Shopping in Egypt is a vibrant blend of modernity and tradition, an experience that combines retail therapy with cultural immersion. From the bustling markets of Cairo to the ancient souqs of Aswan and the coastal shopping paradise of Alexandria, Egypt has it all. Whether you’re looking for luxury brands, traditional crafts or local produce, Egypt’s shopping destinations will leave you spoilt for choice. So, slip into your comfortable shoes and let’s dive into the fascinating scene of shopping in Egypt.

Opening Hours

The opening hours for shops and markets can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. Most shops in Egypt typically open around 10am and close around 10pm. However, it’s important to note that some smaller shops, particularly in residential areas, may have shorter opening hours, closing around 8pm. Additionally, during the holy month of Ramadan, shop hours may be adjusted, with some shops closing earlier in the afternoon and reopening after sunset. Shopping malls, which usually open around 10am and close around 10pm, operate consistent hours through the week, including the weekend, whereas on Fridays many shops and markets close for a few hours for midday prayer. Traditional markets often start trading earlier than regular shops too, typically opening around 9am and closing around 10pm. These markets can be quite lively in the evening, offering an atmospheric shopping experience.

Etiquette and Customs

Navigating shopping in Egypt with confidence and cultural sensitivity starts with understanding more about the country and its customs. Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, and it’s important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or local markets. Avoid pointing the soles of your feet towards others, as it’s considered disrespectful, and refrain from touching or handling items unless you intend to purchase them. It’s customary to greet shopkeepers with a polite ‘hello’ before starting any transaction. While many vendors in tourist areas speak English, learning a few basic Arabic phrases can go a long way. Simple greetings like ‘salam alaikum’ (peace be upon you) and ‘shukran’ (thank you) will be greatly appreciated. Bargaining is common practice, particularly in souqs. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price by starting with a lower offer than what’s quoted and be prepared for some back-and-forth. Embrace haggling with a smile and enjoy the process.

Cairo: A Capital Shopping Experience

Our Egyptian shopping trip begins in the capital city of Cairo, where modernity meets tradition. Cairo is home to numerous shopping malls, including Citystars Mall, Mall of Egypt, and Cairo Festival City Mall, where you can find international brands, luxury goods and tonnes of entertainment options. These malls offer a comfortable and air-conditioned shopping experience, perfect for those seeking a modern retail environment. For a more authentic option, head to Khan El Khalili, an historic market in the heart of Cairo. This bustling souq is a treasure trove of traditional crafts, jewellery, spices and souvenirs. Get ready to haggle with the friendly shopkeepers and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this ancient market.

Luxor: Unveiling Ancient Treasures

The next destination on our shopping list is Luxor, a city renowned for its ancient temples and archaeological wonders. While Luxor may not be as famous for shopping as Cairo, it offers fabulous finds for those seeking handmade crafts and souvenirs inspired by ancient Egyptian art. The Luxor Souq, near the Luxor temple, is a must-visit destination. Here, you can find exquisite alabaster statues, papyrus paintings and traditional jewellery. Take your time to explore the narrow streets, interact with local artisans and discover the secrets of ancient Egyptian craftsmanship.

Aswan: Discover a World of Nubian Delights

Moving south, Aswan is a city known for its stunning Nile River views and vibrant Nubian culture. Aswan offers a different kind of shopping experience, with a focus on Nubian handicrafts and unique local products. The Aswan Souq, near the famous Elephantine Island, is a treasure trove of colourful textiles, handwoven baskets and traditional pottery. Don’t miss the opportunity to try henna painting or purchase a traditional Nubian dress, as these items reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Alexandria: Coastal Shopping Paradise

Our exploration of shopping in Egypt wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city and a popular coastal destination. Alexandria offers a mix of modern shopping malls and traditional markets, making it a shopper’s paradise. San Stefano Grand Plaza, the largest mall in Alexandria, is a modern shopping complex that houses international brands, a cinema and a variety of dining options. For a more traditional experience, head to Souq El-Attarine, a bustling market where you can source perfumes, spices and traditional Egyptian clothing.

If you’re interested in learning more about shopping in Egypt, contact our expert team who can arrange tailored tours and exceptional excursions that will inject a healthy dose of retail therapy into your trip.

Contact one of our Egypt specialists