Egypt Travel Guide

Abu Simbel Egypt Travel Guide
Abu Simbel Temple

Ultimate Egypt Travel Guide

Known for its incredible Ancient Egyptian history, Pyramids, diverse culture, and beautiful beaches, Egypt has been a top destination among travelers. In the Egypt travel guide, we will be covering all the essentials to know for planning a vacation in Egypt, along with additional in-depth Egypt itineraries!

Egypt is located in the Northeast part of Africa. Surrounding countries include Sudan, Libya, Israel, and the Palestine Gaza Strip.

Nearby countries include Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria. Below, you will find tips, itineraries, and more to help you plan the best trip to Egypt!

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Egypt Travel Guide Tips

Before going in-depth about this Egypt travel guide, here is the short version for useful information and travel tips to know when traveling in Egypt. This includes Egypt’s popular cities, favorite eats, safety, and more!

Egyptian Language:

Egyptians speak Arabic, although English is widely spoken. It is always best to download Google Translate just in case you hit a language barrier.

Note that there are several different Egyptian Arabic dialects that are spoken throughout the country!

Egypt Population:

The Egyptian Population has around 104.3 million people.

Cairo Population:

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. In Cairo alone, there are around 9.54 million people. According to our guide, the city was designed to have no more than 7 million, so as you can imagine, there is a lot of traffic.

Credit Cards and ATMs in Egypt:

Credit cards are accepted in Egypt, however, they are not as widely as in many other countries. Having the local currency is important when traveling throughout Egypt Mastercard and Visa seem to be the only credit cards accepted at most locations.

Some of the major banks are Banque du Caire, The United Bank of Egypt, the Bank of Alexandria, and Commercial International Bank. You will find a lot of places to exchange your local currency with Egypt’s local currency.

Egyptian Currency:

The currency is the Egyptian Pound. Dollars and Euros are accepted, but the Pound is the currency they prefer to be paid in.

Egypt Airports:

Egypt is home to 8 very popular airports that travel across the main cities. The most popular international airport for arriving in Egypt is Egypt’s capital airport, Cairo International Airport (CAI).

When flying domestically around Egypt, popular airports include Luxor International Airport (LXR), Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH), and Aswan International Airport (ASW). The most popular airline in Egypt is Egypt Air. Find the best flight prices here.

Getting Around Egypt:

There is a variety of ways to travel across Egypt outside of using flights. You can choose to hire a driver, use the trains, the bus from popular cities, or even take a Nile river cruise to navigate through Egypt.

Egypt Safety:

Egypt is safe to travel to, despite what you may have heard. The crime rate in Egypt is generally low, but you should take care of your valuables and be aware of pickpockets, especially in the evening. It is not recommended to walk alone at night.

There are some areas to avoid in Egypt, however, all tourist attractions and cities (that you would plan to go to) are safe.

Power Outlets in Egypt:

The plug types used in Egypt are types C and F. Plug type C has two round pins, and F has the same but with two earth clips on the side. Egypt operates on 200V and 50Hz. 

This is the Travel Converter I use that works across the Globe.

Cell Service:

Cell phone service is very good in Egypt, especially around the major cities and tourist attractions. You can buy a local sim card while in Egypt, or go with an Esim if you have a smartphone.

We always go the Esim route, so we don’t have to worry about finding a sim card. We used the Holafly esim while in Egypt and had internet everywhere.

Popular Places in Egypt:

Some of the most popular cities to visit in Egypt are Cairo, Luxor, Sharm El-Sheikh, Alexandria, and Hurghada. All have the infrastructure to support tourists.

Famous Dishes Across Egypt: 

When visiting Egypt, make sure to try some of the most famous cuisines across the country. This includes:

  • Ta’meya (Egyptian Falafel) – A combination of fava beans that are made into a paste and fried.
  • Koshary – Egypt’s national dish made of rice, macaroni, chickpeas, tomato sauce, and various spices and herbs. 
  • Feteer Meshaltet – A flakey pastry-like bread that can be served with meat as a savory meal or as a dessert with syrup and sugar. 
  • Shawarma – This is grilled meat that is cooked all day long and served with bread. 

Books About Egypt:

For additional guidebooks about Egypt, check out:

Accomadations in Egypt:

Egypt is largely dependent on tourism, so there is a multitude of hotels to choose from across popular cities. You will find all the large chain hotels, including the Sheraton, Marriot, and Hilton.

Our favorite way to book hotels is on Bookingdotcom. They have flexible cancellations and competitive rates.

Visa in Egypt:

Egypt requires tourists to get an entry visa. This visa costs $25 USD on arrival. You need to have exactly $25 dollars, however. There are also options for getting a visa online, but it will likely cost more for processing fees.

Additionally, don’t forget to check out all my Egypt Travel Tips, which include tipping, shopping, what to watch out for, culture, and more!

Overlooking Cairo in Egypt
Overlook of Cairo

Weather in Egypt

Egypt has an extreme climate that remains warm throughout the year, but during the summer months, the weather can become unbearable for non-locals, so it is important to consider the month that you visit to really get the most out of your trip. 

The Spring season in Egypt mainly consists of warm, windy weather, and during the months of March and April, it is likely that Egypt will experience sandstorms. The temperature usually remains in the high 90’s and up to 104°F (40°C).

The summer months in Egypt consist of extreme heat. In June, the weather is hot, but from July to September, the weather can be very uncomfortable, and it is not advised to visit unless you are used to dry and hot climates. The temperatures can range from 98°F (36°C) to over 106°F (41°C).

The fall season in Egypt is the most popular time to visit because the weather is warm without being uncomfortable. During October and November, you can expect to find temperatures that range between 86°F (30°C) and 81°F (27°C).

The winter season in Egypt generally spans from December to February, and Egypt will usually experience windy weather however, it can still be considered a good time to visit as the weather is mild and the seas are warm. The temperature usually doesn’t dip below 70°F (20°C) during the day. At night, you will need a jacket, as it can get a little chilly, 50°F.

Valley of Kings Tomb
Valley of Kings Tomb

Egypt Travel Guides

Brief Egypt History

Known as the most ancient civilization still around today, Egypt is rich in history. The Egyptian Civilization dates back to c. 5,000 BC, known as the Predynastic Period. While a lot of Ancient Egypt is still a mystery, a lot has been able to be decoded from Hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone.

From Ancient Egyptians to Greeks, Romans, The Ottoman Empire, and now Islam, many have ruled over Egypt. With fertile lands down the Nile River, it makes sense why so many wanted to try and stake their claim to the land. Since I am sure you will have a guide that will really deep dive into Egyptian history while you are there, this Egypt travel guide will focus more on trip planning and travel tips moving forward.

Popular Things to Do in Egypt

As you probably guessed, seeing the Giza Pyramids is easily the most popular thing to do when visiting Egypt, but there is more to Egypt than just the Pyramids. Some of the most popular things to do in Egypt include:

Fun Egypt Fact: Did you know the Pyramid of Giza is the only World Wonder still standing out of the ancient 7 World Wonders?

Sunset down the Nile River in Aswan on a Felucca
Sunset down the Nile River in Aswan on a Felucca

The Best Time to Visit Egypt

The most popular time to visit Egypt is in the Fall months and Winter months. This is because the temperatures are milder, making it more comfortable to travel around. There is not much shade in this desert country, and the sun can be quite unforgiving. Therefore, you will find the highest prices during the cooler months.

Spring is also a popular time to visit Egypt, and as it gets hotter, hotel prices tend to go down a little.

Summer in Egypt is the least popular time to visit. This is due to the high temperatures.

So, the best times to visit Egypt will be from September through April. However, you should always check when Ramadan is. The Ramadan holiday lasts for 4 weeks, and you may find more things are closed.

The Red Pyramid
The Red Pyramid is the first true Pyramid ever built

How Many Days do You Need to Visit Egypt?

The number of days to spend in Egypt can vary by the type of traveler or travel style. However, in this Egypt guide, I would suggest at least 7 – 10 days in Egypt. This will allow you to visit the main cities, including Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor. These cities are also the most popular to visit for first-time travelers to Egypt.

With more time, you should consider adding cities such as Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam. These seaside towns are very popular and known for beautiful beaches.

Sphinx and Giza Pyramid Complex

How to Plan Your Egypt Vacation

The first course of action is deciding how many days you plan to stay in Egypt. Most people will be flying into Cairo, and let’s face it, the Pyramids are on most people’s bucket lists.

If, for some reason, you only had 5 days in Egypt, I would spend it in Cairo and Luxor to visit the ancient sites.

With 7 days in Egypt, you can comfortably do Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor. I would suggest starting with 2 days in Cairo, flying to Aswan for 2 days, and then either driving or taking a Nile cruise up to Luxor.

With 10 days in Egypt, you can either spend an extra couple of days in Cario, Aswan, and Luxor or add a beach city to your Egypt itinerary such as Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh. Both beach cities are located right on the Red Sea.

The next thing you will decide is what time of year you want to visit Egypt. Since we discussed the best time to visit Egypt and the weather in Egypt, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect during each time of the year. The high season in Egypt from October – December, because of the weather.

See my detailed Egypt itinerary here!

Deciding on a Group Tour, Private Tour, or DYI in Egypt

Once you know how many days you will spend in Egypt, being able to navigate to Egypt’s best attractions is your next step. There are 3 ways to do it.

The most popular way people tend to travel to Egypt is with a group tour. The benefit is that it leaves very little planning to you. Usually, restaurants, activities, and transportation will all be planned for you. However, the cons of a group would be the ability to have flexibility in your travel plans and sharing the experience with a group of people.

Using a Private tour guide in Egypt is another option, and in my opinion, the best option. With a personal guide, you get all the benefits of a group tour, without the extra people, and the full flexibility of designing your trip around the things you want to see. This is what we did, and although a little more expensive, worth every penny.

Our plan included all transportation (excluding flights) and a private Egyptologist. Things not included in the price were attraction tickets (we paid at the booth ourselves), food (although our guides still bought us a ton of food anyway), and our hotels. For 2 people with guides in Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor, for our specific requests, it was close to $1,380 USD (Egypt Exchange Rate $1 USD = $25 LE).

We used George Marsa Alam & Luxor Transportation, and had an excellent experience.

The last option is a DYI trip to Egypt. This is usually the most budget-friendly option, but the least popular option. This is because getting around Egypt can be difficult, and renting a car is usually out of the question. Plus, without having some type of guide at the historical monuments will leave you at a disadvantage in getting insights into the Ancient Egyptians.

The people who tend to make DYI trips have been to Egypt before, and have already learned a ton of history about the main attractions. This doesn’t mean you can’t do a DYI trip to Egypt if this is your first time, I would just recommend against it. At the very least, if you are to do a DYI, I would suggest hiring a driver to get you to and from the monuments, or doing day trips with a tour operator like Viator.

One of the best Egypt travel tips is to visit with a guide
Our Private Guide

A Nile Cruise or Drive

When deciding on how to plan your Egypt vacation, a Nile Cruise will be another decision to make. For some people, this is an easy yes, as it has been on your Egypt bucket list. Nile Cruises usually go between Aswan and Luxor with stops at Ancient Egyptian sites along the way. Most Cruises last for 4 days and 3 nights.

When you do a Nile Cruise, you can take a little headache of getting to attractions, food, and accommodation. However, every site you visit, will be with a large group of people.

Since I am not a fan of sleeping on a boat (motion sick), we choose to drive from Aswan to Luxor with our private guide. We made stops along the way at Kom Ombo Temple, Edfu Temple, and Esna Temple. Because we drove from Aswan to Luxor, (the opposite way of the cruises), we had all the temples basically to ourselves.

Esna Temple Pillars
Temple of Khnum (Esna)

Is Egypt Budget-Friendly

Compared to Europe and North America, Egypt would be considered a budget-friendly place to visit, especially right now, since the current exchange rate is $1 USD = $25 LE.

You can certainly find luxury in Egypt, but you will be able to find budget as well. Hotels usually start around $70 USD a night on the budget-friendly side.

Street food can be around $5 USD a person, while sit-down meals may be around $10 USD per person. Most attractions are no more than $10 USD per person to get into.

Arabic Words to Help You Get Around Egypt

English is widely spoken throughout Egypt, however, it never hurts to learn some Arabic words before visiting. Locals always appreciate it when you try to speak their language. Additionally, having offline Google translate will also be very helpful if you do experience any language barriers.

Common Egyptian Phrases:

  • ‘ahlan – Hello
  • Ma-Salama – Goodbye 
  • Aiwa – Yes
  • La – No
  • Shukran – Thank you
  • Asalam alaikum – Peace be with you (Use to initiate greeting or to say goodbye).
  • afwan – You’re welcome
  • Yalla – Let’s go

Egypt Travel Guide Wrap-up

This concludes all the information you should need to plan your Egypt vacation! Make sure to check the Egypt Travel Guide itineraries that were above. These guides delve even further into Egypt planning, Egypt travel tips, what to wear in Egypt, and suggested itineraries.

If you have any questions about the Egypt travel Guide or feel I missed something, feel free to reach out via email or social media! Have the best time in Egypt!

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Egypt travel guide