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12 Things to Know Before Touring the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

A gold plated bust statue of an Egyptian pharaoh in a glass display case at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo (a.k.a. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities), is a museum I’ve been dreaming of visiting since I was a little girl. It’s home to more than 120,000 artifacts from Ancient Egypt (seriously)! They have so many, they’re honestly running out of room.

Visiting this incredible museum is a must for any trip to Egypt. It’s located in the city of Cairo with many tours operating daily. (Or you can buy your tickets yourself when you get there. I don’t believe they let you purchase online ahead of time yet.)

But, before you go, here are a 12 things to know to prepare you for this grand adventure! Enjoy!

12 Things To Know Before Touring The Egyptian Museum in Cairo

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A photo of the outside façade of The Egyptian Museum. The large multi-story building is a terracotta color with windows and arches. A green manicured lawn in front features tall palm trees and sculptures.
The front entrance of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

1.) The Museum itself is over 100 years old.

Unfortunately, it’s not in the best condition anymore. (There are plans to open a new museum eventually, though. More on that in a second!)

2.) The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is not air-conditioned.

Which is surprising, considering how warm it is in Cairo! Be sure to bring a bottle of water along. We made the mistake of thinking we’d buy one at the cafeteria, and it wasn’t open that day, for some reason. (We thought we were going to die!)

One of the many exhibits inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo features two large statues on either side of an arched alcove. Glass display cases hold ancient artifacts and artwork hangs on every wall.

3.) There are more than 120,000 pieces, & it’s not very organized.

There are honestly so many pieces they’re running out of space! It feels as though a lot of pieces are just dumped into areas and display cases, without much rhyme or reason. It’s the first time I’ve been to such an overflowing museum!

4.) The Egyptian Museum will be crowded, no matter what time of year you go.

We went in May, which is no longer considered peak season…and check out the crowds in the photo below! This place is bonkers!

Crowds of museum visitors mill around an exhibit at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, admiring the artifacts in display cases, statues, and ancient artwork on the walls.

5.) You have to pay extra to take photos with a camera.

If you have a digital camera, you will have to buy a photography ticket for 50 LE if you want to take photos inside the museum. (You will definitely be asked to present your ticket if they see you using a camera.) This, however, does not apply to cell phones! So, if you’re just using your cellphone to photograph, there’s no need to buy this extra ticket.

6.) The Royal Mummies Hall is also an extra 150 LE to enter. (No photos allowed!)

In my opinion, it’s worth visiting this room. I’ve heard some people remark “why would you want to see a bunch of dusty mummies?” However, I think this was the most impressive part of the museum! You can actually see people who had ruled Ancient Egypt 3,000 years ago! It’s mind-boggling. Some have perfectly preserved hair, and you can see their manicured fingernails. It’s incredible. You can even see Ramesses II in here (he’s regarded as the greatest and most powerful pharaoh in history…he’s also VERY well preserved.)

A photo of a mummy inside an ornate golden sarcophagus displayed in a glass display case at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

7.) There are still mummies outside of the mummies hall, though!

If you’re unsure of whether you want to go inside the mummy hall (but hey, that part IS air-conditioned), there are mummies outside of it. Yuya and Tuya, who were Egyptian nobles, are outside this hall. They both still of their blonde hair too.

8.) King Tut’s treasures are here, but his mummy is still in the Valley of the Kings.

The highlight of the museum is arguably King Tut’s treasures. You can see everything from his sandals to a mannequin he draped his jewelry on in the morning (I thought that was super interesting), to his throne and canopic jars. Oh, and of course, his famous burial mask…which weighs nearly 25 pounds and is solid gold. His mask is in a separate room (no extra fee to enter here), where no photos are allowed.

However, his mummy is still in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. You can pay an extra fee to see it when you visit that part of Egypt.

King Tut's Throne, an ornate chair decorated with ancient artwork and carvings, sits in a glass display case at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
King Tut’s Throne
A small mannequin sits front and center in a display case, surrounded by pieces of King Tut's jewlery and information cards.
A mannequin King Tut used for his jewelry.
An ancient pair of King Tut's Sandals, displayed with a white information card with Egyptian and English writing.
King Tut’s Sandals
King Tut's canopic jars sit inside a large marble box with a lid, adorned with hieroglyphs along the side of the box.
King Tut’s canopic jars (this is what his organs were placed in after death,)

9.) Take at least 3 hours (minimum) to tour the Egyptian Museum. However, you could easily spend days here!

As with any museum, you could easily spend days here and not see everything! However, to see the highlights, it’ll take around 3 hours.

10.) Many of the artifacts are already being packed up and moved to the new “Grand Egyptian Museum.”

There is a new museum being built! It’s called the “Grand Egyptian Museum,” and it’s right next to the pyramids. It was supposed to have opened in 2018, but it sounds like it’s more likely it won’t be open until 2020 or 2021 (there is no set date when it will be opened yet). When we visited a couple weeks ago, we could already see some artifacts were beginning to get wrapped and packed to head over to the new museum. So, if you visit before the new museum opens, you may not get to see every single artifact anyways.

A stone-carved bust status of Nefertiti, the wife of an Egyptian Pharoah, displayed on a wooden stand inside a glass display case.
Nefertiti, Wife of Pharoah Akhenaten

11.) Head to the Khan El Khalili Bazaar after & make a day of it!

The Khan El Khalili Bazaar is a famous market in Cairo and it’s not a far drive from the museum. Many tours will take you there after, and it’s worth at least walking through. (Many guides will advise you not to buy from here, though, as they are very overpriced.) It’s also worth noting that many tours will have you do all of this + visit the pyramids. You can really cram a lot into one day!

Khan El Khalili Bazaar - a street market lined with stalls selling souvenirs, artifacts, artwork, and more. Banners of flags zig-zag between the stalls that line the streets.
Khan El Khalili Bazaar

12.) If possible, visit the Egyptian Museum after you explore Valley of the Kings.

We did not do this, and I know not all itineraries will allow you to do this (it’s not the end of the world)! However, if you have the option, touring the Valley of the Kings first will really bring the museum to life, in my opinion. We had gone on a 4-day cruise down the Nile and stopped at various sites along the way. (It was AMAZING.) However, I wished I could go back to the museum after seeing the temples of the Ancient Egyptians, where they were buried, etc.

A statue of an Egyptian dog carved from black stone and painted with gold accents sits atop an ancient wooden box inside of a glass display case at the Egyptian Museum.

Thoughts on Taking a Tour of The Egyptian Museum…

A tour can be a great way to see the museum in a limited amount of time, as your guide will know exactly where to go, so you don’t miss the most important artifacts in the museum.

I highly recommend this affordable and popular Egyptian Museum tour!

My husband and I had taken a private tour through Memphis Tours, and unfortunately, this was not a very good tour, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Our guide was just kind of “meh.” And she was rushing us through the museum, despite it just being the 2 of us on the tour! I was also having some issues with my camera, and she wouldn’t stop to let me get it figured out. It was a very odd experience. (However, we used Memphis Tours for other parts of our trip, and they were PHENOMENAL. So, this wasn’t the norm for them.)

That being said, if you have time and aren’t a fan of guides, there’s no reason you couldn’t tour the museum by yourself. Many of the signs are translated and the museum does offer audio guides.

Where to Stay in Cairo

We stayed at the Marriott Mena House, and had a phenomenal time there! I posted a full review of our stay at the Marriott Mena House, including tons of photos.

Read Next: What I Wore to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Read Next: My 7-Day Egyptian Itinerary

Browse all posts from my Egypt trip!

If you have any questions about visiting the Egyptian Museum, please let me know in the comments!

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Photo Gallery: The Egyptian Museum & Khan El Khalili Bazaar in Cairo, Egypt

Please enjoy more photos from the museum and the bazaar below.

Khan El Khalili Bazaar

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6 Comments

  1. These are such great tips! Especially about the no air conditioned, that it will be crowded and that you have extra to take photos. That great cell phone photos are allowed.

  2. Gosh, this is so amazing, Lindsey. I would definitely want to see the mummies too!
    Some of the places around us are now charging for taking photos. At the Butterfly pavilion it would have been $500 to photograph the 3 of us…isn’t that crazy? Needless to say we didn’t go there for our blog photos. LOL!!
    XOXO
    Jodie

  3. The Egyptian period was my favorite period in middle school. My brother in law is Egyptian… that would be such a cool experience to visit those places. Glad you were able to!

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