Travel to Egypt – Getting there and getting around

The mystical and timeless appeal of Egypt has for centuries seen the ancient country ranked among the most spectacular tourist destinations in the world.

Egypt is accessible by air, sea, road and rail. Those traveling by air can enter through Cairo International Airport, Alexandria, Nozah, Luxor and Aswan in Upper Egypt, Hurghaba in the Red Sea region and Sharm el-Sheikh in southern Sinai.

Several airliners offer flights to Egypt, including British Airways, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Dutch Airlines and Thai Airways International.

In addition to the airports, there are a number of seaports for those who prefer to travel by sea. For those who travel on the Mediterranean Sea, the ports of Alexandria, Port Said and Damietta are all points of interest. Entrance possible. There is also a port just in the Gulf of Suez and another, the port of Nuweiba on the Gulf of Aqaba. The Red Sea offers three options for travelers; the ports of Hurghaba, Safaga and Sharm El-Sheikh.

For those who prefer travel by car, there are three land entry points. The Salloum entrance post is located on the northwest border (for those coming from Libya). The famous Rafah crossing is on the northeast border for those arriving from the Gaza Strip, the occupied territories and Israel. At the eastern border, there is a post in Taba for those coming from Israel.

Getting the right paperwork and visa is essential for a stress-free entry into Egypt. Non-Egyptian visitors arriving in Egypt must be in possession of a valid passport. Visas can be obtained from Egyptian diplomatic and consular missions abroad, from the entry visa service or from the Immigration and Nationality Administration (TDINA). However, it is possible for visitors to obtain an entry visa at all major entry points.

Visitors entering Egypt at the Taba land border post to visit the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba and St. Catherine may be exempt from visa and granted a free 14 day residence permit to visit the region. Citizens of the following countries must be in possession of a visa before arrival: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya, Croatia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sri-Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and all African countries.

Persons in possession of a residence permit in Egypt are not required to obtain an entry visa if they leave the country and return to it as part of the validity of their residence permit or within six months, whichever is less. There are three types of visas for Egypt. Tourist visas are generally valid for a period not exceeding three months and granted on one or more entries. An entry visa is required for any visitor arriving in Egypt for purposes such as work and studies which are not related to tourism. This visa is required for the completion of the residency procedure in Egypt. Transit visas are made available to travelers transiting through Egypt. Once in Egypt, visitors have different options for getting around the country in a simple and comfortable way. Options range from car rentals, luxury trains and coaches to domestic flights to connect tourist cities.

If you are arriving by Cairo International, you have the option of renting a limousine with fixed costs depending on your accommodation from the airport, or using the Cairo airport transport service which covers the whole country and the airports. You can request this service through your travel agent or the airport information desk.

The simplest and most common way of getting around a city is by using taxis. These are readily available in major cities, Cairo, for example, has a fleet of yellow air-conditioned and measured taxis. One is the one who advised to book taxis at least an hour before the scheduled time for their trip. In some cases, it is recommended that you request a receipt as proof of payment to avoid any further inconvenience. Alternatively, one could take a regular taxi across the street or even outside their hotel. They are usually colored depending on the city in which they operate. In Alexandria, they are yellow and black, in Cairo, they are black and white. It is very important to know the color codes in different cities in order to minimize the risks.

Large Egyptian cities have a healthy bus system within and between cities. Examples are the Super Jet, Delta and Upper Egypt buses. They go from city to city and provide catering, restrooms and entertainment on board. The downside to traveling with buses is that they stop far too often, which takes too long, especially on long journeys. Train travel is highly recommended for long distance travel.

The metro, made up of two long queues, is the cheapest and fastest way to get around inside Cairo and Giza Governorate, especially during rush hour (from 2 p.m. at 5:00 p.m.). The first, from Helwan to El Marg has 33 stops; the second, from Giza to Shoubra El Khema has 18 stops. Note that the first wagon of each train is always strictly reserved for women. Summer working hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and winter working hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Many transport companies offer a wide choice of luxury cars and coaches with well-trained drivers. Car rental agencies are represented in major cities as well as at international and national airports. The train is one of the best ways to travel between major Egyptian cities.

Three types of trains are available: the ordinary, the express and the turbo. The express and the turbo are the more expensive options, but they have the benefit of a pampered trip that quickly gets you to your destination with all the catering facilities and air conditioning. An excellent turbo train service is available between Cairo and the main cities of the country. The train takes about two hours to go from Cairo to Alexandria.

For those who prefer to travel by air locally, Egypt Air – the national carrier – connects most of the tourist cities of Egypt with its reliable domestic flights. It is possible to fly directly from Luxor to Sharm el-Sheikh or Alexandria.

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