Colorful Fayoum bowls are filled with rice and tomato soup alongside an alabaster dish filled with stuffed vine leaves. Alabaster and Fayoum pottery are some of the best souvenirs from Egypt.
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10 Best Souvenirs From Egypt (You Won’t Regret Buying)

Shopping for souvenirs in Egypt can get really overwhelming.

You have a packed itinerary that doesn’t leave much time for browsing. Your tour guide might just take you to whatever tourist trap gives them the best commission. And the souqs will all start to look the same after a few days.

And I don’t know who buys polyester belly dancing costumes, shisha pipes and fez hats. But this is apparently what the Internet thinks you’ll love.

But Egypt has a lot more to offer. You just have to plan ahead and know where to find those perfect handmade treasures.

Dee near Moez Street walking and smiling toward the camera with an arched doorway in the background.

I’m a longtime expat living for over a decade in Cairo – and I’ve done my fair share of shopping across Egypt for friends, family and (most importantly) myself.

And this is my ultimate list of the best souvenirs from Egypt that you won’t regret buying.

These are my greatest hits and items I’ve had for years that are beautiful, useful – or both. These are the souvenirs that remind me of some of the most amazing trips I’ve taken around Egypt.

Use this guide to plan your shopping and avoid those impulse purchases you’ll regret later.

Here are the best souvenirs from Egypt:

1. Marmar vases

A marmar vase that's white with beige veins stands on a desk holding some sprigs of greenery. Behind is a potted plant and a vase of terra cotta.

Egypt has beautiful marmar stone that’s rich in texture, natural veins and patterns.

Found abundantly in Luxor and Aswan, this stone makes unique pieces that you’ll love to have on your table. Marmar is a kind of soft alabaster that’s easier to carve and shape.

Use your marmar vases for dried flowers, pens and general knick knack storage (marmar is porous and doesn’t hold water).

I love my marmar vase (from Fair Trade Egypt) and it always gives me something beautiful to look at on my desk when I’m pounding away at my laptop. The natural veins add a bit of rustic nature to my home office.

Where to find it:

A marmar vase with some greenery stands on a desk next to a basket and a potted plant. The vase is white with thin beige veins running through it.

Marmar is sold at shops inside Khan el Khalili – there are a few good ones around Hussein Mosque and throughout the souq (just be patient or ask around).

The local retailer Fair Trade Egypt also carries a great selection of marmar vases and candle holders that cast a beautiful light – they have locations in Zamalek and Heliopolis.

And there’s of course Luxor with its alabaster shops where you can see the workmen carving away at anything from simple vases to replicas of Ancient Egyptian reliefs. These alabaster shops are popular with tour groups and they have huge selections.

2. Enamel tea kettles

Enamel tea kettles aren’t your typical souvenir from Egypt, but they’re a truly unique Egyptian item that locals use in their everyday life.

You’ll find enamel tea kettles at street cafes across Egypt – and they’re commonly used to serve tea with mint to generations of friends and families.

Buy enamel tea kettles (in either dark blue or white splashed with green) at household shops around Khan el Khalili (the ones that cater more to locals).

I got mine from a little shop at the end of the Tentmakers’ Market (Khayameya) on Moez Street in Islamic Cairo. The shop is on the left hand side at the end of the row of tent makers.

You’ll also find them at a few shops around Al Ghuri Mosque on Moez.

They make a great keepsake – and they’re very practical and durable. I’ve had mine for years and I use it to water my small house plants.

Where to find them:

Local household shops around Khan el Khalili and across Egypt.

3. Fayoum pottery

A beige Fayoum bowl decorated with blue and red leaves stands on a desk full of guava. There is a potted plant and a print of Luxor in the background.

Fayoum pottery is bold, colorful – and so underrated.

This uniquely Egyptian style of pottery is known for bold motifs that feature palm trees, Egyptian birds, swirling leaves and calligraphy. And it makes a great souvenir from Egypt that you’ll actually use.

The best place to shop for Fayoum pottery is (you guessed it) the Fayoum Oasis just outside Cairo. The oasis is an incredible day trip from Cairo if you love eco lodges, sand boarding, natural swimming and ancient whale fossils in the desert.

Fayoum pottery is so distinctly Egyptian and it really adds a splash of personality to your table. It’s definitely worth the bubble tape and packing.

I have a small collection of coasters, bowls and plates. And I really love knowing which pottery artist they came from and what makes them unique.

Where to find them:

A colorful Fayoum bowl with painted blue stripes is filled with tomato soup.

A colorful Fayoum bowl with painted blue and green stripes holds some beans and rests on top of a yellow Fayoum plate.

If you can’t get to Fayoum, then finding Fayoum pottery can be tricky. It’s not widely sold at tourist souqs or Khan el Khalili.

For the best selection (outside of Fayoum itself) head to Fair Trade Egypt. They have a great selection of pottery sourced straight from Fayoum in several different styles (from an array of artisans).

4. Khayameya cushions

Handmade khayameya cushions are some of the most vibrant souvenirs from Egypt.

They feature nature motifs like colorful birds and papyrus, geometric patterns, Ancient Egyptian themes and Egyptian folk art like dancing dervishes and Arabic calligraphy.

Khayameya cushions add lots of color and personality to a room. And they pack really well: they’re light and don’t take up much space in your suitcase.

Khayameya range from square cushion covers to enormous and elaborate wall hangings.

I have a few khayameya cushions in geometric patters of green, neutrals and brown to match my semi-earthy decor. They’re durable and comfortable too. Though they need to be hand washed in lukewarm water because some of the colors will bleed!

Where to find them:

Head to the Tentmakers Market on Moez Street in Cairo for the biggest selection. This market has an entire row of different workshops where local artisans stitch their pieces.

You’ll also find select pieces of Khayamiya scattered around different shops in Khan el Khalili.

There are also cheap dupes of khayamiya that are factory-printed patterns on textile. You can spot these easily because they don’t have the visible hand stitching.

5. Alabaster plates

A light oblong natural alabaster bowl holds a few bunches of garlic and rests on top of a kitchen towel with a red stripe.

You’ll find lots of alabaster products – like plates and bowls – at souqs across Egypt.

Alabaster is abundant in Luxor and Aswan where it’s queried then taken to workshops and shaped into bowls, lanterns and more. Craftsmen create an array of items from the natural stone ranging from simple bowls carved by machine to elaborate vases.

I love the look of natural alabaster and how each piece is unique. Natural alabaster has beautiful lines and textures that range in color from white to the deepest amber.

You’ll also find dyed alabaster at many tourist souqs, especially in Aswan. Dyed alabaster comes in either shades of blue or maroon/pink. Since this is natural alabaster that’s dyed by hand, no two pieces are exactly the same color.

I love using alabaster to store lime or garlic in my kitchen, and alabaster bowls to keep knick knacks organized on my desk and my nightstand.

But note that alabaster is NOT food safe, despite what some salesmen will tell you. So you can’t use it to serve liquids or cooked foods.

Where to find it:

An alabaster bowl rests on a white kitchen towel and holds several bright green limes.

There’s lots of nice alabaster at Khan el Khalili and at the souqs in Upper Egypt. Aswan especially has great variety if you’re looking for colored alabaster.

Fair Trade Egypt also has a beautiful selection of alabaster platters and bowls made by an Egyptian family from Luxor.

6. Painted wooden bowls

The markets of Aswan with their strong Nubian culture offer beautiful masks, bowls and figurines made of dark wood with painted details.

You’ll find lots of items like long wooden tribal masks and giraffe figurines that are traditionally associated with African-style crafts.

And Aswan’s markets have a vibe all their own. The city is on the UNESCO list for its long tradition of handicrafts and you’ll find souvenirs in Aswan that you won’t get anywhere else in Egypt.

I love the sellers on the boat dock before the Philae Temple┬áin Aswan. They’re right by the water with blankets spread out full of beautiful hand carved wood, colored alabaster and beaded jewelry.

I always pick something up when I’m there. My favorites are the wooden bowls with giraffes bending over to drink from the bowl.

Where to find them:

Aswan has the best selection of Nubian and African-style woodwork. But you’ll also find some items at souqs in Luxor and scattered inside the shops of Khan el Khalili.

7. Ancient Egyptian bowls

An ankh and fish-shaped alabaster bowls lay on a blue green cloth filled with pistachio nuts.

Scarabs, Ancient Egyptian figurines and anks are some of the most popular souvenirs from Egypt.

And there’s a huge variety of alabaster, stone and wood carvings of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs and deities ranging from Bastet to King Tut to Horus.

Luxor has the best selection of souvenirs related to Ancient Egypt. And it’s no wonder – that’s where you’ll find the most important temples.

Some of the statues and figurines are so realistic that they make airport security nervous. They could really be mistaken for the real thing if they didn’t have the artist’s seal!

My own favorite Ancient Egyptian souvenirs are two bowls from the new collection by Fair Trade Egypt. They’re in the shape of an ankh and a fish – and they’re replicas of actual cosmetic spoons used in Ancient Egypt.

Where to find it:

A fish shaped alabaster bowl is filled with green olives and lays atop a blue green cloth. There are some pistachios in bowls in the background.

Shop at the souqs in Luxor and Aswan for great variety, and find lots of Ancient Egyptian statues and scarabs at Khan el Khalili.

Head to Fair Trade Egypt for the unique ankh and fish bowls.

8. Akhmim sheets

Akhmim cotton sheets are so underrated when it comes to souvenirs from Egypt.

They’re uniquely Egyptian, very durable and come in an array or colors and patterns. And they’re all handwoven in Akhmim, a small city in Upper Egypt that’s especially known for this style of textile.

I have an Akhmim sheet that I bought more than a decade ago at a Cairo crafts fair. And it still looks brand new.

It’s breathable yet thick so it’s comfortable in those mid seasons of spring and autumn. And I’ve known tourists who’ve bought Akhmim sheets by the bulk.

Where to find it:

Akhmim sheets aren’t hugely popular at the tourist souqs so they’re not very easy to find.

Head to Fair Trade Egypt for a good selection of Akhmim sheets – or to Akhmim itself if you’re in the area and want an adventure off the beaten path.

9. Tote bags

A woman carries a white tote bag with "cairo prints" written on it in blue and surrounded by blue details.

(photo: Cairopolitan)

Tote bags with Ancient Egyptian designs are a great souvenir that’s very practical too.

You’ll find lots of tote bags around Khan el Khalili (especially around Muski Street) in an array of designs from King Tut’s famous gold mask to Horus with his outstretched wings. Some of them are a bit kitsch so you have to browse to find good designs.

I love the tote bags from local retailers Cairopolitan for funky and modern designs that feature maps of Cairo, common Egyptian street foods and bold designs.

Fair Trade Egypt also has some great tote bags that feature Ancient Egyptian themes, including a blue design that has symbols from the Old through the New Kingdom.

Where to find it:

A white tote with blue designs of anks and other ancient Egyptian symbols.

Find nice tote bags in Khan el Khalili and at a few shops in Luxor and Aswan.

Head to Cairopolitan and Fair Trade Egypt for some great modern (and less touristy) designs.

10. Incense burners

Incense and oud burners are some of my favorite souvenirs from Egypt – they’re beautiful and their scent is incredible.

The region has a tradition of frankinscense and burning oud is a weekly routine for many Egyptians.

And there are many burners to chose from across Egypt’s souqs. They range from basic lantern-shaped burners to colorful alabaster burners with ornate metal lids.

You’ll need a burner, some charcoal and then frankincense, oud or oud chips to get going. It’s a completely different process from your usual basic stick incense. But it’s really worth getting into.

And once you get back home, you can easily replenish your supplies from your local Mid Eastern shop or online retailers.

Burning oud fills up your entire home with a rich, woody fragrance that also permeates your clothes and lasts for days.

I love my oud burner and – after I learned how to use it from YouTube – I really wish I’d known about it sooner.

Where to find it:

Get burners, oud and charcoal in Khan el Khalili or along Moez Street.

Burners are also available at some perfume oil shops across Egypt.