How can I obtain my visa to visit Egypt?
Visitors to Egypt must have a passport valid for at least six month after their arrival and all foreign citizens must obtain a visa to enter Egypt. You can apply for a tourist visa at any Egyptian embassy or consulate around the world.
Travelers of the following nationalities can purchase a 1 month entry visa without application upon arrival in Egypt: Australia, Canada, Croatia, European Union, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. This only takes a few minutes to do at a bank window before you go through customs
Egypt generally has three types of entry visas.
Entry visa–valid for one month; given to any non-Egyptian citizen entering the country without a previously purchased visa
Transit visa–given to any non-Egyptian citizen entering the country for a limited period of time for transit reasons
Tourist visa–valid for up to 3 months and available with single or multiple entries; purchased by the majority of visitors to Egypt from a Egyptian embassy or consulate before arriving in the country
How do I apply for a visa to enter Egypt if I live away from the country of my nationality?
If the traveler has a residence permit to live in another country, they can apply for a visa from the Egyptian embassy or consulate in that country or buy a visa upon arrival in the Cairo, Hurghada, or Luxor Airports. If they do not hold a residency permit, they must obtain their visa from the Egyptian embassy/consulate in the country that issued their passport.
If I have already obtained a visa to enter Sinai, will I be able to visit other destinations in Egypt?
Can I extend the period of my tourist visa beyond its expiration?
It is possible to extend a tourist, but this requires obtaining an extension from the Mogamma building in the Tahrir Complex in Cairo or other governmental offices in another city. There is a two-week grace period after your
visa expires during which you may purchase an extension without being subject to a fine.
Can I travel to Egypt by sea?
Although Egypt has many ports situated both on the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, the number of passengers arriving in Egypt by boats or ferries has greatly decreased because of cheap airfare and package holidays that use air travel. There is only one exception to this: the crossing by ferry from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba in Sinai. The boats that used to sail directly from Greece or Cyprus to Egypt’s Mediterranean ports no longer exist.
Section Four: Purchasing Alcohol and Cigarettes
Can I bring a personal supply of cigarettes and alcohol with me when I am visiting Egypt?
It is always recommended for travelers who wish to have their own supply of cigarettes and alcohol with them in Egypt to purchase them upon arrival. There are duty free shops in the airports in Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh. Tourists are allowed to purchase up to 3 liters of alcohol and up to 200 cigarettes on arrival.
What happens if I didn’t purchase my alcohol and cigarettes upon arrival, will I have the chance to buy them elsewhere in Egypt?
Tourists have 48 hours after arrival to buy these products from any duty free shop in Egypt. Duty free locations are in the airports in Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh. There are also several other locations in Cairo and in hotels in Sharm El Sheikh, El Gouna and Hurghada. Your will be able to purchase up to 3 liters of alcohol and up to 200 cigarettes.
Can I bring my supplies of alcohol and cigarettes with me from any other country while I visit Egypt?
The allowance for cigarettes or alcohol brought to Egypt from another other country is 1 liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes.
Section Five: Languages
Do Egyptians speak languages other than Arabic?
English is studied in school all over Egypt. This is why most Egyptians, who live in the cities, speak or understand at least some English words or phrases. Fewer Egyptians can speak French, Italian, Spanish, and German; however, professionals, who work in the tourism sector, are accustomed to visitors who cannot speak Arabic and they will speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of most travelers.
Do I have to learn Arabic in order to enjoy my visit to Egypt?
– Many travelers enjoy their stay in Egypt without learning a single word of Arabic; however, it is always good to learn a few Arabic words to expressing greetings or thanks. If you are planning to visit some places other than popular tourist destinations, it is advisable to learn some Arabic phrases. Generally, Egyptians are friendly and are happy to help anyone, especially foreigners and tourists, even if there is a language barrier.
Section Six: Opening Hours
What are the opening hours for monuments in Egypt?
Most of the monuments, historical sites, and museums in Egypt open from 9 AM until 5 PM. Open-air historical sites, like the Pyramids of Giza for example, are open from 8 AM until sunset. Some museums have morning opening hours, from 9 AM to 4 PM, and evening opening hours, from 5 PM to 9 or 10 PM. Luxor west bang start from 6 AM
During Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, be aware that these hours will change significantly.What
are the opening hours for shops and different stores in Egypt?
Most of the shops in Egypt open from around 10 AM and stay open until 10 PM; however, many shops, cafes, and restaurants especially in major cities like Cairo, Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Luxor, and Alexandria stay open much later and some facilities and shops are open 24 hours a day in touristic areas like Khan El Khalili and inside the hotels. During Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, opening hours may change significantly with shops closed during the middle of the day and staying open much later.
Section Seven: Visiting Religious Sites in Egypt
Is it allowed for non-Muslims to enter historical mosques in Egypt?
Non-Muslims are generally welcome to visit mosques in Egypt; however, it is always advisable to seek permission before entering mosques outside Cairo and Alexandria where people are less accustomed to tourists. Tourists and foreigners are welcome in almost all mosques in Egypt, except mosques where the relatives of the prophet Mohamed were buried like the Mosque of El Hussein and the Mosque of Sayeda Zeinab. Tourists are more than welcome to visit most mosques at anytime expect when they are being used for prayer, on Friday and during the five prayers of the day.
Is there any special dress code to be followed during visiting a mosque in Egypt?
There aren’t really special clothes to be put on while visiting a mosque in Egypt; however, modest dress would be highly recommended and in some mosques, women will be asked to cover their hair and perhaps their arms and legs. Both women and men will be asked to remove their shoes before entering a mosque.
What are the most important historical mosques in Cairo?
Cairo, nicknamed as the ‘City of a Thousand Minarets’, features a large number of remarkable and historical mosques. The most notable among them are the Mosque of Mohamed Ali in the Saladin Citadel, built in the beginning of the 19th century, the Mosque of Al Sultan Hassan, built in 1361 AD, the Mosque of Al Azhar, built in 970 AD and restored and enlarged many times afterwards, the Mosque of Amr Ibn El Aas, the first mosque in Africa built in 640 AD, the Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, built in 878 AD, and the Mosque of Al Hakem, built in 1013 AD. Tourists are welcome in all of these mosques on any day, except Friday.
Are tourists allowed to enter the Christian monuments in Egypt?
In Egypt, churches are treated the same as mosques. Most churches and monasteries welcome tourists and foreigners, except during Lent. Modest dress is also advisable while visiting Christian monuments in Egypt.
What are the most notable Christian monuments in Egypt?
Christianity arrived in Egypt as early as the 1st century AD and as the birthplace of Christian monasticism, Egypt hosts many interesting churches and monasteries. These include the Monastery of Saint Catharine in Sinai, the Monastery of Deir Abu Makkar and the Monastery of the Syrians in Wadi El Natrun, and the Monasteries of Saint Anthony and Saint Paul near the Red Sea to the North East of Hurghada. There are many historical churches in Egypt as well, especially in Cairo and Alexandria, like the Church of Saint Barbara and the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo.
Section Eight: Taking Photographs
Can I take pictures while visiting the monuments in Egypt?
Photography is allowed in most of the historical sites and museums in Egypt, but some of them have extra charges for taking in a camera. However, in some museums, like the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, and some historical sites, like the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, photography is prohibited and visitors are asked to leave their cameras at the reception before entering.
Can I take photographs of the people, streets, etc. in Egypt?
Egyptians are well known all over the world for their tolerance and hospitality; however, it is always polite to ask permission before taking a photograph of people, especially women, and stores or products. Photography is non-permitted around army bases, airports, dams, bridges, and in metro. In most places where photography is prohibited there will be signs to notify you.
Section Nine: Hotels in Egypt
What is the check-in and check-out time in the hotels in Egypt?
The same as many hotels all around the globe, the check-in time in most hotels in Egypt is around midday, 12 or 1 PM. If you arrive in the hotel late at night or in the early morning, you may have to pay for an extra night to get to your room immediately without having to wait until the normal check-in time.
What different types of hotels are there in hotels in Egypt?
Accommodations for travelers in Egypt fall across a broad range—everything from world class luxury to simple hostel accommodations are available. The nicest hotels compare well with luxury hotels anywhere, coming from international hotel chains like Movenpick, Hilton, Four Seasons, and Sofitel. A step down from these is a variety of local hotels that ranges from luxurious to simple. Egyptian hotels have their own rating system that loosely classifies them on a 5-star scale; however, this scale is different from international standards used elsewhere.
Section Ten: Health Issues
Are there any health issues that I should worry about in Egypt?
Generally speaking, tourists face few unique health problems in Egypt, but occasionally travelers experience some gastric disturbance resulting from drinking tap water or eating from a local restaurant not recommended by their tour guides or the receptionist in hotel. Some travelers might suffer sunburn or heatstroke from the heat and sun during the summer if they are not careful; however, taking the proper precautions and drinking bottled water can eliminate any health risks.
Are there certain vaccinations to be taken before traveling to Egypt?
There are no obligatory vaccinations that should be taken before being granted with the visa of Egypt. However, it would be recommended for the senior people and for young children to take vaccinations against Hepatitis C, Typhoid, and an oral dosage of Tetanus.
Section Eleven: Currency and Banking in Egypt
What is the official currency in Egypt?
The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, or “Geneh” in Arabic, and commonly abbreviated as LE. One Egyptian pound is 100 piastres, or “irsh” in Arabic. There are banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 LE and there are coins of 25 piastres, 50 piastres, and 1 pound. It can sometimes be difficult to find change for large bills so it is always advisable to have change on hand for taxis and tips.
Will I be able to exchange dollars, Euros, or other currencies in Egypt?
There are a large number of banks and exchange offices that can change cash and travelers’ checks in Egypt. Moreover, many touristic shops, restaurants, and bars will actually accept dollars or Euros at rates that are relatively close to the official ones. Makes sure you know the current exchange rate of dollars or Euros to Egyptian pounds.
How common is the use of credit cards in Egypt?
– Credit cards are widely used in Egypt in hotels, many shops, restaurants, and cafes. Most stores in markets like Khan El Khalili and the Luxor touristic market accept credit cards. The most common types of credit cards used in Egypt are Visa, Master Card, and American Express.
Section Twelve: Tipping in Egypt
Is it a common practice to give tips in Egypt?
Due to the low salaries of many professionals in Egypt, many people depend on tips, or baksheesh as it is called in Egypt, as a major part of their income. Therefore, tipping is considered customary in Egypt.
How much should I tip?
The amount depends on the situation. In a restaurant, it is good to give between 5 and 10% tip directly to the waiter even when there is service added to the bill. The service tax does not go to the waiter. For a small favor, like carrying luggage or parking a car, a few Egyptian pounds would be appropriate. Not more than 10 L.E. Often times in Egypt you will find someone tending to the bathroom to keep it clean. Giving them one Egyptian pound is an appropriate amount.
Tour guides also usually accept tips. Fifty to 100 Egyptian pounds per day per person would be a sufficient amount for them. Drivers of the vehicles during your tours in Egypt might expect half of that amount.
Section Thirteen: Transportation and Traveling Around Egypt
Will it be easy for me to find transportation from the Cairo Airport to other destinations in the city?
There are several transportation options available from the Cairo Airport. The fastest and most common way is to take a taxi. The moment you step out of the airport, you will find many taxi drivers offering you a ride. It is advisable to avoid riding in the old black taxis as they don’t use meters and the drivers may ask for an exaggerated fare. The new white taxis, which use a meter, are a good choice if you are going anywhere around Cairo, but at the airport you may find yourself negotiating the price even with these new taxis. If you are going to Central Cairo, you should pay more than 60 LE.
There is a limousine service offered by the Cairo Airport, which is more expensive than other transportation means, but still relatively cheap when compared to the cost of transportation in North America or most European countries.
We recommend using the Cairo Airport Shuttle Bus, which you can reserve ahead of time if you are already in the country by calling 19970. You can also hire a car upon arrival if you look for the desk in the Arrival Hall, but you may have to wait for a short time. It is more expensive than a taxi, but it removes the hassle of negotiating a price and you will have a comfortable, private van to yourself.
Are there any trains that go from Cairo to major cities in Egypt?
The trains in Egypt fall generally into two categories; the air-conditioned trains that include the luxury wagons and local trains that stop in each village or town every 15 to 20 minutes. The local trains are crowded and do not provide much in the way of comfort. The A/C trains usually offer first and second-class cars. Both offer good options for travelers, but for a modest extra charge, the first class cars offer larger, more comfortable seats. There are around 15 A/C trains from Cairo to Alexandria everyday and five from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan, which also stop in the major cities of the Nile Valley on the way. There are also two overnight sleeper trains from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan, which will provide you with a private cabin and a hot dinner. Demand for trains in Egypt can be very high. It is recommended that you book your tickets several days in advance.
Is it a good idea to take the train from Cairo to distant destinations in Egypt like Aswan?
in Egypt normally had two kinds of train
1-classic trains: you should your tickets two days in advance and this train spend over 12 hours and a lots of stops in major cities in Egypt
2- Sleeping trains: the tickets cost 100$ and spend 12 hours to Aswan and we recommended to use air flights
Can I travel by train from Cairo to Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh?
No, the railway service in Egypt does not pass the Suez Canal to reach any cities in Sinai and it doesn’t go further south than the Ismailia along the Red Sea coast. Other than airplanes, tourists can take the buses from Cairo to reach cities like Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. It is also possible to hire a taxi to take you to these places, but this can be expensive without traveling companions to divide the cost.
Is it a good idea for tourists to ride in the public buses of cities like Cairo and Alexandria?
The buses in cities like Cairo and Alexandria literally cover the whole city. These buses are cheap (fare is less than 1 Egyptian pound), it can be difficult to know where each bus route will take you and the buses are sometimes extremely crowded. Therefore, it is recommended to use other transportation means, like taxis or the metro when in Cairo.
Is it advisable to ride in the underground metro in Cairo?
The metro is one of the best ways to go from one place to another within Cairo. With the streets being crowded with cars and people most of the day, the metro has become the fastest means of transportation in the Egyptian capital. Although the metro can get rather crowded during the rush hours, it is still a good way to get around Central Cairo.
The metro in Cairo goes from Helwan, the southernmost point in the city to Al Marg, located in the northeastern section of the city. The second line goes from Shubra in the north of Cairo to Giza in the western section of greater Cairo. The third line of the metro of Cairo will actually reach the airport eventually, but there are only 5 stations currently operating. The price of the ticket is one Egyptian pound for going from any station to another on any of the three lines. Each train on the metro has two wagons that are specified for women all day long, which can be a good option especially when the trains are very crowded.
Section Fourteen: The Most Remarkable Sights and Monuments in Egypt
What are the sights and activities that are not be missed while visiting Egypt?
Egypt, with its rich distinctive history, is a country that offers a lot to the tourists and a traveler can never see everything in one or even a couple of visits. This is why there are a number of monuments and some activities that tourists are advised not to miss if they visit Egypt. These include:
– Visiting the Pyramids of Giza
– Visiting Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
– Visiting Saladin Citadeland Mohammed Ali Mosque
– Visiting the White Desert
– Diving or snorkeling in Sinai or cities situated on the Red Sea
– Going on a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan or vise versa
– Exploring the Saint Catherine Monastery in Sinai
– Eating Kebab and Kofta, the Egyptian traditional meat dish
– Visiting the Luxor and Karnak temples in Luxor
– Visiting Abu Simbel
– Going to Khan El Khalili touristic market in Cairo
– Exploring Islamic Cairo on foot
– Discovering the magic of Egyptian oases like Siwa or Bahariya
– Visiting the monuments of the West Bank of Luxor including the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings