Cairo Travel Guide: 15 Top Things to do in Cairo, Egypt🇪🇬
Cairo is the capital of Egypt, a city rich in world famous history, it is a great place to explore Egyptian history and culture. Even though Cairo is an ancient city; but it is also a modern metropolis. If you are visiting Egypt then Cairo must be on your Itinerary.
Check 15 Top Things to Know Before Visiting Egypt + Cultural Do’s & Don’ts
How to Get Your Visa for Egypt
You can get the visa by going to the embassy, or visiting the official website, or getting it with an agency like iVisa. iVisa provides 100% online travel documents such as: Visas, health declaration forms, embassy registrations, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards, and other travel documents. It is the simplest solution to process your travel visa.
For most countries you can get an e-visa for Egypt, and you can simply do it through iVisa. It is quick and simple, your documents are reviewed first to gets approved, it is 100% secure and safe, and you also get 24/7 support from them.
Here’s why you should choose iVisa:
Speed and Simplicity - Easy, traveler-friendly application process. Simple and much less complicated than dealing with foreign governments.
Get Approved - All documents are reviewed by a team of immigration experts. Their staff is well-trained and offers years of experience.
Secure and Safe - World-class data centres and state-of-the-art security. Your credit card information will never be exposed to any government websites!
Awesome support - Their customer support is ready to help 24/7. They want you to enjoy your travels and avoid the stress of getting a visa!
How to Get to Cairo
Cairo International Airport is the busiest airport in Egypt and serves as the primary hub for several airlines. So, it will be easy to reach Cairo that way, and chances are you will find a direct flight from where you are coming from.
Check Why You Should Visit Egypt: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Egypt
If you are looking for an easy, quick and reliable way to get from the airport to your accommodation, then Welcome Pickups are the best way to arrive in Cairo! Welcome Pickups are the safest way to travel as they provide airport and port transfer, sightseeing rides, and in-city rides. Welcome Pickups are one of the best, most trustworthy and convenient 5-star airport taxi companies for your airport transfer based on user reviews across various platforms such as Google, Tripadvisor and Trustpilot.
Welcome Pickups offers a great experience and safety to its travellers such as:
Local english-speaking drivers
Flat, pre-paid fee
Flight monitoring for delays
24/7 customer support
Here’s why you should choose Welcome Pickups:
20 minute gap between transfers - After each ride, their drivers have 20 minutes to clean the car and ventilate the cabin.
Contactless ride - You can request to have zero contact with the driver during the transfer with just one click.
Regular Car Sanitisation - They provide hand sanitisers and hand wipes for all their travellers and drivers.
How to Move Around Cairo
Moving around Cairo is easy since services like Uber and Careem are accessible and cheap as well so it will be easy to hop from one place to another. You can also use a taxi but you will need to pay in cash as they do not accept credit/debit cards.
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Best Time to Visit Cairo
The best time to visit Egypt in general is between October and April, but when it comes to Cairo, if you are looking for a nice and warm weather, then it is best to visit in October, November, and April. You can of course visit Egypt during the summer, but it gets really hot during that time.
Accommodation in Cairo
Since Cairo is a huge city, there is a vast variety of hotels that you can find. If you are looking for luxurious hotels, then you will find them along the Nile River or near the Pyramids of Giza such as the Four Seasons, Sofitel Cairo El-Gezirah & Marriott Mena House. If you are looking for mid-range options, then you will find them in Zamalek - my favorite district - and Garden City districts, such as Steigenberger El Tahrir & Hotel Longchamps. If you are looking for budget friendly hotels; then you will find them in Downtown district such as Cairo Golden Plaza Hotel & Osiris Hotel.
If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb then you will be able to find a lot options that suits your budget, you will find a lot of hostels if you prefer to stay there. The point is; Cairo is a large city so your options are endless, and it doesn't matter where you stay in Cairo since you will enjoy it regardless.
Check Mount Moses Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Hiking Mount Moses - The Complete Guide
Best Cafes & Restaurants in Cairo
Sea Salt Cafe & Bakery (Gluten-free, vegan options available)
Eish + Malh (Gluten-free)
Zooba (Best Koshari in Cairo)
The Bakery Shop (Desert)
Naguib Mahfouz Cafe (Located near Khan El Khalili)
Abou El Sid (Egyptian cuisine)
15 Top Things to Do in Cairo & Giza
1. Giza Plateau - Giza Necropolis - Giza Pyramid Complex
The Pyramids of Giza are the number one thing you need to visit whenever you are in Cairo. Pyramids are royal tombs, and discoveries are done in that area. You will also find The Great Sphinx of Giza there; which is a large limestone statue with the body of a line and the headed of a human, this is an iconic symbol and it is a must see.
You will find three Pyramids there; Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre, and Pyramid of Menkaure. The Giza Plateau is also set to welcome The Grand Egyptian Museum which will be the biggest museum in the world with exhibitions of antiques from a single civilisation.
You can arrive by Uber or Careem there, and then book your tickets at the entrance of you can book it online. Opening hours are from 07:00 until 17:00, and tickets costs EGP 200 for adults and EGP 100 for students (For Egyptians and Arabs tickets costs EGP 40 for adults and EGP 20 for students), these are entry tickets to The Giza Plateau only, and last ticket can be bought at 16:00. Inclusive tickets that allow entry into the Great Pyramid and Khufu's Boat Museum costs EGP 600 for adults and EGP 300 for students.
Please do not support the use of camels or horse carriages, it is easy to get around on foot via the pavement.
Check Cairo Travel Guide: The Best 3 Days Travel Itinerary
2. Khan El Khalili Market
This is the world's oldest open air market, Khan El Khalili Souq is filled with antiques, jewellery, spices, food, and much more. The word 'Souq' in Arabic means open air market, and this is the best place to buy souvenirs. Be ready to bargain as you should never accept the first price the merchants tell you, also do not follow a vendor to the back of his shop as this is usually a trick. You will also find a lot of coffeehouses around the market that serve Arabic & Turkish coffee.
Disclaimer: Beware for pickpockets, they can have a scarf that they use to cover your bags which will then give them the chance to steal something, the area will be crowded so you should pay good attention to your belongings.
Check Cairo Travel Guide: 24 Hours in Cairo, Egypt - A Complete 1 Day Itinerary
3. Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Mosque of Ibn Tulun is one of the oldest mosques in Egypt and it is the largest mosque in Egypt in terms of land area. Natural light is able to travel through as it is built around and open square courtyard. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun is located in a non-touristy neighbourhood.
Good to Know: It is appropriate for women to dress modestly and maybe even wear a scarf loosely around the head.
Check Alexandria Travel Guide: 10 Top Things to do in Alexandria, Egypt
4. The Egyptian Museum
A great way to go back in time is by visiting The Egyptian Museum which is the home of the world's greatest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts. It is recommended to plan to stay between 2 to 4 hours exploring the museum. Make sure to visit the Tutankhamun Gallery.
The museum is open from 09:00 until 17:00, and tickets can be bought at the entrance of the museum, and ticket window closes at 16:15. Tickets costs EGP 200 for adults and EGP 100 for students (For Egyptians; tickets costs EGP 30 for adults and EGP 10 for students).
Check Alexandria Travel Guide: The Best 2 Days Travel Itinerary
5. The Hanging Church
The Hanging Church is built on top of the ancient Roman Fortress of Babylon hence the name 'The Hanging church'. This is one of the oldest churches in Egypt and it dates back to the third century, and the church belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. You can see how the church is hanging through glass floor areas in the church and through a small window in the church.
Check Alexandria Travel Guide: 24 Hours in Alexandria, Egypt - A Complete 1 Day Itinerary
6. Salah Al-Din Al-Ayoubi Castle
Cairo's Citadel is a medieval Islamic era fortification in Cairo that was built by Salah Al-Din Al-Ayoubi, this is one of the most iconic monuments in Islamic Cairo. You can view the whole city of Cairo from the hilltop. You will find the Mosque of Muhammad Ali at the hilltop, and you will also find Mosque of Al Nasser Mohammed Ibn Kalawoun and the Nationals military Museum.
Cairo Citadel is open from 09:00 until 17:00, and tickets costs EGP 180 for adults and EGP 90 for students (For Egyptian and Arabs; tickets costs EGP 40 for adults and EGP 20 for students), for night visiting hours tickets costs EGP 160 for adults and EGP 80 for students (For Egyptians and Arabs; tickets costs EGP 30 for adults and EGP 10 for students).
Check Why You Should Visit Cairo: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Cairo, Egypt
7. Mosque of Muhammad Ali
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is located on the hilltop in the Citadel of Cairo. The mosque is a beautiful site to visit and it has a view overlooking the entire city. Entrance is free since you buy tickets for the entry of the citadel, and opening hours are mentioned above for the Citadel of Cairo.
8. Cairo Tower
Located in Zamalek district, is the 187 meters Cairo Tower that was built in 1961 which offers and amazing view of the city of Cairo from the top. It is open from 09:00 until 01:00, so you have an opportunity to view the sunset from above but beware that it will be crowded during that time.
9. The Coptic Museum
The Coptic Museum contains a lot of information on Egypt's early Christian period and you will find one of Egypt's finest collections of Coptic art. The museum is open from 09:00 until 17:00, and last ticket can be bought at 16:00. Tickets costs EGP 100 for adults and EGP 50 for students (For Egyptians; tickets costs EGP 20 for adults and EGP 10 for students).
10. NMEC - The National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is dedicated to telling the story of Egypt's human history, but mainly this is where you will find the Egypt's most famous Royal Mummies. 22 mummies are displayed in a specially designed Royal Mummies Gallery.
The museum is open from 09:00 until 17:00, and on Fridays it is open from 09:00 until 17:00 and from 18:00 until 21:00. Tickets can be bought at the entrance of the museum or online, tickets window closes at 16:00. Tickets costs EGP 200 for adults and EGP 100 for students (For Egyptians; tickets costs EGP 60 for adults and EGP 30 for students).
11. Synagogue Ben Ezra
Located in Coptic Cairo, and it is said to be built near the spot where baby Moses was found. It is open from 09:00 until 16:00 and entrance is free.
12. St. Sergius and St. Bacchus Church
It is said that this is where the Holy Family sheltered during King Herod's massacre of male babies. The church is open from 08:00 until 17:00 and entrance is free. You will also find a map of the Journey of the Holy Family in that area.
13. Amr ibn Al-A'as Mosque
The original structure of Amr Ibn Al-A'as' Mosque is the first one to be built in Egypt and Africa, and it is located outside of the quarter of Coptic Cairo. Entrance is free and it is open 24/7.
14. Fortress of Babylon
The Hanging Church was built on top of the Fortress of Babylon, now you cannot actually visit the fortress but parts of it can be seen from the Hanging Church and around Coptic Cairo.
15. St. George's church
St. George's Church is a greek orthodox church in Coptic Cairo within the Babylon Fortress, and the church dates back to the 10th century. The church is open from 09:00 until 15:00 and it is free to enter.