Most of you probably first heard about Egypt at school, when you learnt about the pyramids, their Gods, their temples and even mummification methods. There’s no doubt that this country has long been considered one of the most important and interesting civilisations in history.
Cairo, Egypt’s mesmerizing capital, is the home of The Great Pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx, the only remaining survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. So when in Egypt, you WILL have to visit this vibrant city for at least 3 to 4 days. But Egypt has definitely a lot more to offer! Here we will tell you everything you need to know about exploring this stunning country in ten days.
We arrived in Cairo early in the morning and spent the first two days of this adventure exploring the capital.
Day 1: CAIRO
Because our flight landed at four in the morning we decided to have a nap before breakfast and then enjoyed the pool and facilities of the gorgeous Four Season’s Nile Plaza, the hotel we chose to stay in the old part of the city. Fore more information about our stay with FS click here.
Later in the afternoon we visited the Egyptian Museum. We highly recommend to either visit late in the afternoon or even better at night. The crowds at night are pretty much non-existent! Don’t be disappointed with the looks of the building, it is run down but the amount of history you will see inside is crazy and is worth going.
Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 9am-7pm, Sun & Thu: 9am to 9pm, Fri & Sat: 9am to 4pm.
Ticket price: after 5.30pm Sun & Thu: 220 EGP for adults
Royal Mummies Room 150 EGP normal hours and 225 at night for adults - camera: 50 EGP.
After exploring the museum we decided to wander around the city at night to see a bit of the local life before enjoying a nice Egyptian dinner.
We ventured ourselves into the TRUE Egyptian culture and visited the Mosque of Muhammad Ali located in the Citadel of Cairo. Not only will you enjoy this great piece of architecture but you will also enjoy amazing views of the city from up there.
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm (check prayer times)
Ticket price for tourists: 140 EGP
By mid morning we took a short car ride to one of the world’s oldest open markets: Khan El-Khalili. This market will blow your mind with its smells, spices, food, clothes and beautiful antiques. The key if you want to shop: always walk around with a smile and be ready to bargain!
In the afternoon, we wanted to enjoy sunset from a felucca, which is a small sailing boat used on the Nile River. Prices are very accessible even if you want the felucca for yourself, approximately 250 EGP for one hour.
Day 3: ASWAN TO ABU SIMBEL
We arrived in Aswan by plane early in the morning and hired a private car to get to Abu Simbel. We paid approximately £200 GBP and the trip included: private driver, 3 hours Aswan to Abu Simbel, 8 hours Abu Simbel to Luxor. The distances are quite far between these places, hence the price. We spent more time on the road but we were able to see parts of the desert and villages in between cities.
Abu Simbel Temples
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 5am to 6pm
Ticket Prices: this will be the most expensive temple you will see in Egypt. General admission 200 EGP, Council Fee 200 EGP, Tourist Syndicate Fee 13 EGP, Photography 300 EGP, Tripod 20 EGP
The only way to beat the crowds is by sleeping in Abu Simbel town, so you can get up early and enjoy sunrise in the stunning location.
Most people stay in Aswan and take a 3-hour van ride to Abu Simbel in the morning that arrives in town at 8am.
Day 5: LUXOR
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 6am to 5.30pm
Ticket Price: 150 EGP, best value for money together with the pyramids complex
Best time to visit: sunrise or sunset, the light is perfect!
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut - morning
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 6am to 5pm
Ticket Price: 80 EGP
Valley of the Kings - midday
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 6am to 5pm
Ticket Price: 200 EGP (this allows 3 tombs of the 63 onsite), the see the Tutankhamun tomb you have to pay an extra fee of 250 EGP
Medinet Habu Temple
Ticket Price: 80 EGP
Colossi of Memnon – free entry
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 6am to 10pm
Ticket Price: 140 EGP
Day 8: CAIRO/GIZA
Arrived in Cairo early in the morning by plane but this time we stayed on the other side of the Nile. Fore more information about our stay with Four Season’s First Residence click here.
In the afternoon we enjoyed sunset from the terrace of the famous Pizza Hut near the Giza Pyramid Complex. This place has by far one the best views ever!
Giza Pyramid Complex
This complex is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. It includes the three Great Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an industrial complex.
Opening hours: Complex - Mon to Sun 6am to 10pm – Pyramids 8am to 4pm
Ticket Price: Giza Plateau 160 EGP – Entry Great Pyramid 360 EGP – Entry to visit 2nd and 3rd pyramid 100EGP
Bare in mind that you don’t need a tour guide to explore this complex and you don’t need to pay for a camel ride if you just want a photo with the furry friend.
WHERE WE STAYED
Cairo, Old City – Four Season’s Nile Plaza
Giza – Four Season’s at First Residence
Abu Simbel – Tuya Hotel (B&B)
Luxor – Mercure Luxor Karnak
WHERE TO EAT
Taboula – Lebanese cuisine in Cairo, good prices and great food, even for plant based/ vegan
Bella Restaurant – Italian cuisine at Four Season’s Nile Plaza
Pizza Hut Pyramid Complex – because everyone loves pizza and because of the amazing views. You will also be able to enjoy the Light and Sound show for free!
FOOD NOT TO MISS
Ful Medames – fava beans cooked with oil and salt
Egyptian falafel – basically falafel made with fava beans
Koshari – a layering of rice, macaroni, lentils and cheek peas topped off with caramelized onions, red sauce and garloc/chili/vinegar sauce
Mahshi – great for vegetarians! Any vegetable of choice stuffed with a rice filling, herbs and tomatoe sauce
You will need a visa to enter the country. You can do it online but the easiest way is to do it up on arrival. The price is 25USD and you will need to pay cash.
Best transport in Cairo: Uber. The price from the airport to Giza is around 6USD vs 10USD for a taxi.
SIM card: grab a SIM before you leave the airport at the kiosk. You can get 16 gigs of data for approximately 10USD.
We found Egypt extremely safe in general, for couples and male travelers it might be a bit easier to move around. For female travelers it could be a good idea to travel with a group, tour or guide, as some might feel a bit uneasy when visiting crowded places.
For Cairo in particular, as in any big capital, just be aware of your belongings. It won’t be any different to other destinations like London, Barcelona or Paris where you might encounter pickpockets.
If you have enjoyed this blog or have any questions, don't be shy, leave us a comment and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! For travel info, questions or collaboration enquiries drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and don't forget to follow us on Instagram @youmeandthesaltysea.