Egypt

All you need to know about visiting Pyramids of Giza

(Last Updated On: 12/11/2019)

One of the main attractions of Egypt are Pyramids of Giza. It’s a must visit place in every Egypt itinerary.

Every day thousands of people visit Pyramids, and I can’t blame them. It’s a spectacular site, and it gets the whole hype for a reason.

After all, everyone has heard of the Giza pyramid complex, dating back to the ca. 2580 – 2560 BC.

I left visiting Pyramids for the last of my 3 days in Cairo.

To be honest, the Pyramids of Giza have never been high on my bucket list, and I went to see them only because I couldn’t have missed such a huge attraction, not because I really wanted to.

I explored the site independently and on my own.

Well, to my huge surprise, I loved the Pyramids!

My jaw literally has dropped when I’ve seen them from up close and for all the time I was visiting Pyramids I was in awe.

No picture can show how spectacular this site is and now I really believe Pyramids is one of the places you have to see before you die!

visiting Pyramids

The most popular picture from Pyramids

But visiting Pyramids independently was also an utterly exhausting and annoying experience and left me drained for the rest of the day.

Still, I don’t regret every single minute spent at the site.

I was there on New Year’s Eve morning and visiting Pyramids was a perfect ending of the year for me.

I put together all the information about visiting Pyramids for you, so you know how to prepare for the trip to Pyramids and what to expect at the site.

I went there a bit unprepared, and I wish I knew some of these things before.

But I still think my visit to the Pyramids went well.

Where are the Pyramids located?

Unlike the pictures say Pyramids are not located in the middle of the desert.

They are actually at the edge of the bustling suburb of Cairo – Giza. The site is some 13kms away from Cairo downtown and 8kms from the Nile.

Giza is not a pretty place.

It’s a typical neighborhood in Egypt – loud, busy, dirty and smelly but if you are brave enough, you can walk around a little bit to see this face of Giza too.

Or hop off to my friend Nate’s blog to see some great pictures of Giza beyond the Pyramids.

visiting Pyramids

Sphinx and Giza suburb

How to get to the Pyramids?

The easiest way to get to the Pyramids is taking the Uber. That’s what I did both to and from Pyramids, and it was super easy.

You need a local SIM card to do it (I got mine at the airport after arriving), I also recommend learning Arabic numbers so you can recognize the license plate of your car as they are only in Arabic (although in Uber it shows the regular numbers).

These are actually among my main Egypt travel tips.

While I had some problems with Uber in Cairo – drivers were canceling on me on short distances or claiming they arrived but I was not at the meeting point, it went smoothly both to Pyramids and back.

On the way there I paid 65 EGP (~$3,70 / €3,30) from the downtown Cairo, the journey took around 45 minutes, and the driver dropped me off at the entrance gate on the right side of the Great Pyramid.

After my visit, I took Uber from the entrance in front of the Sphinx.

I had to wait some 15 minutes for the driver to arrive (the traffic in Cairo is insane) and then went to the Citadel. For this journey 90 EGP (~$5,10 / €4,50) and we drove for around one hour (again, the traffic).

Alternatively, you can take the metro to Giza station (the ticket should cost 3 EGP one way) that is located some 5 km away from the Pyramids.

From there you can catch a minibus that goes along the main road and will take you close to the Pyramids. You still will have to walk a bit to the entrance though.

But if you want to spend less and you are up for an adventure this might be a good way of getting to the Pyramids.

visiting Pyramids

Which entrance to the Pyramid complex you should choose?

I didn’t know that before, but there are actually two entrances to the site. One is in front of the Sphinx, and one is on the hill, next to the Great Pyramid.

Uber chose for me, and the driver dropped me off at the second one. That turned out to be a good choice.

This entrance seemed to be less busy, it is also on the hill so you save yourself going up (the uphill isn’t too big but can make you a bit tired).

visiting Pyramids

The view of the Great Pyramid right after the entrance

What are the opening hours and the best time to visit Pyramids?

The site is open every day from 8 am to 4 pm in the winter time (October to March) and from 7 am to 7 pm in the summertime (April-September).

The earlier you come, the better as most of the tour buses are here around 10 am.

That’s when I arrived too and there indeed were numerous groups around, but it was easy to avoid them actually, and they didn’t spoil the whole experience of visiting Pyramids for me.

In the evening you can see the light and sound show at the Pyramids. I personally haven’t attended it, but I heard rather good opinions about the show.

It starts at 7 pm in the winter time and at 7:30 pm in the summer time.

Each day there are three shows scheduled, beginning every hour. In Ramadan, the shows start at 8:30 pm.

visiting Pyramids

How much does it cost to visit the Pyramids?

When I visited Pyramids on 31st of December 2018 the ticket was 160 EGP (~$9 / €8) for the site, 360 EGP (~$20,50 / €18) for the Great Pyramid, 100 EGP for the Khafre Pyramid, 50 EGP for Mers Ankh Tomb or 500 EGP (~$28,50 / €25) for the combined ticket.

I bought a combined ticket.

Do I recommend it? Not really, to be honest.

I only went inside the Great Pyramid, and it was a miserable experience indeed.

The corridor is narrow, the stairs are slippery, the air was stifling, and the place was claustrophobic.

I didn’t enjoy it at all, and at some point, I turned around and went back.

But the whole Pyramids site was a completely different story and worth every penny!

The evening light and sound show costs $15 if you’d like to attend it. You can also combine it with the dinner, click here for more details.

visiting Pyramids

Can you visit the Great Pyramid?

Yes, you can. You need to get an extra ticket for the Great Pyramid, so you need to decide at the entrance.

But, as I mentioned above, I don’t really recommend it.

Not only it’s not really worth it in my opinion, but you also need to leave your camera at the entrance to the Pyramid as taking pictures inside is strictly forbidden.

I had huge doubts when leaving my camera, but they were insisting and didn’t let me hide it to my backpack, I had to leave it there and then, at the stone next to the guard (this didn’t help my concerns).

I got it back with no issues when I left the Pyramid, but afterward, I read some stories on how people had to bribe the guards to get their cameras back!

This is yet another reason for me why I would not recommend visiting the Great Pyramid…

By the way, when I got my camera back, the guard let me take a picture inside at the entrance and even made a (blurry) picture of myself.

Of course, it was for a small fee, 10 EGP was enough, so I didn’t mind it all that much.

inside the Great Pyramid

inside the Great Pyramid

How much time do you need for visiting the Pyramids?

It depends on you really.

I spent 2 hours at the Pyramids, and I could have easily stayed there longer but I wanted to see some more places in Cairo, and it was my last full day in the city.

I heard the average time of the visit is 1,5 hour, but if you are visiting Pyramids independently, you can stay as long as you want to there, even the whole day.

It’s a mesmerizing site really and every minute spent there is worth it!

visiting Pyramids

Should you visit Pyramids independently or with the tour?

I can’t recommend you one way or another, it depends on you and your preferences. And also on your level of assertiveness and how quickly you get annoyed.

I visited the Pyramid independently, and some parts of the experience left me outraged while others were a bliss.

For most of the time though I had to deal with the constant harassment of local vendors/security/guides/drivers/ you name it who tried to talk me into taking their services, and they did it rather boldly.

If you visit the Pyramids with the prebooked guide, you most likely will avoid all these annoyances, and you will be able to learn from the first hand about the site, its history, and impact.

The call is yours.

If you would like to the tour to the Pyramids here are some of the good options of highly rated tours:

visiting Pyramids

What to wear when visiting Pyramids?

There is no official dress code for visiting the Pyramids but for your own sake wear something comfortable and modest (I took the tunic I wore every day when I was traveling solo in Iran).

And don’t forget something to cover your head, a hat or scarf will do. This is an open area, and the sun can be cruel here, even in winter.

When I visited, it was around 20 C and foggy, but still, the sun was shining through and made it really hot.

Be sure to have a bottle of water or two with you too! Better to buy it beforehand, the prices at and near the site and like 10 times higher.

visiting Pyramids

solo female travel in Pyramids of Giza

What to expect when visiting Pyramids?

Visiting Pyramids can be madness, really.

As soon as you enter the site, you are constantly approached by all sorts of people who keep offering you their services.

But in 80% of cases, it first starts with the question where you are from as it’s a good beginning of the small talk that would only dull your vigilance and give them the impression how wealthy you might be.

A firm but kind “no, thank you, I’m good” as an answer to all the offers is usually enough but it takes a minute or two, and you are approached by yet another one, and another, and another tout…

Some of these men (oh, did I mention they are only men?) offer to give you something for free, as a gift but remember there is no such thing as for free in the touristic places in Egypt, it’s just another way to make you pay.

When I was offered “gifts,” I just said that although I really appreciate the gesture, I can’t take it as I don’t need it and why giving it to me for free when he can sell it to someone else.

I kept repeating it like a mantra, at some point they got the message.

visiting Pyramids

The most annoying situation I had when visiting Pyramids (or Egypt in general) was when one of the “security guys” followed me to the viewpoint that I’ve already been at, showed me the view that was already in front of my eyes and then demanded money for showing me the way and the view that I found myself.

I was arguing with him a bit and eventually gave him 10 EGP.

His reaction? “This is nothing! Give me more!”.

I tried to tell him that this is not nothing and asked why I should give him any more money just for the fact that he exists but got no answer for that.

Instead, he told me I can give him US dollars if I don’t have Egyptian pounds and showed me his wallet full of money (so I said he doesn’t need any more money if he already has more than me).

Eventually, I gave him 10 EGP more just to get rid of him.

It wasn’t scary or anything, there were lots of people around, and I didn’t feel in danger. I was just annoyed like hell.

visiting Pyramids

The view that I found myself

Another trick to avoid when visiting Pyramids is when someone offers to show you “the secret place,” the shortcut or hidden tombs – I didn’t fall for it, but I’ve seen others who did and again, nothing good can come out of that.

When going to see the Sphinx they might stop you to check your ticket (so what it was already checked at the gate and the Sphinx is included) and then direct you to “secret tombs” first – don’t fall for it either.

Again, a firm “no, thank you, I’m good” should be enough.

visiting Pyramids

You will also be constantly asked if you want to go for a camel/horse/carriage ride.

You might go, and there is a set price for that (150 EGP if I remember correctly but I might be wrong), but probably you will be asked for a tip too.

I didn’t go for different reasons – I felt sorry for animals, and I didn’t see a point using this offer when I could walk on my own.

This way I could also see Pyramids from all possible angles and take pictures whenever I wanted to.

visiting Pyramids

The area of Pyramids is a busy place and not as secluded as it looks on the pictures online.

There is a proper asphalt road going through the site, with cars, buses, carriages, and animals going up and down for all the time.

I even found a landing pad for helicopters.

Since I was wandering around on my own, I didn’t have to stick to the road and could go wherever I wanted to.

That’s when I finally was on my own with the Pyramids but to be honest, it wasn’t too difficult to escape the crowds.

visiting Pyramids

Is visiting Pyramids safe?

Even if the day I arrived in Egypt there was a terrorist attack in Giza that was aimed at Vietnamese tourists that killed 4 and injured 12 people I still think visiting the Pyramids is safe.

At the entrance, you go through the security control and then you are free to explore the site.

The whole harassment you get from all the touts is annoying, like insanely irritating, but not dangerous really. I felt safe the entire time I was at the Pyramids and I was exploring the site alone.

visiting Pyramids

selfie with Sphinx

Is it possible to climb the Pyramids of Giza?

No, unfortunately not.

In the past, for a small bribe, it was possible, but after the recent scandal with the tourists having sex on top of the Great Pyramid it is forbidden to climb the Pyramids, and the police present at the site is very strict about it.

As soon as you try to do it, they whistle and urge you to go down. I wouldn’t try climbing the Pyramids really.

visiting Pyramids

Where to stay when visiting Pyramids?

I stayed in downtown Cairo and visited Pyramids only as a side trip, but there are numerous accommodation options right at the spot.

If visiting Pyramids was my main reason to come to Egypt, like it is for many people, I would have opted for the place to stay in Giza for sure.

After all, what’s more romantic than waking up with the view of Pyramids outside your window.

Besides, you could be the first one at the site, before the tour buses arrive!

So if you would like to stay near the Pyramids these are the best options for accommodation in Giza, with the spectacular view over Pyramids:

visiting Pyramids

You could wake up with the view like this

Is it worth to visit the Pyramids?

Yes, yes and yes!

Despite all the horror stories and annoyances, I think Pyramids are worth the effort.

For most of the time I felt like slapping all the touts right in their smiling yet mercenary faces, and I will scream next time I hear “camel, madam?” but nevertheless I loved Pyramids, so much more than I expected.

The site is splendid, the Pyramids are mesmerizing, and no picture can do the justice to this site.

Just prepare yourself for the worst, remember about all the scams, use your assertiveness, and you will be fine.

Pyramids in Giza really is one of these places you have to see before you die!

visiting Pyramids

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience visiting the Pyramids comment below.


Travel resources

With over 15 years of independent traveling, I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Money – My number one tip for everyone is to start using Revolut bank card to save money when traveling.

You get the card by mail within a few days and you can use it all over the world. You top up the card in the app on the phone, where you can also have accounts in different currencies and exchange money between them, for no extra fee and at very favorable rates. Everything is super easy and fast, you only need an internet connection to manage your accounts in the app.

Revolut supports over 140 currencies and offers free withdrawal from ATMs all over the world. In the first 6 months I’ve used Revolut card in 12 countries in 3 continents and had no issues at all. And I saved a lot of money in the exchange rates!

Click here to learn more about the service and order your own Revolut card!

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com.

They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs.

I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times.

Check the best deals on accommodation in Egypt here!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road and better safe than sorry (I’ve learnt my lesson).

I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me.

Click here to get the insurance policy for Egypt here.

Day tours – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that saves you time and money.

I most often use Get Your Guide that offers a variety of tours all over the world. Click here to check all the best tours you can take during your travels!

Offline maps – For years I’ve been using MAPS.ME app and I can’t recommend it enough!

It’s free, works offline perfectly fine and saved me many times. You can easily transfer Google Maps with all the bookmarks to maps.me and use them offline wherever you are.

Click here to download it to your phone before your next trip!


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

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  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Egypt too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Margaret
    17/02/2019 at 21:05

    Hi Kami. I’ve always been a keen follower of all your writings but I was very disappointed to read in this blog about the safety at the pyramids where you stated “that a terrorist attack aimed at Vietnamese tourists resulted in a few casualties”. This attack actually killed 4 people and 12 people hospitalised. In my opinion this is a serious attack not a few casualties.

    • Reply
      kami
      18/02/2019 at 09:13

      Thank you for your feedback Margaret. As you might know, I’m not a native English speaker and this might have been a very unfortunate use of words from me, I’ve changed it. But to be honest, seeing what’s happening in the region this wasn’t such a serious attack. The only reason why we consider it serious was because it was aimed at foreigners, otherwise I don’t think it would have made it to the news, unfortunately…

  • Reply
    Kris
    18/02/2019 at 23:06

    Great photos again shame about the touts I was there last March and no problems i was by myself also and I felt safe at all times

    • Reply
      kami
      19/02/2019 at 09:23

      So good you didn’t have to deal with touts, it was a nightmare! Glad you enjoyed Pyramids, it’s such a spectacular site!

  • Reply
    erin
    21/04/2019 at 15:19

    Great and helpful post! I have been reading so many negative posts and yours was encouraging that you stayed positive despite the hassles, I will go there with the same attitude. I had doubts about wandering around alone, but I feel prepared to say no assertively and not let it bother me too much. Beautiful photos!

    • Reply
      kami
      27/04/2019 at 13:17

      Thank you! You will be fine, even if annoyed. Just say no firmly and go your own way to enjoy the place. It’s a spectacular side, worth all the hassle. Hope you will enjoy it too!

  • Reply
    Aliki
    18/07/2019 at 17:28

    The ticket was 160 EGP (~$9 / €8) for the site, does that include seeing the 3 pyramids from the outside and Sphinx from outside.

    I am not talking of going inside the pyramid, obviously that’s extra. I mean will the $ 9 ticket for the site let me very close to the pyramid like touching it from the outside? Or is there another ticket to get close to the 3 pyramids and the sphinx?

    • Reply
      kami
      20/07/2019 at 12:43

      Yes, the 160 EGP allows you to get very close to the Pyramids, even to touch them. You are only not allowed to go inside as that’s extra paid.

  • Reply
    Claude Henoud
    03/08/2019 at 08:17

    Hi Kami,

    Great review, heading over today. Thanks for the tips

    • Reply
      kami
      11/08/2019 at 10:23

      I hope you enjoyed the place, despite all the hassle there!

  • Reply
    Cindy
    14/08/2019 at 04:37

    Hi, great tips!

    Can I pay in the Sphinx entrance with american dollars or credit card ?
    I will be only two days in Cairo and prefer not to change usd for egp.

    Tnanks

    • Reply
      kami
      19/08/2019 at 21:41

      To be honest I don’t know as I paid by cash in Egyptian pounds. Sorry I can’t help you with this question. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    nayan jee
    25/08/2019 at 00:21

    Great composition of data. Thank you.

    Is it possible/advisable to see all the sites around the pyramids between 8am to 12 pm and catch the flight from Cairo airport at 4 pm the same day?

    One thing that we should definitely pre-book before visiting pyramids?

    Thanks once again Kami.

    • Reply
      kami
      15/09/2019 at 15:23

      I think it’s doable, although keep in mind the Pyramids are on the other side of Cairo than the airport. But you need 2 hours max for visiting Pyramids complex, if you start early in the morning you should be able to make it. I think having a guide would be a good idea to help you get to know the place better.

  • Reply
    Jerry Fer Damian
    04/11/2019 at 13:47

    Thank you for sharing your experiences

    • Reply
      kami
      07/11/2019 at 15:27

      thank you

  • Reply
    Husam Starxin
    06/11/2019 at 15:30

    Hey Kami,

    We’re visiting the Pyramids tomorrow, I just want to be clear, is the 9$ fee enough to see all the Pyramids and great pyramid, as well as Khafre and the Sphinx? We’re only interested in seeing everything from the outside “from all sides, especially for the Sphinx”.

    Thanks for all your tips.

    • Reply
      kami
      07/11/2019 at 15:56

      Yes, once you pay the entrance fee to the area you are free to see all the places from the outside. Have a good time at Pyramids!

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