Best places to visit in Cairo | Things to do in Cairo
Egypt is one of those countries that is best known for its history with antiquities from over 6000 years ago and it’s great Temples. Though it is mostly known for the Giza pyramids, Egypt has a tonne of things to do in Cairo. Most people that travel to Egypt just visit the Giza pyramid and then later head to either Dahab or Sharm el sheik missing out on some major Egypt tourist attractions. So if you’re wondering what to do in Cairo, here are the best places to visit in Cairo that you should add to your itinerary.
1. The Giza pyramid
Of course, the Giza pyramids have to top the list of the best places to visit in Cairo for every traveler. These magnificent sites that were built centuries ago are still one of the 7 wonders of the world. Millions of tourist flock in every year majorly to see the great pyramids of Giza and it’s no surprise that it is Egypt’s number one tourist attraction. I wrote a complete guide about the Giza pyramids in one of my previous posts which you can read here.
2. The Egyptian Museum.
Located in the heart of Cairo, the museum harbors all the ancient history of Egypt. It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. The museum was established by the Egyptian government in 1835 near Ezbekeyah Garden but over the years it’s been moved to several places. And in 1902, it was moved to its current location in Tahrir Square.
It is always open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. With the price of 120 Egyptian pounds, you get to see everything from centuries ago. Most of the things are well-preserved even up to date including the mummies. However, taking photos in the mummies room is highly prohibited.
Regardless of how huge the current Egyptian Museum is, the Egyptian government has constructed the Grand Egyptian museum which is yet to officially open in 2019 and it is anticipated to be the biggest museum in the world housing over 100, 000 artifacts from Egypt’s ancient days.
With the new Grand Egyptian Museum being in great proximity with the Giza pyramids, this will definitely be one of the best places to visit in Cairo come 2019.
Have more days in Egypt? Check out this Perfect Egypt Itinerary for 5 to 10 days to see other places you can visit other than Cairo.
3. Cairo Citadel.
The Cairo Citadel may not be one of the 7 wonders of the world but it is one of the landmarks and tourist attraction of Cairo. The mosque of Muhammad Ali sits in the center of the citadel. The architecture has a resemblance to the one in Istanbul as it was built by a Turkish man.
The CairoCitadell is located on Mokattam Hill as it can be seen from far away and it was done so as to see attackers from afar and to make it difficult for them to be attacked. It is also surrounded by a huge wall which was built with the sole purpose of protecting the city against enemies.
A visit to the Cairo citadel gives you a 360 degrees view of Cairo city from above. It costs around 30 Egyptian pounds to enter this place.
To be allowed access to the mosque of Muhammad, your legs and shoulders must be covered. If not you pay an extra 10 Egyptian pounds to rent a cover.
Related post: The ultimate guide to traveling to Egypt
The Cairo tower is one of the places to visit in Egypt and one of the major Cairo attractions. It is the tallest structure in Egypt and the whole of North Africa with 187 meters and 90 floors. The tower has an elevator so you shouldn’t be worried about taking all those stairs. It is sometimes considered by some people to be the second most famous site in Cairo after the Pyramids of Giza.
The best time to visit the Cairo tower is in the evening as it’s the best place to catch a sunset and see the beautiful lights of Cairo city. Like the Cairo citadel, the Cairo tower offers 360 degrees views over Cairo city except that it only gets better.
5. River Nile
One of the other places to go in Cairo is the river, Nile. With its source as Uganda, Egypt shares this biggest river as well. The best part is when you take a cruise on the Nile and catch a sunset.
The famous river Nile is just a few walks away from Tahir square in Cairo downtown. Ramble around the river banks enjoying the cool breeze and taking in the incredible views.
6. Khan El Khalili market.
Visiting the Khan el Khalili market is one of the things to do in Cairo. It is the most famous street market in Cairo and it would be such a shame to visit Cairo and not go to the Khan El Khalili market.
Most tourists go to this market to buy souvenirs. They sell almost everything from oil perfume, handmade accessories, gold coated kitchen accessories (the seller might try to convince you that it’s pure gold-of course it is not) and many traditional workshops. Besides the shops, there are restaurants and coffee shops where locals meet to drink tea and smoke shisha.
Extra tips as you explore Khan El Khalili Market.
- The market is crowded with a lot of people so be sure to keep your valuables safe.
- Don’t forget to bargain before making any kind of purchase
- The best time to go to the market would be in the night at around 7 pm as you get to experience Cairo at night and the bargaining chances are pretty high at night.
- This is one of the must see sites in Cairo as it is the best way to learn about Egyptian culture.
7. Self-guided tour around Cairo city
The best way to discover all the hidden gems of Cairo is by walking. Some places cannot be reached by train or taxi but rather walking. I wrote a complete guide to visit Egypt which you can find here.
Wondering how you can incorporate all those activities in 2 days? Here is an Itinerary for the best places to visit in Cairo
10 am – Arrive at the Egyptian Museum
1 pm Walk to river Nile and enjoy the views
2 pm- Eat lunch from your favorite restaurant or food stall.
3 pm- Take a self-guided tour around Cairo tower
6 pm- Transit to Cairo tower to catch the Sunset
7:30 pm- Check out Khan el Khalili Market
10 pm- Head back to the hotel for the night
9 am – Head over to the Giza pyramids
1 pm-Have lunch
2 pm- Transit to Cairo Citadel
4:30 pm- Head back to the hotel
I enjoyed the 2 days I spent in Cairo and I was able to see all these amazing must places before I headed to Dahab, another beautiful small town you should consider spending your vacation.
However short your stay in Cairo might be, try to incorporate everything.
One of the best places to visit in Cairo I highly recommend is obviously the Giza pyramids.
Some of the best tours I recommend to take in Cairo.
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