Tips for Visiting Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

As you might expect, one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of ancient times is the glorious Pyramids of Giza near Cairo. Somewhere far away in the secluded desert, prepare to be amazed as you can see the Great Pyramid of Khufu – the last standing ancient wonder of the world.

Egyptian pyramids are looming in front of you from the Giza street while approaching them. It comes as no surprise that visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt are on many people’s bucket lists.

Who Built the Egyptian Pyramids of Giza? How were the pyramids built?

The Pyramids date back to 2560 BC, and were ordered by the second ruler of the Fourth Dynasty, Pharaoh Khufu. For a very long time, they were believed to be built either by aliens or Jewish slaves.

However, in 2010 a tourist riding a camel around the site stumbled upon some uncovered tombs that turned out to be tombs of builders who while building the great pyramids. Archeologists agreed that if they were slaves they would never be buried in such close proximity to the actual tomb.

All of these workers were actually local highly-skilled Egyptians who lived in the villages nearby, working under Khufu’s supervision.

Best Tips for Visiting Pyramids of Giza in Egypt (2020)

If you’re visiting the Pyramids for the first time, it’s important to be prepared and know more than you need than regret you knew something after your visit. For other places in Egypt you can check out my other guide. Also, don’t forget to buy yourself a travel insurance.

how were the pyramids built


Basic Things to Know About Visiting the Pyramids

Big tour buses drive in and stop right by the pyramids, but as a solo explorer, you’ll have to walk to them from the entrance. It’s not far (about an 8-minute walk) and you can surely walk around on your own without having to rent a camel or a horse.

The best view of the Pyramids is from the sand dunes and whether you can walk there on foot or not depends on the mood of the guards. Not everyone is up for walking up in the sand for a while. I’m very glad I paid a few bucks ($7) for a horse. If you don’t want to rent anything, smile and politely decline.

You can choose between a horse ride and a camel ride. I find camels quite uncomfortable especially getting on and off to take photos, so I suggest a horse. But it is up to you.

great pyramid of giza


Where Are the Pyramids?

The Pyramids are located in Giza, the third-largest city in Egypt. Giza is set on the west bank of the River Nile about 10 miles away from Cairo.

If you are staying in a hotel in the city of Cairo you’re looking into about an hour’s taxi drive, but you can also stay in a hotel in Giza and enjoy the view of the pyramids in the evening.


How to Get to the Pyramids?

My personal recommendation is to stay the night at one of the hotels in front of the pyramids (I suggest Panorama Pyramids Inn!). The undisturbed view you can wake up to in the morning is unbeatable and breakfast they serve is absolutely fantastic. If you stay in a nearby you can simply walk up to the main entrance to the site.

Once you enter the site, you can either walk or get a horse or camel to ride around the pyramids and nearby deserts.

Otherwise, if staying in downtown Cairo, a pre-arranged transfer is your best and most affordable bet. It will save you from haggling with taxi drivers. I can recommend this transfer.

If you’re not afraid of taking Uber, that’s an option too. I paid about $3.50 for a ride from the pyramids to the Egyptian Museum.

If you want to visit on a short layover, you can either grab a taxi at the airport or sign up for one of the organized tours if you don’t feel comfortable exploring on your own.

pyramids of Egypt


Giza Pyramids Ticket Prices

The site opens every day between 8 am and 5 am from October to March, and 7 am to 7 pm every day between April and September. Most tour buses arrive around 9:30 – 10 am, so if you want to experience the site when it’s less busy.

General site entrance tickets are 200 EGP ($9 / €8) with additional tickets for the pyramids themselves. BUT…

Can You Go Inside the Pyramids?

Yes, you can. But it’s not as exciting as getting inside the tombs at the Valley of the Kings. Most guides will tell you that you need to pay extra to get inside the pyramids, but it’s only partially true. There is one pyramid that’s included in your ticket price.

There are three pyramids of the Queens of Cheops and you can go inside the one in the middle for free. Khufu’s Pyramid costs another 400 EGP and Khafree’s Pyramid costs 100 EGP, or 500 EGP for a combined ticket but trust me – they all look the same inside. Once you’ve been to one you’ve been to all. The inside of the pyramid isn’t the same as Tombs in Valley of the Kings in Luxor where you want to see every single one of them.

There are no mummies inside since they were all moved to the Egyptian Museum that I highly recommend on visiting as well.

inside pyramids of giza


Can You Climb the Pyramids of Giza?

Officially no. In reality, it all depends, but I’m still not sure on what…

A policeman on a camel approached me and offered me to climb the pyramid. He said that I seem nice and I’m the first on the site in the morning, so why not. I thought he was joking or wanted a tip, but he was just being nice. In fact, he encouraged me to climb higher. I did and the view was awesome.

It turned out that in the past people were able to climb the pyramids freely. Now climbing to the top of Khufu is illegal and they don’t issue permits.

However, they pick and choose which tourists can climb a few blocks of the Pyramid of Khafre and others. If you start climbing on your own they’ll yell at you and you might even get arrested.

the pyramids of giza


How to See the Sphinx?

While in Giza the Sphinx, said to have been made in the image of Pharaoh Khafre guarding the Pharaoh’s pyramid, is another must-visit. To this day, the sphinx’s broken nose remains a mystery.

There are two spots to see the Sphinx, but most tourists have to go to the side through a weird structure that I still don’t know the purpose of. They’ll check your tickets to ensure that you paid the entrance fee to the pyramid complex. From this angle you’ll experience the side of the Sphinx, but not the front.

I was told that only special groups are allowed to go in in front of the Sphinx or it’s 100 LE extra, but in the end, I was allowed in for free. It’s Egypt…

sphinx


Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids

Every night there is an evening show at the pyramids. The show hasn’t changed for over 20 years, so while it feels like out of James Bond movie. If you’re staying at a nearby hotel (I highly recommend Panorama Pyramids Inn!) you can watch it from the rooftop.

I still think that the show at Karnak in Luxor is more entertaining, but you might as well see both and decide for yourself.

hotels near pyramids


What to Wear at the Pyramids?

The most important thing to consider is suitable footwear if you’re planning on getting inside the pyramids. That said, I’d also advise against wearing flowy dresses for the same reason.

Since the Pyramids were my last stop in Egypt I ran out of clean clothes and wore shorts and covered my tank top with a cover-up. I had no issues whatsoever, and in fact, I removed the cover-up halfway through the trip after my horse guide told me that it’s totally fine.

Before you assume – no, he wasn’t staring at me, he actually couldn’t care less. Therefore my tip is: dress in layers and feel out the situation as I obviously recommend covering up in rural area and mosques.

I wish I had a hat with me, as I totally sunburnt my head. It’s also nice to have a cooling bandana with you if you get hot and sweaty easily.

great pyramids of Giza

Don’t Forget to See the Ship!

Ship at the pyramids? Once you’re ready to leave the pyramids you’ll notice a structure that contains a ship that brought the stones to build the pyramids.


READ MORE ABOUT EGYPT:

How to Visit Valley of the Kings in Luxor

Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Egypt

Solo Female Traveling to Egypt – Is It Safe?

Interesting Facts About Egypt

Any questions about visiting the great ancient pyramids of Giza? Let me know in the comments below!

Pyramids of Egypt


54 thoughts on “Tips for Visiting Pyramids of Giza in Egypt”

  1. It’s been years since I have been there. I was there the week Mubarak got ousted. I think the place has been through a whirlwind since. Nice to see it getting back to normal.

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  2. Great info! Can you tell me about how much time each activity took? and how much time you spent total?
    Going up the dunes looks really worth the photo opportunity.

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  3. Hi Anna,
    Your blog is fantastic! We are planning a trip to Egypt in October. I have booked the hotel you suggested at Giza but do you have any suggestions for hotels in Cairo? It seems you only stayed there transiting in and out- is that correct?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, I actually stayed for a few nights there while visiting Cairo as well on this trip as I didn’t want to change my hotel 😉 Previously, I stayed at Kempinski Nile Hotel. Anything on the Nile is nice but slightly more expensive.

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  4. Thanks for the information, we’re planning on going in February any idea how crowded it will be? Also it sounds like we can get a room at that hotel get up early and just go for it no tour guide needed?

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    • These days Egypt is never too crowded, but the Pyramids always are during the day. Yes, that’s right – you can just go on your own.

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  5. Hi Anna,
    This is a well-informed post. Thank you for that. I gain a lot of information from your post and they are really useful for me cause I have a plan to get Egypt this summer holiday.

    Reply
  6. Anna. Thanks for your posts. Very helpful, would love to visit the pyramids alone in the near future. And by the way, you are gorgeous I hope you find your future life partner.

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  7. What is they best way to obtain tickets to gain entrance into into khufu in Giza pyramid? IS THere a ticket booth and a limited number of those tickets? What time to be there Asa we have one full day only

    THnaks

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    • We were just there this week. there is a ticket booth at the entrance. from the locale family we were visiting they said it was crowed when we were there, they have never been to Disney World i guess. Not crowed at all. my advise stay away from the camel people, they are crooks, I’m sure the horse people are the same.

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  8. Hi Anna. Great blog? We are group of 8 debating whether to stay in cairo or Giza? Are there any nice local restaurants near the hotel you stayed? We have a few birthdays coming up. Plan to visit from 29th jan to feb 2nd 2019. Thankyou

    Reply
    • How long you’re staying in the area for though? I recommend at least one night in Giza as commuting to and from Giza will take a while. I haven’t tried any restaurants around as dinners were included in the hotel price (it was very good Egyptian food), but I saw some.

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  9. Aside from all of the World Heritage Sites to visit, what would you say are some fun modern things to do in and around Cairo?

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  10. Hi Anna, thanks for the info. Ill make it out but there but ill be in crutches w a broken foot. Do you think it will he hard to shimmy my way up to go inside the pyramid? I was there 15years ago and dont recall. Also dont thry only sell 150 tickets to get inside the pyramid during morning then afternoon? Thanks!

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  11. Actually, the nose of the Sphinx was worn away by erosion. There are paintings of it made before Napoleon arrived in Egypt. Napoleon was a scholar and the first Egyptologist. He brought over 100 scientists with him to study the treasures of ancient Egypt. He would never have allowed his men to have target practice on these treasures. You can watch a fantastic lecture series on The Great Courses Plus called The History of Ancient Egypt taught by Bob Brier.

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  12. A good article, unfortunately however slightly misleading regarding some facts. There have never been any mummies found in the pyramids, so they could not have been removed to the Cairo museum. Also it is almost certain that Khufu did not have the great pyramid built, and it is possible that they are much older than what was first thought. To this day know-body knows how, when and by who built these incredible structures, or for that matter what their purpose was, most certainly though it was not tombs.
    Very helpful article, with lots of good practical information, and as one previous commentator said, you are indeed smoking hot ; )

    Reply
  13. Hi We are seniors 70 plus is it not recommended to go inside the pyramids due to having to walk in a bent position for a few 100 yards..

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  14. Were you able to go into the queens pyramid, I heard there is no charge to go into the middle one, is that so? Whats in the Sphinx? We are also going to Saqqara and Memphis, were you there as well and whats happening there? From there we fly to Aswan and begin our Nile cruise, Philae, Kom Ombo and Edfu and Luxor both banks back to cairo…share with me the highlights.

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  15. Hi Anna,

    Me and my friend are really interested in going to see the pyramids but I was wondering if you’d recommend buying tickets online first or buying them once you’re there? I really want to get as close to the pyramids as possible and go inside like you have. 🙂

    Reply
  16. I was asking about the Queens Pyramid not the Sphinx There are 3 Cheops Queens Pyramid, one is his mothers and 2 are for his Queens, The Pyramid in the middle one of the Queens, I heard was free to enter, what do you know of that?

    Reply
  17. I am interested in finding out about, Aswan, Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo. Valley Of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, King TUT’s Tomb and all The Rameses Tombs, especially Rameses 2 and his 40/50 sons Tombs in on large Tomb.

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  18. Hi Anna,
    Thanks so much for the helpful information. It’s so hard to find consistent facts on the internet about prices, permissions, etc. You may not know the answer, but I thought I would ask. We have looked into purchasing the “Cairo Pass” (and “Luxor Pass”, too) for entrance into many of the well known sites. On the booklet that I read, it stated you could purchase these at the entrance of the Pyramids of Giza. Do you remember that being an option? Also, do you happen to remember if photographs were permitted inside the pyramids, and if so, how much you paid? Thanks, again! Your blogs are most helpful!

    Reply
    • I haven’t seen Cairo Passes anywhere, to be honest. Yes, photography was permitted inside the pyramids without an additional permit (like the one you’d need for the Valley of the Kings).

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  19. I land at 11am and have a 12 hour layover at the airport which I realize is plenty of time to travel to the pyramids and back to the airport for my night flight. I think I would feel more comfortable doing a group tour from the airport but it looks like they all start at 9am. I don’t land til 11am. Do you know of any tour companies that start their trips in the afternoon?
    Thanks for all the other helpful information.

    Reply
  20. Hi Anna,
    Thanks for your great information, I’m an Egyptian and I really found your blog very interesting and I wanna tell you that there are many types of different restaurants in Cairo & Giza that deliver many different types of Food (Oriental, Asian and international food) also there is one place called Dream Park you can enjoy there it is not like disneyland but still you can enjoy your time there and my advice for anyone wanna visit Egypt to visit Dahab also this one of the most exciting places in Egypt for diving and I hope all of you to enjoy your time.

    Reply
  21. Your post is so incisive and detailed!! God bless people like you who are generous with providing smart information that is useful for newbie travelers. Wishing you more success in your future travels!

    Reply
  22. Great site! I am looking for information on how to get the tickets to inside the Great Pyramid. The how seems to be eluding me! Thank you for any help you can provide.

    Reply
    • There are 2 entrances to the pyramids – one is at the base in the plateau, and the other is up the hill to the side of pyramids. You can buy tickets at either. But if you are wanting to purchase the Cairo Pass, you must go to the side entrance.

      Reply
  23. To get tickets to go inside the great Pyramid or for that matter any Pyramid is to go to the ticket booth just outside the entrance gate to the plateau, or if you are using a tour guide they will do all that for you.

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  24. We had just returned from Egypt visiting Giza and the Pyramids, Saqqara and the step Pyramid as well as Memphis the first capital with a great tour company and a wonderful Tour guide. We then moved on to Aswan via plane to see all the sights Aswan had to offer via horse and carrage then by ship down the Nile to Edfu and Luxor. Of course there is so much more for another time…

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  25. Anna thank you so much for sharing your memorable experience. Me and my mother travel there way back when I was in Kinder school, I’m very little at that time and Now I want to go back there and it’s so sad that I’m going to travel there for the 2nd time alone. My mother deceased last 2010. I’m going to bookmark this and use it for a guide to my trip. Thank you again Anna!

    Reply
  26. We had just returned from Egypt visiting Giza and the Pyramids, Saqqara and the step Pyramid as well as Memphis the first capital with a great tour company and a wonderful Tour guide. We then moved on to Aswan via plane to see all the sights Aswan had to offer via horse and carrage then by ship down the Nile to Edfu and Luxor. Of course there is so much more for another time…

    Reply

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