Top 5 Guidebooks for Your Trip to Egypt

With the end of summer upon us, the Nile Scribes are getting closer to our first ever Scribes on the Nile tour leaving for Egypt on October 17 from Toronto! With our group of 15 participants, Thomas and Taylor will be travelling up and down the Nile from Cairo to Aswan and back, taking in the sights and enjoying the culinary wonders Egypt has to offer. In our blog this week, we round up our Top 5 favourite guidebooks any prospective visitor should consider getting to learn as much as you can before, and during, your trip to Egypt!

Cairo: The Family Guide

Lesley Lababidi and Lisa Sabbahy

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

Most visitors will fly in and out of Egypt through its capital city of Cairo, which is the second largest city on the continent of Africa. Every Egyptian guidebook will devote a sizable portion of the guide to Cairo, however, if you’re planning on spending more than just a couple days hitting the highlights, we highly recommend getting Cairo: The Family Guide.Authors Lababidi and Sabbahy are two of the most qualified guides a visitor could have, having navigated the chaos of Cairo with their own families for decades. The Family Guide is filled with family-oriented advice on what is available at each site, museum, or monument, along with essential information about prices and hours. The Guide is a must-have tool for any visitor, with or without children, if you want to experience more out-of-the-way sites and sounds.

Egyptian Arabic Phrasebook & Dictionary

Lonely Planet

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

While it’s unlikely this easy dictionary will help you achieve fluency in Egyptian Arabic, you may want to memorise a few of these helpful phrases to help you bargain in the souq, order your shai, or get to the mathaf. Unlike other phrasebooks, the Lonely Planet guide has cultural and travel trips interspersed throughout: body language and greetings in Egypt, how to dress appropriately, what to expect in terms of tipping, and even where you can expect to find alcohol (or not). Pick up this small pocketbook and we guarantee it will get you out of a cultural misunderstanding or two!

The Illustrated Guide to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Edited by Alessandro Bongioanni and Maria Sole Croce

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

The vast majority of tourists to Egypt will eventually end up at this majestic museum housing the thousands of antiquities from pharaonic times. Established by Auguste Mariette in the late nineteenth century, the museum collection is currently waiting for the completion of the Grand Egyptian Museum, when a large portion of the objects on display will be moved to the new location. However, for now, visitors can marvel at the wonders of pharaonic Egypt and this guidebook presents a detailed overview with lots of photos of the various rooms and their objects. Many of the objects are not properly labelled, so this guide is helpful for finding your way around and identifying what you’re looking at.

The Illustrated Guide to Luxor – Tombs, Temples, and Museums

Kent R. Weeks

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

Luxor is one of the largest archaeological landscapes in the world, and even return visitors struggle to see everything the ancient city has to offer. This guidebook lets you experience the temples, tombs, and museums of Luxor with world-renowned Egyptologist Kent Weeks as your personal guide. The guidebook provides maps of the monumental complexes and answers many of the questions regarding the function and meaning of many of the reliefs and statues you will see. Especially for first-time visitors to the Nobles’ Tombs on the Theban west bank, where minimal signage is available to describe the tomb owner’s life or explain the stunning painted scenes, this guidebook will help you get the most out of your trip.

Islamic Monuments in Cairo. The Practical Guide

Caroline Williams

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

Published in its original edition as A Practical Guide to Islamic Monuments in Cairo in 1974 by Richard Parker and Robin Sabin, Caroline Williams’ revised edition takes the visitor through the most important Islamic monuments in Cairo. Featuring many drawings and maps, Williams has divided the chapters into separate itineraries that begin near the island of Roda and move towards Bulaq, presenting the visitor with an easy geographical journey to follow. For example, chapter 3 “the Island of Roda and Old Cairo” explores the monuments found within Coptic Cairo including the Hanging Church (definitely worth a visit!) as well as important sites within al-Fustat. The information surrounding transport and access to each site is a highlight for visitors – it will make getting around much easier.

Would you be interested in joining the Nile Scribes on a tour in Egypt? Let us know!