Best time to visit Egypt
I visited Egypt at the end of December/beginning of January and I think it’s a really good time if you want to focus on sightseeing. It wasn’t too hot, usually around 20C and sunny although the day was a bit short for my taste, it was getting dark around 5pm.
I also found main touristic sights a bit too crowded and prices were slightly higher because of the New Year’s season so try to avoid the Christmas-New Year time but go around it for the chances of good weather. In the seaside resorts you will be more lucky with warm (25C and above) weather, it should be good from late autumn to early spring. Summer time is insanely hot everywhere and I’d generally avoid travelling in Egypt at that time.
Egypt travel tips
How to get to Egypt
There are few popular international airports in Egypt so if you’re going to fly you will most likely have to decide between Cairo, Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. I didn’t want to go to the last two as these are the seaside resorts located a bit away from places I wanted to visit in Egypt and I didn’t have enough time to relax at the sea (although that could have been nice too) so I had to find flights to Cairo.
There are numerous European, African and Middle East airline flying to Cairo. For me the cheapest option was with Ukrainian International Airlines, with a quick connection in Kiev (as it later turned out it was too short on the way back when my flight from Cairo was over 2 hours delayed and the flight to Warsaw departed without me, fortunately the airline secured the hotel, meals and the seat in the next flight with no issues).
I paid around €250 for my return ticket, bought 4 months in advance and for the high season (Christmas and New Year period). Usually you can get it even better deals with UIA. I use this airline fairly often and they are ok, almost always on time and with good service. Also the airport in Kiev is fine for transfer, everything is rather smooth, prices are affordable and the free wifi keeps you entertained when waiting for your flight.
Egypt visa on arrival at Cairo airport
Most likely you need a visa to Egypt. You can do it online at this website or you can get a visa on arrival at the airport, the price is the same – $25.
I was planning to get the e-visa but I was too late. You need to apply 7 days prior the arrival – it was exactly 7 days when I wanted to do it so I didn’t want to risk. Fortunately getting the Egypt visa on arrival on Cairo airport was super easy and I didn’t waste all that much time for the procedure so to be honest I wouldn’t bother all that much with getting e-visa.
When you get to the arrival hall, with passport control at the end, you will find a bank on the right side directly after you leave the escalator. It’s easy to miss this very random both with printed pages glued to the window saying that Visa on arrival costs $25. You only pay the amount (it has to be in the US dollars but they will give you a change if you don’t have exactly $25 in cash), get a sticker with visa and that’s it, no paperwork is required. You have to put the visa to the passport yourself.
Before proceeding to the passport control you need to fill in the arrival migration card (the red one is for foreigners), you will find them on the shelf just before the passport queue. It’s a standard form, you need to fill in your name, date and place of birth, nationality, passport number and the reason you’re visiting Egypt.
With visa stuck in your passport and a migration card filled you can proceed to the passport control. It was easy and straightforward, nothing extraordinary really. I wasn’t asked even one question and after a minute or two I was handed my passport back, with the entry stamp to Egypt.