YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CAIRO
CAIRO IS THE CAPITAL CITY OF EGYPT AND ONE OF THE LARGEST ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT!
Getting to & around Cairo
It's most likely that you will be flying into Cairo International Airport, whether it's your first stop or mid-travels. From the airport we recommend taking an Uber to your accommodation if a hotel shuttle is not on offer.
Once in the city Uber is safest and most convenient way to get around.
The weather in Cairo changes throughout the year.
During summer months the temperatures can reach high 30s, while during winter it doesn't tend to get above early 20s.
For sightseeing, October to May is the best time to visit Egypt.
Millions of tourists visit Cairo each year and most do not experience any issues.
Petty theft and a high level of harassment are likely to be the only issues you face in Cairo.
You should have a higher level of vigilence while in Cairo than other tourist destinations.
Where to stay in Cairo
We recommend staying near Tahrir Square or on Zamalek Island.
Cairo is a mega city with many different areas and you don't want to choose the wrong one!
Zamalek island is considered one of the nicer areas in the city. It's a younger population with a few nice restaurants in the northern end. The only drawback is that you're on the island, and everything you want to see is on mainland which means traffic can be a nightmare on and off the island!
Overall we recommend staying near Tahrir Square - this is where you'll find hotels such as The Ritz, as well as plenty of hostels such as the one we stayed in - Holy Sheet Hostel.
We also heard a lot about the neighbourhoods of Maardi and New Cairo, however these are both really far from the places you'll want to see and with the Cairo traffic you'd spend half your day just commuting!
Top Things to do in Cairo!
The Egyptian Museum
This is the old museum of Ancient Egypt and it's located at the top of Tahrir Square.
The Egyptian Museum houses a huge mummy collection - but you won't find any of the famous Pharaohs here as these have all been moved to the new Civilisation Museum already.
This museum doesn't have any air conditioning so it gets pretty warm in there!
The Egyptian Civilisation Museum
The New Museum of Egyptian Civilisation is the brand new museum Egypt built to house all of its ancient collections - this time in an air conditioned environment!
The mummy collection here walks you through the ages of Pharaohs and the history of Egypt in chronological order and is incredible to see.
Cairo Tower is Egypt's tallest building and an icon of the Cairo skyline! The tower is located on Zamalek island and is worth a trip up at sunset.
Entrance to the tower costs 200LE for a standard ticket which means you'll be waiting for an hour before you can head up.
Alternatively you can pay 300LE for 'express' entry which gets you straight up - this also gives you a coupon to spend at the bar/restaurant at the top which is 'almost' enough for 1 beer.
Although it's a little pricey, we think it's worth the trip up!
Coptic Cairo is Old Cairo where you'll find the Religious Complex - a meeting of all religions in one area! Here you will find -
- The Hanging Church, built in the 9th Century and originally designed to 'hang' over the City
- The Church of St Sergius, built in the 5th Century and said to be the site where Jesus, Mary & Joseph hid in the crypt during their time in Egypt
- The Ben Ezra Synagogue which is the oldest in Cairo and claims to be the site of the Temple of Jeremiah
- The Amr Ibn El-Aas Mosque which is the first mosque ever to be built in Egypt, and Africa as a whole!
Old Islamic Cairo
Old Islamic Cairo is very different to the streets of Zamalek and Tahrir Square! It is here you will find the famous Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, a small maze of sellers with colourful Egyptian goods!
This is one of Cairo's oldest areas and parts of its history remain standing. You can climb to the very top of the Bab Zuweila Gate which will cost you 40LE per person and gives you undisturbed views over the city of Cairo!
You should also spend some time wandering El Moez Street which is one of the main streets in the area with beautiful architecture and so much history!
Chances are you'll be passing through Tahrir Square several times during your stay in the Cairo as it's a very central point, but we recommend you pause a moment and spend some time appreciating the atmosphere and beauty of this spot - particularly at night! With the surrounding buildings all lit up and the traffic a little quieter, it has a great feeling to it that's a world away from it's famous history of being the place of the Arab Spring of 2011.
Zamalek is of Cairo's nicest neighbourhoods and is an island in the middle of the Nile.
Zamalek is a little less conservative as the population is younger, so it's therefore where you'll find some of the nicer restaurants - particularly at the northern tip of the island. We found a restaurant called 'Beeja' which was a great spot for dinner and views!
Zamalek also has numerous floating restaurants and bars along the Nile which give great views back towards the city.