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.
In this guide, get all the answers to your questions about how to visit the Pyramids of Giza. In order to give you the information you need to know to plan your visit, we visited the Giza Plateau twice.
Table of Contents
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.
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
- Visit the Valley Temple
- Watch the Sound and Light Show
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).
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.
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.
Go on a Camel Ride
There have been reports about animal abuse, not just to camels, but horses too, at the pyramids. In some cases, the animals are sometimes beaten and overworked during the day, and offered little chance to take a break.
We didn’t witness any of this ourselves. The camels we saw looked in good health and seemed to be getting plenty of rest. But you never know what goes on behind the scenes and the circumstances may be different when you visit (a busier time of day, a different person attending the animals, etc.). Therefore, if you are considering this experience, it is important to educate yourself on this subject first.
For more information about how to have an ethical camel riding experience, read this article on Matador Network. To read more about the treatment of horses and camels in Egypt, read this article on the New York Times.
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 $20 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 (900 EGP for the Great Pyramid versus 220 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.
In this photo you can see the entrance into the 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
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.
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. On the Giza plateau, here the best places for stunning views of the pyramids:
- In front of the Sphinx
- Panoramic Point
- From the helicopter pad
- On a camel ride
LEARN MORE: Where to Get the Best Views of the Pyramids
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, 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 2024), 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 our last day in Cairo, 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.
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. This half day tour of the pyramids gets rave reviews or visit Giza, Dahshur, and Memphis on the same day in this tour.
By Private Guide and Driver: If you want to eliminate the hassle of 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.
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 will have to 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 (but the horses tend to be abused and overworked so we don’t recommend this).
2024 Price List for the Giza Plateau
Giza Plateau Entrance Ticket: 540 EGP per adult, 270 EGP per student (with valid ID)
Entrance Ticket to the Great Pyramid: 900 EGP
Entrance Ticket to the Pyramid of Menkaure: 220 EGP
Hours of Operation: 7 am to 5 pm
Bathrooms: There are bathrooms near both entrances of the Giza Plateau.
Food: There is a small restaurant near the Sphinx and Valley Temple.
Website: Get updated pricing and hours on the egymonuments.com website.
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.
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
EGYPT ITINERARY: With 10 days in Egypt, visit Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel.
TRAVEL ADVICE: Here is list of important things to know before visit Egypt. The Luxor Pass and Cairo Pass can save you a lot of money…learn more in our guide. And we also have information on how much it costs to visit Egypt.
Read all of our articles about Egypt in our Egypt Travel Guide.
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