Last Updated on by Lohanna Reis
A trip to Egypt is the excursion of a lifetime for not just first-time travellers, but for those that have been in awe of everything this country offers many times before. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Egypt, no matter how many times you’ve been through the border. Here are 8 essential things to know before travelling to Egypt:
1. Watch out for health risks while in Egypt
Avoid health risks commonly associated with Egypt like sun exposure and tap water by staying on guard. Egypt’s temperatures can soar, so make sure to pack sunscreen and appropriate clothing, and buy bottled water instead of filling your bottle up from the tap.
2. Convert your money to Egyptian currency
Egypt uses the Egyptian pound (LE, E£ or £E) and since some establishments won’t have change or accept credit cards, it’s important to pick up some currency before you travel.
3. Egypt is more than just the Pyramids
While the Pyramids are an unforgettable landmark you should see during your time in Egypt, there’s plenty more to see in the country like the river Nile, the Egyptian museum and of course, the Sphynx. The best way to see it all? Visit Egypt on a guided tour and ensure you don’t miss a thing.
4. Tipping is essential
In Egypt, locals rely on tips to make a living and feed their families. Expect to tip most people who help you in your day-to-day, and tips range from typically 3LE to 10LE for hotel staff and servers and shoot up to 50LE (or more) for tour guides. For restaurants, expect to tip about 10% of the total bill.
5. You probably need a visa to enter the country
Once you arrive in Egypt, you’ll need to buy a visa at the airport. They cost 25 USD (that you’ll need to pay in cash) and will be valid for 30 days.
6. Hassling, bribery, and scams are common
To combat this, it’s better to assume that nothing is free. Always be prepared to pay for things that you might not expect – including “free” souvenirs. If you’re unsure, ask your tour guide.
7. Egypt is surprisingly safe in terms of violent crime
Even in Cairo, you should feel safe in Egypt. Like in every country, crimes of opportunity do exist, yet violent crime is surprisingly low. The only places to avoid are the Sinai Peninsula and the Libyan border – but these two spots are far away from all the must-see Egyptian tourist attractions.
8. Respect the local culture
Since Egypt is mostly a Muslim country, respect the culture by dressing modestly. Avoid low-cut tops and shorts, and instead pack light trousers, ankle-length skirts and long-sleeve cotton and linen blouses (with roll-up sleeves). It’s also recommended to carry a scarf just in case.
With these 8 essential things to bear in mind when travelling to Egypt, you can make sure your next trip to this magical destination goes off without a hitch.
Places and attractions to visit in Egypt
Still unsure about where to go and places to visit in Egypt? With that in mind, we have separated a list of some cities and attractions that can make your eyes shine when visiting the country.
Perhaps it is one of the most well-known and clichéd cities when it comes to Egypt, Cairo deserves the prominence it has. The city has the most renowned museums in the country, with several ancient Egyptian antiquities, objects and millenary mummies.
As the largest urban area in Africa and the largest metropolitan area in Egypt, there will be no shortage of places and attractions to visit, including: t
- Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, which is an open-air mall where vendors sell various types of trinkets, like a fair. The place is ideal to buy souvenirs for friends and relatives. Plus, if you know how to haggle, you might be able to get a discount on the items you want.
- Nilo river. The river is one of the longest in the world and was the scene of several remarkable historical moments, having been the origin of the first Egyptian civilizations. Around you there are several archaeological sites and a boat tour through these waters can be an incredible experience! For an affordable price, some boats can even have a DJ and you’ll get incredible views of the city.
If you are into old buildings and history, Luxor is the ideal place, as it is where the largest number of historical monuments, such as archaeological sites, temples and tombs, are concentrated. The city is small and close to Cairo, with its population living mainly from agriculture and tourism.
Even though the strong point of the place is the historical tours, there are other attractions not related to this that can catch your attention, such as:
- Felucca ride, which is a small boat made of wood and takes tourists to the island of Luxuries, Banana Island. The tour consists of sitting on the boat and observing the landscapes while enjoying delicious meals at the table fixed in the middle. It is an ideal attraction for when all the tourist wants is to relax the mind.
- The Air Balloons, which hold about 24 passengers and are very cost-effective. The flight itself takes about an hour and is perfect for tourists who want an experience with a little more adventure.
The city is close to Cairo and is home to the famous pyramids and sphinxes that, if you are planning to go to Egypt, you will definitely want to visit. Its population is around nine million people and it is currently among the largest cities in the country.
There you can:
- Ride camels. To go from the Sphinx to the pyramids, a means of transport is needed. The hot sun and the distance prevent walking from being a good option, so there are two options left: riding a camel or riding a buggy. The experience is amazing and, just like buying trinkets, you can haggle to get a discount on the tour.
- Meet the Sphinx. Being the symbol of enigmas and mystery, the Sphinx is a monument that represents a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. She is tall and beautiful, worthy of leaving anyone with their mouths open when they get close to this Egyptian construction.
Home to the famous Library of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, the coastal city was once considered one of the most important in the world. In the late 19th century until the 1950s, it was chosen as a home by artists such as poets and writers as it was considered a bohemian tourist hub. The place can be the stage for tours with a more romantic style, among them:
- Visit the Library of Alexandria. Even if you’re not a natural lover of reading, the place will make your eyes sparkle. The original library no longer exists as it was burned down when Julius Caesar’s army occupied the site, and this is intended to be a modern version of what it would have been. Even so, the place is worth a visit, as it has beautiful architecture and a number of museums that tell about the history of Alexandria.
- Stroll along the edge. As said, Alexandria is a coastal city, so it has a beautiful waterfront. Walking around at sunrise or sunset can be invigorating and calming. In the place, there are several establishments, where you will be able to eat and try typical foods of the country.
A city with stunning beaches and home to the Red Sea. This is Dahab. The place has several tourist attractions, mainly for nature lovers. The city is colorful and has several shops and establishments with an undeniable cultural diversity. Several visitors fall in love with Dahab to the point of moving there. Water activities are the strong point of the place, such as:
- The diving. It may be something that will cause a little panic at first, but it is an unforgettable experience. Swimming deeply in a completely new and unfamiliar environment will definitely stick in your memory for the rest of your life. In addition, instructors accompany you at all times, to avoid any kind of accident.
- Meals by the sea. A moment of healing is always welcome and eating in the beautiful restaurants that are literally on top of the sea is an experience that will be relaxing in the midst of the long days of tours and visits. You certainly won’t regret taking some time for yourself!
Egypt is an incredible country that you will definitely not regret visiting. Its beautiful landscapes and history are very rich, being a place that should be on the travel plans of everyone who loves to know new cultures.
I hope this article has helped everyone who plans or dreams of going to the country someday. For any questions or suggestions, comments are always open and are very welcome!
These are the eight essential things to know before traveling to Egypt…
- Take care of your health
- Convert your money to Egyptian pound
- Egypt is more than pyramids
- You need a visa to enter the country
- Nuisances, bribes and scams are common
- There are almost no violent crimes in Egypt
- Respect the local culture
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