The Pyramids of Egypt Travel Guide Plus Important Travel Tips
Are the Egypt Pyramids of Giza on your bucket list? Located just outside of central Cairo, Egypt, The Pyramids of Giza are actually the last remaining of the old seven wonders of the Ancient World. In this Egypt guide, I am covering how to visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt, travel tips to keep in mind, commonly asked questions about the Pyramids of Egypt, and more!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The Pyramids of Egypt Travel Guide Plus Important Travel Tips
- How to get to the Pyramids of Giza
- The Cost of Visiting the Pyramids
- Hours of Operation for Visiting The Pyramids
- Best Time to visit the Pyramids of Giza
- Best Things to do When you Visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt
- Pyramids of Giza Travel Tips
- Photography at the Pyramids of Egypt
- Using a Guide for Visiting the Pyramids of Egypt
- Q&A Egypt Pyramids
- Where to Stay When Visiting the Pyramids of Giza
- How to Visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt Wrap-up
How to get to the Pyramids of Giza
The first order of business is getting to the Great Pyramids of Giza. Many believe that the Pyramids are in Cairo, and while they are in the “Greater Cairo,” the Pyramids are technically in the city of Giza, thus the name.
If you go with a guide (we will talk about this later), you won’t have to worry about this. However, if you are visiting the Pyramids of Egypt on your own, there are two different entrances.
One is to the North of the Giza Plateau. This entrance will let you out right at the Great Pyramid. This is right next to the Marriott Mena House Hotel.
The second entrance to the Pyramids is by the Great Sphinx of Giza to the East. This is near the famous Pizza Hut view, and a lot of other smaller accommodations.
I would suggest starting at the North Entrance, which will open right up to the show stopper, the Great Pyramid of Giza. From there, you will exit at the Sphinx.
If you are staying in Old Cairo, it will take around 30 minutes to get to the Giza Plateau. If you are staying in Giza, you will probably see the Pyramids from your hotel. More about where to stay at the end of this guide.
Without a guide, I would recommend using Uber to get to the Pyramids, or organizing transportation with your accommodation.
The Cost of Visiting the Pyramids
The next thing you need to know about visiting the Pyramids is the cost. So, if you didn’t already know, the public is allowed to go inside the 3 pyramids. However, most people who pay the extra ticket price say it is underwhelming and not worth the extra money, but that is for you to decide.
The reason many have that feeling is because the passage climbing up is very narrow and sometimes steep. It can also be very hot, and have a lot of traffic with people trying to get in and out. Additionally, there is no real decoration inside, unlike the tombs at the Valley of Kings.
You will go up to the ticket booth and purchase your tickets. You can buy them with either Egyptian Pounds (EGP or LE), or a Visa or Mastercard Credit Card.
The prices below are foreigners AKA tourists. Egyptians have reduced rates.
- The Entry Price to get into the Giza Plateau and Sphinx Costs 240 EGP per person.
- The Entry to go inside the Great Pyramid is an additional 440 EGP per person.
- Entry inside Pyramid 2 and 3 are an additional 100 EGP each per person.
- They also have a combo ticket that includes the Giza Plateau, Sphinx, entrance to the Great Pyramid, and the Solar Boat for 600 EGP per person.
Additionally, there is also a section for professional gear, including a tripod. Although it is on the sign, they didn’t charge us extra.
This could be a case-by-case depending on the ticket agent you get. The rules sometimes feel like a free for all in Egypt.
Once you get the ticket, hold onto it because you will need to swipe it, but first, you will walk through a metal detector and put any bags through the X-ray machine. After you get through the security check, you will scan your ticket at the turnstile.
Hours of Operation for Visiting The Pyramids
The hours of operation at the Pyramids of Giza are from 8 AM – 5 PM. It is important to mention that when doing research, I found a lot of different times.
Also, even though it was 8 AM for opening, when we were there in November, I saw people near the Sphnix around 7:40 AM.
Because the hours seem to change every so often, I would suggest double-checking with your hotel, a local, or your guide when you arrive in Cairo or Giza.
Unfortunately, there is currently no official website that has the details.
Best Time to visit the Pyramids of Giza
When planning a trip to the Pyramids, knowing the best time to visit can help you plan your itinerary. In general, the best time to visit Egypt is between the months of October – April. These months are also considered the “high-season” when Egypt has the most tourists.
This is because the weather is more tolerable during these months. Summer months in Egypt can be brutally hot. December and January seem to be when most people plan their vacations.
With this in mind, the Giza Pyramids are Egypt’s most famous landmark. As you could imagine, it can get crowded. Therefore, if you are someone who likes to avoid crowds, visiting when they first open will be ideal.
Moreover, if you are visiting during warmer months, escaping the midday heat is a great idea. There is not too much shade around.
Best Things to do When you Visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt
Now that we laid down the groundwork to visit the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, let’s get into the good stuff, which is the best things to do once you are there.
The Great Pyramid
Starting off with the Great Pyramid of Giza. This pyramid was built by the Ancient Egyptians during the 4th dynasty for Pharaoh Khufu.
It is the largest Pyramid in Egypt, standing at around 481 ft. high! That makes this pyramid around 4600 years old! The Pyramid was built from limestone, and you can still see a bit of the shiny limestone at the bottom.
You can climb up a little bit of the Great Pyramid to the entrance of going inside the chamber. This is the only place you can go up it a little. Even if you don’t go up the Pyramid, make sure to at least touch this architectural gem.
The stones weigh around 2.5 tons – which is just so crazy! The Great Pyramid of Giza is also referred to as the first Pyramid. This is because it was the first Pyramid built at the Giza Necropolis.
So the big question is, are you team aliens built them or people?! Let me know in the comments!
Visit the 2nd Pyramid of Khafre
The 2nd Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khafre, Kufu’s son (builder of the first Pyramid). This is the second-largest Pyramid, and Khafre also built the Great Sphinx. You can recognize this pyramid because some of the original limestone finish is at the top.
This Pyramid was believed to be completed around 2570 B.C. and stands at 448 ft. The 2nd Pyramid also tends to look larger because it is built on higher ground, giving it the appearance.
The 3rd Pyramid of Menkaure
The smallest of the 3 main Pyramids of Giza was built for Pharaoh Menkaure. It is a little over 200 ft. tall and is believed to have been built in the 4th Dynasty. This Egypt pyramid is unique in that it has 3 smaller pyramids behind it.
There is speculation as to who the other three smaller pyramids were for. Some believed it was for the queen, others for Ra; either way, they are still very cool to see.
The 3rd temple also was partly demolished by the Sultan in 1196 AD. However, it was so expensive for them to try and take down, the men quit. So, you will see a large vertical gap in this pyramid.
Take Photos from Panoramic Point
One of the best places to take photos of the Pyramids is from the spot called the Panoramic point of the Pyramids. Therefore, it is a must when you visit the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt! If you are with a guide, make sure they take you here.
Generally speaking, it is a very popular spot to stop for anyone with a tour guide because you can get a great view of all three pyramids.
The Great Sphinx
You can see the Shpnix in front of Khafre’s Pyramid. The Sphinx has the body of a lion and a head that is believed to be Khafre.
While I couldn’t find any literature online to confirm my guide’s story, he said that there was a giant boulder in the eyesight of Pharaoh Khafre’s view. Because it was so hard to move, the architect carved it into s Sphinx instead, which is partly why it is the largest Sphinx ever to be found.
You can take this story with a grain of salt because I couldn’t confirm it, but it does make sense!
The Great Sphinx measures 240 ft long from paw to tail and 66 ft high.
Make sure to walk through the Valley Temple of Khafre, which is just to the left of the Sphinx. As you go through, you will walk up a ramp that will also allow you to be closer to the Sphinx.
The Solar Boat Museum
You also have the opportunity to explore the Solar Boat, which is a reconstruction of King Khafre’s ship.
The boat has been moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is not open yet, but is supposed to be incredible once it is. It is now scheduled to open this year in 2023.
Grab Breakfast or Lunch at 9 Pyramids Lounge
Another thing to do when you visit the Pyramids of Giza, is to grab a bite at 9 Pyrmaids Lounge. This is one of the best places to eat while being in front of the Pyramids.
Reservations are usually required, so if you want to make this happen, do it in advance. The lounge is located inside the Giza complex, and the food is known to be quite tasty here.
And, of course, you really can’t beat this view! Having a private driver is the best for visiting the lounge because it is quite far from the entrance.
If you don’t have a car, your only other option is by walking, camel, or horse and carriage ride. Because they know people need a ride, many times, they charge well over what they should be for this transportation. You can stay up to date on their Facebook page.
Take a Camel Ride
To be honest, I did not take a camel ride. The reason I didn’t do this is because I know many of the camels and horses are treated badly.
This may not be the case for all the camels, but after a bad experience in Israel, I will always opt-out. Now I know many of you dream of going by camel across the Pyramids of Egypt.
So, if you do, just try to work with someone who looks to be treating their animals well.
Pyramids of Giza Travel Tips
Now that you know how to visit the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the best things to see, I need to give you the low down on the tips you need to know for visiting. The pyramids can be a great experience, but if you are unprepared, it can feel overwhelming.
Knowing these Pyramid of Giza tips will help you prepare for your visit.
- If you see a group of kids trying to take pictures with you, just say no thank you, or Shukran (like saying no thank you). These kids are ruthless. They don’t mean any harm, but they can be very annoying.
- Vendors will ask you non-stop if you want to do camel rides, horse rides, and horse carriage rides. One of the best ways to get them to stop hassling you is by telling them you already took a ride.
- If you do want to do one of the rides, make sure you bargain the price and have a confirmed set price. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of the vendors trying to charge more after the fact.
- Make sure to use the bathroom at the entrance. There are only a few bathrooms once you start exploring.
- If you are with a guide, you tend to get hassled less by vendors. They look for people without guides. However, even with a guide, they are still going to try and sell you stuff.
- You can not take any pictures of guards. You will get in trouble.
- When leaving, there are tons of vendors selling stuff. These items are cheap and are usually not made in Egypt. So if they are selling “genuine” papyrus paper, this may not be the case. It is totally fine to buy things from these vendors. Just know it might not be authentic.
- Wear sunscreen and bring water with you. It gets hot, and there is not much shade.
- If there is anywhere you should dress more covered up (ladies), this is the place to show much less skin. Women seem to complain most at the Giza Pyramids.
- Wear sturdy shoes if you are planning on walking around the grounds.
- If someone offers to take a photo for you (like a guard), they will likely ask for a tip after taking the photo for you.
I would recommend checking out this Egypt Packing guide for understanding the dress code and these Egypt travel tips for more details on what to expect when visiting.
Photography at the Pyramids of Egypt
In the past, Egypt was more strict with photography, but they seem to be relaxing some of these rules. During our visit to the Pyramids of Giza, we didn’t get hassled at all for photography with professional camera gear. It helps when you are with a guide.
However, I spoke with a gentleman later in our trip who said that even with a guide, the guards gave him trouble for his zoom lens. It really seems to depend on the guard you run into.
If you are dressed for a photo shoot, you will likely run into more issues than someone who looks like a normal tourist.
I have heard of content creators and influencers being asked to delete their SD cards and really getting hassled for taking “professional” photos around the Giza Pyramids.
Again, we didn’t run into this at all, but, I wasn’t wearing a fancy dress, and when we took photos, it didn’t really look like we were taking photoshoots.
If you are not a content creator or traveling with a fancy camera or tripod, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of this at all!
Using a Guide for Visiting the Pyramids of Egypt
So, technically you do not need a guide to visit the Pyramids of Egypt, however, if this is your first time in Egypt, it can be very helpful. For one, you will get all your information about these Ancient sites from an Egyptologist.
Additionally, having a guide and driver makes it easy to get around these historical sites. The Giza plateau is very large.
Furthermore, having a guide will help protect you more from scammers trying to haggle you.
Q&A Egypt Pyramids
In this section, I wanted to cover some of the most common questions I’ve been asked or have seen about visiting the Giza Pyramids in Egypt.
Technically no. However, you do have to climb up some of the Pyramid to go into the entrance if you choose to go inside. Additionally, sometimes guards will let you go up a little for a tip, but you shouldn’t.
Currently, the pyramids are open to the public, and you can go inside the Pyramids for an extra cost.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was the first Pyramid built by Pharaoh Khufu.
The Pyramids were built by 3 different Pharaohs. Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.
The Great Pyramid of Giza built by Khufu is the largest Pyramid in Egypt. It is 481 ft. high.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid and it is the only of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still intact.
Pyramids were built in Egypt to house the Pharaoh’s tomb for when they were prepared to go to the afterlife.
All 3 pyramids were built in the 4th Dynasty and are over 4,500 years old.
Where to Stay When Visiting the Pyramids of Giza
Know that you know how to visit the Pyramids of Egypt, you may be wondering where you should stay. There are two places to consider staying when visiting the Pyramids of Giza.
You can either stay in Old Cairo or in Giza. If you stay in Giza, you are almost guaranteed to see the pyramids from your hotel.
However, unless you stay at the Marriott Mena House hotel, the accommodations are not very luxurious. If you are ok with that, staying in Giza and being able to see the Pyramids from your hotel window are worth it.
If you want more luxury, staying in Old Cairo will be your better option. From Cairo, it is around 30 minutes to the Pyramids depending on traffic.
Here are some hotel options to consider for visiting the Egyptian Pyramids.
The Guardian Guest House: (Giza)This is where we stayed. The staff was extremely friendly, and we could not complain about our view. We could even see the pyramids light show at night from our window.
Marriott Mena House, Cairo: (Giza) If you want a very luxurious experience with the Pyramids in sight, this is where you want to stay!
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza: (Cairo) Located right on the Nile River, The Four Seasons Hotel never disappoints.
Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir Cairo: (Cairo) The Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir Cairo is located right by the Egyptian Museum, and the decor looks lovely.
How to Visit the Pyramids of Giza Egypt Wrap-up
This concludes everything you need to know about visiting the Pyramids of Giza. I hope you have the most incredible time visiting these Ancient Egyptian sites.
More Egypt travel guides:
- Ultimate Egypt Travel Guide – Planning your Trip
- How to Spend 2 Days in Cairo, Egypt
- Egypt Itinerary 7 Days & 10 Days
Have any questions about visiting the Pyramids of Giza or feel like I missed something? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to reach out via email or social media.