Insider's Guide to Egypt | Brownell Travel

Insider’s Guide to Egypt

Egypt-Heritage-Tours

With some of the most well known landmarks in the world, Egypt is a destination for everyone’s bucket list. Here, ancient history comes to life as you gaze at the Great Sphinx or stand in front of the pyramids. But Egypt is so much more than these spots – the country’s culture and cuisine is more than 7000 years in the making! Our partners at Heritage Tours know the ins and outs of Egypt and work closely with our advisors and clients to design custom itineraries. From avoiding the crowds to going behind-the-scenes, we make sure your experience in Egypt is a trip of a lifetime. Learn more about travel to Egypt (and some of Heritage Tours’ exclusive experiences!) in the Insider’s Guide to Egypt below.

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GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Documents needed: Valid Passport with at least one empty page. Tourist visa required. Passport must be valid for at least 6-months after intended departure from Egypt.
  • Language: Arabic, English.
  • Vaccines: None, however we recommend consulting your physician to make sure you are up to date on all important inoculations.

WHERE TO GO

CAIRO

Where to Stay
What to Do
  • Pyramids and Sphinx on the Giza Plateau
  • Step Pyramid of Zoser – Sakkara
  • Serapeum – Sakkara
  • Tomb of Mehu – Sakkara
  • Egyptian Museum – treasures of Tutankhamun
  • Citadel & Mosque of Muhammad Ali
  • Coptic Cairo
  • Khan El Khalili Bazaar
Heritage Tours Brag Experiences
  • Get up-close and personal to the Sphinx, the Valley Temple and the Great Pyramids on a quad bike tour around the Giza Plateau
  • Private visit to the restoration laboratories at the new Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau.
  • Private felucca lunch on the Nile River in Cairo.
  • Personalized Turkish-style Hammam treatment and full body massage at your luxury resort in Cairo.

ALEXANDRIA

Where to Stay
  • Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano
What to Do
  • Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Pompey’s Pillar
  • Citadel of Qaitbay
  • Montaza Palace
  • Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque
  • El Alamein
Heritage Tours Brag Experiences
  • Flowers, candles and a personalized, four-course menu set the mood for an intimate, romantic dinner in a private pergola on the beach in Alexandria.
  • A jewelry expert will reveal the unique stories behind the ornate Muhammad Ali dynasty collection at The Royal Jewelry Museum in Alexandria, followed by a private dinner in the palace’s Royal Gardens, set to live music.
  • Immerse yourself in the history of Egyptian wine-making during a visit to the Gianaclis Vineyards in Alexandria, enjoying wine tasting and food pairings.
  • Dive in Cleopatra’s Palace in the eastern harbor of Alexandria.

LUXOR

Where to Stay
  • Hotel Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor
  • Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor
  • Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa
What to Do
  • The Karnak Temple Complex
  • Luxor Temple
  • Valley of the Kings
  • Valley of the Queens
  • Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
  • Tomb of Seti I
  • Tomb of Tutankhamun
  • Tomb of Nefertari
  • Colossi of Memnon
  • Ramesseum
Heritage Tours Brag Experiences
  • Gaze upon preserved ancient artwork in the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings.
  • Picnic on the West Bank of Luxor, enjoying tasty Egyptian mezzes in a uniquely spectacular setting.
  • Explore the Tomb of Seti I, father of Ramses II and adoptive father of Moses.
  • Horse and carriage ride along the Corniche in Luxor.
  • Hot air balloon flight over the extraordinary landscape of the West Bank Necropolis of Luxor.

ASWAN

Where to Stay
What to Do
  • Philae Temples
  • Unfinished Obelisk
  • Temples of Abu Simbel (south of Aswan)
  • Felucca Cruise around Kitchener’s Island
  • High Dam Aswan
Heritage Tours Brag Experiences
    • Meet and interact with Nubian people in the villages of Siou and Koti and learn more about their language, music, and traditions.
    • Stroll through Kitchener’s Island peaceful botanical garden, a haven for rare exotic birds.
    • Partake in a cooking class with a Nubian chef and learn more about their traditional cuisine.
    • Partake in a Nubian wedding ritual by having an artist give you a henna tattoo.
    • Exclusive dinner at the historic 1902 Restaurant in Aswan.
    • Take traditional British Afternoon Tea at the legendary Victorian Palace Terrace at the Hotel Sofitel Legend Old Cataract in Aswan.


TIPPING

  • Dining: It is common in Egypt to leave a 10% tip on restaurant bills, however please check your bill to make sure that it has not already been included.
  • Hotel:  $1-$2 per bag and $2-$4 per day for housekeeping
  • Cab: Negotiate a pre-determined flat fee.
  • Private driver: $20 to $30 USD (or more if you choose) per day
  • Private guide: $30 to $50 USD (or more if you choose) per day

Food & Beverages to Try

  • Rice-stuffed vegetables
  • Mashed fava beans
  • Baba ghannoug
  • Duqqa
  • Gollash
  • Tehina
  • Hummus

PACKING TIPS

  • Casual attire is appropriate in Egypt
  • In Cairo it would not be acceptable to wear short shorts or a tank top/sleeveless top
  • Long sleeved shirts are preferred
  • Pack loose linen/cotton trousers or a below knee skirt and sleeved blouse
  • Heads and shoulders should be covered in religious places for women
  • Very light and quick drying fabrics are important
  • Comfortable, strong shoes are a must
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses


BEFORE YOU GO

Read

  • In the Eye of The Sun by Ahdaf Soueif
  • The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
  • The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
  • Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer

WHEN TO GO

  • Egypt is a year-round vacation destination although the summer months can be particularly hot, especially towards the south of Egypt in Luxor and Aswan.
  • The best time to visit Egypt is from September through to April.
  • Christmas, New Year and Easter are very popular times to visit Egypt, so it’s wise to book early.

CUSTOMS

  • The family is the most significant unit of Egyptian society.
  • Kinship plays an important role in all social relations.
  • Honor is an important facet of interpersonal relationships.
  • Respect and esteem for people is both a right and an obligation.
  • A man’s word is considered his bond and to go back on your word is to bring dishonor to your family.
  • Social class is very apparent in Egypt since it determines your access to power and position.

TRAVEL TIPS

  • Most trips average 10 days in length (this is the minimum necessary to get down to Upper Egypt to enjoy a Nile Cruise between Luxor and Aswan)
  • For peak season, planning should begin 4-6 months in advance, festive season (Christmas and New Year’s) 6+ months in advance.

 

Click here to start planning your trip to Egypt!