Top attractions in Cairo
You can't swing a hookah in Cairo without striking archeological treasure! "The City of a Thousand Minarets" boasts not only stunning Ottoman mosques, but ancient wonders and a clash of modern and traditional cultures. Here's what to see.
Book a day trip to this stepped tomb built by the earliest known architect, Imhotep. The Pyramid of Djoser has survived over 4 millenia, though all that remains of the Pharoah Djoser is his left foot!
The museum boasts the world's largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, including Tutankhamen's solid gold death mask. Expect strict security measures, but it's truly a must-see!
Finished in 2005, it's already hard to imagine how the site of the breathtaking Al-Azhar Park was once a mountain of garbage accumulated over five centuries!
For a tour of Cairo's religious life and history, there's no better place to start than at the city's oldest mosque. Al-Azhar Mosque was built in 970AD and it's also home to the world's first university!
Khan Al-Khalili,Cairo's most prominent souk (market), is as old as the Egyptian capital itself, and its economic heart still beats with tourists and locals alike!
Crowning its citadel is Cairo's most prominent landmark. Not only is the stunning Mosque of Muhammad Ali one of the best places to visit, it offers greats views of the city too.
Though home to two of Cairo's most famous icons – the Great Pyramids and Sphinx – the Necropolis' best attraction might actually be the fascinating ancient workers' village.
The best time to visit Cairo is from October through to May, when the weather isn't insufferably hot. Hotels are cheaper during its scorching summer, but don't settle for a place without air conditioning and a pool!
Book 3 or 4 days minimum just for sightseeing, but a full week is recommended for archeological day trips, or simply to uncover the many sides of Cairo's vibrant culture.
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- Best time to visit
- From October through May, you'll find cooler temperatures, making sightseeing more pleasant.
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What people are saying about Cairo
Pick up 2am. Return 8pm. The drive was uncomfortable too many in the mini van plus the AC was inefficient. Egyptologist courier was friendly and knowledgeable but in too much of a hurry in the museum. 15-20 minutes 'free' time after her wizz around tour was not enough. At the pyramids and sphinx, which are mind blowing amazing when viewed for the first time but again we were hurried from one to the other. eg: We stopped in a car park to the left of the Sphinx and being in a wheelchair plus using a stick for support I struggled but managed the few steps to the viewing platform. We were rushed so I didn't have time to see the Sphinx front-on. A bomb went off close by about 400mtrs from us and no one took any notice. For the price of the trip, around £50 per person, 'Get Your Guide'/'Egyptia Travel' provide a good service. For comfort there are plenty of more expensive options available. With the museum & optional boat trip on the Nile the overall trip was an unforgettable experience.
We had a great tour with Maged from Emo Tours (17 years experience) who gave a detailed tour of some of the fabulous site locations around the Great Pyramid area (not just pyramids & Sphinx. He gave insights into the religious relationship between Pharaohs/Gods/People spanning thousands of years. We also arranged a camel ride - great fun. Then went to the Museum and Maged highlighted important pieces relevant to great Pharaohs (including Tutankhamen & Mummies) and shared some of his extraordinary knowledge. We asked endless questions and Maged filled in so many blanks. Then off to the the bazaar and excellent lunch (barbecued Kofta and Chicken was great). Very happy to recommend Emo Tours & particularly Maged. Excellent driver made us feel very Safe. We were so happy we went the next day to Saqqara, Memphis & Dahshur. Saqqara is awesome & not overrun with tourist buses. You have time & space to absorb so much. It is a MUST-SEE & early pyramids/ site put Giza pyramids in perspective.
The + : A great day, as we've seen astonishing places (Pyramids, Cairo Museum, Sphinx). We had a great guide named Rimo. She's fluent in English and in French, and gave us interesting advices and information, even about avoiding crooks on sites ( you will be purchased for tips all day long) . Don't hesitate to ask if she's available the day you will be visiting ! The - : - Even though the organization as a whole is well-handled (hotel-airport transferts, food, fast entrance on sites…), you will face many waiting times if you do not opt in and pay cash for many optional tours such as Nile Cruise, Camel Ride, Entrance Inside Kheops Pyramid etc... If you've always dreamt of seeing the pyramids, you won't be disappointed, but be aware that it will took you a very long day ==> we had to leave our hotel at 3.00AM and returned back at 10.00 PM … :) Enjoy your trip
Good organisation. Early call in the morning so travel is comfortable at night. Two drivers were excellent. In Cairo the guide awaits you there. The National Museum is great but very busy. Stay close to the group and hope you don't get two ladies who wanted to take pictures of everything thus eating up our time. Lunch was good as well. The Pyramids are spectacular. Beware of the heat though. The trip on the river Nile is not to be missed. Return journey good to, although a bigger bus could make things more comfortable.
Ahmed (guide) and Faroud (driver) were fantastic. Ahmed had a notebook to draw pictures and explain the process the Egyptians used in coming up with the ultimate pyramid. The entire day was informative and fun. We loved climbing into the Red Pyramid.