Egypt, a country linking northeast Africa with the Middle East, dates to the time of the pharaohs. Millennia-old monuments sit along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza’s colossal Pyramids and Great Sphinx as well as Luxor’s hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings tombs. The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities.
How to get to Egypt: Most people will fly into Cairo International Airport.
Language: Egyptian Arabic.
Visa: Visas are required for all foreigners visiting Egypt, except nationals of certain Arab countries. Many nationalities can purchase a visa on arrival including all EU, Australian, Canadian, Japanese, New Zealander and US passport holders. Tourist visas purchased on arrival cost US$25 and are valid for 30 days. For a step-by-step guide on how to get the visa at Cairo International Airport, click here.
Currency: Egyptian Pound (LE)
Currency Exchange: ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are only accepted at higher-end businesses. There is a major shortage of small change; large bills can be difficult to break.
Tipping: not necessary, but welcomed. There are service fees built into the bill at restaurants. This is not a service oriented culture, so the service you receive at many restaurants is poor. If you feel like tipping go for it, but don’t feel obligated.
Weather: Low Season (Jun–Aug): Scorching summer sun means only the hardiest sightseers visit Upper Egypt. Avoid the Western Desert. High season on the Mediterranean coast.
Shoulder (Mar–May, Sep–Oct): Spring brings occasional dust storms disrupting flights. Heat can extend into October, when crowds are lighter. Warm seas and no crowds at Mediterranean spots in autumn.
High Season (Oct–Feb): Egypt’s ‘winter’ is largely sunny and warm, with very occasional rain (more frequent on the Mediterranean). Be prepared for real chill in unheated hotels, especially in damp Alexandria.
Electricity: Egypt’s electrical supply and electrical outlets (sockets, wall plugs) are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Remember to grab a universal power plug adapter converting from EU, UK, CN, AUC to North American like this.
Transportation: Air, Rail, Bus, Car, Public Transportation, Taxis, Walking & Cycling. Even the smallest cities in Egypt have taxis. They’re inexpensive and efficient, even if in some cities the cars themselves have seen better days.
Things to remember: Despite a rise in petty crime following the 2011 revolution, Cairo is still a pretty safe city, with crime rates likely much lower than where you’re visiting from. In recent years sexual harassment of women in the street has increased, so women on their own should be vigilant particularly at night. There are reports of single women being hassled late at night around Midan Tahrir and in the Islamic quarter of the city.