The costs of traveling in Egypt: a travel budget breakdown

Before my trip to Egypt I really had no idea how expensive the country was. I suspected that the prices for daily life would not be high. But I didn’t know if that would also apply to daily tourist life. In this article I will give you an idea of the prices and costs during my trip in February 2020. My conclusion: transportation, food and hotels are relatively cheap and most of the money will go to entrance tickets.

Cairo Egyptian Museum | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Luxor | Medinet Habu Temple | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Cairo Pyraids, Giza | Pyramids, Giza Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack

Note: the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound fluctuates strongly. During our trip a euro was worth about 16 to 17 EGP, but a year ago it was still 20 EGP. So always check the current exchange rate. Also keep in mind that prices in Egypt often change. The price for entrance tickets can suddenly be higher.

What does a flight to Egypt cost?

Egypt has several national and international airports. The largest airports are those of the capital Cairo and the coastal city of Hurghada. Direct flights from the Netherlands regularly go to both destinations. I myself paid € 238 for a return ticket Amsterdam-Cairo with a short transfer. You can easily check the current prices below.

If you want to make a well-organized Nile cruise, you have the chance to score a nice combination deal. We have already seen offers come up for 8-day cruises for € 224.

Tip: are you only going to Egypt for wonderful sun, sea and beach on the Red Sea? Then keep an eye on the offers for Hurghada. Often you can buy a ticket including a beautiful resort for a bargain price. We have already seen deals for € 230 per person for 9 days.

You can easily buy a visa at the airport, so you don’t have to do that in advance through expensive visa sites. Bring 25 euros or dollars for this with you in cash. In bills and not in coins. In case you forget, there is one ATM to get Egyptian pounds in cash for the visa. You will receive the change in Egyptian pounds.

Elephantine Island Aswan | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Elephantine Island Aswan | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack

What do hotels cost?

In Egypt you’ll find hotels in all price ranges. You will find the most expensive resorts and hotel chains, but also smutty hotels with shared bathrooms. We slept in Cairo on the advice of an Egyptian acquaintance in a hotel that turned out to be such a smutty place to sleep. It only cost 330 EGP per night (around € 20), but for just a bit more more we found much better options in Cairo.

A number of good options in various price ranges:

  • Heritage Hostel | Cairo | ± € 22 | including breakfast Right next to the Egyptian Museum. Comfortable and neat, but a bit corny. The price is for private rooms, but there are also dormitories.
  • Tahrir Plaza Suites | Cairo | ± € 35 | including breakfast Right next to the Egyptian Museum. Stingy stairwell but very neat, comfortable and clean hotel with nice rooms. Staff is friendly and speak perfect English.
  • 1920s Boutique Hotel | Cairo | ± € 71 | No central location, but a beautiful small-scale boutique hotel in art deco style.
  • El Gezira Garden Hotel | Luxor | ± € 58 | On the west bank opposite Luxor, with three swimming pools.
  • Sofitel Winter Palace | Luxor | ± € 140 | Famous and historic Winter Palace on the Nile in royal Victorian style, swimming pool and restaurants.
  • The Mango Guesthouse |Aswan | ± € 24 | On the idyllic Elephantine Island with spacious, bright and comfortable rooms, a relaxing garden and wonderful hostess.
  • Pyramisa Isis Island Resort |Aswan | ± € 92 | Large-scale, luxury resort on an island in the Nile, with swimming pool. Make sure you do not book ‘for Egyptians and residents only’.
  • Sofitel Legend Old Cataract| Aswan | ± € 315 | Famous luxury hotel in Egypt on the banks of the Nile. Beautiful Victorian building with classic decor.
Elephantine Island Aswan | Mango Guesthouse Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Cairo Tahrir Plaza Suites Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack

What do you pay for transport?

We chose to travel by train between our destinations. We paid 300 Egyptian pounds per person for the night train from Cairo to Luxor (10 hours). The train had spacious seats, but no beds. We bought the tickets on the black market that same day, because the tickets were already sold out. You should buy your tickets well in advance.

The train from Luxor to Aswan (3 hours) cost us 150 EGP per person. For the return journey from Aswan to Cairo in a comfortable night train with a bunk bed in a double sleeping compartment, we paid € 75 per person. Strangely, we had to pay this in dollars or euros, but a Visa credit card was also fine.

Tip: Don’t own a Visa Creditcard? You can easily order a free Visa debit card via Revolut. We use it quit a lot during our travels.

We used taxis and Uber at our destinations. Sometimes taxis have a meter, but it is more common to agree on a price in advance. Because drivers often did not speak English, we also simply gave what we knew was common. For short trips in Cairo, for example, this is 40 to 60 pounds. An indication of some fare prices by taxi:

  • 150 to 180 EGP from downtown Cairo to the pyramids in the Giza district.
  • 130 to 150 EGP from airport to downtown Cairo.
  • 60 EGP from Coptic Cairo to the Hassan mosques.
  • 40 EGP from Ramses train station in Cairo to Tahrir Square.
  • 20 EGP from Gezira Island to Tahrir Square in Cairo.
  • 160 EGP from the Nijloever in Luxor to the Valley of the Kings.
  • 30 EGP from the Medinet Habu Temple at Luxor to the Nile River.

The Uber app is highly recommended if you want to avoid discussions and price negotiations with taxi drivers. The price is often a lot lower too! For example, we paid between 130 and 150 EGP for a ride to or from the airport with a taxi, but only 100 EGP with an Uber.

Tip: don’t have an Uber account yet? Via this link you can easily register and receive a discount on your first ride.

Want to travel cheaper? Then you can also take the local bus. This minibus will only cost you a few pounds and will provide you with a unique experience. Ask your hotel how you find them and which ones you should take. For example, we paid 10 EGP per person for a van from Luxor to the Karnak Temple.

You will also want to cross the Nile in Luxor and Aswan. The public ferry at Aswan costs 5 EGP per person to Elephantine Island and 10 EGP to the West Bank. The boat on the Nile at Luxor cost us 70 EGP per boat.

Transport | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Transport | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack

What does food and drink cost?

You can eat locally from as little as 20 EGP for some basic fast food on the street, just like the locals do. If you want to eat a little more luxuriously, then choose a similar place with seating areas inside. A good example is the budget-friendly Akher Saa restaurant in downtown Cairo, where you will only find locals. For 130 EGP we ordered a table full of local snacks together.

We like to take a little more time for ourselves, especially in the evening, and prefer a restaurant. Soup – tomato and lentil is often on the menu – usually costs 35 to 50 EGP. A main course between 50 and 150 EGP. At our favorite restaurant on Elephantine Island near Aswan, we paid around 350 EGP each. That is for several drinks and two tajines from 110 to 125 EGP. There always was a vegetarian tajine, bread with dip and some house salad, so a decent table for goodies.

In Cairo you also have more Western spots, for example on the hip Gezira island. We paid a lot for coffee with cake (40 EGP for coffee and 50 EGP for a cake), but also at the Poire Café chain you don’t pay much less for a coffee. You can also find the international Costa coffee chain in Cairo for Western style coffee.

Cairo Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Elephantine Island Aswan | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack

How much for an entrance ticket?

We found the most expensive entrance tickets for all sights in Egypt. I have kept track of all our ticket prices for you. Consider what you would like to visit and add the prices together to get a better impression of your travel budget.

For the sights in Cairo:

  • 600 EGP for the pyramids and sphinx, including access to the large pyramid and the small museum.
  • 200 EGP for the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and 180 EGP for the mummy rooms
  • 180 for the citadel with its views and mosques
  • Twice 80 EGP for the two Hassan mosques
  • free access to many mosques and Coptic Cairo
  • 40 EGP for the Bab Zuweila

For the sights in Aswan:

  • 255 EGP for the temple of Abu Simbel and 400 EGP for transportation there from Aswan
  • 100 EGP for the Abu temple and museum on Elephantine Island near Aswan
  • 35 EGP for the botanical garden on Kitchener Island

For the sights in Luxor:

  • 140 EGP for the famous Hatshepsut Temple
  • 100 EGP for the Medinet Habu temple
  • 160 EGP for the Temple of Luxor
  • 200 EGP for the Temple of Karnak
  • 300 EGP for the light show in the evening at the Temple of Karnak
  • 240 EGP for the Valley of the Kings and 300 EGP for an extra ticket for the tomb of Tutankhamun, 1000 EGP for Seti I and 100 EGP for Ramses V & VI. Read more about the ticket prices for the Valley of the Kings here.

Bear in mind that children and students often receive a discount, but only on presentation of proof of identity or student pass. You can often only take photos with your camera after purchasing a pricey photography ticket. With your phone or after a tip to the guard you can usually just take photos. And sometimes it’s an official rule that nobody actually does anything with.

Tips for guards to take photos, to see a locked room or even to climb a temple are between 10 EGP and 20 EGP.

Luxor | Karnak Temple Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack
Abu Simbel | Ramses II | Egypt Egypt The Orange Backpack

Our costs for two weeks

I traveled with a friend through Egypt for two weeks. We were there twelve full days, on the first and last day we flew. We stayed for four nights in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. I found that a bit too much, so I have included a slightly different schedule for you in my ideal travel route for Egypt. We stayed in Luxor with an Egyptian family that we know through friends, so we saved on four hotel nights.

I paid € 238 for a return ticket Amsterdam-Cairo with a short transfer. We spent a total of € 2,047.23 in Egypt, so around € 1,000 per person.

A considerable cost item was the train ticket of € 75 per person and our Egyptian guide of € 400 in total. That guide was not recommended, but saved us money by having us sleep with his family in Luxor. Our guide also bought expensive tickets of 1000 pounds for the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings without consulting us, so over € 60 per person converted. If you do not include such costs, you’re total costs can easily be less.

Other costs that you will hopefully not have are for delayed baggage. Unfortunately our luggage only arrived after more than three days, so we still had to incur some costs for a toothbrush, underwear, clean shirt, etc. We also had to incur costs to collect the luggage ourselves at the airport.

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