Planning a Trip to Cairo & the Giza Pyramids
This article exists primarily to inform you of your options. I’ll walk you through the different ways to get to the pyramids from Cairo, whether you start from the city center, or come straight from the airport as some travelers choose to do.
Of course, there will also be a lot of inspiration sprinkled throughout this post, both in terms of images and anecdotes. I hope what I am about to say will excite you and prepare you to go.
How far is Cairo from the pyramids?
As the crow flies, the distance from Cairo to the pyramids is about 15 km or 10 miles. However, the road trip is just under 18 km. This is the good news. The bad news? Well, it’s not so bad that it’s just an unfortunate fact: due to Chronic traffic in Cairo, there is often no way of knowing how long it will take to get to the pyramids from Cairo, at least not by traveling by road.
Of course, you may or may not get to Giza (where the main pyramids are) by road vehicle. For example, you can technically take the Cairo metro, which is impermeable to traffic, and then walk to the pyramids from there. Alternatively, you can decide to stay in Giza rather than Cairo proper, which is a more convenient choice and can also be generally more enjoyable.
How to get from Cairo to the pyramids?
If you want a hassle-free, no-haggling way to visit the pyramids in Cairo, a tourist bus might be your best option. This is especially the case if your tour includes a guide; he or she will prevent the scammers lurking at the entrance of the pyramids from disturbing you when you try to enter.
Another option for getting from Cairo to the pyramids is to arrange a private taxi, ideally through your hotel rather than hailing one in the street. One of the reasons I like to do this is that you can go to multiple places. Namely, once you are done in Giza, you can visit more underrated pyramids such as the “stepped” pyramid of Djoser.
If your hotel doesn’t suit you or the price isn’t right, you can also take an Uber. Note that you will usually need to order another Uber to take you back to Cairo after you complete your tour, although you may be able to pay your driver (probably in cash) to wait for you while you do your business.
A cheap and convenient way to travel from Cairo to the pyramids is to take the Cairo metro to Giza station, from where the pyramids are only a short distance away. Note that although the Cairo metro is relatively safe, some travelers (i.e. women traveling alone) should be careful. Hop into a ladies-only car or set off with another female traveler.
Stay in Giza
Many of my favorite hotels in the Cairo area are actually in Giza itself; some of them have terraces and even rooms that offer a view of the pyramids. If you are staying in one of these places (most of them are small boutique hotels) you will have to worry about the pyramids journey in Cairo, rather than the other way around.
How far are the pyramids from Cairo airport?
One of the reasons you should consider getting a eVisa for Egypt Before traveling? If you want to visit the pyramids on a layover (if, for example, you connect on Egyptair from Europe or North America to somewhere in the Middle East or Asia), this will make your progress easier and faster. in the airport, allowing you to spend as much time as possible exploring the pyramids.
Unfortunately, if your trip starts at the airport, the trip from Cairo to the pyramids is a bit longer. The driving distance from Cairo International Airport to the Pyramids of Giza is approximately 55 km, which will easily take an hour each way, and possibly more. With that in mind, I wouldn’t recommend trying to see the pyramids on a layover unless you have more than six (and ideally 8-10) hours in Egypt.
Other FAQs on visiting the pyramids
Where are the pyramids in Egypt?
The main pyramids of Egypt are located in Giza, just west above the Nile of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. However, many other pyramids exist all over the country. These include the “stepped” pyramids of Djoser near Giza and many pyramids located far in southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan, which is also home to a number of its own pyramids.
Can you see the pyramids in Cairo?
You can see the pyramids of some tall buildings and hotels in Cairo, or at least you should be able to. Keep in mind, however, that pollution in Cairo often makes this impossible, let alone dust from the desert. The best time to try and see the pyramids is early in the morning or on Saturday’s “day of rest”, when few cars are in circulation.
How far is the Sphinx from Cairo?
The road distance between Cairo and the Great Sphinx is 17.7 km, or just over 10 miles. As is the case with the pyramids themselves, however, crossing this route often takes longer than you might think. It is not uncommon to spend 30 to 45 minutes (or even more) en route from Cairo to the Sphinx.
The bottom line
Getting from Cairo to the pyramids is both simple and complex. First you need to decide which pyramids you want to visit – there aren’t just three in Giza – and you also need to determine where exactly you start your journey. There are also questions of time and depth. Do you spend time in Egypt; would it be wise to pace yourself? Alternatively, if the Cairo area is your main stop, it may be a good idea to dig deeper into the pyramids and other attractions around the capital.