Visiting Egypt is a journey to a magnificent past and to a complex but captivating culture. This Middle-Eastern and African country has had one of the most interesting civilizations in history. Its essence can still be felt today when stopping by its ancient sites or navigating in the Nile.

Tourism is crucial to Egypt's economy and is one of its leading sources of income. Since 1975, Egypt eased visa restrictions for many European nations, and today travelers from many western countries can obtain a visa for Egypt by completing an online form.

Egypt has faced political turmoil and a difficult period, however, the country remains open to foreign visitors. Travelers from across the world can obtain a visa for Egypt at their nearest embassy or apply through Egypt's electronic travel authorization system.

While most people know a little bit about Egypt there are several aspects of the country that will astound you. Along the pleasant surprises there are a few things that you should consider before traveling to Egypt. Read below to find out more.

It is safe to travel to Egypt

While there are specific areas of the country where you should not go, the main ancient sites and most cities are safe to visit. There is also a strong military presence in a majority of these tourist areas to ensure that locals and visitors are safe. To enter most places people and their bags are thoroughly checked through a metal detector.

Most of Sinai and the Western Desert are off limits at the moment. However, it is safe to travel to Egypt and explore the country. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times.

Egyptian People are friendly

Remember that tourism is essential to Egyptians, it provides people with jobs and opportunities. Egyptian people are welcoming, and it is likely that on occasion, children will approach you to ask you to take a photo with them. Locals are excited to have visitors and to get to know them.

One thing to keep in mind is that local laws reflect that Egypt is an Islamic country. When you visit, you should respect their traditions, customs, laws and religions. This is very important, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Yes, Cairo is Chaotic

With nearly 22 million inhabitants, Cairo exudes a chaotic energy where you must be alert. There are around the clock activities making it a city that never sleeps. If you are in Cairo you will have access to delivery services, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Cairo is also the right place to be for shopping and finding local treasures.

Despite the chaos, Cairo is ideal to get to know the Arab culture and learn about its history. You can visit the Egyptian National Museum.

Food is exquisite

Though Egypt might not be famous for its food, you will soon realize that there's an entire world of exquisite dishes, aromas, and ingredients. When you are in Egypt you should definitely try their national dish, the Kushari, made of pasta, tomato sauce, lentils, garlic and chickpeas. You cannot leave the country without trying the Kushari.

There are plenty vegetarian dishes and one of their most common ingredients are lava beans, garlic, lemon, and mint. For those with a sweet tooth, there are some unique deserts like the Halawa and the Konafah. The Halawa is made of a sesame paste to which nuts like pistachios, pine nuts and almonds are added.

A good guide is worth your dime

If you want to get to know the history, traditions, and insights about Egypt, it is highly recommended to hire a guide. A lot of people prefer to travel independently, but a guide will make a big difference. Egypt is a country where you will learn much more through the eyes and experience of a local.

Ancient Sites are Breathtaking

Egypt's ancient sites are world wonders. The pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid. Most pyramids were built as tombs for Pharaohs and their families. Over 130 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt.

The must-see ancient sites in Egypt are the Abu Simbel Temples, the valley of Kings in Luxor, the Philae Temple in Aswan, and the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.

Before booking your trip to this enigmatic country, make sure you apply for a visa for Egypt and have a valid passport to travel.