Flights & getting there
Egypt is well connected to the region and the rest of the world by air.
Airports & Airlines
Cairo International Airport Egypt's main entry point, served by most international carriers.
Burg Al Arab Airport Alexandria's airport mostly receives flights from Middle Eastern and North African cities.
Hurghada Airport Receives mainly charter international flights.
Luxor Airport Has very few international direct flights; EgyptAir flies direct from London Heathrow.
Marsa Alam Airport Served by a handful of charter flights from European destinations.
Sharm El Sheikh International Airport Historically an excellent Egypt entry point for travellers looking for low-cost fares, and served by a number of European budget airlines. Since the 2015 Metrojet Flight 9268 disaster, most direct international services have been suspended. Improved security arrangements should change this situation.
EgyptAir (www.egyptair.com.eg) is the national carrier and a member of Star Alliance. Ticket prices are usually exceptionally good value. No alcohol is served on flights. Its international fleet is in good shape and air marshals are present on every flight. The 2016 hijacking incident (when an EgyptAir flight was re-routed to Cyprus, with all hostages eventually released unharmed) and the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 en route from Paris to Cairo (which resulted in the deaths of all 66 passengers and crew) have brought the company's safety and security record into question.
Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.
At the time of research, no buses were operating through the border crossings at Rafah and foreigners are not allowed to use the buses to Taba (Israel) or Sollum (Libya). The Qustul land border and the Argeen land border between Egypt and Sudan reopened in 2014. Several Sudanese bus companies with offices at Aswan bus station now run services to Khartoum (around LE420) via Wadi Halfa (around LE280). Buses leave Aswan between 4am and 6am, daily except Friday. Most services use the Qustul border, which means crossing Lake Nasser near Abu Simbel.
Given the instabilities in Libya and northern Sinai, Egypt's land borders are of less use to travellers than in the past. The southern border into Sudan is currently the only viable option. Be aware of any necessary visas before you set out.
Israel & the Palestinian Territories
The Amsaad border crossing is officially open, but because of the security situation, travel to Libya is not recommended.
The two land border crossings between Egypt and Sudan reopened in 2014 and a number of Sudanese bus companies now operate Aswan–Wadi Halfa–Khartoum services. The Argeen crossing, on the west bank, is rarely used. The Qustul border crossing, on the east bank, is the most commonly used.
From Aswan, buses drive to Abu Simbel and cross Lake Nasser on a vehicle ferry (one hour) to Qustul, from where it's a short drive (15 minutes) to the border. Be prepared for plenty of hurry-up-and-wait; travellers who have used this route in both directions report long waits (up to five hours) and chaotic proceedings on both the Egyptian and Sudanese side of the border. After all border formalities are finalised the bus carries on to Wadi Halfa and then onwards to Khartoum.
If travelling to Sudan, you need to purchase your Sudanese visa beforehand in either Cairo or Aswan. Travelling north from Sudan into Egypt, Egyptian visas are issued at the border. Egyptian departure tax is LE50.
AB Maritime (www.abmaritime.com.jo) runs both a daily fast and slow passenger ferry connecting Nuweiba in Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan. The service is noted for its delays. Both Egyptian and Jordanian visas are available on arrival.
Ferries run from Hurghada in Egypt to Duba in Saudi Arabia, though they follow erratic schedules, which fluctuate according to work and hajj (pilgrimage) seasons. There is also a service from Safaga. Note that tourist visas are not available for Saudi Arabia, though there is an elusive tourist transit visa, which you must apply for well in advance.
The Nile River Valley Transport Corporation operates twice-weekly from Aswan to Wadi Halfa. Tickets (1st/2nd class LE350/250) can be bought a week ahead either in Cairo or Aswan. You must show a valid Sudanese visa in your passport.
The trip is slow, taking up to 24 hours; tea, soft drinks and snacks are available. Boarding is usually announced for 10am, but it’s a good idea to arrive at about 8.30am to clear customs and get a decent seat. The ferry might not leave until sometime in the afternoon, depending on how much there is to load. Some Sudanese immigration formalities are carried out on the boat, including checking yellow-fever certificates. The return trip departs from Wadi Halfa on Wednesday.
The Nile River Valley Transport Corporation runs a separate barge for vehicles. You must have the usual carnet de passage en douane and allow plenty of time for customs procedures.
Ro-Ro Freighter Services
With no passenger ferries to Europe operating out of Egyptian ports, African-overlanders with vehicles only have the option of Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off) freighter services.
At the time of research, both Grimaldi (www.grimaldi.napoli.it) and Van Uden Shipping (www.vanudenshipping.com) were operating a weekly Ro-Ro service to Limassol in Cyprus from Alexandria's port.
The freighter service situation changes rapidly. In Egypt one of the best in-country contacts for up-to-date information on operating Ro-Ro services is Kadmar, which can also help you organise reservations on ships.
All Egyptian international ferries charge LE50 port tax per person on top of the ticket price.
The majority of visitors see Egypt on an organised tour. The schedules on such trips are usually fairly tight, leaving little room to explore on your own. However, a tour often comes with excellent guides, and a group can insulate you from some of the day-to-day hassle and sales pressure that independent travellers receive.
Abercrombie & Kent (www.abercrombiekent.co.uk) First-class packages, including on the Sanctuary Nile cruisers.
Bestway Tours & Safaris (www.bestway.com) Small-group tours, often combining Egypt with neighbouring countries.
Djed Travel (www.djedegypt.com) An independent Dutch-Egyptian outfit which offers tailor-made tours. They also own Sofra Restaurant & Café in Luxor and several dahabiyyas on the Nile.
Kuoni (www.kuoni.co.uk) One of the bigger tour operators.
Intrepid Travel (www.intrepidtravel.com) Emphasis on responsible tourism.
On the Go (www.egyptonthego.com) PADI diving-course holidays.
Wind, Sand & Stars (www.windsandstars.co.uk) A Sinai specialist with desert excursions and retreats.