- Download our Moving to Egypt Guide (PDF)
While the cost of living in Egypt is somewhat higher than that of its North African neighbours, it does compare favourably with nearby Middle Eastern destinations such as Oman and Qatar.
Large cities like Cairo, favoured by expats, tend to attract a higher cost of living than smaller towns. In the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2023, Cairo was ranked as the 217th most expensive city out of 227 cities surveyed. This rank is a drop of more than 60 places, indicating that life in Cairo has become more affordable when compared to other locations surveyed.
Cost of accommodation in Egypt
Expats will find that accommodation prices in Egypt vary according to area, and of course, the size and quality of accommodation. Living in large cities will push the price of rent up, while expats living in smaller towns or rural areas will find lower prices. Apartments in the city centre are also pricier than those in outlying suburbs.
New arrivals to Egypt will also need to account for the cost of utilities as part of their monthly rental budget. This cost can be driven up by the constant use of air conditioning, which can be a necessity in Egypt's hot climate.
Cost of transport in Egypt
The price of petrol in Egypt is generally affordable but can be prone to sudden spikes in cost. On the whole, public transport in Egypt is attractively priced. Taxis are also affordable, and the price of a trip can be negotiated with the driver, although expats may find it difficult to secure the same rate as locals.
Cost of groceries in Egypt
The cost of food and drink can consume as much or as little of the household expenses as an expat's lifestyle demands. Cooking at home with local ingredients, eating out locally a few times a month and avoiding budget-blowing fine dining restaurants will allow a comfortable standard of living on a reasonable budget.
Local goods are decently priced, but imported products are costly and should be avoided if possible. Expats should explore local bazaars and markets to find inexpensive local goods.
Cost of entertainment and eating out in Egypt
Whether seeking low-cost or high-end leisure activities, Egypt has something for everyone. Many of Egypt's popular attractions, such as the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar and the Egyptian Museum, offer free or affordable entrance fees, making it easy for expats to explore Ancient Egypt.
Sports is also a favourite pastime in the country, with rock climbing and scuba diving being particularly popular. With the introduction of the entertainment tax in 2023, the cost of these leisure activities, including the theatre, cinema, sports events and amusement parks has gone up.
Eating out at local restaurants and street food markets will cost expats next to nothing in Egypt. There are also many fine dining options that include dinner cruises on the Nile River, serving a plethora of international cuisines, but expats should be prepared to shell out for these.
Cost of education in Egypt
Public schools in Egypt can be attended free of charge, but many expat parents prefer to send their children to an international school. These schools tend to have high fees, so they may not be suitable for expats on a budget or those whose salary packages don't include education expenses. That said, some of these schools offer flexible payment options and scholarships, so parents are advised to look into these options.
Cost of healthcare in Egypt
Expats may qualify for free public healthcare in Egypt, but treatment is substandard. Most expats and a significant proportion of locals in Egypt opt for private healthcare. It's possible to pay out of pocket, but costs can add up quickly.
For this reason, private health insurance is recommended. Comprehensive cover is best and should ideally include medical evacuation to a nearby country with better facilities in case of emergency or major surgery.
Cost of living in Egypt chart
Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Cairo in January 2024.
|Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre
|Milk (1 litre)
|Rice (the city
|Loaf of white bread
|Chicken breasts (1kg)
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)
|Big Mac Meal
|Local beer (500ml)
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant
|Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable average per month)
|Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)
|Taxi rate (per kilometre)
|Bus/train fare in the city centre
|Petrol/gasoline (per litre)
What do expats say about the cost of living in Cairo?
"The cost of living in Cairo was amazingly cheap. My quality of life was very good. I had an enormous apartment with three balconies and three bedrooms in a very trendy part of town. You could take a taxi wherever you want and it would cost nothing. Food, produce and meat from the grocery store was also ridiculously cheap." Read more of Canadian Marc's experiences in his expat interview about living in Cairo.
►For more information on financial matters in Egypt see Banking, Money and Taxes in Egypt.
Are you an expat living in Egypt?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Egypt. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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