Cairo is a sprawling city and the heart and soul of Egypt. This ‘City of a Thousand Minarets’ is situated along the banks of the timeless Nile River and boasts iconic pyramids, millennia-old history, vibrant street life and a whirlwind of sights, sounds and flavours.
Things to see and do in Cairo
- When visiting Cairo, the first thing to do is visit the Pyramids of Giza, the last intact ancient wonder of the world. These monumental structures were built over 4,500 years ago and are the most iconic and enduring symbols of ancient Egyptian civilization. Marvel at the stunning Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure. Click pictures with the Sphinx as it stands guard of Egyptian history against the white desert backdrop.
- Journey through the rich history of Egypt at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. Witness the extraordinary collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, including the solid gold mask and coffins of Tutankhamun.
- Discover Islamic Cairo’s aged streets, where you’ll find magnificent mosques like the Sultan Hassan Mosque and Al-Rifa'i Mosque. Explore crowded markets like Khan el-Khalili and take in the exquisitely preserved mediaeval architecture. Bargain for souvenirs, jewellery, perfumes and unique handicrafts and sip on the traditional tea at a local café.
- Explore Cairo in a picturesque and relaxing manner on a cruise along the Nile River. Enjoy stunning views of the city’s skyline while savouring delicious Egyptian cuisine.
- Discover the historic gate of Bab Zuweila in Old Cairo, which dates back to the 12th century and is the southern gate on the walls of Fatimid-era Cairo. This gate is part of the city’s architectural heritage and offers stunning views from its minarets. Watch the sunset from its terrace as the whole city gets outlined with hues of orange.
- Visit the Salah El-Din Citadel located on the Mokattam Hills. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is visible from almost everywhere around Cairo due to its strategic positioning. Inside, you will find the beautiful Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also known as the ‘Alabaster Mosque’, with its archetypal domes, minarets and alabaster interiors. Remember to visit the Gawhara Terrace at the citadel to enjoy aerial views of the landscape. It is said that one can even see the Pyramids of Giza on a clear day.
- Explore Cairo’s culinary richness through its bustling street food stalls and cafés. Indulge in Egyptian culinary specialities like Koshari, Ful Medames, Falafel and Kebabs. Don’t miss out on trying the stuffed pigeon, a local delicacy called Hamam Mahshi.
Tips for travellers
Plan your Cairo adventure during the pleasant fall and spring seasons, from October to April, as these months offer delightful weather for sightseeing. Exchange your currency at banks or official exchange offices for better rates, although credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas. Choose your accommodations in central areas like Downtown Cairo or Zamalek for convenient access to attractions.