Boasting one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a gateway to the Middle East and a fascinating heritage, Egypt is one of the most vibrant and thrilling places to visit. If you’re planning on exploring this culturally rich land, there are certain things you should be aware of. Here are our top tips to help you navigate the intricacies of this legendary country.
Before you travel
Get the right currency
The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP). Cash machines are common, especially in tourist areas, but for the best rates exchange money before leaving. It’s worth remembering that while major hotels will usually accept payment by credit card, smaller hotels may expect payment in cash.
Check your passport and get a visa
You will need to get a visa for your trip to Egypt. Tourist visas are valid for a maximum of 3 months, and although you can get a visa when you arrive, it’s worth getting one before you travel. Visas granted on arrival are valid for a maximum of 30 days, however.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Egypt too – so remember to check this well in advance of your trip, not the night before!
Purchase travel insurance
Purchasing travel insurance is vital for any holiday, whether you’re travelling abroad or staying in the U.K. Get your travel insurance at the same time as you book your holiday, not just before you leave, as this will cover you for any unforeseen circumstances if you’re unable to take your trip.
When you arrive
Egypt is a Muslim country, so you’ll find the dress code is quite conservative. This is especially the case at religious sites. When visiting mosques, churches and temples, it’s imperative you dress in accordance with their rules. This means covering shoulders, avoiding tight fitting clothes, and ensuring bodies are covered.
Major resorts tend to be more lenient, but when visiting major attractions its always best to err on the side of caution.
Crossing the street and using public transport takes courage
A simple act but crossing the street in Egypt is manic. There are very few rules for pedestrians, so it really is a matter of judgement. Where possible cross with other pedestrians – there really is strength in numbers when it comes to road safety in Egypt.
Similarly, public transport in Egypt is not for the faint-hearted, and ideally taxis should be booked where possible to avoid being scammed. If you feel daunted by the idea of travelling by public transport, holidaying with a company like Jules Verne where transfers and guides are included should be considered.
Enjoy amazing food
Renowned for its impressive historical sites and stunning landscapes, Egypt is also home to some of the best cuisine in the world. Made from fresh ingredients, with traditional herbs and spices, Egyptian dishes are truly delicious – and moreish.
It is important to remember however, to always drink from bottled water. In general, tap water in Egypt isn’t filtered properly, and can often cause tourists to become ill. And remember to brush your teeth with bottled water just to be on the safe side.
It’s fair to say Egypt has had a chequered past in recent years, but with so many incredible things to explore, there really is nowhere in the world quite like it.