Egypt: Car Rental

A Land of an Ancient Civilization

Local Travel Info

Local Travel Info in Egypt

Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Egypt

There are nine airports in Egypt that serve all of the county’s major cities including Cairo and Taba international airports. Cairo International Airport is the main gateway to Egypt and is located about 15 miles northeast of the city in northern Egypt. Cairo’s two terminals receive flights from major world cities including those in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Unfortunately, Cairo International Airport is not the most up-to-date airport in the world, although banking facilities are available here. In spite of these five international airports the other remaining airports of Egypt are the domestic airports. Borg al Arab airport, Daraw airport and El Nouzha airport are the domestic airports of Egypt that serve all the cities of Egypt.
Major domestic airlines of Egypt that serve between all the cities of Egypt are Egyptair, Air Sinai and Zas. You can reach central Cairo by bus, while numerous taxis also run to the city and its hotels at a reasonable price. Limousines are also available as a more comfortable alternative. Located in central Egypt, Luxor International Airport is a popular facility that serves the Nile Valley and it a convenient gateway for people heading to the popular tourist destinations of the region. Two updated terminals serve international and domestic flights, with a number of Egyptian carriers including Air Cairo and Egypt Air operating from the airport. The airport is located close to the city centre and taxis, limos and regular buses are available for transfers into the city.

Getting To and From the airport

Cairo International Airport

Cairo International Airport is the main entrance to Egypt and is located in the northeast of Cairo city at a distance of 15 miles. It is the primary hub of Egyptair airline service. The two terminals are two miles (3km) apart and are linked by a free shuttle, which departs about every half an hour. Cairo international airport provides a 24-hour duty-free shop, a post office, a hotel reservation service, 24 hour bank service, travel insurance services, restaurants and a bar facility along with regular bus and taxi services. There are taxis outside the main arrivals hall; the journey to central Cairo takes around 45 minutes. An Airport Shuttle bus is a convenient way to get from the airport to downtown Cairo and along the Pyramids Road in Giza. Public buses and air-conditioned coaches also leave regularly from Terminal 1. There are several taxi variations from Cairo International Airport. Taxis are paid for by a flat fee at the end of the ride and nothing is discussed beforehand. The fee should be around US$5 plus a small airport exit fee. To the city centre is14 miles (22km). Cairo taxis are black and white while Alexandria taxis are black and orange.

Luxor International Airport

Luxor International Airport in Egypt is situated 6 km / 4 miles east of Luxor city itself (Al Uqsur) and close to both Al Bayadiyah and El-dabiya; Luxor International Airport (LXR) is an entry point for the popular tourist destination of the Nile Valley. This is the closest airport to the renowned Valley of the Kings, which is situated just south of Luxor, and is currently Egypt's fourth-biggest airport. The airport has recently been upgraded to meet the needs of the growing air traffic and has been designed to handle some seven million passengers annually, being currently used by around 2.5 million. Luxor Airport covers around 740 acres / 300 hectares and features just one runway and comprehensive cargo storage. Egyptair and AMC are currently amongst the main airlines.

Hurghada International Airport

Hurghada International Airport in Egypt is 13 km to the east from the city centre and 5km (3 miles) southwest of Hurghada Downtown. GMT 2 (GMT 3 from the last Friday in April to the last Thursday in September). The airport is located inland, with a 20-minute drive from the airport to the Hurghada El Dahar (Downtown) centre. The airport is next to the main Ring Road. To get to the airport, head south from the city and follow signs for the airport. Car hire is available at the airport from Hertz (Tel: (65) 344 4146). In town, try Avis, Sheraton Road, in front of the Aqua Village Resort (Tel: (65) 344 7400) or Hertz, Aden Beach. Regular taxis and tourist taxis (which charge double the fare) operate from the airport. Minibuses also go to Hurghada: they wait outside the airport and only leave once full (journey time - 20 minutes).There are no information desks at the airport. There are no business facilities at the airport. The big hotels at the resort all have conference and meeting facilities. Facilities for disabled travelers are basic. Wheelchairs are available from the airline counters. Travelers requiring assistance should contact their airline prior to departure. The cost is rather inexpensive. Not more expensively than 1 Egyptian pound (5,7 LE = $1) for 1 km.

Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport /Ophira International Airport

Sharm el Sheikh International Airport in Egypt, formerly known as Ophira International Airport is just 10 km / 6 miles outside of Naama Bay and offers reasonable facilities. Sharm el Sheikh Airport only serves charter and domestic flights, although it is possible to fly into Cairo International Airport (CAI) on a scheduled flight and then take a domestic flight to the city. There are shuttle buses offering ground transfers to Naama Bay once you have arrived at the airport. This transport is not scheduled though, so services can be fairly erratic and unreliable. Bus travel is however a cheaper alternative than taking a taxi, so if you are travelling to Sharm el Sheikh on a budget; it may be wise to consider this option. These services are sited next to the terminal building, while more taxi transport can be found outside of the airport. However, these local taxis often tend to exploit tourists and regularly attempt to take them to a hotel where they will receive commission.

Taxis wait outside the main terminal at Sharm el Sheikh Airport, targeting those who have not organised transfers and who are tired after travelling. Taking a taxi can be a very expensive way to travel to your destination, since there are no meters and the drivers frequently charge way over the odds.

Travel Cost

By Local Bus

The Airport Bus Service operates from Terminal 1. The bus leaves when full and stops at Midan Tahrir in downtown Cairo, in Mohandeseen, and along Pyramids Road in Giza. There are also regular city buses but they are not recommended for they are often too crowded for foreigners. The principle carrier to Aswan and Luxor is the Upper Egyptian Bus Company, 4 Yussef Abbas, MN. Tel: 260-9304, 260-9297/8. Departures are from 45 al Azhar and the terminal at Midan Ahmed Helmi. Two buses a day complete the run to Aswan, departing early morning and arriving in the evening. Buses (Superjet, West Delta Bus Co. or Golden Arrow) from Abdel Mouneem Riyad terminal near the Ramses Hilton Hotel. The West Delta Bus Co. buses leave Alexandria from Ramleh. Service taxis also run from Alexandria.

Air-conditioned buses link most parts of Egypt to Cairo and Alexandria. Seats may be reserved up to two days in advance. There is also a fleet of cheaper non-air-conditioned buses. Although bus times may change without notice, departures are so frequent that schedule changes are not a problem. To Alexandria the main carriers are the West Delta Bus Company, Super Jet, and the Federal Arab Land Transport Company, which leave from behind the Hilton. By bus around Cairo - the large red-and-white and blue-and-white buses are usually so overcrowded they assault one's sense of private space. But here are a few interesting routes for the adventurous tourist:

Number 400 from the airport to downtown.
Number 66 from the Nile Hilton in Midan Tahrir to the Khan al-Khalili.
Number 72 from the Nile Hilton in Midan Tahrir to the Citadel.
Number 800 and 900 from the Muhama'a in Midan Tahrir to the Pyramids.

More comfortable are the smaller orange-and-white buses which do not permit standing. Here are a few major routes (from Midan Tahrir):

Number 24 to Ramses statue, Abbassiyah and Roxi.
Number 27 to Ramses statue, Abbassiyah and the Airport.
Number 82 to the Pyramids.

Average bus prices:

Type of bus company Price
Super jet bus co 68 LE Approx. $12
Super jet 68 LE Approx. $12
Super jet 68 LE Approx. $12
Super jet 68 LE Approx. $12
Golden Arrow 32 LE Approx. $5.31
Pullman 35 LE Approx. $6.3
Pullman 35 LE Approx. $5.5
West delta 35 LE Approx. $5.5
El Gouna 55 LE Approx.

By Train

The Egyptian State Railway is a government-owned system founded in 1851 which services the entire Nile Valley down to Aswan, the Red Sea cities of Suez and Port Said, the Delta and Northern Coast cities of Alexandria (two stops) and Mersa Matruh. There are at least half a dozen through trains a day on major routes. Fares are inexpensive, but unless one is traveling with a tour, tickets must be purchased at the main railway stations (in Cairo at the Ramses Station at Midan Ramses).

There is one privately-owned train operating in Egypt, the Wagon Lits sleeper with first, second and third class compartments. The train travels overnight from Cairo to Aswan and back again, leaving Cairo at around 7 in the evenings and arriving in Aswan at 9 the following morning. Bookings are one week in advance through a travel agent or from Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lits Egypte, 9 Sh Menes, Heliopolis, Tel: 290-8802/4; 48 Sh Giza, Giza, Tel: 348-7354, 349-2365.

Both Alexandria and Cairo have tram or metro systems that run through at least part of the city. Trains run every few minutes from early morning (5:30 a.m.) to midnight and fares are inexpensive, usually under a pound to the farthest destination.

Fares are extremely cheap by European and American standards. Take your student ISIC card if you have one - these may give you a 33% reduction. Some very approximate one-way fares are shown below:

There is an excellent train service between Alexandria and Cairo, with three sorts of train: Ordinary trains with very basic 2nd & 3rd class, express trains with comfortable air-conditioned 1st & 2nd class, and best of all, the pride of the Egyptian Railways, the super-fast French-built 'Turbo-trains', which eat up the 130 miles in just 2 hours 10 minutes. Fares: A 1st class one-way ticket for an air-conditioned express from Cairo to Alexandria costs about LE 25. Cairo to Luxor in 1st class costs about LE 50. Cairo to Aswan costs about LE 60. Cairo to Aswan costs about LE 60 one-way 1st class air-conditioned.

Tram lines in Alexandria run only between Ramleh Station (called "Terminus") near the Cecil Hotel and destinations to the east of the city.

Tram 1, (Bacos line), Ramleh Station to Sidi Bishr.
Tram 2, (El Nasr line), Ramleh Station to Sidi Bishr.
Tram 3, Ramleh Station to Sidi Gaber.
Tram 4, Circular route: Sidi Gaber, Ramleh Station, Sidi Gaber.
Tram 5, Ramleh Station to San Stefano via Bacos.
Tram 6, Ramleh Station to Sidi Bishr via Glym.

In Cairo the metro system is identified by circular signs with a big red M. The system runs north-south with over 30 stops from Heliopolis to Helwan through the heart of the city. Additional routes planned east and west, are currently under construction.

By Taxi

All airports in Egypt have a taxi service to city centers, operated on a flat fee basis (ask your airlines). In Cairo transport includes limousine, taxi, and bus. Curbside limousine service is offered by Misr Limousine (tel: 259-9381). If you did not have a chance to be on a taxi in New York City or Rome, take an Egyptian taxi for one of the experiences of your life. Taxi drivers seem to need to fill every empty space of the road. All taxis have orange license plates and are identified by a number on the driver's license and identify number attached to the dashboard. Sharing a taxi is not unusual. For the tourist, it is more expensive but easier to get a taxi from a hotel where they line up and where you can fix the price beforehand. But if you find yourself in need of a taxi on the street, be aggressive. Stand on the road, wave your right hand and yell your destination to all taxis. A taxi will stop for you.

Official prices should be strictly meters. If that did not happen, take the car number (which listed beside the meter) and report it to the police. It is preferable to ask the driver if his meter is working or not. Most taxi drivers are honest, but few try to cheat unwary foreigners. At your destination, pay the fare in exact change. No tip is expected like other International cities.

Taxi drivers are friendly, many speak English, some are college graduates moonlighting to supplement their income, and most are very eager to be hired by the day. If you plan to visit a number of sites and wish the driver to wait for you, this can be done. While LE20 is a reasonable fair from the airport to downtown, only those with exceptionally good bargaining skills will ever get a cabbie to agree to less than LE25. Drivers often start the haggling at LE50, depending on the time of day and number of tourists present. Note that upon leaving the airport your taxi driver should pay the nominal parking fare, though foreign passengers are required to sign out.

Beware of the big Peugeot 504 ‘service’ taxis. While these extra roomy cabs are great if you have a large group or lots of luggage, they also charge twice the going rate and adamantly demand LE10 for short hops. Taxis in Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada, Esaphagas and Sinai are easier to find (they line up at all hotels) but for the distance traveled they are more expensive than those in Cairo.

Keep in mind the exchange rate. For example, a trip which costs 10
Egyptian pounds (L.E.) is about $2.89 USD. You should consider a lower limit for short trips. For example, a trip from the Nile Hilton to Garden City, while a short trip, should still run three to four pounds. Below this amount, it is hardly worth the taxi drivers’ time. Most of these prices are above that which an Egyptian will pay for good reasons. The average Egyptian income is less than that of most tourists, and it should not be the aim of tourists to pay the Egyptian rate. Taxi drivers do not get rich, few own their own cabs, and most must pay a daily fee to the owner which is the same regardless of how good a day the driver had.

Rental cars in Egypt

The major car rental agencies are represented in Egypt; Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europecar. Driving in Egypt, especially the cities can be a bit hazardous to say the least. Congestion is a huge problem and very few drivers actually follow any traffic rules, including stopping for a red traffic light. Take a taxi and enjoy the wild ride from the back seat! Tips on how to hail taxis, bargain for a reasonable rate and tipping procedures is available from your travel agent. Driving a car in Egypt allows a great deal of freedom. Streets are congested in the cities, especially Cairo, but highways throughout the country are not. Car rental agencies exist at most major hotels. Foreigners must have an International Driver's License and be at least 25 years of age to rent a car in Egypt. Some agencies offer 4x4s, with or without driver, for desert travel. You will need your passport, driver's license, and a prepayment. Credit cards are accepted.

To book car rental in Egypt online, view our Car Hire section for Egypt. We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Egypt. We advise you book your Egypt hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.

Drivers License Requirements in Egypt

In Egypt, your international license is good for one year, your home country license for 3 months from your arrival. Thereafter you're required to obtain an Egyptian license. You will need: medical and eye examination certificates (which a facilitator may be able to obtain for you without your presence), a passport showing a resident visa stamp, 2 up-to-date color passport-type photos, and, of all things, copies of your educational degrees.

Cycling in Egypt

Egypt is well-known for its obsession with 'security' and cyclists are regularly forced to hop on the back of a military truck 'for their own safety'. Cycling in the deserts are inhospitable places. Distances between settlements are long, water is scarce, and winds are fierce. The only water sources available are at or very close to the oases, none between them. The distances are 200-300 kilometers. Cycling in central Cairo is almost a virtual obstacle course of ill-discipline drivers – from scooters to taxis to the average motorist bobbing and weaving out of traffic with no real concern for other road users.

Water Transport in Egypt

Egypt’s life has always been centered on its River, the Nile, and its marshes in the Delta. Historically the Nile cruise was really the only way to visit the temples and tombs located along this stretch of the river. It is still a popular means of visiting Upper Egypt and has many advantages to other means of travel. The traditional Nile sailing boats, feluccas, can be hired by the hour for relaxed sailing on the Nile. Regular Nile cruises operate between Luxor and Aswan, and sometimes between Cairo and Aswan. There are slow and fast ferry services linking Hurghada with Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai (journey times - 1 hour 30 minutes (fast ferry) or 6 hours (slow ferry). Nile cruises often visit a wider variety of antiquities along the banks of the river. But equally important, they also allow the tourist to gain a prospective of the rural Egypt, where people live much the same way they did even thousands of years ago, in mud-brick homes, tending their fields with wooden plows and moving produce via donkey. It is a wonderful experience to sit on a shaded deck of a floating hotel, sipping an iced beverage while watching 5,000 years of culture slowly drift by.