Souvenirs from Egypt

9 Best Souvenirs to Buy in Egypt: Bringing a Piece of History Home (2024)

Egypt, a land steeped in rich history and ancient wonders, offers a treasure trove of keepsakes that seamlessly blend tradition with modern temptation. From the bustling bazaars of Cairo to the serene banks of the Nile, each souvenir tells a story of craftsmanship, symbolism, and the enduring spirit of this extraordinary land. In this post, I asked my fellow travelers and travel bloggers to pitch in and suggest some of the spectacular souvenirs to buy in Egypt. And the results are fascinating!

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9 Best Souvenirs to Buy in Egypt

With enchanting pyramids to talented craftsmanship, Egypt offers a myriad of souvenirs that not only reflect its storied past but also showcase the enduring artistry of its people. During my solo travel in Egypt, I had an opportunity to wander around the markets and bazaars of Cairo and pick some of these souvenirs.

Ancient Coins

Submitted by Raksha Nagaraj

Encapsulating the country’s rich history and culture, the ancient coins of Egypt make awesome souvenirs. These artifacts or the souvenirs transport you back in time, providing the country’s past and mystery. Often replica of the actual ancient Egyptian currency, these ancient coins bear intricate carvings and drawings of pharaohs, deities and significant events.

They serve as a miniature archaeological piece of history that you can get them home. These do not just serve as an evidence of money in Egypt, but also the fascinating world of mythology and power. As tangible relics of antiquity, these coins transcend time evoking a sense of wonder, inviting enthusiasts to explore the grandeur and complexity of a civilisation that has left an indelible mark on human history.

Ancient Coins Egypt
Ancient Coins; Picture by Raksha Nagaraj

How much does it cost? The ancient coins are one of the affordable souvenirs to buy in Egypt. They can be purchased at local markets or museums (recommended at museums) and they cost as low as $5 for a set of coins.

Ancient Egypt Coins

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – As these are coins, ensure to take them with you as a carry-on.

Cartouche

Submitted by Samantha Oppenheimer from Find Love and Travel

Visiting Egypt is a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip, so taking home a souvenir is a must. It will ensure that you remember your trip forever. With that in mind, you want to make sure to pick up something that is long-lasting.

One of the best Egyptian souvenirs to buy is a cartouche. A cartouche is a silver-plated charm that often spells your name in ancient Egyptian letters. In ancient times, only a king or queen‘s name would appear as a cartouche!

A Cartouche is especially unique to Egypt, and while you can get your cartouche in a couple of different forms, a necklace charm is the most popular.

When selecting your cartouche, it is important that you shop around before buying one. If you are buying it in silver, make sure that it is actually silver. Avoid vendors walking up to you to sell it on the street.

Instead, go inside one of the boutique shops and speak directly with the owner. They should be able to provide you with details about the cartouche and what type of material it is made from.

Cartouche
Cartouche; Picture by Samantha Oppenheimer from Find Love and Travel

How much does it cost? As for the prices, cartouches vary. You can certainly find expensive cartouches at around $100. However, there are also far cheaper versions, which cost between $10 to $20. The cost will mainly depend on which material you choose for it to be made from and the type of design. 

Egyptian Cartouche Neckpiece

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – Another great aspect of a cartouche is that it is light and easy to pack, giving you tons of room for all the things you want to wear in Egypt. It can easily be stored away in your carry-on or even be worn so you can make sure that it is safe on your flight back home. 

Fanous

Submitted by Odo from Caribe Vibes

Egypt has a vibrant culture and rich history, often represented by the pyramids in Cairo. If you are headed to the country’s capital, you should definitely bring home some souvenirs. While exploring the bustling markets and historic sites, watch for the enchanting Fanous or Ramadan lantern. This traditional decorative piece makes for a perfect souvenir, capturing the essence of Egyptian heritage and craftsmanship.

The Fanous is intricately designed, often made of metal and colored glass, and is used during the holy month of Ramadan for both decoration and illumination. Each lantern is a work of art, reflecting the meticulous skill of Egyptian artisans. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the Fanous holds cultural significance as a symbol of hope, joy, and the welcoming spirit of Ramadan.

By choosing a Fanous as your Egyptian keepsake, you’re not just bringing home a beautiful object but also a piece of Egypt’s cultural heritage and the warm spirit of Ramadan. It serves as a timeless reminder of your adventures in this captivating land.

Cairo Market
Cairo Market; Picture by Odo from Caribe Vibes

How much does it cost? Head to the famous Khan El Khalili Bazaar in Cairo to find a wide selection of these captivating lanterns. As you navigate the labyrinth of stalls, you’ll be mesmerized by the sizes, colors, and designs available. Prices can range from as little as 50 EGP to several hundred, depending on the size and intricacy of the design. Don’t hesitate to engage in some light bargaining, as it is a common practice in Egyptian markets.

Egyptian Lantern

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – Before purchasing, ensure the lantern is compact and sturdy enough to survive the journey back home. Most Fanous can be easily packed in checked baggage, but it’s wise to wrap it securely to prevent damage. It is unnecessary to declare it at customs, as it is considered a decorative item.

Hibiscus Tea

Submitted by Joanna from The World in my Pocket

Hibiscus tea is a very popular drink in Egypt, especially in the areas in and around Aswan. The tea is often offered as a welcome, when you check-in to hotels, embark a cruise on the Nile, or enter someone’s home in Nubian villages.

The hibiscus tea can be prepared either hot or cold, depending on the weather. The cold hibiscus tea is sweetened with sugar or honey. As the tea itself is quite tart, so it needs the sweetener to transform it into a delicious drink. The cold hibiscus tea is known to be a great antioxidant, supporting a good health of your body. And the hot hibiscus tea is offered when the weather gets colder.

Spice Shop in a Nubian Village
Spice Shop in a Nubian Village; Picture by Joanna from The World in my Pocket

How much does it cost? You can buy the hibiscus tea in any souk in Aswan or the Nubian villages you visit during your trip to Egypt. Buying it is a process, as you will be negotiating with the seller, a very normal process in Egypt. In fact, you will probably be offered a glass of hibiscus tea when you enter the shop. The tea is made from dried hibiscus flowers, and it’s all natural. It is stored in sacks in the spice shops, and it’s sold by weight. You can buy as much or as little you desire.

Egyptian Hibiscus Tea

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – The tea can be carried either in check-in or carryon. If you have purchased more tea (by the weight), then it is advisable to take it in the check-in. Some countries need you to declare the leaves and herbs at the customs. So, do declare and get this checked while entering the country.

Inlay Box

Submitted by Lindsey from Queer Adventures

Egyptian inlay boxes are very common, and they also make a wonderful gift to bring home from Egypt! These boxes feature thousands of small pieces of mother of pearl shell laid out in decorative patterns. Inlay designs often feature stars, flowers and geometric shapes. 

The inlay technique has been used in Middle Eastern countries for centuries. The technique is labor intensive and requires the precise assemble of multiple interlocking pieces of shell to create the pretty design. If you’re looking for a souvenir to remember your Egypt vacation, you’ll find these intricate boxes everywhere you go!

Inlay Box
Inlay Box; Picture by Lindsey from Queer Adventures

How much does it cost? The inlay boxes are available for as less as $20.

Egyptian Inlay Box

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – The inlay boxes tend to be on the small side, making them perfect for holding jewelry or special trinkets. But the small size also means you can tuck one in your luggage without too much trouble!

Personalised Bookmark

Submitted by Tom Henty from Tom Hentys Travel

Leaving Egypt with a piece of its Ancient history is a must during your visit. A great souvenir is an Ancient Egyptian bookmark made out of papyrus, which is a plant that has been used by the ancient civilisations for thousands of years. Although papyrus is still used in Egypt, it is a lot rarer in today’s world.

Luxor Market is home to many authentic travel experiences, which makes it popular with curious travellers. This was the case when purchasing a personalised bookmark.

Hieroglyphics are a fascinating aspect of the ancient culture displayed throughout the famous landmarks in Egypt, and at Luxor Market you can personalise bookmarks with your name written in the ancient hieroglyphs language.

This is an awesome ancient twist to the souvenir, which was made even better by the interaction with the locals while the bookmark was prepared. Sharing local mint tea with the Egyptian market trader created a connection and an authentic travel experience.

The bookmark is a great prompt to encourage more reading while travelling, which alongside experiencing new cultures, helps to broaden the mind.

Personalised Bookmark
Personalised Bookmark; Picture by Tom Henty from Tom Hentys Travel

How much does it cost? It cost around $6 / $7 including the personalisation and tea, however, the memories of enjoying the culture with a local was worth a lot more than this.

Some tips when purchasing a souvenir in Egypt:
The haggle culture is a part of Egypt, so you need to be prepared.

  • Never accept the first price.
  • Always ask for extra (tea etc).
  • Always carry low denominations of local currency  to strengthen negotiations.
Egyptian Bookmark

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – The bookmark can easily be carried in a book or carry-on luggage.

Postcards

Submitted by Raksha Nagaraj

Selecting postcards as your souvenirs from Egypt is a journey into the vibrant and mysterious world of this ancient land. Each of these postcards capture the essence that the country has to offer.

Be it a picture of locals or the iconic landmarks such as Sphinx and pyramids, each postcard is designed to tell a story. They are stories and memories waiting to be shared with your friends and family members across the globe. Frozen in time, each postcard selected becomes a personal connection to the sights of Egypt.

Postcards from Egypt
Postcard; Picture by Raksha Nagaraj

How much does it cost? The prices of the postcards vary depending on the size and quality. You can get them for a $1-$2 per postcard (stamps extra) and you can get them at any souvenir shop or at a museum.

Egyptian Postcards

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – One of the best things to do is to write your travel highlights and post the postcard to your home from the place you are traveling in. This is a great way to ensure that you get the cancelation stamp as well and this postcard also marks as a travel journal.

But if you are unable to post the postcard for any reason or want to keep it as it is, then just carry the postcard in your carry-on.

Spices

Submitted by Lavina Dsouza from Continent Hop

Spices from Egypt make for great souvenirs. They are the perfect way to carry the essence of Egypt with you. Spices are quite cheap in Egypt and you can recreate traditional Egyptian meals in the comfort of your house. They are an ideal choice for souvenirs as they are very lightweight and portable.

Egypt has a plethora of spice and local markets, also known as souks, which offer a wide range of spice varieties. Visiting one of these souks is a must-have in your 7 days Egypt itinerary. The Aswan Spice Market, the Khan El Khalili market in Cairo, along with several other spice merchants are among the best places to purchase spices.

Classic Egyptian spices include cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and mixes like Ras el Hanout and Baharat. One of the things that is definitely less expensive here is saffron, which is quite costly in the US and Europe. 

Make sure the spices you’re buying are premium and fresh. It’s safer to go with a well-known market stall or spice dealer. 

Egyptian Spices
Egyptian Spices; Picture by Lavina Dsouza from Continent Hop

How much does it cost? Egyptian spices may vary in price based on their kind and amount. Prices are generally fair, and you may get a variety of spices for a moderate amount of money. Be bold and ask for a better deal – bargaining is a common practice in markets.

Egyptian Spices

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – Think about the spice packaging. The most effective containers for keeping freshness are sturdy, airtight ones. Certain merchants might provide packages that are vacuum-sealed for increased preservation.

In most cases, spices can be brought in both checked and carry-on luggage. When going through customs, it’s always helpful to declare food products, especially spices.

Stamps / Postage Stamps

Submitted by Raksha Nagaraj

Usually, stamps or postage stamps have pictures of some significant and important elements of the country. By purchasing stamps as your souvenirs, you become part of Egypt’s heritage and cultural significance. Adorned with vibrant illustrations, these stamps serve as postage-sized canvases, portraying iconic and historical symbols such as the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, or the majestic Nile River.

Did you know that the first Egyptian stamp was issued in 1866?

Whether you are a philatelist or a person who just wants to take a piece of history home, stamps become tokens of the country’s reminders of the history, events or inscriptions.

Stamps and Postage Stamps - Souvenirs to Buy in Egypt
Stamps / Postage Stamps; Picture by Raksha Nagaraj

How much does it cost? The prices vary depending on the cost of the stamp. The best place to get the updated information on price and availability is at the local post office.

Egyptian Stamps

Tips for carrying on overseas luggage – Take them with you on carry-on. Just place them in between the pages of a book or in your purse so you do not lose them.

Closing Notes

Whether you’re drawn to the mystique of pharaonic symbols or the contemporary elegance of local crafts, each item on this list is not just a souvenir but a tangible piece of Egypt’s rich tapestry. These treasures serve as lasting reminders of the unique experiences and cultural depth that Egypt has to offer.

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9 Best Souvenirs to Buy in Egypt: Bringing a Piece of History Home (2024)
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