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Egypt Travel Guide (2023)

Looking for a travel guide to Egypt? Find useful information and practical tips to organize your trip without missing out on the details.

אוקטובר 13, 2023

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Egypt is one of those tourist destinations where you have to be prepared to get an authentic experience. Therefore, we have created this Egypt Travel Guide with information that will help you organize your trip. This way, you’ll know when to travel, what to bring in your suitcase, options to get internet, visa for Egypt, travel tips, safety and other important recommendations.

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Best time to travel to Egypt

The best time to travel to Egypt depends on your travel preferences and the experiences you plan to enjoy. That is why we will start this guide with the seasons of the year and the prevailing weather; so you can choose the ideal time to travel to this destination.

Summer in Egypt

The months of June to August are summer in Egypt. Temperatures easily reach 40 °C and even 50 °C in different regions of the country. This means that if you travel during this time, you could face extreme heat waves and have a really challenging experience.

Among the activities you can do during this season are visiting the Pyramids of Giza; touring the city of Luxor; taking a cruise on the Nile; visiting local markets to buy souvenirs and enjoying the nightlife. Of course, you should take the necessary precautions so that the heat does not surprise you and end up affecting your wellbeing.

Winter in Egypt

Winter lasts from December to February. The average temperature is 15 °C to 25 °C, so you will have a much more pleasant climate during your visit. This is actually a good time to visit tourist attractions in Egypt, especially in the northern part of the country.

On the other hand, it is a high season, so there will be a high influx of people to visit the Pyramids of Giza, the Temple of Karnak, the Egyptian Museum, among other must-see destinations that we will talk about later.

Spring in Egypt

Although the weather in Egypt tends to be predominantly dry, spring, which runs from March to May, is characterized by temperatures ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, so it is also a good time to travel to this destination.

As for the activities you can do, there are guided hikes or excursions to the White Desert. You can also enjoy nature in the oases and beaches located in the coastal cities of the Red Sea.

Autumn in Egypt

Autumn in Egypt (September to November) has certain differences compared to other countries where this natural phenomenon occurs, since the leaves of the trees do not change to orange and reddish tones, but stay the same almost all year round, due to the arid and desert climate.

Temperatures range between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius, so this season ends up being a little warmer than in other parts of the world. In any case, it is an ideal time for cultural tourism and to participate in the activities and festivals held in the main cities.

When to travel?

Now that you know the seasons of the year in Egypt, it is important that you know the most important tourist destinations in this country and their respective locations; not only to know when to travel, but also to organize a travel route that allows you to optimize your time and make the reservations you need for flights and accommodations.

Must-see destinations in Egypt

Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt Source: Unplash

Most tourist activities are related to visiting the imposing Egyptian pyramids and temples, but in reality there is much more to discover. In your itinerary you can include places that allow you to know part of its gastronomic richness, natural beauty and representations of the living culture, through the festivals and local events that are celebrated every year.

To guide you in this search, consider the following division of the territory that we have proposed for you to locate more easily those must-see tourist destinations and thus organize your own travel route, take note!

Upper Egypt

It refers to the southern region of the country and has much of Egypt’s historical heritage and cultural diversity. Some of the destinations you can visit in this region are:

Luxor

The Temple of Karnak; the Valley of the Kings; the Temple of Luxor; the ancient village of Deir el-Medina; the huge stone statues: Colossi of Memnon; the Temple of Medinet Habu; the Temple of Hatshepsut; the Luxor Museum; part of the Nile River and the Nubian villages.

Aswan

The Filae Temple; Aswan High Dam; the Temple of Kalabsha; the Unfinished Obelisk of Ancient Egypt; the pink granite of Aswan; the Tombs of the Nobility of Qubbet el-Hawa; the Nubian People, the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, part of the Nile River and the Nubian villages.

Abu Simbel

Visit the Abu Simbel Temples, Lake Nasser, visit the Nubian region, navigation on the Nile and explore other temples that narrate the reign of Ramses IIs.

On the way to the tourist hotspots of Upper Egypt, you can also visit the Edfu Temple located between the cities of Luxor and Aswan, which is dedicated to the god Horus. You can also visit the Temple of Kom Ombo, famous for its symmetrical design and location on the banks of the Nile River; and finally, the Oasis of Bahariya to learn the secrets of the desert and hot springs.

Middle Egypt

This area represents the central region of the country. There you will find another good part of Egypt’s rich history, including must-see tourist destinations, which offer an interesting insight into ancient Egyptian civilization.

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the starting point to visit other destinations / Image: Unsplash

Some of these destinations are:

Cairo, capital of Egypt

There you can visit the Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Saladin, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar and other cultural and historical sites not to be missed.

Meidum

It is a step pyramid which represents one of the earliest examples of Egyptian pyramids. A recommended plan for archaeology lovers.

Fayum Oasis

Southwest of Cairo, where you can also visit the museum of the region and explore archaeological ruins in the cities of Karanis and Hawara.

Beni Hassan Tombs

In this place you will find tombs with reliefs and painted murals depicting what would be the daily life of Ancient Egypt.

Tuna el-Gebel

An archaeological site where you will find catacombs and tombs dating from the Greco-Roman period. There you can also visit the famous complex of Akhenaten.

Hermopolis Maior

An ancient religious and cultural center, located in the city of Eshnunna.
Coptic Monasteries: two historical centers that will give you an insight into Christian history.

Minia

In this city you will find a magnificent insight into Egyptian life. You can visit the local markets, meet people and explore the culture and traditions of everyday life.

Lower Egypt

Lower Egypt represents the northern region of the country and is the most populated. Here you also connect with the city of Cairo; Alexandria on the Mediterranean Coast; the city of Suez; and the Western Delta.

Cairo

In Cairo, you can do cultural tourism in the historic center, visit the pyramids of Giza, as mentioned above; the Egyptian Museum; the Citadel of Saladin; the traditional Khan el-Khalili Bazaar; historic churches; and the traditional Coptic quarter, the center of Egypt’s Christian community.

Alexandria

In this city, you can visit the legendary Library of Alexandria; the Qaitbay Fort, as well as the Roman amphitheater.

Nile Delta

Here you will find unique natural beauty and, of course, places of historical interest such as Tanis; the ruins of an ancient city; and, Port Said, an ancient port city, known for the Suez Canal and its European-influenced architecture.

Egypt Travel Route

To define your travel route in Egypt you have two options. Contact a travel agency to take care of everything, or live the experience of organizing a trip on your own.

With the first option, you can forget about everything and just enjoy each experience to the fullest, but it can be very expensive. Meanwhile, with the second option, you can create your own travel itinerary, manage your budget and travel at your own pace, but taking care of every detail to travel safely and securely.

Egypt Tour with Travel Agencies

To organize a tour in Egypt with a travel agency, you need to have the approximate dates for your trip, or even already defined. As a minimum, an eight (8) day trip is recommended; although you can choose more or less days, according to your travel budget.

With this clear, the next step is to choose one of the tour packages offered by these companies. For example, Egypt Tours offers plans from five (4) days for $430 (per person) as shown in the following image:

Travel on a budget to Egypt with Travel Agencies / Source: egypttoursportal.com

To choose the best travel agency and the best budget, you will have to do research on the available companies, the offers and services offered, so that later you can make a comparison to find the best proposal to visit the country known as the cradle of civilizations.

In some cases, domestic flight reservations are included, in others not. So do not forget to confirm your flight reservations before choosing a tourist package.

Travel route through Egypt with travel APPs

For many travelers, mobile apps have become the best alternative when organizing a trip, thanks to the opinions and recommendations of other users. The possibilities are endless, here we bring you some examples:

Passporter

With this app, you can be inspired by the experiences of other travelers, choose the destinations of your interest, create a personalized travel route, upload your reservations and invite other participants to contribute ideas to the trip planning.

Its use is very intuitive as it tells you how to organize every detail. For example, this app asks you to start with the travel dates, then create a travel itinerary with the destinations you would like to visit, based on the recommendations of other travelers.

The next step is to make reservations for international and domestic flights, accommodations, transfers, activities to do, internet options, add insurance, and even find advice on how to obtain the necessary visa.

As a result, they will connect you to their business partners’ websites to find the information and services you need, just a click away. This step saves you searching on your own and connects you with globally recognized brands, without having to rely on a travel agency.

GuruWalk

If you have already planned your trip and want to find guided tours, apps like GuruWalk will be of great help. Here you will find free cultural sightseeing tours in the main cities of Egypt.

Just choose the day and language, and you will instantly find a list of recommended tours, with the best guides, rated by other travelers. With this option you will have the best alternative to get to the city and learn key information to explore and discover the wonders that this destination has for you.

Fact: In this link you will find our list of recommended travel apps for your next trip.

Requirements to travel to Egypt

The requirements to travel to Egypt as a tourist, depends on your nationality, but in general, you will need to have:

  • Valid passport: Valid during your travel time.
  • Tourist visa: You can obtain it at the Egyptian embassy or consulate in your country.
  • Airline ticket: Must include one outbound and one return flight.
  • Lodging reservation: Confirmation of the places where you plan to stay.
  • Travel insurance: This insurance should include medical coverage in case of illness or accident.
  • The visa for Egypt can also be acquired at the airport of entry to the country, only in cases of having an ordinary passport and allows a stay of 30 days, valid only for one entry. It costs $25.

It can also be processed electronically at the following link: www.visa2egypt.gov.eg. To do so, you must verify if your country is on the list of eligible countries, as is the case of Chile, Mexico and Spain.

Internet options

Having control of your trip on your cell phone is an essential aspect of your trip. Therefore, we bring you the most used options by travelers to have internet in Egypt, through an International eSIM, SIM cards for local use, international roaming, Pocket WiFi or free WiFi.

The choice of one or another alternative depends on the compatibility of the equipment, your travel budget and other factors that we will review below:

eSIM International

If you have the latest generation smartphone, compatible with eSIM, you can activate a data plan for your trip to Egypt, without depending on an operator or paying roaming fees. The purchase, installation and activation of this eSIM is on your own, thanks to a 100% virtual process.

Currently, there are providers specialized in travel eSIMs, such as Holafly. In their online store you will find eSIMs for multiple destinations, including Egypt. Their offer includes unlimited data plans from $27.00 USD and up, for different days of use.

Holafly eSIM with Unlimited Data for Egypt

This option has multiple advantages, as you can keep your usual SIM card and communicate via WhatsApp (or iMessage) with your family or friends, without having to use a plastic chip, or worry about activating international roaming.

Prepaid SIM cards

In case you do not have a cell phone compatible with eSIM, you can use the traditional SIM cards of the main operators in Egypt. In this case, we are talking about: Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat.

Before choosing a SIM card, check if the operator offers coverage in the destinations you plan to visit so that you will have a stable connection during your trip to Egypt. On the other hand, keep in mind that these plastic chips include data, minutes and SMS messages for local use (some also for international use) with different plans and rates.

However, to access their mobile services you will have to comply with the requested requirements and face the barriers of language, culture and payment in local currency.

International Roaming

The roaming service will allow you to continue using your cell phone in Egypt, as if you were at home. The activation of this service is done with the operator that manages your mobile service plan, paying additional fees for each consumption you make on your trip.

These rates are usually very high, so we recommend you consider other options such as eSIM, or pocket WiFi when it comes to having a private connection, using a portable or pocket router, which, among other things, will allow you to share a data plan with other devices.

Free WiFi

WiFi is the most practical alternative for many travelers, since it allows them to connect for certain periods of time for free in public establishments, such as cafés, hotels, airports, restaurants, libraries, among others.

Although it is the cheapest option, it is not the safest and that is why we have left it for last. It is best to look for private connections to avoid putting your information at risk.

How to move around Egypt?

In Egypt, there are multiple means of transport that you can use to move around the main cities and tourist destinations. The important thing is that you know them and identify the ideal time to go to them.

Means of transportation

Egypt has a bus system in the main cities of the country. Fares vary according to the distance depending on the route to be taken and tickets or cards are available at bus stops and points of sale.

There are also buses operating between nearby cities and towns. Among the most popular routes are Cairo to Luxor; Cairo to Alexandria; and Hurghada to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Cabs

In Egypt, you will find white cabs that have an electronic fare system, with prices regulated in the country. You will also find black cabs, which are the oldest and do not have this pricing so you will have to reach an agreement with the driver, so it is advisable to agree on a price before starting the journey.

Trains

The train system is an alternative to getting around the country efficiently when traveling long distances. It is operated by the state company Egyptian National Railways (ENR) and usually offers different classes of service, depending on the type of train and the route to follow.

Schedules and routes usually vary, so it is important to check this information and plan your trip in advance. As for tickets, they are available at the train stations and on the operator’s official website.

Maritime transportation

Maritime means of transport are still a very common option in Egypt. In fact, many tourists opt for cruises on the Nile to tour the country and usually stop at popular destinations along the Nile River and the Red Sea.

There are also more economical means, such as passenger boats, with medium comforts, and fishing boats for private excursions.

Fact: In addition to these means of transportation, you can also rent cars to tour Egypt at your own pace or hire special transportation services to explore the most emblematic tourist destinations with your family or friends.

Official currency of Egypt and where to exchange

The official currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP), its symbol is £ and each pound is divided into 100 piastres.

  • Coins of piastres: 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50.
  • Egyptian pound coin: 1 EGP.
  • Egyptian pound bills: 5, 10, 20, 20, 50, 100 and 200.

Where to exchange money?

In Egypt, there are several options to change money and for any of them you will have to present your passport. Here are the most common ones:

Money exchange offices

In the tourist areas of Egypt you will find foreign exchange houses. Their opening hours are more flexible than banks and they will always be one of the best alternatives to exchanging money.

To get the best deal, you should compare exchange rates and fees to compare and choose the most convenient for your travel budget. Here are the best known private exchange houses in Egypt:

  • Thomas Cook
  • Alexandria Exchange
  • Alberghi Group
  • Egyptian Currency Exchange (ECE)
  • Misr Bank Exchange
  • EG Bank Exchange
  • Alex Bank Exchange

Banks

The banks that are most commonly used for currency exchange, are:

  • Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)
  • National Bank of Egypt (NBE)
  • AlexBank
  • CIB (Commercial International Bank)
  • HSBC Bank
  • Banque Misr
  • QNB (Qatar National Bank)


Automated Teller Machines (ATM)

Another very useful alternative for foreign visitors are the ATMs (Automated Teller Machines). They are located in the most popular cities and tourist destinations; among them: Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada; also at airports, etc.

Fact: Check the daily withdrawal limit because it varies depending on the card issuer.

Credit cards

Visa, Mastercard and Maestro cards are widely accepted in Egypt. But please note that you can only use them if you have an active personal identification number and for this you will have to visit a branch of your nearest bank before traveling.

What to pack for your trip to Egypt?

Travel suitcase
Travel suitcase. Source: Unsplash

In addition to your travel documents, it is essential that you prepare your suitcase ahead of time, considering the activities and destinations you plan to visit. Within the list of basic things, we recommend you to include:

  • Clothing and footwear
  • Discreet clothing in light and breathable material.
  • Comfortable and resistant walking shoes
  • Bathing suit and swimsuit for the beach
  • Sturdy clothing for desert activities
  • Scarf for head and neck protection
  • Hat or cap to protect from the sun
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Fabrics such as cotton and linen are ideal to avoid sweltering. Also try to wear light-colored clothes, since dark clothes attract mosquitoes and keep your legs and arms covered.

Fact: In Egypt there is no special dress code for tourists, however, you should keep in mind the rules when visiting religious sites.

Toiletries and personal care products

Here we will not go into the details of specific brands or products, as this depends on each person. The recommendation is to check the baggage policy according to the airline you have chosen for your trip. This way you will know with total certainty what items are allowed, including their quantities and what is not.

Electronic equipment

You can also carry your laptop, chargers, camera and other valuable items in your travel backpack or cabin baggage. Nowadays, these are essential items for many travelers who have work or study commitments.

Rest kit for the plane

Surely in this experience, long trips await you, so we advise you to book your plane tickets in advance so you can choose the best seat, and even the rest kit with an ergonomic pillow, earplugs, mask and other important items.

First-aid kit and medicines

On your trip you cannot forget the medicines you usually take, in the amounts recommended by your doctor, according to the days of your trip and supported by the respective medical prescription.

On the other hand, in your first-aid kit remember to take analgesics, anti-diarrhea medication, antihistamines to treat allergies and other medications for stomach aches, as well as for fever or to combat flu-like symptoms.

Things worth buying in Egypt

Thanks to the historical and cultural richness of this country, it is worth buying souvenirs from Ancient Egypt; buying decorative items; fabrics or carpets; perfumes; Egyptian handicrafts in gourd and stone materials; food and spices.

These types of souvenirs can be found in local fairs and markets, with prices that you will have to negotiate with the merchants and as a final recommendation, be sure to take your valuables in sight.

Travel and safety recommendations

Among the travel recommendations, remember to have up to date:

  • Travel documents and vaccinations (if applicable), especially yellow fever.
  • Have a valid international travel insurance with coverage in Egypt.
  • Check the risk areas to avoid on your trip.
  • Carry cash (maximum 5,000 Egyptian pounds).
  • Bring a copy of all your travel and identity documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is low season in Egypt?

Normally, summer is the low season in Egypt, precisely because of the high temperatures.

Do I need a visa to enter Egypt?

The answer depends on your nationality. You can check the list of eligible countries for the e-visa process at: www.visa2egypt.gov.eg

What is the official language of Egypt?

The official language of Egypt is Arabic, so it is recommended that you learn some key phrases for greetings, asking for help, among other examples.

Is there a dress code for tourists in Egypt?

No. So far, there is no dress code for tourists. However, you should consult the rules when visiting religious temples, etc.