What to know for a trip to Egypt

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Among the most visited countries in North Africa, Egypt is undoubtedly in first place, one of the most popular tourist destinations and loved by the Italians both for the archaeological sites and for the dream bathing areas. If on the one hand the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings attract for their majesty and the immense historical value, on the other the Egyptian coral reef and the warm climate are a strong attraction for lovers of the sea and water sports. Regardless of what your preferences are, a trip to Egypt is always a good idea: here are many useful tips not to be caught unprepared for departure



Index

  1. Best time
  2. Required documents
  3. How many days
  4. How to dress and what to bring
  5. To see
  6. Getting around
  7. What to book in advance
  8. Accomodation
  9. Where to eat
  10. How much
  11. How to pay
  12. Safety
  13. Useful advice and rules of conduct
  14. User questions and comments

Best time

The climate can stand out in two defined zones: the area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with milder and more pleasant temperatures and the rest of the country where a desert-like climate prevails (in summer it easily exceeds 40 °!). Having to choose when to make a trip to Egypt, therefore, we recommend the months included between November and February if you intend to dedicate all your time to discovering the archaeological sites, while if you want to spend the days on the beach, opt for the mid-season (both spring and autumn): in this way you will avoid the scorching heat, moreover the water temperature will be l ideal for snorkeling and diving!



Required documents

Among the documents required upon entering the country, the passport with residual validity of at least six months. However, in the case of a tourist trip, only the identity card valid for expatriation with a residual validity of six months can be used. In this case, you will also need to submit two passport-sized photos that will be required for the Visa, otherwise placed in the passport upon arrival at the airport. Even one can be very useful international credit card, so that you can make the most expensive payments without using cash.

How many days

  • Minimum travel time: at least 8 days
  • Recommended duration of the trip: at least 15 days

How to dress and what to bring

If you choose to travel in autunno late / winter, bring with you demi-season clothes, including a sweater and / or jacket for the evening and a scarf to protect you from the wind or sand. If you choose the spring, pack light clothing in breathable fabric, scarf and a hat to protect you from the sun.

Being an Arab country, shorts or too short garments that leave the legs and shoulders uncovered are strongly not recommended for women.
In both cases, don't forget comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses, slippers and swimsuit if you are staying near the sea. Camera, video camera and sunscreen.


To see

Going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids is a bit like going to Rome and not visiting the Colosseum.
Do not miss the Pyramids of Giza which can also be visited with a tour in the desert by quad bike, but also the spectacular Valley of the Kings (and the smaller Valley of the Queens, which can be visited on a 1-day tour), Luxor, Alexandria of Egypt and Cairo with its very famous museum.
If you are thinking of a return trip to the land of the Pharaohs, instead, we suggest you dedicate more time to its natural wonders, including the desert, the Red Sea with its endless beaches and the surroundings of the Nile.

If, on the other hand, you want to enjoy a complete experience, you can evaluate the idea of ​​a combined trip that includes both sea and relaxation in one of the locations of the Red Sea and the main excursions in the desert and in the pyramids (there are several daily tours from Sharm, from Hurghada and marsa alam)


  • If you are visiting the destination for the first time: Giza with the Pyramids, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, Alexandria, Cairo (alternatively a Sea + Culture holiday staying in Sharm el Sheik, Marsa Alam or Hurghada)
  • If you are returning to your destination: desert, Red Sea (Sharm el Sheik, Marsa Alam, Hurghada), Nile

Getting around

Within cities, the best way to get around is walking fully savoring the magical atmosphere of the markets and the main meeting places of the local inhabitants. If the distances are too great (especially if you have to cover them under the scorching sun!), Opt for a comfortable taxi that will take you immediately to any corner of the city you wish: always remember to negotiate on the initial fare!

As regards, instead, the movements outside the single city, we suggest you to rely on the network of public buses which, unlike what one might think, is really efficient and economical. Alternatively, rent a private means of transport with which you can roam around the country in total freedom: however, check the weather conditions very often and carefully to avoid running into a sudden sandstorm!
Trains can also prove to be a good solution: keep in mind, however, that these guarantee travel only between larger cities; moreover, the ticket price for tourists is about 7 times higher than an ordinary ticket for a club.


What to book in advance

Surely to better enjoy a journey to discover Egyptian treasures, it is necessary organize the entire itinerary in time to follow and book the visit to the main attractions. The most famous archaeological sites, in fact, are literally besieged by tourists in every season of the year! For this reason, we strongly suggest you to buy tickets in advance for entry to the sites of the Pyramids of Giza and Luxor, but also to the always crowded Cairo Museum for which it is useful to have a skip-the-line ticket. Furthermore, if you intend to give yourself unforgettable moments, you might think about booking a romantic cruise on the Nile or a day in the desert among dunes, camels and Bedouins: we can guarantee that they will turn out to be unique experiences that you will hardly be able to forget!


Accomodation

During a trip to Egypt, the choice of accommodation is very important, especially since this is probably the biggest expense of the whole holiday. In large cities, such as Cairo and Luxor the choice of where to stay is quite wide and can meet the most diverse requests and tastes: from the cheapest hostels to apartments, up to hotels with swimming pools.

If you are a little further away from the main urban centers, however, we recommend that you opt exclusively for hotels, which are safer than many other accommodations.
In the vicinity of the Red Sea or along the Mediterranean coast, however, we recommend staying in a tourist village: in this way, you can ensure all the comforts and direct access to the coral reef. In addition, many tourist villages offer affordable packages to take part in desert excursions, boat trips or private transfers to the most famous archaeological sites in the country.
Hotel and b & b starting from € 37,00 per room -

Where to eat

Egyptian cuisine is a cuisine extremely varied, thanks to the strong influence exerted by neighboring countries: the flavors blend together, combining traits of Egyptian cuisine, with those of Turkish, Greek, Palestinian and of course also Mediterranean cuisine. The result is a riot of colors in which the main ingredients are made up of meat and vegetables, as well as fish, bread and cheese. Among the dishes to be tasted absolutely, hummus of Middle Eastern derivation, but also melokhia (mallow soup flavored with various spices, including coriander), koshari (national dish consisting of various types of pasta) and kofta ( tasty meat skewers).

During your trip to Egypt, you will be able to see thewide range of venues where you can taste typical dishes, especially in the main cities: you can choose from elegant restaurants, more spartan (but no less valid!) clubs loved by the locals, up to the street food of the food markets. In this case, just make sure that the food you are served is cooked properly, especially meat and vegetables.

How much

  • Cost of flights and travel: from € 98,00 in low season - car rental from € 30,00 per day
  • Accommodation cost: a week in the hotel starts from € 97,00 (Red Sea area) - a week in an apartment starts from € 70,00 (Red Sea area)
  • Minimum daily budget for meals and attractions: from € 40,00 upwards

How to pay

The country's official currency is the Egyptian Pound or Lira (EGP / € 1,00 = 17,27 EGP).
To change money, the best option is to do it once you arrive at the hotel (if necessary, take a small fee at the airport for safety). However, it is not recommended to withdraw and / or travel with large amounts in the wallet because in the main cities you will be able to pay most of the time with an international credit card or by withdraw at ATMs directly in local currency. Also, you will avoid attracting the attention of any snatchers.

Safety

Egypt, like Morocco and Tunisia, is a country pretty sure to travel alone, although for large trips it is always better to rely on a tour operator, even better if a local to discover all the wonders of the country from the point of view of a local. Due to the recent increase in the road traffic (with a consequent increase in accidents), we suggest that you pay particular attention while driving if you intend to rent a vehicle for private transport. Again, it is more comfortable rely on a tour operator that organizes bus transfers without causing you worries. To be constantly updated before, during and after departure, we invite you to consult the official website of the Farnesina.

Useful advice and rules of conduct

  1. avoid traveling with too much cash / valuables below
  2. always negotiate prices, especially with merchants and taxi drivers!
  3. in case of excursions and / or guided visits, rely on authorized tour operators or tourist guides and, if possible, local ones
  4. always maintain a respectful attitude towards a culture with uses and customs different from their own
  5. wear appropriate clothing, especially when visiting religious sites whenever possible
  6. do not venture alone in desert areas or in any case too far from the main inhabited centers
  7. leave with the right travel / health insurance

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