Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu Pyramid)
When the Great Pyramid was built, it was surrounded by three smaller pyramids, built for Khufu’s wives and sisters, as well as pits where Khufu’s solar boat (now housed in a museum) was buried. Today the pyramid is weathered with age and missing its limestone casing, but it is still an awe-inspiring sight.
The Giza pyramid complex also includes the Great Sphinx of Giza and Khafre’s valley temple. Most travelers visit with a guide. Full-day tours often stop at other ancient sites, such as Saqqara and Memphis, and some include a camel ride or a visit to Cairo’s museums. For a unique view, see the pyramids at night, when they’re lit up in a sound and light show.
Recent reviews from experiences in Giza
Things to Know Before You Go
Steep steps and low tunnels mean you’ll need to be somewhat physically fit to explore inside the Great Pyramid. The inside of the pyramid is not suitable for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia.
Even if you take a guided tour, you’ll need a dedicated ticket to explore the inside of the pyramid.
If you want to get all three of Giza’s pyramids into one photo, you’ll need to walk into the desert; guides can help you find the best viewpoints.
Vendors at Giza can be aggressive, and prices are better in downtown Cairo.
Wear a hat and sunscreen, no matter what time of year you visit, and carry plenty of water; there is relatively little shade in the area.
As in any part of Cairo, women will feel much more comfortable dressed conservatively and may want to cover their upper arms, legs, and cleavage.
You can get a good view of the exterior of the pyramids (and the Sphinx) from a wheelchair, but you’ll need a driver to get around the site.
How to Get There
The Giza Plateau is in a suburb of Cairo, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) southwest of Tahrir Square. The pyramids are surprisingly hard to reach by public transportation, as the nearest subway stop is miles from the site. The 355 and 357 buses run to the site from the airport, with a stop near the Egyptian Museum, but most travelers prefer the convenience of an organized tour.
When to Get There
The Giza pyramids open quite early in the morning and operate until afternoon, then reopen in the evening for a sound and light show. If you want to look inside the Great Pyramid, arrive early (especially during high season) as numbers are strictly limited. Try to avoid the Islamic weekend (Friday through Saturday) and important Muslim holidays such as Eid.
Inside the Great Pyramid of Giza
Although Khufu’s pyramid was robbed over the centuries, and his grave lacks the kinds of gorgeous paintings found in the later tombs in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, the inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza is extremely atmospheric. Low, cramped, sloping tunnels open up into vaulted spaces with beautifully-engineered granite blocks, and a rough, crudely finished sarcophagus still stands in the King’s Chamber.