The third largest city in Egypt, Giza’s primary claim to fame is as the home of some of the most revered monuments in Egypt: the Great Sphinx, the Pyramids of Giza, and the other pyramids and sites that make up the Giza Plateau.
Located on the banks of the Nile, Giza boasts a population of just under three million, with a total suburban population of roughly seven million. This puts it second in the world, tied with Incheon, South Korea.
Much has also been written in guidebooks and online about Egypt; indeed, “culture shock” can be putting it mildly, particularly after the revolution that occurred in early 2011. Prepare for horrific traffic, poverty, pollution and aggressive vendors outside the pyramids. But be informed, not scared: the rewards of traveling here are numerous and unforgettable.
With its abundance of Egyptian culture intermingled with the remnants of early British occupation, Giza is well worth a visit on its own, though the remarkable monuments to Ancient Egypt continue to be the main draw for travelers around the world.
Your River Cruise Ship Docks…
Most Egypt and Nile cruise itineraries include Giza as part of their land-based cruise extension, typically putting travelers up in hotels situated in nearby Cairo. The river cruise portion of these itineraries begins in Luxor, Egypt.
When in Giza…
There’s no resisting it: the monuments of Ancient Egypt are an absolute must-see for any first-time visitor.
- The Giza Plateau: the holy grail of Egyptian antiquity, these almost don’t require an introduction. From the Pyramids of Giza to the breathtaking Sphinx, prepare to see structures that to this day are largely beyond human comprehension. Bring your camera, and see our footnotes below.
- The Solar Barque Museum is located adjacent to the Great Pyramid of Khufu and includes a magnificent solar boat – a device buried along with the pharaoh to use on his journey across the sky in the afterlife.
River Cruisers Should Know!
- The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (LE).
- Because Egypt is a Muslim country, alcohol is widely prohibited. Hotels catering to foreign travelers are the exception, however.
- While the Pyramids are a sight to behold, don’t lose sense of your surroundings. Flatly refuse any and all offers of help or unsolicited guided tours; these will only be done with the expectation of a large tip later.
- While climbing the Pyramids used to be acceptable, this is no longer the case. Don’t do it!
- Exercise caution when soliciting a horse or camel ride. Overcharging can be quite common, and safety standards can be lax. Only go with reputable operators.
- Pay attention to your motorcoach number when you arrive at the Pyramids. Either write it down, or take a picture of the bus and number with a camera or mobile phone for reference later. There can be well over 50 busses here at one time, many operated by similar coach lines.
- Beware of aggressive souvenir sellers near the pyramids, and never, ever allow anyone to look in your wallet.