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The Great Pyramids of Giza, the oldest and most impressive structure in the world, are one of the most famous places in Egypt and a must-see on any trip to this fascinating country.
As it takes only a few hours to fly from Belgium and the Netherlands to one of the seven natural wonders of the world that are still in existence (where I come from), I already visited Egypt three times, and every time I am blown away by the interesting history and artifacts of Ancient Egypt.
Even though my first guided trip in 2017 did not go as smoothly as expected, I came back in 2022 and made it a point to explore the Giza Plateau on my own.
In this Pyramid Guide, I’ll show you how to explore the most impressive landmark in Egypt on your own, with personal tips, additional information on where to stay, and beautiful photos to inspire you.
READ ALSO: The perfect 2 weeks in Egypt itinerary
How to get to Egypt?
Flying to Cairo, Hurghada, or Sharm el Sheikh is the easiest way to reach Egypt. However, to visit the Pyramids of Giza it’s recommended to fly to Cairo as flights are often advertised from European destinations for € 150 for a return ticket.
For example, as part of my trip around the Middle East, I found a flight with Skyscanner from Istanbul to Cairo operated by Pegasus for €89 for a one-way ticket.
Once you arrive at Cairo International Airport, take a taxi or Uber to Giza which costs approximately EGP 280.
How to get to the pyramids?
The easiest way to get to Giza from the airport, train station, or bus station, depending on where you are coming from, is to take an Uber there.
This way, you’ll know what you have to pay ahead of time and won’t have to deal with people trying to get more money from you later.
Although taking a taxi is not a bad idea, you must be able to bargain and be strong. To give you an example, I had taken a taxi for EGP100, but the driver asked for EGP200 halfway through the ride because there was heavy traffic. I told him that I do not agree, and he stopped in the middle of the highway and dropped me off on the side of the road. Luckily I could grab another taxi.
However, once in Giza, walk or take a taxi to ticket office 2, which is directly in front of the Great Sphinx. This is the entrance you should take when you plan to visit the pyramids solo or independently. The other ticket office is mainly used for groups and coach buses.
BOOK: book a private driver from or to the airport or Giza in advance to avoid the bargaining hassle
Where to stay in Giza
When I first came to Egypt to see the pyramids, the tour guide told me to stay in Cairo. However, this was a big mistake as the Great Pyramids are actually located in Giza, which is a different part of the city and is frequently misunderstood by tourists.
If you want to visit the pyramids easily on your own or stay in a hotel with a view of the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx, it is best to stay in Giza and not in the city. Below, I’ve included some recommendations that offer excellent value for the money.
Even though most places to stay in Giza are slightly cheaper than in Cairo, the rooms with pyramid views are a bit more expensive and booked out pretty fast.
Both the Guardian Guesthouse and Pyramids Eye Hotel, where I stayed, have breathtaking panoramic views over the Giza Plateau.
READ ALSO: 18 x best hotels in Egypt
Map of the Pyramids of Giza?
This map shows the walking route around the Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Mankaure, with stops at various lookouts and the best photo spot of the Giza Plateau.
In the end, I stopped by the 9 Pyramids Lounge Cafe for lunch and to take in the breathtaking views of the most famous landmark in Egypt.
Pyramids of Giza entrance
So, if you want to explore the Giza Plateau on your own, I recommend starting at ticket office 2 where you can easily purchase your own tickets for EGP200 per person and it’s in front of the Great Sphinx.
Go as soon as possible! The ticket office opens at 8 a.m. but my advice is to come a bit earlier to avoid the long lines. Walk straight towards The Great Sphinx after passing through the security control. You will also notice a sign with fixed prices of EGP300, for camel rides and horse carriages in the ticket office.
Once you are inside the area, many of the locals will try to sell you camel rides or horse-drawn carriages for much more money so don’t believe everything they tell you.
If you still want to ride a camel and they ask for more money, you can tell them that it is not permitted and refer to the price of EGP 300 in the office.
TIP: Despite what they may try to convince you, hiring a guide or going on a camel ride is not required to visit the Pyramids
INFO: The walking tour I did took about 4 -5 hours as I stopped regularly to make photos and I had lunch at the 9 Pyramids Restaurant.
Visit The Pyramids of Giza without a guide
Stay in a Hotel with a view
When you come to Giza to see the Pyramids and the Giza plateau, you should definitely consider staying in a hotel or guesthouse that offers a view of the most recognizable landmark of Egypt.
The rooms frequently have large windows so that you can take the most beautiful pictures of the pyramids and enjoy the stunning sunsets from your bed.
Although these rooms are typically booked out pretty fast, most hotels and guesthouses also feature a roof terrace with a lounge where guests can take in the breathtaking scenery.
The Great Sphinx
After you’ve turned down all the sellers, you can make your way to the Sphinx, which is only a few minute’s walk from the ticket office, and marvel at this magnificent sculpture.
You will notice that there is a road on the left side that is lined with vendors selling various trinkets, souvenirs, and scarves. These are pleasant to stroll through if you’re looking to buy a few souvenirs.
The Mummification Temple is located on the left side of the Great Sphinx, however, it was closed during my visit, so I chose to walk along the paved road that is located on the right side.
From this point, I had a wonderful view of the Sphinx as well as the Pyramids of Khufu and Kafre.
TIP: Walk in front of the Sphinx to make some awesome photos
Pyramids of Khafre and Khufu
From the Sphinx to the point between the Pyramids of Khafre and Khufu is about 10 minutes of walking and I was completely astonished by the majesty of these structures. They are enormous and have been standing here for thousands of years!
You can also visit some rooms inside these two pyramids, but you must purchase an additional ticket at the entrance. So, if you want to go inside, buy your tickets at the start, or you’ll have to walk all the way back.
I decided not to go into the pyramids because I had already seen several tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Egyptian Museum.
It is a truly amazing experience to be able to stand next to these enormous stones and take pictures while exploring the area around these pyramids.
READ ALSO: 8 best things to do in Luxor Egypt
The next part is challenging because the road is a bit steep uphill and it can be quite hot, making it more difficult than a normal walk.
To get to the Panoramic View, which offers a view of the pyramids lined up with the city in the background, it is a walk of about twenty-five minutes. A truly magnificent image worth the long walk!
You will actually walk behind the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure to get to this viewpoint. Along the way are many locals, who try to sell you a camel ride or ask for money to photograph you holding the pyramid between your fingers.
Even though it’s beautiful, I felt that because of this, the experience was less authentic and more like a typical tourist trap.
Once I had rested for a moment, I walked on to the next point.
It takes approximately ten minutes to walk along the paved road from the Panoramic View to the Panoramic Point, and there is a slight uphill along the way.
Panoramic Point is very similar to Panoramic View, perhaps with a slightly different angle of the Pyramid of Menkaure and the three little pyramids in the front. Therefore, if you only have a limited amount of time, you can skip either one of these two lookout points.
During the time that I was in this spot, I took a break to have a drink and take in the breathtaking scenery before moving on to the most beautiful view of the pyramids.
The best photo spot of the Pyramids
Go to this place if you want to take the most epic photo with a stunning view of the Pyramids, complete with camels crossing the desert in the background. However, to get here you need to walk for about 15 to 20 minutes through gravel, dirt, and sand with small rocks, so be careful where you walk.
You’ll be able to recognize the location by kind of a small platform in the middle of the area, where people are probably posing for photographs, frequently alongside a local or a camel.
In my opinion, this is the best angle or perspective to make a stunning photo of the entire Giza Plateau with the pyramids nicely lined up.
I arrived here after wandering around the area for a few hours, and it was already quite warm, so it might be best to visit this photo spot before noon.
9 Pyramids Lounge Restaurant
After a few hours of wandering around the Giza Plateau and taking beautiful pictures of the pyramids, it was time for lunch and the 9 Pyramids Lounge Restaurant is the ideal place to unwind, order a delicious meal, and take in the breathtaking views.
The best way to get there is to walk along the paved road, so if you are in the desert walk up the hill to the road as this leads to the entrance. However, you can go through the desert but it’s very difficult to walk uphill in the soft sand and it takes about 20 minutes to walk.
The restaurant offers Oriental and Western food, air conditioning, a beautifully decorated terrace, and a lounge area.
Once you have finished your meals you can ask the staff to help you out with a taxi or either walk all the way back to the ticket office via the paved road or through the desert to the Great Sphinx.
I decided to go back through the desert of the Giza Plateau and admire the pyramids from different angles. Although it is not the easiest way due to the soft sand and extreme heat, it was well worth the effort.
Whether you’re in Cairo or Giza for a few days, a visit to the pyramids is an experience not to be missed.
This walking route through the complex gives you the best views and makes it possible for you to explore everything at your own pace.
However, if you want to learn about the history and culture, it is best to search for a guide, but I recommend reading reviews or doing proper research to avoid the mistake I had during my first visit.
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Explore the Pyramids of Giza with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Trip – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- InsuredNomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.