The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE). There are
100 piastres in one Egyptian pound. Notes
in common circulation are 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 Egyptian pounds. Notes that used to be in common circulation, but seen more rarely now, are the 1 Egyptian
pound and 50 and 25 piastres.
Paper money gets very old, tattered and torn, especially
the smaller notes. Egyptians will often refuse to accept the
notes in worst condition, especially torn ones. It may be best
to refuse any that are torn or repaired with
tape in case you get stuck with them.
There are some relatively new coins, the LE1 and the 50 piastres, which were introduced in 2006 and are gradually replacing the notes of the same value.
One pound coin
50 piastre coin
There are also 5, 10, 20 and 25 piastre coins. The LE1, 50 piastre and 25 piastre coins have their values written in 'western' as well as arabic characters, but the three smaller ones have their values in arabic only. The lower value coins are still legal tender but they are rarely used, and may even be refused. Even in shops, most bills
are rounded to the nearest 25 piastres. In restaurants change
is normally rounded to the nearest pound.
Shops never seem to have
any change, so it is best to pay for low cost items, such as
drinks and small purchases from the market with the right money.
However, the smaller notes are hard to get hold of. We suggest
you keep hold of LE1 notes and coins and LE5 notes for these minor purchases
and for tipping.
When and where to get cash
You get a much better exchange rate in Egypt than you do if you
change money before you go. You do not pay commission if you change your money in Egypt. We prefer to come with some 'home' currency (all major 'hard currencies' are very acceptable and easily changed) and to get Egyptian cash on arrival. You can change money at the visa offices in the airport arrival hall, so there is no need to come with any at all, even to pay for porters, taxi to the hotel etc. There are also ATM machines in the arrival hall at the airport.
There are plenty of cash machines (ATMs) in Luxor. There are
cash machines in several of the hotel lobbies, including the
Jolie Ville, the Sonesta St George (three inside and one outside),
the Sofitel Karnak, the Lotus and the Eatabe (previously El Luxor and before that the Mercure Hotel) near the museum.
There are also several machines outside banks along the Corniche
and along the main road around the hotels to the south of the
You will get a list of the Visa machines and a rather helpful map.
Click here for a list of Mastercard cash machines in Luxor. Put your own country in the drop down list in the heading, top right. In the 'Country / Region' box on the page you have to enter the country (Egypt) and the town (Luxor). Don't worry about the other boxes, such as address and postcode - just leave them blank. The address list in the results May say Al-Uqsur (the local name) or Luxor and there is a map.
Most of the Visa and Mastercard ATMs will also take Link and other popular British debit and credit cards.
There are Bureaux de Change, and banks with exchange desks,
in most parts of town, including along the Corniche and amongst
the hotels at the southern end of Luxor.
When you change or draw money you may be given a receipt,
which you are told to keep for inspection or in case you need
to change Egyptian notes back into another currency.
We have never had a receipt checked, but it is best to hold on
to one or more to cover the amount of Egyptian cash you
have, just in case.
Last Updated November 2014
Value of the Egyptian pound
The Egyptian Pound (LE) has been worth between about 8p and 14p in recent years. Throughout 2007 and for most of 2008 the exchange rate was around 10 or 11 Egyptian pounds to one English pound but in 2009 fell to less than 8 Egyptian pounds to one English pound before recovering. (These are local rates, the pound once fell to less than LE7 if you change currency in the UK). During and immediately after the uprising early in 2011 the Egyptian currency again fell briefly, but has recovered to about the middle of its long-term range.
For ease of calculation we usually
work on the rough rule of thumb that LE10 is worth very approximately £1
sterling or LE1 is 10 pence (English), sometimes 2p more, sometimes 2p less, but it works as a quick rule of thumb for small-scale spending.
Some examples of currency exchange rates appear below.
These are today's commercial rates. You can expect to get
very close to these rates if you draw or change money in
Egypt. You will usually get quite a lot less if you buy
Egyptian pounds in another country before you go. This
list is up to date and fetches today's currency rates from coinmill.com.
Credit cards, prepayment cards and travellers
Credit cards are widely accepted, but not all hotels or cruise boats will accept them for settling final bills. Travellers cheques
are becoming increasingly difficult to change. We avoid them. Many places do not yet accept (perhaps because they do not yet fully understand) prepayment cards.
It is best to bring your native currency (UK pounds and Euros are fine - don't bother changing them into dollars before you come - you will be paying commission unnecessarily). Hard currencies are easy to change at the airport and in town. Also bring a debit card if you don't want to bring enough hard cash to see you through.
are not financial advisors
advice we offer about money, when and where to get it and
about the exchange rate, is based on our own experience
and on currency rates provided by banks and other foreign
exchange bureaux. We are not financial advisors, we do
not provide qualified financial advice and we have no links
with any financial institutions.