Visit Egypt: Things to Know before You Go

Egypt is a beautiful country and is incredibly important as a historic location. Ancient Egypt is one of the oldest and culturally rich human civilizations and has drawn travelers from all around the world for ages. Some of most famous historical landmarks in the world such as the famed Giza necropolis, the burial chambers, mysterious tombs, fascinating museums and along with the culture of the country, Egypt will provide you with an experience of lifetime.

Before going to Egypt for a vacation as a first timer, you may have a lot of questions about the places to visit, how to reach, what should be packed, when is the best visit time, etc. Learn about the following things if you visit Egypt for the first time to make the travel smooth.

Visit Egypt
Tourists Plan a Travel to Egypt

Geographical Location

The country is located on the North Eastern part of Africa and enjoys quite a strategic position along the borders. It extends from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to Sudan in the south, from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the west to the Red Sea in the East (See Things to Do in the Red Sea). An artificial sea level waterway, The Suez Canal, connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and marks the border between Asia and Africa.

Read More about Egyptian Facts about Geography, History...      Regions in Egypt


Best time to visit

It is ideal to visit Egypt during the cooler months of the year - November through March. It is unlikely to receive rainfall during these months in the southern part of the country such as in Luxor and Aswan. Although, haze can be an issue in Cairo. So, it is wise to plan your trip to pyramids of Giza in the afternoon hours. Also, there are chances of rain in Cairo and Alexandria during the winter months.

The maximum tourist footfall can be seen during December and January.

Temperatures can be between 40 to 55°C (104 to 130°F) during the summer months. While the southern part experiences a dry heat, up in the north, humidity makes the heat feel even worse.


Traveling to Egypt

The primary international airport is Cairo International Airport (CAI) and is often the main way in and out of the country for international travelers. However, you can also get some limited international flying routes that come to Luxor International Airport (LXR).

Sharm el Sheikh International Airport (SSH) and Hurghada International Airport (HRG) have many direct flights via Europe or the Middle East.

EgyptAir, EgyptAir Express and Nile Air (local low cost carrier) are the national carriers in Egypt.

Read More about Egypt Transportation


Get a Visa

You will need a visa to visit Egypt from a foreign destination. The citizens of the European Union, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Japan, Russia, and a couple of more countries, can obtain a Visa on Arrival at the airport. The process is very simple and costs nominally at $25 USD. You can get the revised price for the visa, if any, before traveling.

Read More about Egypt Trip Cost on Visa, Food, Accommodation...


Intercity Travel

Motorboat in Egypt
Motorboat on the Nile River
The fastest way to get between the major cities of the country is by plane.  There are many plane routes connecting Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada, and Sharm el Sheikh.

Train is a more traditional way of transport and has an extensive network connecting Cairo to Alexandria.

Traveling by Nile cruise is also an option and in big cities like Luxor and Aswan, there are small motorboats that can bring you from the east to west bank or vice versa.

Group Tour Van / Bus is common if you are planning to visit Egypt with a local tour guide. The size of the coaches varies depending on the number of tourists.

Read More about Cairo Transportation      Aswan Transportation


Exploring beyond Pyramids

Of course, everyone is familiar with the Pyramids of Giza, but when you visit Egypt, make sure to go to the lesser known destinations as well. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has more than 120,000 artifacts, and the capital is home to ancient churches, mosques, hammams (Turkish baths), madrasas (Islamic colleges) and some amazing fountains - all of which are stunning in its own way. Explore Luxor which is a treasure trove of mindboggling historical evidences and antiquities. You can plan a day or two to visit the Valley of Kings, Karnak, Luxor Temple. Don't skip Aswan, a town in the south of Egypt and has the Nubian Museum, unfinished obelisk, Elephantine, Abu Simbel Temple and more.

Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple

Read More about 7 Famous Places in Egypt    Exploring the Deserts in Egypt


What to Wear

As summer months are hot and humid, it is wise to carry cotton clothes.


The state religion of the country is Islam, so there can be times when you feel the ambience is a bit conservative. And when you visit Egypt, make sure to dress conservatively out of respect, especially when you are visiting the religious sites such as mosques.

Read more about Al Azhar Mosque - the Finest Mosque in Cairo


Dressing modestly at religious sites is a thoughtful approach in general. While in other public places, try to wear modest dresses to avoid the unnecessary stares from locals.

Egypt Hatshepsut Temple
Dress Modestly at Hatshepsut Temple

Read More about Egypt Weather     What to Pack for Egypt Travel - Clothing & Toiletries Lists


Cuisine

Not just the amazing historic sights, when you visit Egypt, you are in for a treat of a variety of dishes. Most of the ones are made with legumes, rice, vegetables, and fruit. Ful Medames is a common breakfast dish that serves mashed fava beans with boiled eggs. The colorful Molokhiya, a green soup that is the national dish of the country is a must-try.

Depending on where you’re from, you might face some issues with the drinking water standard in Egypt. As a rule, get bottled water not just for drinking but also for brushing.

Read More about Top 10 Egypt Street Foods    Special Drinks in Egypt


Tipping

This is a must and is a very important element of their culture. Be prepared to tip, a lot, while you visit Egypt. You have to tip the locals for almost everything. Clearly, it explains the socio-economic condition of the country but as a traveler, it is always recommended to stick to the rules and tradition of the place. “Baksheesh” is the word and is imperative to tip everyone who serves you. If you are not sure how much to tip, the common calculation is to add 10 percent of the bill.

Read More about Currency in Egypt


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