We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

What to buy to Egypt?

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
1 post
9 reviews
Save Topic
What to buy to Egypt?

I will be traveling to Egypt in a week and half and would like to know what are some things (pastries, Egyptian crafts) that would be great to bring back home for family and friends. I keep hearing about payprus and perfumes?? I would love any recommendations!

Thank you!

England, United...
Level Contributor
5,729 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

There are many places all over Egypt where you will find locally produced, hand crafted items. It can depend very much where you are going to be in Egypt. If you know the areas of Egypt you will be visiting you would get more help by asking your question on the specific location forums.

Here's a few suggestions to get you started although mostly based in Luxor.

Luxor - there is a man and his son who do lovely applique work. They have a small shop and usually one or the other is to be seen sitting outside producing a wide range of articles such as cushion covers, throws, wall hangings, and possibly even some clothing.

Luxor - many gold and silver smiths who will make something up for you in your own design if you don't like what is on offer.

Luxor - alabaster and stone carvings - yes, some of it really is handmade by local artisans working from their own homes and not 'made in China'

Luxor & Cairo - Fair Trade shops - these sell a variety of goods sourced from local crafts people. I know the ones in Luxor sell pottery, glass wear, jewellery, fabric crafts - embroidery, weaving etc. There is one in Cairo that sells specifically natural body products - hand made soaps, lotions & potions.

Garagos (sp) - famous for it's pottery.

In most places you will find shops selling lovely glass perfume bottles, papyrus paintings (although many are not actually papyrus), belly dancing outfits, leather goods, galabay (traditional style dress).

These are just a few examples of places I know of but there must be many many more examples. If you would like more details on any the suggestions I've made for Luxor please feel free to pm me and I can send you names and locations of some of the artisans and shops.

England, United...
Level Contributor
5,729 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

I've been looking for a thread thjat was running a while back on this subject but I can't seem to find it at the moment. There were lots of ideas on it. I've remembered a few:

T.shirts - these can be bought and embroidered with a name on it in either Heiroglyphs or in Arabic lettering.

Jewellery - cartouch (sp) are available in gold or silver and you can have a name put on as above.

Sand Bottles - a design and a name can be built up in a bottle using various coloured sands (not so light and easy to carry but can be done in fairly small bottles).

Herbs/Spices/Kerkahdeh(hibiscus tea/cordial) - these can be bought from many stalls but you do need to be careful about the freshness.

There are no real sweets or pastries, that travel well, as far as I'm aware.

Warrenton, Virginia
Level Contributor
289 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

I bought little glass bottles from the Virtual Khan website..... about 30 of them for my co-workers.

I'm going to find the prettiest white sand I can and bring it back in a Ziploc bag, fill the perfume bottles and thus will have given them a "piece" of Egypt from my travels.

Level Contributor
72 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

Smuelaine,the question is not what to buy but the question is how much you pay ,in the local markets in cairo,luxor ,wherever never take the first price for example if you like to buy a silver cartouch with your name in hiroglyphic you should pay not more than 10$

Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
Level Contributor
12,280 posts
248 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

Yes, do wait to buy things or you will end up paying 10 times as much. The same things are available everywhere.

I agree the little glass bottles are nice presents. You can get a box of 6 in the souk for maybe 30. also useful are strings of about 10 small packets of different spices which should only cost 5 or 10, make a nice present for friends who cook.

Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
22 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

if you go to ANY arab country you MUST get a Kufiya (head scarf for men)...

Egypt has always been known with cotton, so what you might want to get, is PURE egyptian cotton, as well as goo bedouin carpets, i personally dont prefer the pharonic stuff, since if you go to egypt, you will fin it TOO Arab to be pharonic, which is simply a dreamy image of what Europeans wanted to see... of Egypt... anyways, if you do want to get pharonic stuff, then a miniature of the Pyramids and sphinx , always fun to see them, to remind of your first "WOW" when you saw the pyramids for the first time, if you wish to get a smell of Egypt, you must get some of its facinating Spices...from Khan Khalili, sand bottels would be a good idea... not thecolored ones, but the REAL sand in the Sahara and Arabian desert in SInai and the red sea...

but the thing that you MUST get is Oriental delights... which are bassically sweets... like "Sawabe' Zeinab, Balkawa, Eish el saraya, Zalabiya", i would advise to go to a professional store for these sweets, and not ones that are on the streets, the trick is how to maintain them during the flight...

as well as perhaps some canned Foul (Beans), which will ALWAYS give you the taste of Egypt....

so after covering your Smell, with spices, touch with cloths, and sand, and the taste with the sweets and fool, you MUST satisfy your Eyes with as much Mosques, churches and mausoleums as possible... since Cairo IS the city of a thousand Minerates...

hope you have fun in Cairo, just bewar of the Overpriced merchants of Khan Khalili, better to go to a store called Om-ElMasreyeen in Down Town, with fixed prices...

West Country
Level Contributor
1,460 posts
118 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

Whatever you buy be aware of the vast number of rip-offs doing the rounds. Plastic disguised as alabaster, papyrus that isn't, t-shirts whose motifs fall off/vanish in the first wash etc.

Amongst the rubbish you will find some good stuff but please don't pay over the odds. Government shops sell decent quality stuff but at a high mark up and with a bit of searching and haggling you can find something equally good at half the price!

Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
4,146 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: What to buy to Egypt?


There are many things to buy from Egypt, I love the applique work and also wooden mother of pearl boxes, but you have to look at the quality as it varies a lot.

If you will be in Cairo there is a very special shop which is well known for local hand made goods, and all items are priced, this would be my recommendation if you have the time to go there.

Here is a link to the article I wrote a few years ago :




Belfast, United...
Level Contributor
269 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

got an egyptian football top the last time, plus we love going into Gaddis,s shop below the Winter palace in Luxor


bout ye

aka the seeker of truth...and justice

Bolton, United...
Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
Level Contributor
1,830 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: What to buy to Egypt?

Egyptian Cotton bedding and table linen are good buys; though you will pay more in Cairo than in Upper Egypt.

I've managed to pick up a very large table cloth & 12 napkins for approximately £16 (admittedly about 12 years ago) and a double bed set (duvet cover, fitted sheet and four pillow cases - lace trimmed), last year, for the equivalent of £38, from a fixed pirice place in the Ramses Hilton Annexe.

To put this latter in context, ASDA were selling a plain; & nowhere near as densly woven, Egyptian Cotton set of duvet cover and 2 pillow cases for £40 at the time.

A big trick to remember is that, generally, if your guide takes you to the shop, even if it's fixed price, you'll pay over the odds. ( They were asking £150 for a duvet set, without the sheets & with only two pillow cases atvthe place, in Giza, I was taken to. Needless to say I refused point blank to buy.)