If you are on the hunt for the best Egypt souvenirs and gifts to buy on your trip to Egypt, you are in the right place! Souvenir shopping is a big part of travel for so many people (including me) and I am always looking for things to buy on my travels. Egyptian souvenirs and completely unique and almost instantly recognizable by almost anyone due to its rich history.
Canopic Jars would be one of the best things to buy in Egypt as a unique souvenir in my opinion. What else holds so much history as the mummification of the Egyptian Pharaohs? What else can you put on a shelf that immediately says Egypt?
The canopic jars used in the mummification process held the organs of the deceased.
Did you know that ancient Egyptians thought that the brain was useless and it was discarded in the mummification process?
The four canopic jars held the stomach, the liver, the intestines, and the lungs. They come in various materials and you will see them all over Egypt. We chose to buy ours from a stone shop and they make a great Egyptian souvenir
There are a few spices you will want to buy in Egypt on your visit. Many are very high quality and much cheaper than from home. Spices can be found almost anywhere from hotel gift shops to souqs and markets. A popular spice all over the Middle East is Sumac. It is purple colored. It is great with chicken and you can also use it in making your own Zaater to put on bread. I also suggest looking for Zaater spice if you enjoy bread with oil and zaater. It tastes much better than the ones you can buy in the ethnic foods sections at home.
Alabaster Egyptian Gifts
Alabaster is a popular thing to buy in Egypt to take home as a souvenir or gift. It is a soft rock that makes it ideal for carving. You can get alabaster carvings of Egyptian gods or beautiful dishes and bowls. Popular items are canopic jars, cat statues and vases.
There are plenty of places to buy alabaster in Egypt but if you visit a factory, they will probably explain to you how to tell if what you are buying is genuine alabaster or a replica made of other materials.
When you are in these places, know that the shop you are in is likely there for your benefit, but that is part of Egypt. The locals need the support of the tourists. Ensure if you are buying something from an alabaster factory that you are happy with the price you pay.
Egyptian Cotton Items
Whether you choose a pair of Egyptian Pyjamas or a loose dress or shirt, you will have plenty of choices in the Souq’s in Egypt. We enjoyed wandering the Luxor Souq and the kids picked out a pair cotton wares for themselves.
Again, when you are comparing these, you will likely find lots of cheap imports, and that is why each stall has the same one. But there are authentic Egyptian made if that is what you were after. I was not picky on the authenticity and wanted some cute pyjamas for my kids!
When shopping in the souq for the best items to buy while in Egypt, my goal was to provide for the locals. Spending tourist dollars is what they need. No one will really give you a good idea of what things should cost. I was quoted an insane price for a cotton jumpsuit and walked away instantly. I quickly found a similar one at the first price I was offered was much more reasonable. Pay what YOU want, if it feels to expensive, do not buy it.
Egyptian Perfume Gifts
Egypt is known for its perfumes.
There are small shops right outside Giza that will let you go in and smell the perfumes and tell you all about the sourcing of perfumes in Egypt. It is definitely interesting and we came home with a few small bottles ourselves.
A small bottle makes a great Egyptian gift to get your friends and is only a few dollars.
If you like to buy a Christmas tree ornament to represent your travels, you can find plenty of unique ones in Egypt. Whether it is a mini pyramid, a sphinx or one of the many Egyptian gods, keep your eyes open in the souq’s for these popular Egyptian souvenirs.
Papyrus is a material similar to paper that was used in Egypt as a writing surface. It comes from the papyrus plant that was once abundant in the Nile Delta.
Today, you can find papyrus shops that will show you how the paper-like surface was made in ancient times and purchase beautiful artwork depicting Egyptian gods and daily life in Ancient Egypt.
One of the best things to buy from Egypt in my opinion is a cartouche. There are jewelry shops that can put your name on a cartouche in just a few hours and it makes a great souvenir from your visit to Egypt.
If someone was to ask me what to buy in Egypt, the item on the top of my list would definitley be a cartouche. We each got a cartouche made with our names. They have various prices and materials. They are a small keepsake that you can wear and show off. Look for the silver to be stamped with 925, otherwise, it probably is not silver, even if the seller tells you it is.
If you want to have a visual representation of one of the most instagrammable places in Egypt, then you need to bring home a replica of the Egyptian pyramids. You can get mini pyramids for as little as a few American Dollars. If you want to bring home something small, this is a great option. It is probably one of the popular things to buy in Egypt.
They are made of several types of materials and the price ranges will depend on what they are made of.
The cheapest ones will likely be Chinese imports, but if you are not concerned about it being Egyptian madethen that is a sure way to save some money. While browsing the souq, keep your eye out for these little treasures, they make a great gift! We grabbed the three-pack that also had a sphinx from a souq in Luxor.
Arabs love their tea and their shisha. You will find locals with their sweet tea and shisha outside restaurants and coffee shops.
Look for a small one that will fit in your suitcase.
It will make quite the conversation piece in your home and will remind you of the sweet apple aroma outside local restaurants. If you want to know what to buy from Egypt and want something unique, a mini water pipe is a great choice!
More Egypt Travel Resources
If you are planning your trip to Egypt, you are going to want to check into weather temperatures and crowds. I have a guide on the best time to visit Egypt.
Popular Egypt Tours
If you are looking for day tours to take while you explore Egypt, I suggest you do one to the Valley of the Kings. You will get so much more out of your time in Luxor having a knowledgeable guide spend the day with you. These tours are so affordable and it gives you a chance to get to know some of the locals in Egypt.
Check out a Luxor Day Tour to the Valley of the Kings here
There is a great day trip in Giza Tour you should consider when you plan to visit the pyramids. This option is even private! If you do not want to deal with the hassels of taxi drivers trying to rip you off or scams inside and outside of Giza, a guide will keep hawkers off your back and give you tips on how to deal with them politely and firmly.
A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 90 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
An inexpensive Universal Travel Adapter is another must for Egypt. You will find an assortment of 220V plugs, from European 2 pin, another style of 2 pin and UK Plugs. While European 2 pin is most common, it is best to carry one of these adapters with you. With a handy USB input, you do not need to bring your plugs from home.
Travel Insurance for Egypt
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.