At the mention of Egypt, people can’t help but think of the famous pyramids of Giza and ancient temples, but Egypt is much more than that.
Egypt offers a treasure trove of breathtaking sights and exciting experiences. From journeying through dusty deserts and its fertile oasis, scuba diving in the Red Sea, to hiking the peak of Mount Sinai—Egypt will never run out of things that will fascinate you. If you recently booked an Egypt family vacation package and want to start planning for the trip right away, we have compiled a comprehensive travel guide containing everything you need to know to enjoy a hitch-free journey to the Land of the Pharaohs.
Everything You Need To Know Before Traveling to Egypt
- The best time to travel in Egypt is from October to April. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, we suggest avoiding the peak season, which is from December to January. And if you want to visit the Red Sea to snorkel, the best time is from June to September. However, take note that it is the flood season in Egypt.
2. The official language in Egypt is Egyptian Arabic or Masri.
3. The official currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (EGP).
4. Credit cards are accepted at most shops, restaurants, and establishments, but as always, it is prudent to carry some cash with you.
5. In terms of safety, Egypt is a relatively safe country. However, keep in mind that the northern half of Sinai is unstable, so it is best to steer clear of it. After all, there are plenty of other locations you can visit.
6. You can avail a renewable single-entry tourist visa upon arrival for only $25 if you are eligible. However, take note that if you miss any document, you may be denied entry to the country.
7. Always carry some sunscreen and a hat with you because Egypt’s heat is unbelievably hot and trepid. July is usually the hottest month of the year, with temperatures ranging from 34.7°C (94.5°F) to as high as 43.3°C (109.9°F). It is also a good idea to pack airy, breathable cotton clothes to prevent getting heatstroke in Egypt’s scorching weather.
8. Be mindful of your attire and etiquette at religious and historic sites. Make sure you are dressed appropriately and modestly when visiting sacred grounds. Also, be mindful of local etiquette, especially at certain places such as mosques. Here, you must remove your shoes before entering, and women must cover their heads with hijab.
9. Tipping is a standard practice in Egypt, especially in the service industry. The locals call it baksheesh. Tips can range from 5 EGP (about $0.50) up to 100 EGP ($5.50).
Must-Try Activities and Must-See Tourist Attractions in Egypt
Egypt is a pocketful of fascinating sights, landscapes, and ancient wonders. Don’t miss the chance to check out the following tourist attractions and activities that tourists of all kinds would surely appreciate.
1. Gaze at the Majestic Pyramids of Giza
Egypt’s world-famous Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx are one of the most iconic ancient sights of the world, so you should not pass up on the chance to gaze at them up close and personal.
One of the most fascinating things about the Great Pyramid of Giza is how it stood the test of time and remains intact to this day. Being the oldest of the three main Pyramids on the Giza plateau as well as the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World, this pyramid was built way back in 2570 BC, which is already about five millennia ago. Yet surprisingly, it is the only Ancient Wonder to remain intact to this day.
Allot at least three hours to fully enjoy exploring the interiors of the Great Pyramid, hike up the peak of the Panoramic Point, and take perfect photos while posing with the Sphinx as the backdrop.
2. Cruise Along the Nile River
The Nile River, the second longest river in the world, has long provided sustenance and irrigation to countless civilizations that allowed them to flourish. One of the best things to do when in Egypt is to go cruising along the Nile River, while passing through the ancient tombs and temples. Most cruises offered to tourists sail between Aswan and Luxor, allowing you to make short stops to Kom Ombo, Esna, and Edfu along the way.
There are various water transportation modes you can choose from, such as the dahabiya—a small Egyptian wooden ship; a felucca—a tiny Egyptian sailboat; or the modern cruise ship, which is the most popular option.
3. Learn About Egypt’s History at the Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum found on Tahrir Square in Cairo contains the world’s largest archive of Egyptian artifacts. Here, you’ll find the enigmatic gold mask made of purely solid gold, as well as the infamous golden sarcophagi of Tutankhamun. You will also have a blast exploring the mysterious Royal Mummies room, along with a room full of obscene amounts of jewelry, treasures, and statues. Be sure to listen to the tour guide telling the story of such artifacts.
4. Explore the Pyramid of Djoser
The necropolis of the ancient city of Memphis—Saqqara—contains a considerable amount of pyramids. This is where you will find the oldest stone building complex in the world—the Pyramid of Djoser. After the 14 long years of restoration work, the Step Pyramid is now open to tourists. You will surely find it interesting to descend down its stairways and weave your way around the labyrinth of passageways beneath the pyramids.
5. Visit the Famous Ancient City of Alexandria
The famed Lighthouse of Alexandria is yet another Ancient Wonder of the World that can be found in Egypt. It can be found in the impressive metropolis of Alexandria—the second largest city in Egypt. It is home to some of the most important and famous structures, such as the Great Library of Alexandria, Lighthouse of Pharos, and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa. Not to mention, this is also where they found the submerged city of Thonis or Heracleion, which was once prosperous but mysteriously sank about 1500 years ago.
When exploring Alexandria, make sure to visit its top sights, including the Citadel of Qaitbay, the Corniche, the Serapeum, the Stanley bridge, and the Montazab Palace Gardens.
6. Sunbathe at the Sharm El-Sheikh Beach
If you are an avid beach goer, you will surely enjoy Egypt’s most popular resort town—the Sharm El-Sheikh. If you want to take a break from the tombs and temples, you can go scuba diving here instead. There’s also the ras Mohammed National Park which will give you a healthy dose of nature. Alternatively, you can also go shopping at the Sharm Old Market or sunbathe and relax at the Naama and Shark’s bay.
7. Hike the Summit of Mount Sinai
For religious tourists, pilgrimaging in Mount Sinai is a must. After all, this is where Moses received the Ten Commandments according to the Old Testament. As such, Mount Sinai is a sacred place for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Believers of these faiths usually climb the summit of Mount Sinai to watch the sunrise. The hike usually starts at Saint Catherine’s Monastery—a Greek orthodox church known as one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. It is also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Scuba Dive in the Red Sea
The pristine coral reefs, numerous sharks, colorful schools of fish, and the enigmatic shipwrecks in the famous Red Sea makes it such a good diving spot for scuba diving enthusiasts. There are also plenty of dolphins and manatees in the area, granting you a close up view of the thriving marine life in the Red Sea.