of the Western Desert, there’s plenty to explore. And of course, don’t forget to sample the local cuisine—it’s some of the best in the world!

So whether you’re interested in exploring Egypt’s rich history or simply soaking up its unique atmosphere, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. So what are you waiting for? Read this Egypt travel guide ahead to find out!

 

Table of Contents

Egypt Travel Guide: When to Visit

Spring Time (March to April): With the scorching heat of summer yet to arrive, spring graces Egypt with milder temperatures, creating an ideal time to explore iconic landmarks. Revel in the awe-inspiring sights of the Great Pyramids of Giza, ancient temples in Luxor, and the historic treasures of Cairo without enduring extreme heat. Plus, the picturesque landscapes of the Nile Valley are at their greenest, providing a mesmerizing backdrop for your excursions.

Fall Time (October to November): As summer bids farewell, autumn welcomes travelers with more comfortable temperatures, making outdoor explorations much more pleasant. Dive into the depths of the Red Sea for vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, or embark on a captivating cruise along the Nile, taking in the beauty of the riverbanks adorned with lush vegetation.

Wintertime (December to February): Winter in Egypt is a honestly the best time to go weather wise. Especially for those seeking a break from the chilly weather in other parts of the world. While daytime temperatures remain pleasant, evenings can be cooler, so be sure to pack a jacket. It’s a fairly popular time to go so unlike other places in the world during winter it may be a little more crowded an expected. It also will be a little more pricey.

Summer (May to September): Egypt’s summer can be brutaly harsh, with scorching temperatures often exceeding 100°F (38°C) in the daytime. While it may not be the most comfortable time for extensive sightseeing, summer does offer incredible opportunities for budget-conscious travelers, with lower prices on accommodations and tours. If you plan to visit during this season, focus on coastal cities like Alexandria or beach resorts along the Red Sea for a refreshing escape.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Egypt depends on your preferences and tolerance for heat. Whether you’re seeking a cultural immersion among historical marvels or a sun-soaked retreat on the coast, Egypt’s charms are waiting to be discovered year-round.

Egypt Travel Guide: How to Get There

Flying to Egypt

Flying is the most common and convenient method to reach Egypt from international destinations. The country is well-served by several major airports, offering excellent connectivity. Here are some popular airports in Egypt that serve as entry points for international travelers:

Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Cairo: Located in the heart of Egypt’s bustling capital, Cairo International Airport is the primary international gateway. It offers a wide range of flight connections to destinations worldwide. (Website: Cairo International Airport)

Hurghada International Airport (HRG) – Hurghada: Situated on the Red Sea coast, Hurghada Airport serves as a major entry point for tourists visiting Egypt’s Red Sea resorts and diving destinations. It operates numerous international flights. (Website: Hurghada International Airport)

Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH) – Sharm El Sheikh: Nestled on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm El Sheikh Airport caters to tourists seeking relaxation, water sports, and exploration of the Sinai region. It hosts several international flights. (Website: Sharm El Sheikh International Airport)

Luxor International Airport (LXR) – Luxor: Situated close to the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor Airport is a gateway for travelers interested in Egypt’s ancient temples and archaeological wonders. It operates limited international flights. (Website: Luxor International Airport)

Airlines that fly to Egypt:

Numerous international airlines offer direct flights to Egypt from various cities around the world. Here are a few prominent ones:

  • EgyptAir: The national flag carrier of Egypt, EgyptAir, offers extensive international connections to major cities across the globe. (Website: EgyptAir)
  • Emirates: Based in Dubai, Emirates is a leading airline that operates flights to Cairo and other Egyptian destinations from its hub. (Website: Emirates)
  • Lufthansa: As the flag carrier of Germany, Lufthansa offers flights to Cairo and other Egyptian cities, providing a convenient option for European travelers. (Website: Lufthansa)
  • Turkish Airlines: Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines connects Egypt to its vast network of destinations, making it an excellent choice for travelers from Europe, Asia, and beyond. (Website: Turkish Airlines)
  • Qatar Airways: With its hub in Doha, Qatar Airways operates flights to Cairo and other Egyptian cities, linking travelers from various parts of the world. (Website: Qatar Airways)

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Driving to Egypt

For those seeking a more adventurous journey, overland travel is an option. Egypt shares borders with Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and Israel and Palestine to the northeast. However, it’s essential to research border crossing regulations, travel advisories, and safety precautions before considering this option.

Taking a Ferry to Egypt

While not as common as air travel, there are ferry services connecting Egypt to neighboring countries. Ferry routes operate between Egypt and Jordan, with ferries running between Nuweiba (Egypt) and Aqaba (Jordan). It’s a scenic and unique way to travel between the two countries. Additionally, there are sporadic ferry connections between Egypt and some Mediterranean destinations.

Ferry Services Between Egypt and Jordan:

AB Maritime: AB Maritime operates the ferry service between Nuweiba (Egypt) and Aqaba (Jordan), offering a convenient way to cross the Red Sea.

Ferry Services Between Egypt and Saudi Arabia:

El Salam Maritime: El Salam Maritime offers ferry services between Egypt (Safaga and Suez) and Saudi Arabia (Dubai and Jeddah), providing travel options for passengers and cargo.

Ferry Services Between Egypt and Italy:

Grimaldi Lines: Grimaldi Lines operates ferries between the port of Alexandria in Egypt and the Italian port of Salerno.

Ferry Services Between Egypt and Cyprus:

Grimaldi Freighter Cruises: Grimaldi Freighter Cruises offers cargo ship cruises that include ports in Cyprus and Egypt.

Egypt Travel Guide: Getting Around

Egypt offers a variety of transportation options to help you navigate this historically rich and diverse country. From modern trains to traditional modes of transport, here are some convenient ways to get around Egypt.

Tours:

If you’re seeking a hassle-free and enriching travel experience in Egypt, joining a tour group can be an excellent choice. Because of that reason this is actually my recommended and preferred way to visit Egypt. It is also a lot safer. Tour groups offer the convenience of organized itineraries, knowledgeable guides, and the chance to connect with like-minded travelers if you chose the group tour route. Among the various tour operators, Rami Insight Tours is my go to for anything Egypt and I highly recommended this company as an option for exploring Egypt’s wonders.

Trains:

Egypt’s rail network provides an affordable and comfortable means of travel between cities and regions. While not as extensive as Japan’s Shinkansen, the train system efficiently connects major destinations. Here are the main train options available:

Egyptian National Railways (ENR): Operated by the Egyptian National Railways, these trains serve as the backbone of the country’s rail network. They offer a range of services, including express trains for longer journeys and local trains for shorter distances. They also offer sleeper trains for getting from Cairo to Luxor.

Cairo Metro: Cairo, the bustling capital, boasts an efficient metro system with three lines. The metro is a popular choice for navigating the city’s traffic-congested streets and visiting key attractions.

When traveling by train in Egypt, keep in mind that booking tickets in advance, especially for long-distance journeys, is advisable. I would also get first class tickets because the regular tickets can be quite an uncomfortable journey. This ensures a smoother experience and increases your chances of securing preferred seating.

Buses:

Buses are a common mode of transport for both intercity and intracity travel in Egypt. They offer an extensive network, connecting even remote areas. Consider the following options:

Public Buses: Public buses operate within cities and towns, providing an economical way to get around. They are particularly useful for short trips and commuting within urban areas.

Intercity Buses: For longer journeys between cities and regions, intercity buses are available, offering various comfort levels and ticket options.

Tourist Buses: If you prefer guided tours and hassle-free transportation to popular tourist destinations, many travel agencies offer organized trips on comfortable tourist buses.

Taxis:

Taxis are readily available in major cities and tourist hotspots. In cities like Cairo and Alexandria, you’ll find both metered taxis and shared minibusses (known as “microbuses”) that follow specific routes. Negotiating the fare beforehand is common in non-metered taxis.

Ride-sharing Apps:

Ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and Careem, operate in Egypt’s larger cities and offer a convenient alternative to traditional taxis. Using these apps ensures transparent pricing and often a higher level of safety and comfort.

Domestic Flights:

For long distances or when visiting remote destinations, domestic flights can be a time-saving option. EgyptAir, the national carrier, and other airlines offer flights between major cities and tourist hubs. This really is the best way to travel long distances since Egypt is so huge.

Nile Cruises:

If you’re seeking a leisurely and enchanting way to get around Egypt, embarking on a Nile River cruise is the perfect option. The iconic Nile River, often referred to as the lifeblood of Egypt, has been the heart of the country’s history and civilization for thousands of years. Cruising along the Nile offers a unique and relaxing travel experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in Egypt’s cultural heritage while enjoying breathtaking scenery. The nice thing about this option is you keep your stuff on the boat and come back each night and breakfast and dinners are usually included. They also have various time spans on which you can do depending on your needs.

Egypt Travel Tips

  • Respect Local Customs: Egypt has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s essential to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and be mindful of local norms and practices.
  • Learn Basic Arabic Phrases: Learning a few basic Arabic phrases can go a long way in enhancing your interactions with locals and showing appreciation for their language and culture.
  • Stay Hydrated: Egypt’s climate can be hot, especially during the summer months. Carry a reusable water bottle and stay hydrated, especially when exploring outdoor attractions.
  • Stay Sun Protected: The Egyptian sun can be intense, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn and dehydration.
  • Bargain Wisely: Bargaining is a common practice in Egyptian markets (souks). However, do it with respect and a friendly attitude. Know the value of the items you’re interested in and negotiate politely.
  • Secure Your Belongings: Be cautious of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas. Keep your belongings secure and avoid displaying valuable items in public.
  • Stay Informed About Safety: Keep abreast of travel advisories and safety guidelines issued by your government and local authorities. Exercise caution in border areas and regions with potential security risks.
  • Try Local Cuisine: Egyptian cuisine is delicious and diverse. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional dishes like koshari, falafel, and kebabs from local eateries.
  • Travel with Reputable Tour Operators: When booking tours or excursions, choose reputable and licensed tour operators to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. I would honestly recommend going with a tour operator versus doing it solo because of some of the logistics and security assurances that need to happen to visit certain places such as Abu Simbel and Abydos.
  • Respect Photography Rules: Before taking photos of people or religious sites, ask for permission, as some locals might not be comfortable with photography.
  • Prepare for Tipping: Tipping is customary in Egypt, especially in the tourism industry. Have small change handy to tip guides, drivers, and service staff.
  • Be Cautious with Street Food: While street food can be delicious, be mindful of hygiene standards. Choose food vendors with a high volume of customers and follow your instincts.
  • Use Reliable Transportation: Opt for licensed taxis, ride-hailing apps, or reputable tour operators for transportation to ensure safety and fair pricing.
  • Carry Cash: While credit cards are accepted in many places, having cash on hand, especially in smaller towns or local markets, can be helpful.
  • Get an eVisa: It makes things a little easier if you get an eVisa in advance. However, you can also get them at the airport on arrival. The official site is here. Beware of 3rd party scammer sites.
  • Be prepared to be sold to aggressively the entire time. Street sellers are relentless in Egypt. 
  • Get out of Cairo/Giza: The pyramids and the museums are great but the rest of Egypt is so beautiful it shouldn’t be missed. Luxor is just mind-blowing and places like Aswan you can breath in refreshing air and it’s a lot slower paced. 

Egypt Travel Guide: Typical Costs

Accommodation:
  • Budget: Budget accommodations in Egypt, such as hostels and budget hotels, generally range from $15 to $40 per night. In popular tourist areas like Cairo or Luxor, you can find affordable dorm beds or small private rooms.
  • Mid-Range: Mid-range hotels and guesthouses typically cost between $50 and $120 per night. This range includes comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and additional amenities like Wi-Fi and breakfast.
  • Luxury: Luxury hotels and upscale resorts in Egypt can range from $150 to $500+ per night. High-end accommodations offer spacious rooms, luxurious facilities, and top-notch services. Iconic luxury hotels in Cairo or Sharm El Sheikh often exceed $300 per night.
Food:
  • Budget: Egyptian street food and local eateries offer affordable meals ranging from $2 to $8 per dish. Enjoy traditional delights like falafel, koshari, or shawarma at budget-friendly prices.
  • Mid-Range: A meal at a mid-range restaurant or cafe can cost between $10 and $25 per person. This range includes sit-down restaurants serving traditional Egyptian cuisine and international options.
  • Luxury: Fine dining experiences in upscale restaurants or hotels can cost $40-100+ per person. Luxury dining offers a chance to savor gourmet dishes and international cuisine with exceptional service.
Transportation:
  • Public Transportation: Egypt’s public transportation options, including buses and metro, are relatively affordable, with fares starting at around $0.20 for short rides within cities.
  • Domestic Flights: For longer distances between cities, domestic flights are available, and prices vary depending on the route and booking time. One-way flights between major cities can range from $50 to $150+.
  • Taxis: Taxis in Egypt have metered fares, and short rides within cities may cost around $2-5. Negotiate the fare in advance for longer distances or consider ride-hailing apps for convenience.

Attractions:

  • Historical Sites and Temples: Entrance fees for historical sites and temples in Egypt range from $5 to $15. Popular attractions like the Pyramids of Giza or the temples in Luxor have additional fees for entry into specific areas or exhibitions.
  • Museums: Museum entrance fees vary, with average prices between $5 and $15. Major museums in Cairo, like the Egyptian Museum, often have additional charges for special exhibitions or guided tours.
  • Nile River Cruises: Prices for Nile River cruises vary depending on the duration and level of luxury. Budget cruises can start from $150 for short trips, while luxury cruises with more extended itineraries can cost $500+ per person.

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