A safe and comfortable holiday in Egypt comes with a series of precautions. Egypt boasts a unique everyday life influenced by religious culture, and it is important for travelers to respect certain Egyptian traditions.
Are you wondering “Is Egypt safe to visit?”? Here is all you need to know.
Egypt has remained at the top of the most popular destinations worldwide throughout the years. Despite threats of terrorism, crime, and internal conflicts such as civil unrest in certain regions, safe travel to Egypt is possible with some considerations. Luckily, the tourist gems of Egypt including the Pyramids and the Ancient Egyptian sites across the Nile have remained safe to date. FCDO (The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) lists Aswan, Luxor, Valley of the Kings, and Giza as safe places to visit in Egypt. This means that you will most likely have an enjoyable visit without any unexpected events. Still, there are some things you should be aware of for staying safe in Egypt.
We gathered all the official travel advisories you need to plan a safe and comfortable trip to Egypt.
Is It Safe to Travel to Egypt?
There are certain travel advisories and ethical rules to follow when travelling in Egypt. But generally, the answer is YES, Egypt is a safe country to visit. The best you can do is to check the travel advice of the UK Foreign Office for high-threat areas in Egypt and make sure your travel itinerary does not include these places.
Egypt offers a relatively safe travel experience, provided you remain alert and respect local customs. The country boasts low crime rates, yet one should exercise caution regarding prevalent scams and pickpocketing. However, when exploring popular tourist destinations, particularly religious sites, it is wise to evaluate potential risks. While uncommon, attacks at tourist spots can happen. To enhance safety, it is recommended to stay informed about local news, avoid crowded areas, stay aware of religious or public holidays that may attract protests or civil unrest, and consider opting for a small group tour.
As in every travel, health and safety first! It is essential to stay healthy during your trip to Egypt, and getting informed about local ways is an important step. Be aware of any health advisories or disease outbreaks in the region you plan to visit.
Egypt has a hot climate, especially during the summer months. Protect yourself from the sun’s intense rays by wearing sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
Consider getting vaccinations in Egypt or booster shots before your trip. Check with your healthcare provider for recommendations based on your specific travel plans. Also, in certain areas in Egypt, there is a risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Use mosquito repellent, wear long-sleeved clothing, and consider using mosquito nets when necessary.
The majority of tourists visit popular destinations like Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and the Red Sea resorts (such as Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada) without encountering safety issues. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises travelers to “remain vigilant at all times” while in Egypt.
They also recommend against all travel to destinations within 20km of the Egypt-Libya border (excluding the town of El Salloum, where only essential travel is advised) and the Governorate of North Sinai.
Tourist hotspots in Egypt are secure for global travelers. Despite the joint strikes on Houthi bases in Yemen conducted by UK and US forces on January 11, 2024, the safety of popular destinations in Egypt remains constant. Nonetheless, it is advisable to consult the latest guidance from the local government for updated travel advisories.
Overall, Egypt remains a popular and generally safe destination for travelers, but it’s essential to stay vigilant.
To ensure a safe trip to Egypt, there are several things you should avoid. Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings: Political protests and demonstrations can occur in Egypt, and it’s best to steer clear of these events to avoid potential unrest or clashes.
Stay away from restricted areas: Heed warnings from local authorities and avoid traveling to areas near the borders, particularly within 20km of the Egypt-Libya border and the Governorate of North Sinai, as advised by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
Be cautious with food and water: While Egyptian cuisine is delicious, be cautious with street food and ensure that the water you drink is safe. Stick to bottled or purified water to prevent waterborne illnesses.
Respect local customs and laws: Egypt is a conservative country with strict laws and cultural norms. Be respectful of local customs, dress modestly, and avoid behaviors that could be considered offensive or disrespectful.
Be mindful of your belongings: Like any tourist destination, Egypt has its share of petty theft and scams. Keep your belongings secure, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid flashing valuables in public.
Avoid traveling alone at night: Stick to well-lit and populated areas, especially at night. If possible, travel with a companion or in a group for added safety.
The State Department’s alert level for Egypt has remained unchanged since July 13, staying at a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” This means travelers should be aware of potential risks and exercise caution. Specific areas to avoid include the Sinai Peninsula, regions bordering Israel and Gaza, and areas to the east of Cairo, which are considered particularly risky.
While Egypt can be safe for Western travelers, it’s crucial to stay updated on travel advisories, respect local customs and laws, and take necessary precautions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Here are some recommended steps for staying safe in Egypt according to the US travel advisories: Stay alert and vigilant about your surroundings and personal safety. Be cautious if you find yourself near large crowds or demonstrations unexpectedly. Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. Stay updated on the latest security updates by regularly checking the Department of State’s website at travel.state.gov, which provides country-specific information, travel warnings, and alerts.
The FCDO reports that due to recent events in Israel and the OPTs (Occupied Palestinian Territories), several demonstrations have occurred in Egypt, with further protests scheduled, notably following Friday prayers. These demonstrations may occur suddenly, often with significant security measures in force. It’s advisable to steer clear of large gatherings for your safety.
Is It Safe to Travel to Egypt as a Woman?
Egypt can be perfectly safe for female travellers as long as certain precautions are taken. Being a conservative and patriarchal country, Egypt can be intolerant of revealing dressing. It’s advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Cover your shoulders and knees, and consider wearing loose-fitting clothing to respect local customs.
When in public spaces, women should practice caution and avoid walking alone at night, especially in less crowded areas. Female travellers in Egypt reported verbal harassment and assault by men on the streets and taxi drivers. It is common in Egyot for solo female travellers to attract attention, but there are ways to ensure your safety from unwanted events.
Stick to well-lit and populated areas, consider using reputable transportation options, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are feeling in danger. Have a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities and your country’s embassy or consulate, readily available.
Cairo, like any large city, has its share of safety considerations for female tourists. While many women travel to Cairo without encountering significant issues, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Keep your belongings secure in Egypt. Be mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded areas and tourist sites like the Pyramids or downtown Cairo. Keep valuables like passports, money, and electronics in a secure place, such as a money belt or hidden pouch.
If something feels off or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. Don’t hesitate to seek help from local authorities or hotel staff if needed.
While Cairo can be a safe destination for female tourists, it’s essential to stay vigilant, respect local customs, and take precautions to ensure your safety throughout your visit.
Things to Do to Stay Safe in Egypt
It is generally not recommended to drink tap water in Egypt, as it may not be safe for consumption. The tap water quality can vary greatly across different regions of the country, and there is a risk of waterborne illnesses due to contaminants and bacteria.
To stay safe, it’s advisable to drink bottled water or filtered water during your stay in Egypt. Bottled water is widely available and affordable, so you should have no trouble finding it at hotels, restaurants, and convenience stores. Additionally, make sure to use bottled water when brushing your teeth and avoid consuming ice made from tap water.
Eating street food in Egypt can be a delightful culinary experience, but it’s essential to exercise caution to avoid potential foodborne illnesses.
Choose vendors wisely: Opt for street food stalls that appear clean and have a high turnover of customers, as this indicates fresh food. Look for vendors who follow proper hygiene practices, such as wearing gloves and handling food with clean utensils.
Watch the preparation: Pay attention to how the food is prepared and cooked. Make sure that it is cooked thoroughly and served hot to minimize the risk of foodborne bacteria.
Stick to cooked foods: Favor cooked foods over raw items, as they are less likely to harbor harmful bacteria. Grilled meats, kebabs, falafel, and cooked vegetables are popular and generally safe choices.
Before eating, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face or mouth after handling money or touching surfaces in busy street markets.
Egypt is not a safe country for LGBTQ+ travellers and we advise caution when expressing gender identity or sexuality openly in public. You should not that there are prevailing societal and legal attitudes toward LGBTQ+ individuals. Homosexuality is not explicitly illegal under Egyptian law, but there are laws against “debauchery” and “public immorality” that have been used to target LGBTQ+ people.
Public displays of affection or open acknowledgment of LGBTQ+ identity can lead to harassment or even arrest. In order to travel safely in Egypt as an LGBTQ+ individual, familiarize yourself with the local laws and your rights as a traveler. Have the contact information for your country’s embassy or consulate in case of emergencies. It’s crucial to prioritize personal safety and exercise discretion during your visit.
Tourists are generally treated with warmth, hospitality, and respect in Egypt. The country has a rich history and a vibrant tourism industry, and locals often appreciate and welcome visitors from around the world.
However, like in any tourist destination, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and exercise common sense. While the vast majority of interactions with locals will be positive, it’s possible to encounter scams or touts in popular tourist areas.
How to Stay Safe in Public Places in Egypt
Staying safe in public places in Egypt, like any other destination, requires a combination of awareness, precaution, and preparedness. Here are the most useful tips for safely travelling in Egypt:
- – Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, to respect local customs in Egypt and avoid attracting unwanted attention.
- – Large crowds can be targets for pickpockets and potential security threats. Stay vigilant and protect your belongings when in crowded places.
- – While many Egyptians are friendly and hospitable, exercise caution when accepting invitations or assistance from strangers. Always meet in public and inform someone you trust of your plans.
- – Avoid participating in or getting close to political demonstrations or protests, as these situations can become unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
- – Be mindful of cultural norms, such as not eating or drinking in public during Ramadan.
Ethical Rules to Follow in Egypt
You will be surprised how much Egyptian people will embrace you as a traveller once you show them your respect for their valuable traditions and unique culture. A peaceful trip to Egypt is possible by taking into account a few simple things.
Dress Code: Egyptians generally adhere to conservative dress codes, especially in rural areas and religious sites. It is respectful to cover your shoulders, chest, and knees.
Common Decency: Public displays of affection, including holding hands, hugging, and kissing, are generally not well-received in Egypt. Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially locals, as some may consider it invasive. Photography may also be prohibited in certain areas
Religious Sensitivity: When visiting mosques or religious sites, dress modestly, remove your shoes before entering, and follow any specific rules or customs outlined. During the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, it is respectful to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public.
Money Matters: Bargaining is a common practice in markets and souks in Egypt. Tipping is customary in Egypt and is often expected for various services, including hotel staff, restaurant servers, and tour guides. Be aware of local tipping practices and carry small denominations of Egyptian currency (EGP) for this purpose.
With these rules and tips for safe travels in Egypt in mind, your time will be peaceful and unforgettable. Remember to stay positive for an enjoyable experience in your Egypt tour!