Turkey to Egypt by land, my latest crazy idea

As some of you might know – I can never keep a thought in my mind without telling the world about it – I am going back to Egypt on summer. Nothing weird so far.

The thing is that I was doing some research about flights and they look more expensive than ever. Therefore I thought “if I have to spend this money just to fly, why not adding little more and have an unforgettable trip?

There are flights to Istanbul from Genoa, my hometown! Yes, we have an airport in Genoa… a rather useless one, but since they introduced this flight to Istanbul my mind started daydreaming about Turkey much more than I ever did before.

The next step in my mind was easy:

I will fly to Istanbul, and then down to Egypt by land!

Easy! Peasy! Not.

Can you imagine how excited I got? I rushed to Google and started searching for information and routes. Scribbling, scribbling.

I knew since the beginning that the word “by land” was not appropriate as I had to skip Syria. So I thought I could take a ferry from Turkey and reach Northern Cyprus, then cross the border and take another ferry from Cyprus to Lebanon. I heard Beirut is a cool city too many times and I want to go!

Thanks to Anil I found out about ferries from the town of Tasucu in Southern Turkey to Girne, North Cyprus.

I also found out I can cross the border from Northern Cyprus to the South in Nicosia and that there is just one “official” passage at the Lhedra Palace Hotel, and crossing is only possible if walking. Fair enough. Exciting. I can do that!

From Cyprus I planned to reach Lebanon, then proceed south to Israel and Palestine, then Jordan, and finally Egypt.

Here are some of the problems I am facing:

  1. From Cyprus to Lebanon it looks like there are no ferries (since I would like to avoid flights, it would be the best solution)
  2. If I decide to fly to Lebanon, I will need a return flight in order to be admitted into the country and get a visa.
  3. Once in Lebanon, I can’t cross the border to Israel. Call me ignorant but I had no idea that the “Blue Line” at the border is closed. So what’s the point in going to Lebanon if I can’t go further than that?
  4. So shall I skip Lebanon? Then I should skip Cyprus too and go directly to Israel. The itinerary is loosing a lot.
The journey: Turkey to Egypt by land

The journey: Turkey to Egypt by land

So as you can see I am still in the thinking phase, and I have a lot to think about and plan. Which is exciting anyway! I can always take the regular old flight from Milan to Cairo, but now that this bug entered my mind it will hardly leave.
Another aspect that of course I had to take into account is that this way of travel will definitely end up being much more expensive than a regular flight. Fair enough, and I am prepared. I think it’s worth the money.
What I want to do is paying for my flight to Istanbul and other possible flights. I think accommodation will be the most expensive thing so I am having a look at different options such as vacation rentals, budget hotels, hostels etc. And possibly some form of sponsorship that could help me cutting down the costs. 
I would like to ask everyone for help and advice.
I have never been to the Middle Eastern countries listed above so I might be wrong on some things, because I am relying on random info I found on the web.
If you’ve been there and know how to cross borders etc, please shoot me a comment! Also if you have contacts with Tourism Boards, or simply friends that can host me and take me around the place, I would be stoked.
I am very optimistic and I am sure I will work something out. I also thought of going the other way round: Spain – Morocco – Algeria etc all the way to Egypt but it seems a little too long as I would like the trip to last just about 1 month so that I can enjoy as much time in Egypt as possible when I arrive!
As soon as I cross the border with Egypt (probably from Aqaba, Jordan) I will stay in Dahab or Nuweiba for a couple of nights to rest and relax before throwing myself in the hectic and surely muggy Cairean life
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18 Responses to Turkey to Egypt by land, my latest crazy idea

  1. Robert says:

    Hi Giulia! Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who lives either in Egypt or in Turkey or in any other countries you’re going to pass through! Anyway I just can suggest you a site where you can find any kind of accommodation from hostel to luxury hotels: http://www.prontohotel.com Hope it will be useful for you!
    Good luck! I look forward your posts on this adventure!

  2. Kazzsandra says:

    Is this possible? I wasn’t aware that you can go to Egypt from Turkey just by land.. Hmm.. Looks interesting and challenging.. I think I cannot try this by myself..

  3. Stephen says:

    Let us know how the Cyprus to Lebanon part works. Sounds like a fun trip. Unfortunately, you have to skip Syria, on of the most fascinating destinations in the region.

  4. Stephen says:

    Yep, you’ll have to go from Lebanon to Jordan and then to Israel. Then on to Egypt.

    • Giulia says:

      I realized it’s much easier to skip Lebanon for now.
      Maybe I’ll spend a couple of days there on a weekend away from Cairo, or I can stop by on my way back when I leave Egypt.
      Thanks Stephen! Will definitely keep you posted :)

  5. Ayngelina says:

    Wow so complicated, good luck!

  6. Shane says:

    Hi Giulia,
    Great idea. Istanbul to Cairo is a classic trip and one we attempted last year (but in reverse). Things didn’t pan out exactly as we planned though: the revolution made it difficult to get overland to Cairo so, already two weeks over our Egyptian visa by the time we left Dahab, we headed straight to Jordan.

    Then, just before the protests started in Syria, I was turned away at the border. Ultimately we flew over Syria from Amman to Beirut and Beirut to Erbil and made our way to Turkey that way. These flights were around £250 in total for each of us.

    Accommodation is particularly expensive in Beirut but I loved the city and am very glad we went there. We offset a lot of our accommodation costs by trading advertising. Jordan, in particular, was very fertile ground for this.

    There’s some info on our site about our trip under Travelling > Our Travels > Cairo to (almost) Istanbul. Drop me a line or a tweet if you think we can help in any way.

    • Giulia says:

      Thanks Shane!
      I am definitely going to skip Lebanon and Syria for now, so that I can enter Israel, Jordan and Egypt afterwards.
      Maybe I’ll stop in Lebanon on my way back (in a few months time).
      Oh and £250 is still less than the ticket I would have to pay to go straight to Cairo! I can’t believe they got so expensive lately.
      I will get in touch with you as soon as the plan gets more real. I love the fact that an idea is becoming a real plan thanks to all the awesome support and tips I am getting! Thank you so much :)

  7. Sabina says:

    Giulia, how exciting that you’re planning this! It will be an adventure of a lifetime. I’m happy that you’re going to visit Israel on this journey. It’s an expensive country, but there are many, many hostels in Jerusalem’s Old City, which hopefully will be pretty cheap. I stay at the Ecce Homo Convent which has a guesthouse, for 26 USD per nite for a dorm bed, but you can probably do better than this. There is Hashimi Hostel, the Swedish Hostel and the Petra Hostel, to give you the only names I can remember right now. Here is a link for the national Israel bus company, to give you an idea of transport costs http://egged.co.il/. In the West Bank you should visit, at a minimum, Bethelem, Jericho and Nablus. The people in Nablus were extremely friendly and even seemed rather happy, and I have heard other people say this was their impression of Nablus residents as well. Kind of like Cairo in that sense! In Amman I stayed at the Abassi Palace Hostel, which I highly recommend. Wonderful staff, clean, and right in the heard of old Amman. Please hit me up, if you want, for further suggestions and advice.

    • Giulia says:

      Thank you so much for all the tips, Sabina!!! This comment together with all the tips you gave me on Facebook will be my guidebook :)
      I am so excited! Thanks a million times, and I can’t wait to be on the road!

  8. Jaime says:

    jajaja I love that we are so much alike… before the start of my trip when I was in my planning stages I had in my mind that I wanted to go from Istanbul to Cairo overland. You know the middle east intrigues me and I wanted to see as much as I could by land. When the planning started I knew I could easily go over land, but things changed when the uprising in Syria happend and that changed everything. I looked at other options like you and really found none. I didn’t even find the ferries so good for you on finding more. So I gave up and instead went from Istanbul straight to Cairo by flight. I found a cheap ticket about $300 one way on Turkish Airlines. I then though have thought about one day going from Marrakech to Cairo overland but yeah getting VISAS for many of those countries or even passing over land with them is not an option. Crazy all the restrictions between countries that are neighbors.

    I am not one to crush dreams… but to be honest I think for now the best way would be by flight. When I am in Egypt I am planning of going to Jordan… maybe if you are there we can go together. I know we will be in Egypt for a few months around the same time… I am so excited for that. I can’t wait to chat over some tea and enjoy our favorite country together. Oh & I can’t wait for you to meet my boyfriend. OMG I AM SO EXCITED!!! All in all good luck with your planning!

    • Giulia says:

      Jaime! I know, I had this idea and only afterwards I realized that it’s not possible to travel by land all the way from Turkey to Egypt at the moment, and there is more than one reason!
      But now I have prepared an alternative itinerary: Turkey-Cyprus-Jordan-Israel-Egypt so that I can take a detour from Syria and Lebanon at the moment. There’s nothing else I can do!
      I really can’t wait to meet you in Egypt! It’s so cool :)

  9. Ceri says:

    Wow, what a route! I’m excited for you. :D It’ll definitely be an adventure.

  10. Carol says:

    So you’re an adventurous type. great route! I hope you enjoy it :)

  11. Mark says:

    The trip sounds amazing, though difficult. And hot if you’re travelling in summer. But I’ll be fascinated to hear how you get along.

  12. Larry says:

    Wow,I think you´re a adventurous type!Amazing.
    I hope you have so much fun :0)

  13. Adan says:

    Interesting that you’re doing this….I’m currently planning a very similar route for September! I’ll be doing Greece – Turkey – Jordan – Egypt, but most likely a combination of air and land travel. I’d be interested to know how this pans out for you as I could definitely use any advice you might have to give!

    Have Fun!

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