Thanks in large part to its incredible history, Egypt is one of the most iconic countries in the world. From the pyramids to the mummies they hold within them and more, Egypt offers visitors a chance to experience and see things found in no other place on Earth.
That ability to offer something entirely unique is just one of the reasons why Egypt is such a huge draw for tourists. In fact, before the coronavirus pandemic, Egypt derived roughly twelve percent of its annual growth domestic product (GDP) from the tourism sector.
Egypt is now counted among the many countries that are opening their borders for foreign visitors. Travelers hoping to go need to find out more about Egypt to best plan a smooth and memorable trip.
Any international travel needs to begin with visa acquisition. Before applying for a visa, it is crucial to do a bit of research to figure out whether or not they are required to receive one before traveling.
For example, do US citizens need a visa for Egypt?
The short answer is: yes, all United States passport holders must obtain a visa before entering Egypt. However, two types of visas are available to US citizens, and understanding the process will go a long way toward ensuring a successful application.
The first option is an eVisa for Egypt, which is an online visa that is easily applied for and distributed via email before travel. This option is the most secure one for travelers who like to do all their planning ahead of time.
The second visa option for travelers from America is the visa upon arrival in Egypt. This option requires slightly less planning before travel and could be ideal for anyone who needs to travel last minute. However, there is a high likelihood that people selecting this option will need to wait in long lines once they disembark from the plane, which could take hours to pass through.
Fun Facts in Cairo: Are The Pyramids Really That Great?
There are many reasons why Egypt is often named among the best countries in Africa to visit. Principal among those options is, of course, the pyramids, the most spectacular of which is no doubt the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the most spectacular and special man-made structures on the planet. At 481 feet tall, it was once the world's tallest building. It remained that way until modern architecture developed the skyscraper. While the Burj Khalifa in Dubai stands at 2,716 feet, it is important to remember that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built thousands of years before.
Fortunately for visitors to Cairo, there are local bus options out to the pyramids that leave from some of the city’s central squares. The fare is cheaper than hiring a private taxi and though it may take a few minutes longer, the drive is only around 11 miles, giving tourists a great chance to see more of the city from a local’s perspective.
More Than Just Pyramids: What Is There to Do in Cairo?
Cairo can feel overwhelming to tourists who are just getting their bearings. That is largely due to its size. With nearly eight million people, Cairo is the third most populous city on the entire African continent and is the most populous in Northern Africa.
Tourists should not let this overwhelm them. Instead, they should take advantage of the amazing cultural opportunities that this huge collection of humanity offers. Foreigners should enjoy the markets, bazaars, religious structures, festivals, and more that Cairo offers.
For example, did you know that the world’s largest food court is in Cairo? The Oasis food court is an absolute must for travelers who like to explore new locations with their noses and stomachs. It can be difficult to seek out authentic food in cities that bustle with as much energy as Cairo. Hungry visitors can experience all that culinary Cairo has to offer in one breathtaking—and mouthwatering—location.
Anybody who wants to explore Cairo’s intellectual, architectural, historical, and religious sides all in one fell swoop must check out the Al Azhar mosque. Not only is it the oldest mosque in Egypt—built around 972—but the compound also plays home to one of the oldest universities in the entire world.
Though the grounds are open to visitors, it is important to remember that in Egypt, especially in and around religious sites, everyone must dress respectfully. This means your shoulders must be covered at all times, even in the hottest weather. To best accommodate foreigners, shawls and scarves are often available at the entrance to places where they are required.
Cairo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on the planet. Remembering to keep in mind the heat, dress respectfully, and visit more than just the pyramids will ensure an amazing experience for people of all ages.