Your Guide To Visiting The Pyramids Of Giza

Egypt houses numerous logic-defying historical structures, and the Pyramids of Giza are examples of renowned attractions that lure approximately 14 million tourists annually. These pyramids, which are over 4,500 years old, are among the Seven Wonders of the World. The construction of these pyramids is still a mystery that baffles many, so it's no wonder visiting Egypt to view and experience these glorious structures doesn't miss on the bucket list of the majority of avid travelers.

According to National Geographic, the construction of the first Pyramid of Giza was initiated by Pharaoh Khufu circa 2550 B.C. This pyramid is 481 feet tall, making it the biggest in Giza. The second pyramid, a project led by Pharaoh Khafre, was built circa 2520 B.C. The smallest of the three pyramids, built circa 2490 B.C., was completed during the reign of Pharaoh Menkaure. The entire complex boasts solar boat pits, mortuary temples, royal tombs, and a palace, among other fascinating features that will blow your mind. Is exploring the Pyramids of Giza in your itinerary? Here's a handy guide for a hassle-free trip.

Visit during winter or shoulder season

The Pyramids of Giza are among the main tourist attractions in Egypt, so they might be overcrowded during the peak season between October and March. Really, the best time to visit depends on what you intend to do, since different seasons have benefits and drawbacks. Summers, between April and September, in Egypt are extremely hot, so most tourists find it challenging to explore the pyramids. Due to the reduced number of visitors, the prices of accommodation and other essentials are relatively low. However, if you still want to visit in the summer, ensure you arrive at the Pyramids of Giza at around 8 a.m. to beat the heat. Winter, between October and March, is a great pick, but that means more crowds and higher prices. During winter, the best time to explore the pyramids is after 10 a.m. (via Pyramids of Giza Map).

If you're traveling on a tight budget but can't stand the scorching heat, plan to visit the pyramids in May. At this time you'll enjoy amazing deals on tour packages. You can also check out the deals offered in April or February (per Skyscanner). Mizofriska1 on Reddit says, "Better to be an early bird arrive at 8 a.m. and leave before noon for hot sun and lots of salesmen." Another Redditor noted, "I also heard May is off-season so less crowds than their peak, which is Nov-April."

Enjoy stunning views from Panoramic Point

A close-up view isn't the best if you want to get a panorama of the Pyramids of Giza due to their enormous size. You need to view them from a distance and try out various angles, either on foot, in a car, or by camel. Some spots that offer amazing views of these pyramids include in front of the Sphinx, from Panoramic Point, from a helicopter pad, and at the Sound and Light Show (via Earth Trekkers).

To view the pyramids in their full glory without any obstructions, the Panoramic Point is an excellent pick. From this locale, you can see at least six pyramids. You can take Instagram-worthy photos with the Pyramids of Giza as your background while standing at the viewpoint near the parking lot. Alternatively, you can capture more photos at the sand dunes (per Pyramids of Giza Map). A reviewer on Trip Advisor stated, "From this elevated position you can get a view of all the pyramids in the area. It's a great spot to get photos of the main pyramids of interest to the west!" Another user of Trip Advisor said, "If you love photography and different angles of photo shoots don't miss this place."

Take photos with the Sphinx

The Sphinx is an iconic limestone statue, which is approximately 70 meters long and 20 meters high, with the head of a human being while other body structures take the form of a lion. This colossal structure is of great importance in the mythology of the Egyptians and Greeks. It was believed to be a spiritual guardian, and that's why sphinx statues were placed in tombs and temples. According to archeologist Auguste Mariette, the Sphinx was built to resemble the face of Pharaoh Khafre. Taking photos with this structure as your backdrop will create indelible memories because you'll not only have a charming photo but also a valuable copy of an Egyptian relic in your collection (via History).

While commenting on a photo of the Sphinx taken from a nearby Pizza Hut, jpollo803, a Reddit user said, "This may be one the best pictures I've seen on Reddit." Alyssa Ramos posted a beautiful photo on Instagram with a caption that read, "Five years later, I finally re-did my Sphinx photo that went viral the first time I came to Egypt."

Enjoy a camel ride

They say that the camel is the ship of the desert, so choosing this mode of transportation to explore the Sahara Desert as you enjoy the splendid views of the Pyramids of Giza is recommendable. Since the temperature can be punishingly high, timing is crucial for the best experience on the back of a camel. According to Memphis Tours, the best time for camel rides is during the sunset or sunrise when it is cool. Better yet, you can take magnificent photos of the fiery sky and pyramids in the background. To avoid overpricing, it's important that you ask for the cost of a ride before you get on the back of a camel. The other must-know tip is that giving a tip isn't compulsory, so do it at will (per Egypt Travel).

A reviewer on Trip Advisor stated, "Being in Egypt is already a dream but riding camels in the Giza Plateau with the pyramids in the distance was top notch." Iulia Cart posted a lovely photo on Instagram and wrote, "Riding a camel by the pyramids is definitely an experience to go for in Egypt ... it gets you to a very nice place from which you can easily see six pyramids."

Go inside at least one pyramid

You've probably seen trending photos of the exterior of the pyramids, but what's inside? Well, a trip to Egypt shouldn't end if you don't go inside the Pyramids of Giza to discover everything by yourself. According to Lonely Planet, you can go inside the Pyramids of Giza, but you have to pay an additional fee, and it is worth every penny because you can spend up to seven hours inside. A closer look at the enormous stones, some of which are bigger than an adult human being, is mind-boggling because it's hard to comprehend how builders managed to lay them next to each other (via Atlys).

To discover what's inside the pyramids, you have to maneuver narrow tunnels that become more narrow the further you go. In most sections, the passages are less than 2.5 square feet, but to ensure adventures don't encounter any difficulty going inside, they have handrails, wooden boards, and lamps. You'll be surprised to find out that there's limited space inside the pyramids, but that could be due to stability reasons since they are humongous structures (via Odynovo Tours). Some of the sections you'll have access to include the king's chamber, the underground chamber, and the queen's chamber (per Smithsonian Magazine).

Check out the Khufu Ship

The Khufu Ship is a 4,600-year vessel that was discovered in 1954 lying next to the Pyramids of Giza (via Harvard Museums of Science and Culture). This 144-foot ship, made of cider wood, takes the shape of a pod, and most people argue that it was used for various religious and funerary rituals of royal family members, such as the king. However, the function of this ship remains a mystery since researchers have different arguments. It took Kamal el-Mallakh about two years to remove approximately 1,224 pieces that made the ship. Ahmed Youssef Moustafa then did an excellent job of reconstructing the ship. Interestingly, nails weren't used to construct this vessel, builders employed the peg-in-hole technique where they joined parts using ropes and mortise-and-tenon joints (per NOVA).

A Reddit user, Ozstevied, states, "Yea, I saw this boat on a trip to Egypt about 10 years ago. We traveled to the pyramids and our tour guide ... he recommended the boat ... I couldn't believe it was over 4,000 years old! In a post on Instagram, Tashalexiiee, poses next to the vessel and notes, "A masterpiece of woodcraft."

Book a guided tour

Although exploring the pyramids independently is a budget-friendly option, it still has its limitations. For instance, you'll not know which spots to explore for the best experience. A private guided tour is a convenient choice because you'll have an experienced tour guide to share tips and valuable information about different attractions. There's less to plan, meaning less stress because the trip organizers have got you covered. In addition, it's a safe option because your tour guide will show you where to go and what to avoid. You can choose either half-day or full-day tours, but the latter is a better pick because you'll have more time to spend in many attractions (via The Discoveries of).

Most of the popular tours on TripAdvisor include time spent around all of the pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum, with some tours even including lunch from a local spot. Several Reddit users who have explored the area say that booking a tour helps make things easier while still ensuring that you spend time at all of the highlights you traveled all that way to see. 

Dress appropriately

Although there isn't a strict dress code that tourists should adhere to, it's important to dress modestly since Egyptians are generally conservative. For example, female tourists should avoid wearing crop tops, sleeveless tops, and short pants because they expose so much skin. As you choose what to wear, remember that the place is hot, so you need to keep yourself cool. A wide-brimmed hat is an excellent pick because it provides the much-needed shade to avoid sunburns. Some dark sunglasses will complement your hat as you'll also avoid straining your eyes (via Getaway Trips).

If you're wondering what to wear on the lower body, pack long and loose dresses and pants, but since you'll probably ride camels, pants are the better option. Most people assume that sandals are best suited for deserts to avoid excessive warmth, but that's not the case. It's advisable to wear lightweight leather shoes or trainers to offer support to your ankles as you walk on stones and rocks (per Egpyt Tours Plus).

Valley Temple of Khafre is a must-see attraction

The Valley Temple of Khafre, which lies close to the Nile River and the Sphinx temple, was built as a place where the king was supposed to be mummified in case he died (per Landious Travel). Each side of this structure measures 482 feet and it was built of limestone and pink granite. Since it features steeper angles and it's constructed on a raised ground, it creates the illusion that it's bigger than Khufu's Pyramid. It is believed that about 20,000 builders worked on it, and they did a great job because it is one of the ancient relics that's still in relatively good condition (via Pyramids of Giza Map).

Once you visit this place, you'll have a complete picture of the entire funerary complex of the royal family and the rest of the family members. According to Memphis Tours, this site was used for both the purification of the mummy and the preparation for the mummification process. 

Experience the Sound and Light show

After physically exploring the Pyramids of Giza, it's now time to dive deeper into history. You shouldn't miss the Sound and Light Show, especially if you didn't go on a guided tour, because there's a lot to learn from the experience. In this show, pharaohs tell stories about what they've achieved, explain the construction of pyramids, and unravel puzzling tales of how life was thousands of years ago (per Sound and Light Show). At the end of the show, you'll gain a better understanding of the ancient secrets of various kings such as Menkaure, Khafre, and Khufu.

The language barrier won't be a problem regardless of which part of the world you come from because you can enjoy the show in different languages, such as English, Spanish, Italian, and French. For translations into other languages like Russian, Japanese, German, Arabic, and Polish, you can listen via headphones, without incurring extra costs (via Journey to Egpyt).

Use Uber for transportation

If you want to explore Cairo or get to the pyramids, Uber is the ideal option since it's cheaper and safer than cabs. It's quite convenient, plus you avoid exploitation since you can check the exact price on the app, unlike using cabs where a driver can overprice or ask for tips. Uber is tracked, and you can report any problems you encounter along the way, which means that the drivers are accountable (per Third Eye Traveller)

However, you need a local number to start using the app, so buy a SIM card once you arrive at the airport. There are different types of SIM cards but the best pick is Orange since you can start using it immediately. The next thing to note is that you need to have cash since you can't use foreign debit or credit cards to pay for Uber services in Egypt. Based on comfort, budget, and the number of passengers, you can either choose Uber Scooter, Uber Shuttle, Uber X, or Uber Comfort (via Katie Caf Travel). Redditor Itsethanoluk says, "Uber is generally reliable at all times because Egypt is a country that never sleeps." Another Reddit user states, "Uber is your go-to in Cairo. I visited last October and use Uber everywhere. Meet up place is a parking lot just outside the arrivals."