Julie Egypt 19 Comments

The Pyramids of Giza, along with the Sphinx and a handful of smaller tombs, form one of the most iconic sights in the world. If you have plans to visit Egypt, then most likely these pyramids are at the top of your list.

Interesting Facts about the Pyramids of Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza were built almost 5,000 years ago, at the beginning of human recorded history.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops, is the oldest of the three main pyramids on the Giza plateau. This pyramid was built around 2570 BC and it is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In fact, it is the only Ancient Wonder to remain largely intact.

For 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid was the tallest building in the world, until the Lincoln Cathedral was built in 1311 AD in England.

When people refer to the “Pyramids of Giza,” typically they are referring to the three large pyramids that are located in the Giza complex. These three pyramids include the Great Pyramid and its two neighbors, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure.

The pyramids were built as tombs for the pharaohs of Egypt. Inside of the pyramid is the “King’s Chamber,” the location of the sarcophagus.

The Pyramids of Giza are located on the Giza Plateau, which is also referred to as the Giza Necropolis or the Giza pyramid complex. Nine pyramids, the Great Sphinx, and a collection of smaller tombs sit on this plateau.

The Giza Plateau bumps right up against the sprawling city of Giza. If you like the idea of booking a hotel room with a unique view, there are numerous hotels where you can have a room with a view of the Sphinx and/or the Great Pyramid.

Camel Ride

Best Things to do at the Pyramids of Giza

  • See the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure
  • Go inside one of the pyramids
  • Visit Panoramic Point
  • Take a selfie with the Sphinx
  • Go on a camel ride
  • Visit the Solar Boat
  • Visit the Valley Temple
  • Watch the Sound and Light Show

Map of the Pyramids of Giza

Map of the Giza Plateau

The Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure

Without a doubt, the best thing to do while on the Giza Plateau is to see the three massive pyramids that dominate the landscape.

To fully appreciate their enormity, get up close to the Great Pyramid. The limestone blocks are massive. Just imagine the manpower it took to build something like this. It’s even more amazing to think that people built these pyramids almost 5,000 years ago.

Go Inside One of the Pyramids

For an additional fee, you can go inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. More details later in this post (or skip ahead now).

Panoramic Point

This is one of the best viewpoints of the pyramids of Giza. From this spot, you can see six of the nine pyramids that sit on the Giza Plateau.

Panoramic Point Egypt Pyramids

Talk a Selfie with the Sphinx

For a close-up view of the Sphinx with the Pyramids in the background, make sure you visit the viewing platform that sits next to the Sphinx. If you want a photo “kissing the Sphinx,” this is the place to do it.

Great Sphinx

Go on a Camel Ride

Yes, it might seem touristy and overrated, but this is one of the best ways to get some truly amazing views of the pyramids.

Visit the Solar Boat

The Solar Boat (also known as the Khufu Ship) was a ship that was built for Khufu around 2500 BC. This is one of the oldest and best-preserved vessels from antiquity. The purpose of the boat is to carry the resurrected king with the sun god, Ra across the heavens.

Currently, the Solar Boat sits inside the Solar Boat Museum, next to the Great Pyramid. There are plans to move the Solar Boat to the Great Egyptian Museum in the near future.

Visit the Valley Temple

Located right next to the Sphinx is the Valley Temple. This temple was used in the mummification process of King Khafre.

Watch the Sound and Light Show

Each night, the Sphinx and the pyramids are illuminated in a rainbow of colors. For one hour, the Sphinx narrates the history of the pyramids.

The Sound and Light Show gets mixed reviews. Some people love it, some say it’s boring, almost everyone says that it is outdated (it started in the 1960’s and hasn’t changed much since then).

Tickets start at $19.10 USD and can be reserved in advance. Click here to learn more. If you need transportation from your hotel, this tour includes tickets for the Sound and Light Show and transportation to and from your hotel.

How to Go Inside the Great Pyramid

For an additional fee, on top of what you will spend to visit the Giza pyramid complex, you can go inside one of the three large pyramids (the Great Pyramid, Khafre, or Menkaure).

The Great Pyramid

The entrance fee for the Great Pyramid is considerably larger than the entrance fee for the Pyramids of Khafre or Menkaure (400 EGP for the Great Pyramid versus 100 EGP for Khafre or Menkaure), but how often do you get the chance to go inside an Ancient Wonder of the World?

You will enter the Great Pyramid through a hole on the north face of the pyramid. To get up to the King’s Chamber, you will walk up a ramp through the Grand Gallery until you reach the King’s Chamber. In this dark, hot room is the empty granite sarcophagus.

Entrance into Great Pyramid

In this photo you can see the entrance into the Great Pyramid.

 Grand Gallery Great Pyramid

The Grand Gallery

PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can take photos inside of the Great Pyramid with a cellphone, at no additional fee. However, photography with a camera is not permitted inside of the Great Pyramid, but you no longer need to leave it with a guard, as you might read on other blog posts. Just leave your camera in your bag.

Pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure

These two pyramids are smaller, cheaper, and typically less crowded than the Great Pyramid. Like the Great Pyramid, there is not a whole lot to see on the inside, but if you like the idea of smaller crowds, consider a visit to one of these two pyramids.

Pyramid of Menkaure

Pyramid of Menkaure

Is Going inside the Great Pyramid Worth It?

Entering the Great Pyramid costs additional money and will add about 30 minutes to your visit to the Giza necropolis.

It can be a hot, crowded walk up through the Grand Gallery of the Great Pyramid, so if you dislike crowds or have claustrophobia, skip going inside this pyramid.

We did it and we thought it was worth it.

However, it is crowded, and there’s not much to look at inside of the pyramid. It’s a much different experience than visiting the colorful tombs in the Valley of the Kings or climbing down the tunnels of the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid (this feels like an adventure). But it is still a thrill to stand inside of this amazing Ancient Wonder of the World.

If you are not sure you want to spend the time and money to go inside the Great Pyramid, don’t feel bad about skipping it. Many people skip it and have no regrets. During our visit, our mothers skipped it and they don’t feel like they missed out on anything.

Can You Climb the Pyramids?

No. Visitors are no longer permitted to climb the pyramids. However, I have heard reports of some guards allowing people to climb a short way up if they tip the guard.

Where to Get the Best Views of the Pyramids

There are numerous places around the Giza Plateau to take some gorgeous photos of the pyramids. A camel ride out into the desert is just one of our recommended spots.

On the Giza plateau, here the best places for stunning views of the pyramids:

  • On a camel ride
  • In front of the Sphinx
  • Panoramic Point
  • From the helicopter pad

Egyptian Pyramids

Photo taken during a camel ride

Is a Camel Ride Worth It?

When planning our trip to the Pyramids of Giza, we kept hearing about camel rides around the pyramids. It sounded touristy and overrated.

On our first visit to the Pyramids of Giza, we reluctantly climbed atop the camels and started our journey around the pyramids. And it was unexpectedly amazing.

The views you get are unbelievable. Once you are on a camel, out in the desert, you get to see some truly amazing views of the pyramids.

If you want to leave the crowds behind and behold stunning views of the pyramids, put a camel ride on the top of your list of things to do here.

Julie Rivenbark

Camel Ride Pyramids of Giza

How Much Time Do You Need at the Pyramids of Giza?

Plan on spending a minimum of three hours at the Pyramids of Giza. This gives you enough time to go inside one of the pyramids, visit Panoramic Point, go on a short camel ride, visit the Solar Boat Museum, and snap a photo with the Sphinx.

A great way to spend one day in Cairo is to visit both the Giza pyramid complex and the Egyptian Museum. Once the Grand Egyptian Museum opens (possibly in 2021), you will be able to walk from the Giza Plateau to the museum.

Best Time of Day to Visit the Pyramids

We visited the Giza Plateau twice, in the morning and in the afternoon, shortly before sunset.

The best time of day to visit the Giza Plateau depends on which season you visit Egypt.

If you will be visiting Egypt during the months of December and January, it is common for the pyramids to be hazy in the morning. On our first two days in Cairo, a haze covered the pyramids, but this typically burned off between 10 am and noon. On the day we did our second camel ride, we got very lucky that there was minimal haze. But you can’t count on this happening.

Because of the possibility of hazy skies in the morning, the best time to visit the pyramids in the winter months is midday and in the afternoon. If you prefer to go in the morning, when the pyramids are less crowded, you will have to keep your fingers crossed for clear skies.

If you will be visiting Egypt between February and November, that morning haze is unlikely.

Between March and October, expect hot temperatures. We recommend visiting the Giza Plateau in the morning to avoid the heat and the crowds.

Fridays and Saturdays tend to be more crowded than the other days of the week. Schools are closed and many Egyptians visit during this time, making the pyramids of Giza more crowded. 

Pyramids of Giza Sunset

What to Wear

There are no restrictions as to what to wear when you visit the pyramids of Giza. Basically, wear comfortable clothing and a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Egypt is a conservative country, so we recommend keeping your shoulders covered and not wearing very short shorts.

How Do You Get to the Pyramids of Giza?

To get to the Pyramids of Giza, your best option is to either take a taxi, uber, join a tour, or hire a guide and driver. If you booked a hotel with a view of the Pyramids, you can walk right to the Giza Plateau.

By Taxi: There are three types of taxis in Cairo. The old black and white taxis have no meter and no air conditioning. The more modern white taxis have air conditioning and a meter, just make sure your driver turns it on. The yellow taxis are the most expensive. They can be arranged ahead of time by telephone.

By Uber: No haggling, no worrying about the driver setting a meter. If you have the Uber app and cellular service on your phone, this is a great way to get around Cairo and Giza.

By Tour: There are numerous companies that offer tours of the Pyramids of Giza, and sometimes you can also include the Egyptian Museum or Saqqara and Dahshur into the same day tour.

By Private Guide and Driver: If you want to eliminate the hassle of negotiating camel rides, getting around the Giza Plateau, buying tickets, etc., then consider taking a tour. We typically do not take tours, but in this circumstance, having a guide and a driver made our visit hassle free and very enjoyable.

We hired Egypt Tailor Made, a tour company that offers private day trips throughout Egypt. For our time in Cairo, we had a van, a private driver, and a guide.

It is also possible to get around by bus, microbus, and metro, but for most tourists, the options above are the most convenient and easiest for new visitors to Cairo and Giza.

How to Get Around the Pyramids of Giza

There are two entrances at the Pyramids of Giza.

One entrance is near the Great Pyramid of Giza, not far from the Marriott Mena House. Down the hill from the pyramids is the second entrance, which is near the Great Sphinx.

Pyramids of Giza Entrance

Entrance near the Great Pyramid

It really doesn’t matter which entrance you use. However, if you enter through the Sphinx entrance, it will be an uphill walk to the pyramids and then to Panoramic Point.

You can get around the Giza Plateau on foot but expect to do a lot of walking. It is almost a 3 km walk from the Sphinx to Panoramic Point, one way, uphill. Plus, you will add even more steps by walking around the Great Pyramid, visiting the Khufu Ship, and any other detours you might take.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Once on the Giza Plateau, you can walk to almost everything. The only place on the Giza Plateau that is off-limits for walking is the desert and dunes around the pyramids. It’s not exactly forbidden, but it is strongly discouraged that people walk here. If you want to visit the dunes for views and photographs of the pyramids, you should hire a camel or a horse to visit this part of the plateau.

If you are here with a guide and private driver, your driver will drive you all over the plateau, which eliminates a lot of walking and saves you a lot of time. If you took a taxi or Uber to get here, you can pay your driver to take you around the Giza Plateau. Another option is to go by horse or horse and carriage. For roughly $5 – $10 USD, you can hire a horse or horse and carriage to get around the Giza plateau.

Practical Information

2022 Price List for the Giza Plateau

Giza Plateau Entrance Ticket: 200 EGP per adult, 100 EGP per student (with valid ID)
Entrance Ticket to the Great Pyramid: 400 EGP
Entrance Ticket to the Pyramid of Khafre: 100 EGP
Entrance Ticket to the Pyramid of Menkaure: 100 EGP
Solar Boat: 100 EGP
Combination Ticket (Giza Plateau, Solar Boat & Great Pyramid): 600 EGP
Tripod: 20 EGP

Planning Information

Hours of Operation: 7 am to 4 pm all year

Bathrooms: There are bathrooms near both entrances of the Giza Plateau.

Food: There is a small restaurant near the Sphinx and Valley Temple.

Where to Stay

Wouldn’t it be nice to start and end your day with a view of the pyramids? Here are three recommended hotels in Giza with views of the pyramids.

Marriott Mena House. This is where we stayed and it was fantastic. It was 8 pm and dark by the time we arrived at the hotel, but what a thrilling experience to see the Great Pyramid from our balcony. Breakfast is a buffet with endless choices of food (it’s one of the best hotel breakfasts we have had yet). Plus, you can sit outside and stare up at the Great Pyramid over a cup of coffee.

Pyramid Hotel View

Pyramids View Inn. This small hotel offers views of the Sphinx and the pyramids. The view from the rooftop terrace is amazing and this is a great place to watch the Sound and Light Show, without joining the crowds.

Great Pyramid Inn. This is yet another hotel that boasts amazing views of the Pyramids of Giza. From the top floor terrace you have an awesome view of the pyramids. Some rooms have views of the pyramids and/or a balcony. 

Still have questions about how to visit the Pyramids of Giza? Let us know in the comment section below. If you have any tips to share, we would love to hear those too.

More Information about Egypt:

Read all of our articles about Egypt in our Egypt Travel Guide.

You Might Also Like:


Egypt Pyramids of Giza Travel Guide

Pyramids of Giza Egypt Travel


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Comments 19

  1. Avatar for G

    Thanks for the informative read. We are going in Nov. Were you happy with Egypt Tailor Made? We have seen some bad reviews about others (not picking them up, rude, etc). It’s a dream of ours so we would like really good pictures at the pyramids.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, we had a very good experience with Egypt Tailor Made. They were always on time, the guides are very knowledgeable, and we would not hesitate to use them again on a future trip to Egypt. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Sue Harris
    Sue Harris

    Just wondering when you enter the Great pyramid is it only the Kings chamber you get to visit or can you see the other 2 smaller chambers?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Sarah
    1. Avatar for Achmed

      I disagree with Tiago and Sarah, if we weren’t supposed to ride camels, why would they have literal seats on their backs for us? Go out and give them a ride, they enjoy it immensely.

  4. Avatar for Trudy Simmons
    Trudy Simmons

    I’ll be traveling to Giza Egypt from the USA. What mode of transportation did you use to get from the airport to your hotel? I’m single and female traveling alone so i want to make sure I have safe transportation. Thank you for all the great info you’ve provided.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We hired a private driver through our hotel. In Giza, we stayed at the Marriott, so ahead of time, we called the hotel and arranged an airport pickup. And it worked great. Another way to do it is through your tour company, if you have one. Our tour company, Egypt Tailor Made, could also arrange airport transfers. Have a great time in Egypt! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Aaron

    Can you please clarify the opening times? I have seen 6am and 8am. Is the ticket office open at 6am? Is the entrance into the pyramid later, such as at 8am? Are the camels, etc. there at 6am or later? Looking to do Giza as early as possible, possibly to do Sakkara area later in the morning, if possible.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I have seen both opening times listed as well but our guide told us that the Pyramids open at 6 am (the ticket office). The earliest we were there was at 8 am and we did ride camels. Since we were there at 8 am, not 6 am, I don’t know for sure if the it is possible to ride camels before 8 am. I just messaged our tour company to confirm so I will update this comment once I learn more. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Julie Post

        I have an update for you. I just spoke with our guide in Cairo. She says that the Giza Pyramids are open from 7 am to 4 pm all year. That is both the site and the ticket office. I have also updated this post with that information. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Janvani

    Pyramid is alway my dream. I am very enjoying this article like visiting there. My Gf is always asking from me for Pyramid and i am sending her this website, she will be very happy.

  7. Avatar for Jannymorag

    I really enjoyed reading your info’s about the places you have mentioned. I had visited the Pyramids of Giza with my boyfriend during our Egypt trip. It is a globally famous tourist destination where plenty of tourist attractions are housed along with the oldest of the Ancient World. Thanks to “ Ask Aladdin” to make our trip memorable which we will never forget in our life.

  8. Avatar for Lawrence

    I found that one of the biggest issues in Egypt is negotiating with people who are trying to gouge every tourist. You mentioned that it is possible to hire a horse and carriage for $5-10 USD? Our tour guide took us to one of the horse carriage vendors just outside the park, and his starting point was $200. Needless to say, there was no way I was paying that. I cannot even imagine what they might charge per person for a camel ride. I notice you did not post the price. Did you have to haggle?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      One of our guides told us that $5 to $10 was what to expect. That’s getting a horse right in the park. As for our camel ride, we had our tour company pre-arrange this for us. I think we spent $20 per person for each ride. That did not include tipping our camel guides. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Lea Ann
    Lea Ann

    First, thanks for this amazing post! I was planning on going in one of the pyramids, but I think I will hold off and do Valley of Kings/Queens instead.

    What constitutes a “student id”? I can’t seem to find that info anywhere. We are trying to travel in 2023 and I am university employee and kids are college students.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  10. Avatar for Tiago
    1. Avatar for Lenuzca

      I am in Giza right now and all I can say is that is appalling the way animals are treated for tourism here. I love traveling and I am very respectful of cultures and traditions but with millions of people visiting the pyramids each year, these poor animals are just worked to the bone. Some of them look famished. Please come to Egypt- it is amazing – but please consider walking, riding quads, tuk-tuks, whatever you want but animals.

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