Egyptian Talgo train
 

Buy Egyptian train tickets at Bookaway.com.  Booking opens 17 days ahead.

Buy train tickets

  Train route map, Egypt
 

OpenStreetMap contributors, available under the creative commons licence. See larger map

See Egypt by train

Egypt is fabulous, Cairo one of the world's most fascinating cities.  There's no need to book a tour, it's easy to travel round Egypt independently by train, seeing what you want.  Egyptian Railways are the most comfortable way to travel between Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, Port Said & Suez.  The views from the train along the Nile give you a real insight into the country.  This page will give you the knowledge & confidence to travel around Egypt independently, by train.

Important: New train fares for foreigners:  From 15 December 2022, non-Egyptians must pay special 'foreigner prices' for train tickets, a 350% increase.  Cairo-Alexandria by VIP train $20 2nd class, $25 1st class. Cairo-Luxor by VIP train $35 2nd class, $45 1st class.  The new foreigner fares are in US dollars, but can be paid in USD, Euros or Egyptian pounds.  Feedback appreciated.

Train travel information

small bullet point  How to check train times

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  What are Egyptian trains like?

small bullet point  Cairo Ramses station

small bullet point  Travel tips

small bullet point  Useful country information - visas, currency, etc

small bullet point  Recommended hotels in Cairo, Alex & Luxor

small bullet point  Travel insurance, mobile data packages & other tips

Train times & fares for key routes

small bullet point  Cairo to Alexandria

small bullet point  Cairo to Luxor, Isna, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Aswan

small bullet point  Cairo/Alexandria to El Alamein & Mersa Matruh

small bullet point  Cairo/Alexandria to Port Said

small bullet point  Cairo to Suez

small bullet point  Abu Simbel by bus/ferry

small bullet point  Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, Siwa Oasis (bus)

International travel to/from Egypt

small bullet point  UK to Egypt without flying

small bullet point  Cairo-Amman-Damascus-Istanbul by bus/train

small bullet point  Cairo-Khartoum (Sudan) by train & ferry

small bullet point  Cairo-Libya-Tunisia-Morocco

Route map: Click for larger map

Train route map, Egypt


Useful country information

Train operator:

Egyptian National Railways, enr.gov.eg.  Sleeper trains Cairo-Luxor-Aswan: Abelatrains.com.

Buy tickets from agency site www.bookaway.com.

For buses between Cairo & Hurghada or Sharm el Sheik use 12go.com.

Time zone:

GMT+2 all year.  There's no daylight saving time, this was cancelled in 2015.

Dialling code:

 

+20

Currency:

Egyptian pounds:   1 = LE 35, 1 = LE 30, $1 = LE 28    Currency converter

Visas:

UK, other EU, US, Canadian, Australian and most western nationalities need a visa to visit Egypt.  As from 2017 there is an e-visa scheme, get your visa online at visa2egypt.gov.eg.

Hotels in Egypt:

Book hotels in Egypt   Tripadvisor hotel reviews

Tourist information:

www.touregypt.net

Recommended guidebooks   Health & vaccinations

Page last updated:

18 October 2023


How to check train times

Timetables for Cairo-Alexandria & Cairo-Luxor-Aswan and several other routes are shown further down this page.  But here's how to check train times online:

Check train times at enr.gov.eg

 

Egypt National Railways app

ENR app

Or download the ENR app

Or download a third-party app

 

Egypt trains app 'Train Trip'

Train Trip

 

Egypt trains app

Egypt

Trains

Back to top


How to buy tickets

Option 1, buy at the station

Foreigners' ticket office, Cairo Ernst/Watania Sleeping Trains reservation office at Cairo station

Foreigners ticket office for ENR trains, on the upper floor in Cairo Ramses station.  Courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip.

Abela sleeper train office, western side of Cairo station next to Entrance 1. Courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip.

  Buy train tickets for Egypt online
 

Buy Egyptian train tickets online at www.bookaway.com

Option 2, buy online at Bookaway.com

  Buy train tickets for Egypt online
 

Buy daytime train tickets online at enr.gov.eg (if working!)

Option 3, buy online at enr.gov.eg

 

Egypt National Railways app

ENR app

Option 4, buy using the ENR app

  The deluxe sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor
 

The sleeper from Cairo to Luxor, arrived at Luxor station. Courtesy of Neil Bastock.

More sleeper photos

Abela app

Download the Abela app for iPhone or Android

Option 5, buy sleeper tickets at Abelatrains.com

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What are Egyptian trains like?

Overview

There are two broad categories of train in Egypt, express trains and ordinary trains.

Express trains are air-conditioned with 1st & 2nd class seats and refreshments, they are all-reserved and tickets come with a specific assigned seat.

Ordinary trains are generally slower, are unreserved (so can be crowded) with non-air-con 2nd & 3rd class, although a few trains convey an air-con 2nd class car with reserved seats and some trains with the new Russian-built carriages have air-conditioned 3rd class which is perfectly acceptable.

The air-conditioned expresses further divide into two main groups, VIP with more modern carriages and Spanish with much older (but still comfortable) carriages.

Most visitors understandably stick with the air-conditioned expresses, although I've used a 2nd & 3rd class slow train between Aswan & Luxor, the advantages are opening windows and lots of local colour.  A fleet of new Russian-designed carriages is slowly coming into service from 2020/2021 onwards, initially replacing older cars on slow trains, but in due course will also operate some air-con express services.  If you travel on one of these, let me know!

Lastly we have the 'deluxe' sleeper train which provides time-effective travel between Cairo and Upper Egypt.  This has been outsourced to a private company.

small bullet point  Talgo trains

small bullet point  VIP special express trains

small bullet point  Express trains

small bullet point  Ordinary trains

small bullet point  New Russian trains

small bullet point  Deluxe sleeper train

Talgo trains

These are being introduced in 2023, and now work several Cairo-Alexandria services in each direction.  They are modern air-conditioned articulated trains built by the Talgo company, each car is much shorter and smaller than a conventional carriage and there is just one axle under each articulation.  These are now Egypt's premier expresses, with 1st & 2nd class and a buffer counter.  On some departures you may be offered a meal served at your seat, veg or non-veg, typical cost around LE 150, about 4 or $5.  They may give you a meal and come back for payment later, it is not included in the fare.  See video of a Cairo to Alexandria journey by Talgo.

Talgo train to Cairo at Alexandria

A Talgo train to Cairo at Alexandria.  Photos courtesy of Miika Nicholson.

1st class seats an Egyptian Talgo train 2nd class seats on an Egyptian Talgo train

Air-con 1st class on an Egyptian Talgo train.  Larger photo.

Air-con 2nd class on an Egyptian Talgo trainLarger photo.

Tray meal served on Talgo train Cafe counter on an Egyptian Talgo train

Vegetarian meal.  Courtesy Nonstop Eurotrip.

Cafe counter.  Courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip.

VIP special express trains

These are the best trains (or were, until the first Talgo trains entered service), running on both the Cairo-Alexandria and Cairo-Luxor-Aswan routes.  They're shown as Special Service OD on the Egyptian Railways website enr.gov.eg, and as VIP trains on most other apps & websites.  It will say Special on your ticket.  They are fully air-conditioned with 1st & 2nd class (AC1 & AC2) and a cafe counter, all tickets come with a specific reserved seat.  A refreshment trolley comes down the train selling tea, coffee & soft drinks.  Seats can be rotated to face either way - or to create a bay of 4 for families - by pressing a foot pedal.  These trains consist of stainless-steel cars with bodyshells built in China, assembled in Egypt, over 200 of which were delivered 2015-16.  On some departures you may be offered a meal served at your seat, veg or non-veg, typical cost around LE 150, about 4 or $5.  They may give you a meal and come back for payment later, it is not included in the fare.

Special express train from Cairo to Alexandria

A VIP special express from Cairo arrived at Alexandria.  Note the stainless steel construction, and the venetian blinds between the panes of double-glazing.  Photo above courtesy of Paliparan.com, photos below courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip

1st class seats on a special express train 2nd class seats on special express train.

Air-con 1st class on VIP express 981.  Larger photo.

Air-con 2nd class on VIP express 981Larger photo.

Tray meal served on a special express train Cafe counter on special express train.

Non-veg at-seat meal. Courtesy Nonstop Eurotrip.

Cafe counter.  Courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip.

1st class seats on a special express train Special express train at Luxor

1st class, train 981.  Courtesy Nonstop Eurotrip.

Train 981 at Luxor.  Courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip.

Express trains

These mostly use older air-conditioned cars built in Spain, as shown in the photos below.  They are shown as Speed AC Spanish on the Egyptian Railways website enr.gov.eg and as just AC or Air-Conditioned on most other apps & websites.  They have comfortable 1st & 2nd class (AC1 & AC2) seating, all tickets come with a specific reserved seat.  A refreshment trolley usually comes down the train selling tea, coffee & soft drinks.  Seats can be rotated to face either way - or to create a bay of 4 for families - by pressing a foot pedal.  These trains also operate on both the Cairo-Alexandria and Cairo-Luxor-Aswan routes.

Several Cairo-Alexandria expresses use stainless-steel cars built in France in the 1980s, remarkably similar in design to the Chinese/Egyptian VIP cars but much older, with an almost-identical window arrangement including the venetian blinds between panes of double-glazing.  Such trains include Cairo-Alex train 911, 915, 919 & 923 and Alex-Cairo train 922.  Notices posted at stations may (correctly) refer to these as French trains, but the Egyptian Railways website lists both Spanish and French trains as Speed AC Spanish, just to confuse you.

Spanish express train from Luxor to Cairo

Spanish express train (train 2011 at 08:40) from Luxor to Cairo.  Photos courtesy of Paliparan.com.

1st class seats on a Spanish express train from Luxor to Cairo 2nd class seats on a Spanish express train from Luxor to Cairo

Air-con 1st class on a Spanish Express.  Larger photo.

Air-con 2nd class on a Spanish ExpressLarger photo.

Ordinary trains

Ordinary trains are much slower, with non-air-conditioned 2nd & 3rd class seats.  They are unreserved, you sit where you like, which means at busy times they may be crowded.  Few visitors bother with these trains, although there's no reason why you shouldn't use them if you like.  One advantage is that without air-con the windows open, which is better for seeing and photographing the Nile Valley.  I once took one from Aswan to Luxor as that's only a short hop, my train wasn't crowded, a breeze blew through the open windows, and I met some interesting Egyptian people on board.

A few trains - shown as Ord+ in the timetables on this page - convey one or two air-conditioned 2nd class cars with reserved seats, of the same sort as the 2nd class air-con cars on the Spanish express trains.  These air-con 2nd class cars are a good way to travel between Cairo and Port Said, Suez or Mersa Matruh, or even Alexandria if the express trains are fully-booked.

Ordinary slow train at Luxor station

An ordinary non-air-con train at Luxor station.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

New Russian trains

The first batch of new carriages built in Russia & Hungary were delivered in 2020-2021.  This huge order includes 500 pressure-ventilated 3rd class cars (shown as GA3 class, GA = Good Air), 500 air-conditioned 3rd class cars (the first air-conditioned 3rd class cars in Egypt, shown as AC3), 210 air-conditioned 2nd class cars (AC2) and 90 air-conditioned 1st class cars (AC1).  The first batch of these cars has now replaced older 2nd & 3rd class non-air-con cars on many Alexandria-Cairo & Cairo-Asyut-Luxor ordinary trains and they may turn up on air-con expresses in due course.  If you travel on one and get any better interior photos, please let me know.

New Russian train at Luxor station

One of the new Russian trains at Luxor station, in their distinctive colour scheme.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

air-conditioned 3rd class seats on a Russian train in Egypt air-conditioned 3rd class seats on a Russian train in Egypt

Air-conditioned 3rd class on a Russian-built train.  Photos courtesy of James Bedford Larger photo. Larger photo.

Deluxe sleeper trains

One or two comfortable sleeper trains link Cairo & Giza with Luxor & Aswan in each direction, with air-conditioned sleeping-cars and a lounge car, see the photos below.  Often referred to as 'deluxe' sleeper trains, they're comfortable with fresh clean bedding and on-board catering.  However, this is Egypt and the carpet may be a bit dusty or frayed so don't let the term 'deluxe' give you unreasonable expectations!  Foreigners are charged higher fares than Egyptian nationals.

Egyptian National Railways have outsourced the operation of these sleeper trains, from 2 August 2023 they're operated by a company called Abela Trains.  Abela took over from former contractor Ernst, who branded the service Watania Sleeping Trains.  You may still see this brand in odd places online.

Trains 86 (southbound) & 87 (northbound) run every day all year, trains 82/83 run at peak periods.  It's the most time-effective way to travel between Cairo & Luxor or Aswan and it's also a genuine Egyptian experience in its own right.

The sleeping-cars have secure & lockable compartments each of which can be sold as a single with only the lower berth folded out, or as a double with both upper & lower berths in use.  The berths fold away to reveal a sofa for evening and morning use, the middle of the three sofa seats folds down to form a table as you can see in the photos.

Each compartment has a washbasin, soap, towel & clean bedding are provided.  There's a 2-pin shaver socket near the sink which can be used to recharge cameras & mobiles with a suitable adaptor.  Luggage goes in your compartment with you, there's a recess over the door for large bags so they don't have to go on the floor.

The fare includes a basic airline-style tray-meal in the evening and a simple breakfast, although tea & coffee are charged for.  Room service can serve drinks in your compartment at extra cost.  The sleeping-cars are non-smoking, but you can smoke if you need to in the vestibules at each end of the carriage.  There is a connecting door between adjacent pairs of compartments which can be opened if 3 or 4 of you occupy both compartments.

Passengers travelling alone who don't want to pay the single-berth fare can book one bed in a 2-berth and share with another passenger of the same sex.

There is a lounge car roughly in the centre of the train serving drinks & snacks, see the photos below.

The sleeping-cars used on these trains were built in East Germany in the 1980s, a few cars retain their original classy German interiors (if your washbasin has a flat top, that's a give-away) but most have been refurbished with shiny fibreglass panels and a half-sphere washbasin cover as shown in the photos below.  Similarly, the photos below show a lounge car which has been refurbished to look old-fashioned, I believe there is at least one lounge car which retains its original 1980s interior with free-standing tables & chairs which ironically looks more modern.  Plans to build new sleeper trains were announced in 2020, but any new trains are still some years away.

For more information see Abelatrains.com Watch the sleeper video Sleeper train times & faresHow to book the sleeper.

Boarding the Cairo to Luxor sleeper train   Sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor boarding in Cairo

The sleeper to Luxor & Aswan about to leave Cairo.  Courtesy of Richard Boyd.

Boarding the sleeper at Cairo Ramses station.  Photo courtesy of Paliparan.com

Boarding the Cairo to Luxor sleeper train   2-bed sleeper on the sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor & Aswan - day mode   2-bed sleeper on the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor & Aswan - night mode

Corridor side of the compartment. Photos courtesy of Ross Thomas.

 

Sleeper in day mode with beds folded away.  Larger photo.

 

...and in night mode with beds made up.  Larger photo.

sleeper train corridor   Sleeper washbasin   Boarding the sleeper train to Luxor in Cairo

Sleeper train corridor.

 

Washbasin.

 

Canine security in evidence. Courtesy of Steve Hounslow

Lounge car on the Cairo-Luxor sleeper train   Lounge car on the Cairo to Luxor sleeper train

Lounge car, built in the 1980s and air-conditioned, but refurbished to look old-fashioned.  I believe at least one car still retains its original more modern 1980s-style interior.  See bar car videoCourtesy of Paliparan.comClick the images for larger photos.

Pre-packed dinner on the deluxe sleeper from Cairo to Luxor & Aswan   Tray breakfast on the sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor & Aswan

Dinner & breakfast are included in the fare.  Most people find the food OK, people with high expectations may be disappointed, these photos show you what to expect.  Tea & coffee cost extra, but it's cheap.  You're free to bring your own supplies if you like!  Photos courtesy of Nonstop Eurotrip.

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Cairo Ramses station  Location map

All mainline trains use Cairo's impressive main station, often called Ramses station.  The first station opened here in 1856, the current building dates from 1892.  It was extended in 1955 and modernised in the 2010s with marble flooring and air-conditioning.  The station is both a through station and a terminus, the main station building sits next to seven terminus platforms, with four through platforms running alongside, see Google Maps satellite view station plan.

Express trains to Alexandria normally leave from the terminus platforms, numbered 1-7 from right to left (1-4 are under the impressive trainshed, 5-7 alongside).  The VIP express trains to Alex typically leave from platform 4.

Trains to Luxor & Aswan leave from the four through platforms, numbered 8, 9, 10 & 11.  A passageway leads from the main concourse to platform 8.  A subway leads under the tracks to platforms 9, 10 & 11.  Sleeper train 86 and VIP train 980 to Luxor & Aswan both usually leave from platform 8, easily accessible from the main concourse.

There are more terminus platforms on the far side of the station, numbered 12 upwards, used by northbound ordinary trains.  You are unlikely to need these.  There is also a separate station, known as Cairo Pont Limon (and shown on apps as Cairo Allimon or El-Qahira El-Liamoon), just southeast of the main station.  This handles local trains into the Delta, again you're unlikely to need this.

Security on entry:  All bags are X-rayed as you enter the station, although anecdotally it seems they aren't interested in what you have on you when you walk through the metal detector, it's bags they really want to check.  Once inside, the station has a ticket office, left luggage office, tourist office, ATMs, and a food court.  The Abela sleeper office is at the front of the station next to the main entrance, before you go through security.

Foreigners Reservation Office:  See the how to buy tickets section.

Deluxe sleeper ticket office:  See the how to buy tickets section.

Access to the platforms:  Automatic ticket gates were installed at the entrance to platforms in 2022.  You now need a valid ticket to access the platforms.

Cairo Ramses station

Cairo Ramses station in 2021, western side.  The impressive central doorway is kept locked shut, but there are entrances either side, along with the Abela sleeper reservation office which is an archway or two to the right of the locked-shut central doorway.  As with all main stations in Egypt, your bags are X-rayed when you enter the station.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

Cairo station exterior   Cairo station ticket oiffice

Cairo Ramses station, south side.

 

Regular ticket office.  Zacharias Abubeker

Main concourse at Cairo station

The air-conditioned main hall at Cairo Ramses station, taken from the mezzanine floor with platforms 1-4 behind the camera.  You can just make out the X-ray baggage scanners at each of the entrances.  The passageway to platform 8 is out of shot to the right.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

Main concourse at Cairo station

The main hall at Cairo station, looking the other way, towards terminus platforms 1-4 used by express trains to Alexandria.  The passageway to platform 8 is out of shot to the left.  To reach the Foreigners Reservation Office, go up the escalators & turn left.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

Food court at Cairo Ramses station   Food court at Cairo Ramses station

There's a food court up the escalators on the mezzanine floor, overlooking platforms 1-4.  A good place for a coffee, snack or meal before your train.  Photos courtesy of Paliparan.com.

Platforms at Cairo station

Platforms 1-4 are terminus platforms located under this impressive roof, with terminus platforms 5-7 out of shot to the left, alongside the trainshed.  The platforms are numbered right to left.  The main concourse is behind the camera.  Here, a Spanish train to Alexandria waits to leave platform 2.  The II next to the door indicates 2nd class air-con.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

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Travel tips

  Arabic numerals
       

Arabic numerals

Platform 4 at Cairo Ramses station

The LED departure board on platform 4 at Cairo Ramses station, clearly showing VIP train 905 from Cairo to Alexandria leaving at 08:00.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

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Cairo to Alexandria

The best way to travel between Alexandria and Cairo is by train.  There are two broad categories of train, air-conditioned expresses with comfortable 1st & 2nd class reserved seats, and slower ordinary trains with basic non-air-con unreserved 2nd & 3rd class seats, many now composed of new Russian-built carriages.  Most visitors stick with the air-conditioned expresses, which are highlighted below in bold type.

The air-conditioned expresses further divide into three types, the new premier Talgo trains, the second-rank VIP express trains (shown on the ENR website as Special and on most other apps & websites as VIP), and the older Spanish or French express trains, shown on the ENR website as Speed and on most other apps & websites as just AC.  All are comfortable and can be recommended, the Talgo trains are easily the best (as good as anything in western Europe), the VIP trains are good but not quite as modern, and the Spanish trains much more worn.

Timetable northbound

 Cairo ► Alexandria

Train type:

Ru

Ru

Ord+

Exp

Ru

Talgo

Ru

Ru

Exp

Ord+

VIP

Exp

Ord

Exp*

Ord

Exp

Train number:

1

163

119

903

7

2025

1009

1009

901

1109

905

911

11

89

15

913

Cairo depart

depart 

0300

0340

0500

0600

0620

0800

0805

0810

0810

0835

0900

1000

1010

1115

1125

1200

Alexandria arrive

arrive

0645

0740

0950

0930

1010

1030

1125

1105

1115

1155

1130

1305

1425

1355

1510

1450

 Cairo ► Alexandria  (continued)

Train type:

Ord

Ru

Talgo

Exp

VIP

Ord

Exp

Ord

Ru

VIP

Talgo

Ru

Exp

Ru

VIP

Train number:

133

1203

2023

919

917

21

923

27

23

921

2027

157

931

29

935

Cairo

depart 

1255

1325

1400

1425

1500

1510

1600

1615

1720

1800

1900

1920

2015

2030

2230

Alexandria 

arrive

1710

1710

1630

1805

1730

1915

1925

1950

2115

2035

2130

2250

2335

0020

0105

Timetable southbound

 Alexandria ► Cairo

Train type:

Ru

Exp

Ru

Exp

Talgo

VIP

Ru

Ord

Exp

Ord

Ord

Exp

Ru

Exp

Ru

Talgo

Ru

Train number:

1108

1904

8

902

2022

906

158

14

906

12

132

912

164

914

18

2024

24

 Alexandria 

depart 

0305

0500

0520

0600

0700

0730

0715

0725

0815

0915

1020

1100

1200

1300

1310

1400

1440

 Cairo

arrive

0655

0840

0915

0925

0935

1005

1030

1200

1120

1325

1410

1355

1530

1620

1715

1630

1840

 Alexandria ► Cairo  (continued)

Train type:

Ord

VIP

Exp

Ord

Ru

Exp

Ord+

Ord

Ord

Talgo

VIP

Ru

VIP

Exp

Ru

VIP

Train number:

688

916

922

196

1130

88

118

32

2008

2026

928

1008

2008

930

28

934

 Alexandria 

depart 

1510

1500

1530

1540

1635

1750

1720

1820

1900

1850

1900

1935

2000

2010

2020

2215

 Cairo

arrive

2020

1730

1850

1910

1925

2035

2220

2215

2300

2120

2150

2315

2240

2325

0045

0050

Notes for the timetable

Bold type = Air-conditioned express trains.  Most visitors will want one of these.

Talgo = new articulated train made by the Talgo company, being introduced from January 2023.  1st & 2nd class, air-conditioned, higher fares.

VIP = VIP special express train, extra-fast air-conditioned express with 1st & 2nd class reserved seats & refreshments, using stainless-steel carriages built in China/Egypt in 2015-16.  Most only stop at Tanta & Sidi Gaber, or just Sidi Gaber.  These are the best trains, higher fares apply than for the Spanish trains.  Shown on enr.gov.eg as Special Service OD, and on most other apps & websites as VIP, see the photos above.

Exp = Express train, fast air-conditioned express with 1st & 2nd class reserved seats & refreshments, using either red & white Spanish carriages or French stainless-steel carriages.  Comfortable & recommended, but older than the VIP trains.  They are all shown on enr.gov.eg as Speed AC Spanish and on other apps & websites as AC, see photos above, although notices posted at stations may correctly identify which are Spanish trains and which French trains.

* Tip:  Train 89 is an overnight through service from Aswan & Luxor to Alexandria, best avoided for Cairo-Alexandria journeys as it may be delayed.

Ru = Russian train.  Composed of new Russian-built carriages, 2nd & 3rd class anon-air-con, may have some 2nd & 3rd class air-con carriages.

Ord = Ordinary train, 2nd & 3rd class unreserved seats, non-air-con, not normally used by tourists, see the photo above.

Ord+ = Ordinary train, 2nd & 3rd class unreserved seats, non-air-con, also conveys one or more cars of air-conditioned 2nd class reserved seats.

How to buy ticketsCheck these times & fares online or using an app as shown above

Hotels in Alexandria:  The two classic hotels right on the Corniche are the famous Cecil Hotel & the Metropole Hotel.  Both hotels are a 19-minute 1.4 km walk or 11 minute taxi ride from Alexandria station.

Cairo-Alexandria is 208 km (129 miles).  All these trains call at Sidi Gaber, a local station 3 km from Alexandria's main station.

 How much does it cost?

1st class

air-conditioned

2nd class

air-conditioned

2nd class

non-a/c

3rd class

non-a/c

 Cairo - Alexandria by new Talgo train

LE 200

$30 for foreigners 

LE 150  

$25 for foreigners

-

-

 Cairo - Alexandria by VIP Special Express

LE 130 (6 or $8)

$25 for foreigners 

LE 104 (5 or $7)  

$20 for foreigners

-

-

 Cairo - Alexandria by Spanish Express train  

LE 93 (4 or $6) 

$20 for foreigners

LE 57 (3 or $4)

$15 for foreigners 

-

-

 Cairo - Alexandria by Ordinary or Russian train

-

-

Not known

Not known

LE = Egyptian pounds.  1 = LE 35.  1 = LE 30.  $1 = LE 28.

Children aged 0 to 3 travel free, children 4 to 9 travel at half fare, children 10 and over pay full fare.

The new higher prices for foreigners were introduced from 15 December 2022.  You can pay in USD, Euros or Egyptian pounds.

How to buy tickets

Alexandria station

Alexandria station

Alexandria station in 2021, sometimes known as Alexandria Misr station.  As with all main stations in Egypt, your bags are X-rayed when you enter the station.  Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

An express train from Cairo arrived at Alexandria station.

Alexandria station, 2022: An air-conditioned French express has arrived from Cairo. Courtesy of Clint Seidel.

Alexandria station platforms

On the left is a brand-new Russian-built train, delivered in 2020-2021.  On the right, a VIP special express train with Chinese/Egyptian-built stainless-steel carriages has arrived from Cairo. Courtesy of Paliparan.com.

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Cairo to Luxor & Aswan

The deluxe sleeper is the most comfortable & time-effective way to travel between Cairo & Luxor or Aswan, in effect as fast as flying, but far more of a genuine Egyptian experience and better for the environment, too.  It's more expensive than normal trains, but it saves a hotel bill.  You'll still see Nile Valley scenery in the morning, at least going southbound to Aswan.

If time is tight, go sleeper both ways, but personally I'd go one way by sleeper and the other by daytime train, to experience the train ride along the Nile Valley.  Incidentally, travelling overnight in a seat saves time and is cheap, but not comfortable, I'd either splurge on a sleeper or take a daytime train.

I have highlighted the deluxe sleeper train and the best air-conditioned daytime train in bold type.  I recommend that particular daytime train (980/981) as it's the best VIP type, it'll show you most of the route in daylight, and an hour or two delay won't mean arriving at silly o'clock.  By all means take another train if you prefer, for example train 2010 southbound or trains 2011 or 983 northbound, all Spanish trains.  Most visitors stick with the air-conditioned expresses (marked VIP or Exp below) but even ordinary non-air-con trains can be fine for short hops, for example when travelling between Qena, Luxor, Kom Ombo, Edfu & Aswan.

Timetable southbound

 Cairo ► Luxor ► Aswan

Train type:

Ru

Exp

Ord

Exp

Ru

VIP

Ru

Ru

Exp

Ru

Exp

Ru

Exp

Ru

VIP

Exp

Ru

Train number:

1010

1902

832

934

974

980

80

1004

2010

158

982

160

986

164

2006

2012

188

 Alexandria

depart

-

-

-

2110

-

-

-

-

-

0715

-

-

-

1200

-

-

-

 Cairo

depart 

0005

0020

0035

0110

0530

0800

0830

0930

1000

1020

1200

1215

1300

1515

1715

1730

1800

 Giza

depart 

0030

0050

0105

0140

0555

0830

0855

1000

1025

1100

1230

1240

1330

1600

1745

1755

1825

 Asyut

arr/dep

0535

0515

0815

0630

1355

1325

1605

1450

1505

1700

1725

1905

1840

2115

2230

2245

0115

 Al Balyana

arr/dep

0810

|

1100

|

 

1559

1855

1727

|

|

2005

2145

2109

0000

|

|

0352

 Qena

arr/dep

0952

0920

1255

|

1810

1740

2051

1850

1830

2130

2200

2340

2300

0215

0205

0225

0555

 Luxor 

arr/dep

1105

1020

1410

1055

1905

1855

2200

1950

1930

2225

2310

0040

0000

0345

0305

0325

0705

 Isna

arr/dep

1157

1102

1458

-

 

1945

2248

2042

2016

-

2358

-

-

0434

|

0408

0753

 Edfu

arr/dep

1250

1148

1554

-

 

2037

2350

2131

2103

-

0042

-

-

0534

0430

0452

0851

 Kom Ombo

arr/dep

1341

1236

1652

-

 

2139

0058

2231

2205

-

0139

-

-

0635

0521

0541

0947

 Aswan

arrive

1420

1320

1740

-

 

2225

0145

2310

2255

-

0225

-

-

0725

0600

0620

2250

 Cairo ► Luxor ► Aswan  continued...

Train type:

Ru

Exp

Sleeper

Exp

Sleeper

Ru

VIP

Sleeper

VIP

VIP

Exp

Ord

Ru

Talgo

Train number:

1014

988

84

88

86

1012

2014

82*

976

2008

996

90

1008

 2030**

 Alexandria

depart

-

-

-

1700

-

-

-

-

-

1900

-

-

1935

-

 Cairo

depart 

1850

1900

1920

1935

1945

2020

2100

2110

2130

2145

2200

2215

2225

22:50

 Giza

depart 

1915

1925

1950

2030

2015

2045

2125

2140

2200

2330

2230

2240

2340

|

 Asyut

arr/dep

0030

0015

0045

0150

0105

0240

0215

0230

0255

0355

0330

0420

0435

04:00

 Al Balyana

arr/dep

|

|

|

0409

|

0504

|

|

0517

|

|

0729

|

|

 Qena

arr/dep

0429

0350

0410

0615

0455

0650

0545

0640

0700

0735

0715

1025

0820

|

 Luxor 

arr/dep

0535

0450

0515

0730

0610

0755

0640

0745

0750

0840

0815

1135

0920

08:50

 Isna

arr/dep

0625

0532

|

0818

0654

0849

0725

0831

-

|

0903

1224

1010

-

 Edfu

arr/dep

0709

0616

0650

0909

0743

0935

0810

0925

-

1007

|

1324

1055

-

 Kom Ombo

arr/dep

0810

0705

|

1010

0840

1035

0900

1025

-

1103

1050

1421

1151

-

 Aswan

arrive

0850

0750

0815

1055

0925

1115

0940

1105

-

1145

1130

1530

1230

-

Timetable northbound

 Aswan ► Luxor ► Cairo

Train type:

Ru

Exp

Ru

Ru

Ru

Ru

Exp

VIP

Exp

VIP

Ru

Ru

Exp

VIP

VIP

VIP

Sleeper

Exp

Train number:

833

987

159

157

975

81

2011

981

983

935

163

1013

2013

2007

2015

977

83*

1903

 Aswan

depart

0010

-

-

-

 

0430

0515

0530

0730

-

1230

1350

1430

1515

1600

-

1620

1700

 Kom Ombo

arr/dep

0101

-

-

-

 

0517

0606

0617

0817

-

1321

1432

1515

1558

1643

-

1705

1747

 Edfu

arr/dep

0200

-

-

-

 

0619

0704

0717

0910

-

1422

1527

1607

1648

1733

-

1803

1836

 Isna

arr/dep

0257

-

-

-

 

0717

0749

0808

0953

-

1522

1612

1654

1732

1817

-

1853

1919

 Luxor 

arr/dep

0355

0450

0600

0730

0800

0815

0840

0910

1055

1240

1625

1710

1750

1830

1910

1925

1945

2010

 Qena

arr/dep

0500

0600

0705

0835

0900

0945

0930

1015

1200

1335

1730

1805

1845

1925

2000

2020

2040

2105

 Al Balyana

arr/dep

0640

0740

0845

|

1105

1127

|

1155

1340

|

1910

1932

|

|

|

2147

|

|

 Asyut

arr/dep

0920

1005

1125

1300

1340

1410

1245

1425

1620

1705

2145

2220

2200

2300

2310

0000

0010

0050

 Giza 

arrive

1630

1515

1815

1900

2040

2205

1740

1915

2120

2145

0320

0335

0245

0345

0400

0440

0510

0530

 Cairo 

arrive

1650

1535

1835

1940

2100

2225

1800

1935

2140

2230

0400

0355

0305

0405

0420

0500

0530

0550

 Alexandria

arrive

-

-

-

2250

 

 

-

-

-

0105

0740

 

 

-

-

-

-

-

 Aswan ► Luxor ► Cairo  continued...

Train type:

Sleeper

Ru

VIP

Talgo

Ru

Ru

Sleeper

Exp

Exp

Exp

Ru

Ord

Train number:

87

1015

2009

 2031**

187

1009

85

997

89

989

1011

91

 Aswan

depart

1715

1730

1810

-

1830

1920

2020

2045

2105

2300

2320

2330

 Kom Ombo

arr/dep

1801

1810

1852

-

1916

2001

|

2128

2151

2350

0003

0021

 Edfu

arr/dep

1855

1910

1947

-

2013

2055

2148

2225

2249

0039

0053

0118

 Isna

arr/dep

1941

1953

|

-

2112

2139

|

2309

2338

0124

0139

0219

 Luxor 

arr/dep

2035

2055

2120

22:00

2210

2230

2330

0005

0035

0215

0230

0315

 Qena

arr/dep

2135

2148

2215

|

2330

2318

0030

0100

0140

0305

0320

0420

 Al Balyana

arr/dep

|

2322

|

|

0115

|

|

|

0320

|

 

0557

 Asyut

arr/dep

0105

0132

0145

00:45

0410

0245

0350

0420

0535

0620

0720

0830

 Giza 

arrive

0605

0720

0620

|

1025

0745

0910

0930

1040

1115

1255

1430

 Cairo 

arrive

0625

0740

0640

08:00

1045

0825

0930

0950

1115

1135

1315

1450

 Alexandria

arrive

-

-

-

-

-

1125

-

-

1355

-

-

-

Notes for timetable

* = sleeper train 82/83 only runs at peak periods.  86/87 runs every day.

**  = New Talgo train, 1st & 2nd class air-conditioned with premium fares, only runs every second night.

Bold type = recommended daytime train & sleeper train for journeys between Cairo & Upper Egypt.  But by all means take one of the others.

Sleeper = Deluxe sleeper train, sleeping-cars & lounge car.  Special fares apply.  Can be used between Luxor & Aswan, sitting in empty sleepers in seats mode.  Run by Abela Trains, Abelatrains.com.

VIP = VIP special express train with air-conditioned 1st & 2nd class reserved seats & refreshments, using modern stainless-steel carriages built in China/Egypt in 2015-16.  These are the best trains, higher fares apply.  Shown on enr.gov.eg as Special Service OD and on most other apps & websites as VIP, see the photos above.

Exp = Express train with air-conditioned 1st & 2nd class reserved seats & refreshments, using Spanish-built carriages.  Also comfortable, but older than the VIP trains.  Shown on enr.gov.eg as Speed AC Spanish and on other apps & websites as just AC, see the photos above.

Ru = Russian train.  Composed of new Russian-built carriages, 2nd & 3rd class anon-air-con, may have some 2nd & 3rd class air-con carriages.

Ord = Ordinary train, 2nd & 3rd class seats, unreserved, slower, not air-conditioned, not normally used by tourists (fine for short hops).

Giza station is a fair way from the Giza Pyramids, but if you're staying out that way it can be better than going into Cairo city centre.  You can travel between Cairo & Giza on the Cairo Metro, www.cairometro.gov.eg.

Al Balyana is the station for the Great Temple of Abydos, a 22-minute 9.8 km taxi ride from the station.

Qena is the station for the Dendera temple complex, a 22-minute 9.3 km taxi ride from the station.

Recommended hotel in Luxor:  The famous & fabulous Old Winter Palace Hotel is a Luxor highlight in its own right, request a room in the old part of the hotel, not in the 1970s extension.  The hotel is a 14 minute 1.1 km walk or 4 minute taxi ride from Luxor station.

Cairo to Luxor is 671km (419 miles).  Cairo to Aswan is 879 km (549 miles).

How to buy ticketsCheck these times & fares online or using an app as shown aboveSee the section on tourist restrictions.

 How much does it cost?

Deluxe sleeper 

sharing 2-berth

Deluxe sleeper

sole occupancy

1st class

air-conditioned

2nd class

air-conditioned

2nd class

non-AC

3rd class

non-AC

 Cairo to Luxor

 by Sleeper

$ 90

$ 130

-

-

-

-

 

 by Talgo train

-

-

LE 600

Foreigners $55

LE 400

Foreigners $45

-

-

 

 by VIP Special Express

-

-

LE 245

Foreigners $45

LE 165

Foreigners $35

-

-

 

 by Spanish Express

-

-

LE 150

Foreigners $35

LE 109

Foreigners $25

-

-

 

 by Ordinary or Russian train

-

-

-

-

Not known

Not known

 Cairo to Aswan

 by Sleeper

$ 90

$ 130

-

-

-

-

 

 by VIP Special Express

-

-

LE 306

Foreigners $50

LE 197

Foreigners $50

-

-

 

 by Spanish Express

-

-

LE 182

Foreigners $40

LE 130

Foreigners $30

-

-

 

 by Ordinary or Russian train

-

-

-

-

Not known

Not known

 Luxor to Aswan

 on train 86/87 (in seats mode)

$ 10

$ 10

-

-

-

-

 

 by VIP Special Express

-

-

LE 119

Foreigners $25

LE 88

Foreigners $20

-

-

 

 by Spanish Express

-

-

LE 72

Foreigners $20

LE 57

Foreigners $15

-

-

 

 by Ordinary or Russian train

-

-

-

-

Not known

Not known

Fares are one-way, a return is simply two one-ways.  LE = Egyptian pounds.  1 = LE 35.  1 = LE 30.  $1 = LE 28.

Children aged 0 to 3 travel free, children 4 to 9 travel at two-thirds fare, children 10 and over pay full fare.  

On the deluxe sleeper train, children aged 4 to 9 pay $70 one-way, children under 4 go free but without a berth - you pay child rate if you want them to have a bed.

The new higher prices for foreigners were introduced from 15 December 2022 (On the sleeper, foreigners have always had to pay higher prices than Egyptians, those sleeper fares are shown above and haven't changed).  You can pay in USD, Euros or Egyptian pounds.

How to buy tickets

Tickets for seats:

  • Option 1, buy tickets online at www.bookaway.com.

    This is by far the easiest option, and the least hassle.  www.bookaway.com is a reliable agency, you pay a reasonable agency mark-up but it's a painless way to get your train tickets booked in advance from outside Egypt.

    Booking normally opens 17 days before departure, you must normally book at least 2 days ahead.

    www.bookaway.com can book seats on all the most popular air-conditioned express trains between Cairo/Giza and Luxor/Aswan, although it can't book every possible train or book to/from smaller stations.

    Bookaway will give you details of how to contact their agent at least 10 hours before departure to arrange local ticket delivery to your hotel.

  • Option 2, you may (or may not) be able to book the VIP special express & express trains using the ENR website or app, see the How to buy tickets section.

  • Option 3, buy tickets in person at the station, see the advice here.

Tickets for sleepers

Travelling by day on an air-con express

They're not as time-effective as the overnight sleeper of course, but the daytime air-conditioned express trains are safe, comfortable and incredibly cheap - and best of all, the journey is an insight into Egyptian life.  It's a pleasant ride along the Nile Valley, past palm trees, feluccas, camels and fellahin working in the fields.  You will see how the Nile makes a small strip of land green either side of the river before the desert resumes.  See the traveller's report below about a journey on these daytime Upper Egypt trains.

Travelling overnight in air-con seats

If you don't mind sleeping in a seat, which not a very nice or comfortable experience, these overnight trains save time compared with daytime trains but cost much less than the deluxe sleeper.  Take a fleece or jumper as the air-con can be powerful.

Travellers' reports:  The sleeper

Traveller Sean Sickinger reports:  "On the ticket you're advised to be on the platform at least 30 minutes before departure, although this doesn't mean the train will be on time! On my trip, the train was 30 minutes late leaving and nearly 2 hours late into Luxor, so factor a possible delay into your plans.  Giza mainline station is right next to Giza metro station and there are a few small shops selling snacks or water, plus a small restaurant.  At the station there are small numbers hanging from the platform canopy, these indicate the approximate location of the carriages so if you're booked in car 6, stand next to sign number 6. Don't expect to find any Abela staff on the platform, just wait for the sleeper train on the main platform with everyone else.  You may be approached by people with official looking notebooks offering to help you who ask you for your ticket, but don't show it to them - they write down your name and destination as if they were verifying your ticket, then call their buddies in Luxor who will approach using your name and claiming they are there to pick you up, a basic taxi and hotel scam.  Once the train arrives at the platform, Abela staff will step out in front of each carriage to check your ticket and make sure you get into the right car & compartment. The onboard staff are generally very friendly and helpful.  Car numbers are posted just inside each entrance door, but not outside the train. After the train leaves and people have settled into their compartments, the staff bring you your dinner, as selected when you book your ticket.  The meals are similar to what you would get on an airline, although fairly heavy on breads & starches!  Breakfast is served about one hour prior to arrival at your destination, again, heavy on the bread.  Don't expect the same level of smoothness as a European overnight train, as there's a certain amount of jostling and vibration from the tracks, but overall this is not a bad option to get from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan."

Traveller Jess Painter took the sleeper from Cairo to Luxor and back:  "When boarding from Cairo to Luxor, no-one asked for a marriage certificate, although they checked our tickets as we boarded - onto the wrong carriage, telling us it was the right one, of course!  They serve dinner within an hour which was a piece of breaded chicken, rice, vegetables, potato wedges and some sort of cake.  I preferred to eat my tuna sandwiches but my friend ate the train food happily enough.  An hour later, just after 10pm, they come around to turn the seats into beds.  Next time I'll ask for this to be done straight away as the beds are much more comfortable than the seats, two people can sit on the bottom bunk playing cards very comfortably.  The rooms have a sink so you can brush your teeth, with bottled water if you have some, and there's a power socket so you can keep everything charged in the case of a delay.  There is a lounge car on the train but it didn't appear to be open, no drinks were available so people must take their own, alcohol included if you want to sleep better!  Breakfast was very basic, something claiming to be a croissant, a bread roll and a selection of jam, butter and cheese spread.  They also serve tea and coffee, which I don't drink but my friend said they were disgusting!  The toilets are cleaned at regular intervals but you have to time it right. There are two toilets per carriage. You might go in one time and have a horrendous greeting and decide to wait you might go in another time and feel comfortable enough to use the facilities! They permit smoking on the trains but not in the cabins, only at either end of the carriage. So it's best to leave your door shut so the wafting smoke doesn't enter your cabin, even though this can feel a little claustrophobic at times!  Very easy to pick up a taxi from outside the station once in Luxor, it's LE20 (2) to any hotel (don't pay any extra), but if you can use some broken Arabic you will get them down to LE10, begrudgingly.  The return journey was much the same except that tickets weren't checked on the platform, again no marriage certificate check.  Tickets were not even checked on board.  We asked for our beds to be made up immediately, passed on dinner as it was already 10.30pm when we boarded, and we slept right through until 8am.  I had slept badly on the outward trip, thinking that the bunk bed was going to fall due to the rockiness of the train, but knowing what to expect made the return journey easier and we were so sleepy after a 5am hot air balloon ride that it was a very comfortable ride.  We were then delayed three hours and the 'carriage host' couldn't say where we were, how far we were from Cairo or anything so we had GPS out on the iPhone trying to locate ourselves.  It was a very successful journey and one I would recommend to anyone and definitely do again!"

Traveller's reports:  Day trains

Traveller Jerome Wise reports: "We took the daytime air-conditioned express train from Cairo to Luxor, which took 10 hours or so.  It was great fun, a bit of an adventure and a great way to see the real Egypt.  The children (8 and 6) even enjoyed it.  The great thing about the first class seats is that, whilst they are in an airline configuration, you can swivel them so you have facing and back - great for four people travelling together."

Traveller Ian Green took a Cairo to Luxor then Aswan to Cairo daytime trains:  "We bought our train tickets online at the Egyptian National Railways website having followed your instructions and signed up.  We caught train 980 from Cairo to Luxor in first class leaving at 8am (platform 8) and the 983 train from Aswan to Cairo first class, leaving at 7am.  The tea was lovely, service pretty good, seats comfy.  Toilets passable.  Both trains left on time, both were in the station half an hour early, but both were about 3 hours delayed getting to the final stop.  Take supplies!"

Travellers' report:  Visiting the temples at Abydos & Dendera

Traveller Krys Garnett reports:  "Visiting the temples of Abydos and Dendera from Luxor is easy by train, and much more convenient than the convoy or bus. For Dendera, take a train to Qena, where the station master will arrange a taxi and inform the tourist police.  A policeman will accompany you in the taxi, but you won't get a convoy.  Visiting the Abydos, take the train to Al Balyana, then a taxi."

Luxor railway station platform   Luxor railway station

Luxor station.  Above left, the 08:40 from Luxor to Cairo (train 2011) arrives into Luxor from Aswan.  At this stage, it's on time...  Photos courtesy of Paliparan.com.

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El Alamein & Mersa Matruh

 Cairo / Alex Mersa Matruh

          

  

 Mersa Matruh Alex / Cairo

 

Ord

Note A

Ord+

Ord

Note B

 

Ord+

Ord

Ord

Note A

Note C

 

306

939

1205

654

773

 

1209

649

299

943

775

 Cairo 

depart 

-

05:45

06:50

-

22:35

 Mersa Matruh 

depart

0700

08:10

14:45

17:15

22:00

 Alexandria

depart

06:40

|

|

13:40

|

 El Alamein

depart

09:36

11:55

17:51

19:54

|

 El Alamein 

arrive

09:36

11:00

12:40

16:49

|

 Alexandria

arrive

|

14:55

20:45

|

|

 Mersa Matruh  

arrive

12:30

13:30

15:25

20:20

06:20

 Cairo

arrive

15:35

-

-

01:25

05:00

Ord = Ordinary train with 2nd & 3rd class unreserved non-air-con seats.

Ord+ = Ordinary train with 2nd & 3rd class unreserved non-air-con seats plus one or more air-conditioned cars with 2nd class reserved seats.

Note A = Express train with air-conditioned 1st & 2nd class seats, runs June-September only.

Note B = Sleeper, Abelatrains.com.  Runs on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday from mid-June to mid-September.

Note C = Sleeper, Abelatrains.com.  Runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday from mid-June to mid-September.

Fares:  Cairo to Mersa Matruh is LE 130 in air-con 2nd class on train 1205/1209. 

By summer-only sleeper, Cairo to Mersa Matruh is $43 per person in a 2-berth sleeper, $60 in a single-berth sleeper.

Buy tickets at the station, see the advice here.

Or you can tickets for 2nd class air-con reserved seats on trains marked Ord+ at the ENR website, see the advice in the How to buy tickets section above.

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Cairo & Alexandria to Port Said

 Cairo ► Port Said

Train type:

Ord+

Ord+

Ord+

Ord

Ord+

Ord

Ord+

Ord

Train number:

945

588

185

951

955

1971

572

961

 Cairo 

depart 

06:10

-

08:40

12:00

14:40

16:25

-

17:40

 Alexandria 

depart

|

04:30

|

|

|

|

15:55

|

 Port Said 

arrive

10:30

11:10

12:40

16:40

19:05

20:30

22:30

21:55

 

 Port Said ► Cairo

Train type:

Ord

Ord+

Ord+

Ord+

Ord+

Ord

Ord+

Ord

Train number:

1970

952

570

186

956

960

590

962

 Port Said

depart 

05:00

05:30

07:25

08:30

13:00

15:20

18:15

18:35

 Alexandria 

arrive

|

|

13:35

|

|

|

00:50

|

 Cairo

arrive

08:55

09:55

-

13:30

17:25

19:25

-

23:10

Ord = Ordinary train with 2nd & 3rd class unreserved non-air-con seats.

Ord+ = Ordinary train with 2nd & 3rd class unreserved non-air-con seats plus one or more air-conditioned cars with 2nd class reserved seats.

Exp = Spanish express with air-con 1st & 2nd class.

Fare:  LE 57 each way in 2nd class air-con.

Buy tickets at the station, see the advice here.

Or you can tickets for 2nd class air-con reserved seats on trains marked Ord+ at the ENR website, see the advice in the How to buy tickets section above.

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Cairo to Suez

 Cairo ► Suez

Train type:

Ord

Ord+

Ord

Train number:

4603

593

4604

 Cairo main station

depart 

-

05:05

-

 Cairo Adly Mansour station 

depart 

05:00

|

17:00

 Suez 

arrive

09:10

10:35

20:50

 Suez ► Cairo

Train type:

Ord

Ord+

Ord

Train number:

4602

594

4605

 Suez

depart 

06:30

15:00

15:15

 Cairo Adly Mansour station 

arrive

10:25

|

19:15

 Cairo main station

arrive 

-

20:15

-

Ord = Ordinary train with 2nd & 3rd class unreserved non-air-con seats.

Ord+ = Ordinary train with 2nd & 3rd class unreserved non-air-con seats plus one or more air-conditioned cars with 2nd class reserved seats.

Exp = Air-conditioned express with 1st & 2nd class seats.

Adly Mansour station is a modern station located northeast of downtown Cairo, see location map.  It's around 11km further out than the Ain Shams station which is replaces as terminus for the direct line to Suez.

Fare:  Not known.

Buy tickets at the station, see the advice here.

Or you can tickets for 2nd class air-con reserved seats on trains marked Ord+ at the ENR website, see the advice in the How to buy tickets section above.

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Abu Simbel

There are no trains to Abu Simbel, but a bus service operates from Aswan (275 km).  It departs Aswan at 07:00, arriving Abu Simbel at 10:00.  It leaves Abu Simbel at 13:00 arriving back in Aswan at 16:00.  There are also many tourist day tours, most leaving Aswan very early - for example, 04:00 - for about LE55 (5 or $9).

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Sharm el Sheik, Hurghada, Siwa

Sharm el Sheik (Sinai) - Cairo

There are no trains to Sharm el Sheik, but there are buses to and from Cairo.  The 485 km journey takes about 7 or 8 hours by bus.

Go Bus Egypt run a dozen or more buses a day between Sharm el Sheik and Cairo.  The cost ranges from LE 260 to LE 470 depending on the class of bus. 

Buses can easily be booked online at reliable booking agency 12go.com.

If you use this route, feedback & any photos would be appreciated.

There are also buses run by the East Delta Bus Co and the Super Jet Bus Co. although currently neither company has a website.

Sharm el Sheik - Luxor

Sharm El Sheik is the far side of the Gulf of Suez from the Nile Valley, so for Luxor you need to return to Cairo by bus, then travel by train from Cairo to Luxor,  There are no longer any ferries between Sharm El Sheik & Hurghada on the other side of the gulf.

Hurghada - Cairo

There are no trains to Hurghada, but there are buses to & from Cairo.  The 500 km bus journey takes about 7 hours, the fare ranges from LE 260 to LE 470 depending on the class of bus.

Go Bus Egypt run a dozen or more buses a day between Hurghada and Cairo, they can easily be booked online at reliable booking agency 12go.com.

If you use this route, feedback & any photos would be appreciated.

Hurghada - Luxor

Luxor to Hurghada (255 km) takes 4 hours by bus, with 2 or 3 departures daily, around LE 175.

The buses can easily be booked online at reliable booking agency 12go.com.

Siwa Oasis

There are no trains to Siwa.  A daily bus links Siwa with Alexandria (590 km), departing Alex at 08:30, returning from Siwa at 08:00.

It's reported that there's now a daily overnight bus from the Turgoman garage in Cairo at 18:45 to Siwa, arriving around 05:45 next morning.  The fare is around LE 60.  It's run by the West Delta Bus co.

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International buses & ferries

There are no international trains from Egypt, but buses will get you to Libya, there's a ferry to Jordan and a Nile steamer from Aswan to Sudan.  There are now NO Mediterranean ferries to Egypt, from anywhere in Europe, at all.

Cairo - Amman (Jordan) - Damascus (Syria) - Istanbul (Turkey)

You can travel from Egypt to Jordan without going via Israel, using a ferry.  Here are details northbound - for the southbound journey see the Jordan page.

Aqaba (Jordan) to Nuweiba (Egypt) by ferry

The ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt to Aqaba in Jordan. Photo courtesy of Jack Garnett.

Cairo - Tripoli (Libya) - Tunis (Tunisia) - Morocco

IF you have a Libyan visa, there are buses from Egypt into Libya.  However, at present the Libyan government will not grant visas for independent travel to Libya, only for people on tours organised by a recognised Libyan travel agency.  There are buses from Libya into Tunisia, but it's not possible to travel on to Morocco overland, as the Algerian/Moroccan border is closed and Algeria has security problems which make it a no-go zone for westerners.

Cairo - Aswan - Wadi Halfa - Khartoum (Sudan):  See the Sudan page

A weekly Nile steamer used to link Aswan with Wadi Halfa in the Sudan, from where a twice-monthly train used to run,) to Khartoum, see the Sudan page for details.

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UK to Egypt without flying

It's now ridiculously difficult to get to Egypt without flying.

Option 1:  London to Egypt by train & ferry

This used to be easy, but is currently tricky.  The Med is now full of cruise liners going round in circles, but remarkably short on actual ferries doing anything useful.  Until 1995, Adriatica Line's Espresso Egitto used to sail weekly from Venice and Piraeus to Alexandria.  Michael Palin used it in 1989 and I used it in 1990 to travel from London to Cairo, Luxor & Aswan and back without flying - Michael gets everywhere a year or two before I do, and he doesn't have to pay for his own ticket.  Sadly, the terrorist problems in Egypt ended this service.

Until 2001, Salamis Lines sailed weekly from Greece to Egypt via Cyprus, but their services were suspended because of the problems in Israel, the ship's ultimate destination.  Then a new weekly ferry service started in May 2010 linking Venice in Italy with Alexandria in Egypt, www.visemarline.com.  However, sorry as I am to be proved right, this service didn't last more than a year - it ran in a circle via Syria, and fell victim both to the problems in Egypt reducing tourist numbers and the current strife in Syria.  It was cancelled in May 2011. 

But yet another ferry then started up, the only ferry across the Med to Egypt, running twice a week from Iskenderun in southern Turkey to Port Said in Egypt, www.sisashipping.com.  But this ended in 2013.  There are currently no passenger ferries to Egypt, your only hope is a cruise liner or freighter.

Grimaldi Lines run weekly or so freighters to Alexandria from various European ports including Southampton, Salerno (Italy) and Piraeus (Greece), www.grimaldi-freightercruises.com.  However, it's reported that they don't allow embarkation or disembarkation at Alexandria.

One option that may still work, if they allow disembarkation in Egypt, is this:  www.cruisepeople.co.uk/cma.htm offer voyages with French freighter line CMA-CGM from Le Havre and Fos sur Mer (west of Marseille) to Suez/Damietta in Egypt, Le Havre to Egypt taking 10 days at around 120 per day including food and cabin accommodation.

Option 2:  London to Egypt overland via Paris, Vienna, Istanbul, Syria & Jordan

Obviously, the situation in Syria has now scotched this route too, as all travel to or through Syria is currently inadvisable. 

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Guidebooks

Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.  You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook.  For independent travel, easily the best guidebook is either the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.  Both books provide an excellent level of practical information and historical and cultural background.  You won't regret buying either of them..!Amazon logo

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

Click to buy online   Rough Guide Egypt

Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website, from around 2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.

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Hotels in Egypt

In Cairo, the famous Shepheards Hotel, beloved of British officers in two world wars was burned down in 1952, although the name is now (mis)used by a modern hotel.  The Windsor Hotel had old-world charm and character, a traveller's favourite, but has sadly closed.  On a budget, try the Hotel Carlton for comfort with character, 1.3km from Cairo station.  For something more upmarket, the Steigenberger el Tahrir is also in the city centre, in an excellent location overlooking Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Museum.

In Luxor, easily the most classic place to stay is the famous and fabulous Old Winter Palace Hotel, from $109 or 55 a night.  At least have a drink in the bar!  Tip:  Request a room in the old part of the hotel, not in the 1970s extension.

In Alexandria, the most famous & historic hotel is the Cecil Hotel (from about $153 or 100 a room), now part of the Steigenberger chain, right on the corniche.  Also try the Metropole Hotel across the square, slightly cheaper with great art deco features and a lift dating from 1932, from $80 or 55 a night.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility listMaya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, 500 per month at time of writing.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than digging a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you 5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I get a small commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or from Buy from Amazon.com.

 


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