The realization that we were in one of the cradles of humanity hit us hard when we woke up to the view of the Great Pyramids outside of our hotel window. It was seeing images of the Pyramids of Giza with kids that inspired our children to choose Egypt as our spring travel destination. The boys were fascinated by the stories of the pharaohs, along with the history and the myth0logy of the country.
Our Egypt itinerary started in Cairo and brought us to famous destinations such as Abu Simbel and Luxor, as well as to off-the-beaten-track places such as the Siwa Oasis. Our very first stop was in the capital of Cairo. The first thing we wanted to do was visit the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids. And it was as awe-inspiring as we had hoped. We were jet-lagged and bleary-eyed, but we couldn’t wait to spend the morning exploring the Great Pyramid Complex in Giza Egypt.
There were many tips for visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza that we read before we left for Egypt. Stories from our friends in the travel industry had everything from awe-inspiring messages to complex warnings about what you need to know about visiting the Great Pyramid with children. And I’ll be completely honest, the reality of the experience probably lies somewhere between all of them.
The pyramids are majestic. And the history and architecture behind them alone is enough to make visiting the Pyramids with kids a bucket list experience. So I’ve put together this collection of tips based on our experience. Hopefully, it will help you understand what to expect when you venture on your family trip to the Pyramids of Giza. I’ll lay out how to plan your visit to the Pyramids of Giza with kids, what activities to do that your children will love, and how to make the most of your visit so that it blows away your expectations.
How We Planned Our Visit To The Great Pyramids of Giza With Kids
Planning a visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids wasn’t as complicated as we had originally expected. We had visited two other destinations among the 6 cradles of humanity with our kids. The first was when we took baby C to Chichen Itza in Mexico. The second was a few years later on a trip to the Incan cities of Peru. For our family trip to Egypt, we partnered with an excellent local travel advisor, Traveline Egypt. They helped us navigate the logistics of visiting Egypt with kids. Most visitors to Egypt, especially those looking to travel outside the main areas of Cairo, Luxor, and Sharm el-Sheik work with travel advisors due to the complexities of travel in Egypt. And when you bring kids into the mix, things become just a little more interesting. But whether you choose to work with an agency or as a do-it-yourself travel destination, Giza is just as unforgettable as most people would expect.
Where We Stayed in Giza
Since we were coming off an epic flight journey from Toronto through Frankfurt and into Cairo the previous day, we expected our bodies to be a little off when we woke in the morning to explore the Pyramids of Giza. To prep ourselves as best as we could, we booked a room in the beautiful Marriott Mena House. This hotel is definitely not a budget hotel. It is most definitely a sight to be seen. The Marriott Mena House is the only hotel that sits within the Giza Pyramid Complex. And while you’re fighting a 6-hour time change after 24-hours of transit with almost no sleep, enjoying breakfast with a view like this was exactly what the doctor ordered.
It also helped that we were just a short, 5-minute drive door-to-door from the hotel to the entrance of the Pyramid complex. This meant that we could have a relaxing breakfast, and still be inside the Giza pyramids in a very short time without having to worry about thise city’s legendary traffic. There are a number of hotels near the pyramids though, and I’ll give some recommendations on which ones to choose later on in this article.
What Was Visiting The Pyramid Complex With Kids Like?
Arriving at the Great Pyramids complex is a really great way to be introduced to the complex ticket system at many of the historical Egypt attractions. When you arrive you’ll need to pay for your tickets. There are separate prices for adults and children. At many Egypt attractions, the prices for children are between 50% and 60% of the adult price. The cost of visiting the Great Pyramids with kids vary quite a bit depending on what it is that you want to do once you’re inside the complex. I’ll get into the price breakdown further down the post. We opted for the area ticket, which was 120LE for adults, and 60LE for the children. We also paid a separate fee to use a camera, and another fee to be able to bring our tripod into the complex.
As we entered the complex we were immediately presented with the dramatic view of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the largest pyramid within the Giza complex. And this view gave us the first impression of just how vast the Great Pyramid complex was. While the Khufu pyramid gets most of the attention, there are literally hundreds of pyramids, tombs, temples, and mastabas scattered throughout the complex. We only had one day at the Giza pyramids to explore, so we had to pick and choose our places to explore carefully.
Great Pyramid of Khufu
Our first glimpse of Egyptian history was an epic one. The 479 ft. (146 m) tall Khufu Pyramid is the tallest and oldest pyramid within the complex. We spent our time dodging vendors as we explored the towering structure. It’s possible to enter the Khufu Pyramid (as well as the other pyramids in the complex) for an additional fee. However, the pyramids were stripped of their antiquities millennia ago and there is really nothing left inside the cramped hallways and tomb chambers for visitors to see. If you suffer at all from claustrophobia, you’ll definitely want to stay outside. The thrill of being inside one of the ancient wonders of the world is a big one, but if choose one pyramid to explore, I’d recommend saving your money for the Djoser Pyramid.
The Giza Plateau
After exploring the Great Pyramid of Khufu we joined our Traveline Egypt guide for a ride up to the Giza Plateau. It’s here that it became clear to me that with the sheer size of the pyramids they are best viewed from afar. The views from the Giza plateau drew an audible “This is more like it” comment from C. Seeing the pyramids close up is awesome. But there is something magical about viewing them across the uncrowded plateau. There was little between us and the Great Pyramids than empty desert and a few camels.
There were a number of small shops here to pick up cheap souvenirs, scarves, and t-shirts. But unlike the lower area of the complex, the vendors here were much more hands-off. They also sat back from the viewpoint so that the experience of gazing over the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids was unobstructed.
Great Pyramid Complex Camel Ride
We knew that it would be tough to beat our incredible two-hour camel ride through the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan. But we decided to have a little fun for a quick photo opportunity on some camels in front of the Great Pyramids with our children. We opted for a short 20-minute jaunt rather than a longer tour down closer to the actual pyramids due to time. We still had a number of things to see in Cairo that day. The Pyramids of Giza camel ride was definitely different than the one that we had in Jordan. Rather than a quiet guide that wanted us to sit back and enjoy the journey, we had an ambitious young man who seemed to have every manner of cheesy photo that he wanted to snap for us. I was hoping for some beautiful shots of us with the pyramids in the background. But … I got this instead. Which, as dorky as it is, kind of sums up a lot of our fun times while we were in Giza with kids. Camel ride prices can vary, but we paid about $10 USD (16LE) for the 20-minute experience. That included the tip.
The Cheops Solar Boat Museum
One of the most unexpected treats of our visit to the Giza pyramids with kids was going to the Solar Boat Museum. Before visiting I had no idea that the pharaohs commissioned these massive wooden boats that were designed to float them to the heavens and into the afterlife. The solar boat of Khufu was one of the most perfectly preserved of these massive structures. It can be visited at the Solar Boat Museum in the Great Pyramid complex. Tickets to this museum are about 50LE for adults and 25LE for children.
As we entered we were made to wear soft smocks over our shoes to prevent dust and sand from causing damage to this 4,600-year-old wooden structure. The boat was jaw-dropping, not only due to the fact that it was still in excellent condition after over 4 millennia. But also because of its size. I mean the pharaohs were known for being a little big-headed. But the ego that these boats could hold must be immense.
The Great Sphinx
The Temple of the Great Sphinx is connected to the Funerary Temple of Khafra (the middle pyramid) by a causeway. However, the Sphinx is treated as a separate attraction than the rest of the Great Pyramid complex. Access to the Sphinx and the Temple of the Great Sphinx is granted from a separate parking lot with a separate entrance fee. Arriving here is much less formal than the rest of the Great Pyramid Complex. There is a line of stalls before the entrance to the Temple where vendors tried to hand the boys every sort of cheap trinket that you imagine as we made our way to the temple.
The boys were far less fascinated by the Sphinx than I had expected. I think the majesty of it may have been worn down a little by the time we spent exploring the rest of the Pyramid Complex. A short, circular path, along the edge of the Sphinx, dictated our walk. If I was to go back I think I’d spend some more time exploring the areas beside the temple itself. There are some much better angles for photos there.
Tips For Visiting The Pyramids Of Egypt With Kids
Is It Safe To Visit The Egyptian Pyramids With Kids?
One of the biggest questions we are asked about travel to Egypt with kids is whether it’s safe. It’s true! Family travel is not recommended in some areas of Egypt. And, it’s also true that the political and social-economic position of the country can change very quickly, as it did when we were forced to leave the country on very little notice when the 2020 pandemic shut down the country. Here’s a little video that I put together showing a little more about what visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids is really like.
Best Family-Friendly Accommodations Near The Great Pyramids
If you’re making the trip to Egypt to see the Pyramids with kids, you may want to shell out a few extra bucks in order to wake up with a view of this ancient wonder. There are loads of great family-friendly hotels in Giza and Cairo to choose from, but these three, in my opinion, offer some of the best experiences.
The Marriott Mena House
This is where we chose to stay in Giza. The Marriott Mena House is the only hotel that sits within the Great Pyramid complex in Giza. This means that it’s only a 5-minute walk from the front gate to the Pyramid complex ticket office. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a Marriott property, which means you know you’re going to get super comfortable beds. The on-site restaurants and amenities, including pools, cafes and more are also pretty great. You can check out the prices and availability for the Marriott Mena House here.
Giza Pyramids View Inn
The Giza Pyramids View Inn is just less than a thousand feet from the Great Sphinx. The terrace of this Giza hotel near the pyramids offers beautiful sunset views of the complex. There is an a-la-carte breakfast on offer and free WiFi as well. You can check out the prices and availability of the Giza Pyramids View Inn here.
Pyramids Guest House
The Pyramids Guest House is another family-friendly accommodation right by the Great Pyramids. There are non-smoking rooms available and WiFi throughout the property. There is also a beautiful terrace with sunset views of the Pyramids. A halal breakfast is available every morning. You can check out the prices and availability of the Pyramids Guest House here.
Can You Go Inside The Great Pyramids?
All three major pyramids of the Great Pyramid Complex allows entry. Going inside the pyramids does come at an additional cost, however. The tombs and hallways of the Great Pyramids have been stripped bare by tomb raiders over the past 4 millennia, and are basically barren inside. They are a far cry from the dramatic experiences inside the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. The hallways inside the pyramids are small and stuffy. If you are at all claustrophobic, think twice about whether this experience is for you.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit The Great Pyramid Complex and The Great Sphinx With Children?
Like most attractions in Egypt, the cost of visiting the Great Pyramid Complex can be … well, complex. There are many levels to access, and how much you’ll pay depends upon what you want to get out of your family trip to the Egyptian pyramids.
In almost every Egyptian attraction there are no additional costs for camera phones. However, if you want to bring in extra camera gear such as a DSLR, video camera, or tripod, you’ll usually have to pay an additional fee for EACH gear type at these attractions. The cost to bring camera equipment into the individual attractions is: Camera- 50LE, Video- 300LE, Tripod- 20LE. Inside the pyramids, you cannot bring your cameras, video cameras, and tripods. The cost of visiting the Great Pyramid Complex at the time of our visit in 2020, was like this:
- Great Pyramid Complex Ticket: This gives you basic access to the complex and the Giza plateau.
- Adults: 120LE
- Children/Students: 60LE
- 50LE, Video: 300LE, Tripod: 20LE
- Access Inside The Great Pyramid of Khufu: This gives you access to the hallways and tombs of the Great Pyramid.
- Adults: 300LE
- Children/Students: 150LE
- Access Inside The Khafre Pyramid: This gives you access inside the hallways and tombs of the Khafra (middle) Pyramid.
- Adults: 60LE
- Children/Students 30LE
- Access Inside The Menkaure Pyramid: This gives you access inside the hallways and tombs of the Menkaure (small) Pyramid.
- Adults: 60LE
- Children/Students: 30LE
- Tomb of Meresankh III: While most tombs and mastabas in Egypt are barren and have been stripped of their artwork by tomb raiders, the Tomb of Meresankh III still has some paintings and has relief carvings decorating its walls.
- Adults: 50LE
- Students: 25LE
- Cheops Boat Museum: This gives you access to the Cheops Boat Museum.
- Adults: 80LE
- Children/Student: 40LE
- Temple of the Great Sphinx: This gives you access to the Temple of the Great Sphinx and the walking path next to the Great Sphinx.
- Adults: 80LE
- Children/Students: 40LE
How To Deal With The Vendors At The Great Pyramids
As we passed the Great Pyramid Complex ticket office, we experienced for the first time the relentless vendors stationed at many of the key historic sites within the country. Egyptian salespeople are notorious for their aggressive and bold tactics. And while navigating them can often feel like you’re swatting off a relentless assault from flying insects, they do respond very well to the word “La.” La means No in Arabic. And if you say it forcefully and with authority, vendors will understand that you mean it and will back away.
Vendors in Egypt know to use every tactic under the sun to get you to spend more time with them. The longer you spend with them, the more time they have to convince you to buy something. Ignoring them outright works. It’s not hard to do as there are often more vendors talking to you then it’s possible to concentrate on. But the most important thing is, don’t offer them a reason to continue badgering you. Don’t say “maybe later” or “I’ll think about it”. It’s either “no” or you mean yes.
When you’re visiting the Pyramids with kids, another common tactic is when vendors “give” things to kids. They’ll hand something off to the children as a “gift” when the parents aren’t looking. The children become enamored with the new souvenir. Then, they’ll ask the parents for money.
It’s advisable to tell your kids from the start not to take anything from strangers.
How Do You Get To The Great Pyramids From Cairo?
The Great Pyramids are located in a suburb of Cairo in the town of Giza. Giza is a short 30-60 minute car drive from most places in Cairo depending on traffic. The city has Uber, taxis and other car shares. Most cars have seatbelts. So if you’re traveling with kids, we recommend bringing along a tiny packable car seat like this one.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit The Egyptian Pyramids With Kids?
The Great Pyramid Complex is open year-round. However, the most popular time to visit the pyramids of Giza is between October and April. During the high season, the weather is cooler. During the summer months, temperatures can soar, and exploring within the tombs and temples can border on unbearable. If you can time your visit to a weekday, you’ll also find much smaller crowds. On weekends local families flood to the historic sites when the children aren’t in school.
Great Pyramid Complex Hours Of Operation
The Great Pyramid Complex is open year-round. The opening hours are from 8 am to 4 pm 7-days a week. Access inside the pyramids is limited to 8 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm daily. It’s important to note that often these ancient structures close for renovations and maintenance. There can also be archaeological work underway. If there is something specific of interest to you, call ahead for their business hours.
How To Get Around Inside The Great Pyramid Complex
The Great Pyramid Complex is pretty massive. It might not be as big as the lost city of Petra in Jordan, but if you want to see it all, you might want to think about how to get around the Pyramids and temples. It’s easy to cover as much as 5-10 miles if you are exploring the entire complex. However, if you are limiting your visit to just the Khufu pyramid and the Giza plateau, it’s much less.
Many visitors using tour guides will have access to the tour vans inside the complex. If you are visiting the complex on a DIY Pyramid tour, you will meet peddlers of camel or horse-drawn carriage rides within 10-feet of the parking lot. Both rides come at a fixed cost of 100LE per animal for a 30-minute ride. Don’t accept more, and don’t accept less. However, this does not include the tip.
Are There Bathrooms At The Great Pyramids Of Egypt?
If you travel anywhere with kids, one of the first things that come to mind is access to bathrooms. There are a few bathrooms within the Great Pyramid Complex. The first is at the Cheops Solar Boat Museum. The second is outside the Panorama Sphinx Restaurant. The third is at the top of the Giza Plateau. As is the custom in Egypt, the bathrooms will have an attendant and tips may be requested. If you require toilet paper (which may or may not be supplied), the expected rate is about 2LE per person.
Is There Food And Drink Available In The Great Pyramid Complex?
If you are planning on spending hours at the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids, you’ll likely want access to some food. There are two options for restaurants when visiting the pyramids. The Panorama Sphinx Restaurant has a lunch buffet for about 150 LE. The Pyramids Restaurant, which sits just outside the gate near the entrance to the Temple of the Sphinx, is another option.
Final Thoughts On Visiting The Great Pyramids With Kids
Our energy level was low while visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids. But a visit to the pyramids was still incredible. The sheer history and culture behind these ancient wonders alone make it worth the journey. Our kids loved the experience. And tired or not, they never ran out of questions for our guide. The pyramids weren’t the most incredible things that we did in Egypt with kids. But they were still unforgettable and definitely worth including in your Egypt itinerary. I hope these tips for visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza with kids will help you make your visit one that will live on in your memories.
Disclosure: We partnered with Traveline Egypt to make the most of our travels in Egypt. All opinions remain our own. Wandering Wagars is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.