So you’ve arrived in Cairo but realize that you only have 2 days to enjoy some of the best places in Cairo. You wonder how you’re going to enjoy all the Cairo day tours in just 2 days.
With a bit of planning and following this extensive 2 days Cairo itinerary, you’ll be able to enjoy Cairo like a local. Cairo is a walkable city and some of the major Cairo attractions are just a few kilometers away from each other.
So let’s dive into our itinerary, but before we do, check out this guide to traveling to Egypt and after that, we’ll get all the details on how to enjoy 2 days in Cairo. This 2 days in Cairo itinerary doesn’t mean you must have slept in Cairo a day before, you could have just flown in from another destination like your home country or even better, a vacation in Sharm-el-Sheikh or the beautiful Dahab which is south of Cairo.
This means that you might not have the entire 12 hours a day to experience Cairo. But don’t worry, even when your first day is almost halfway, you can still enjoy Cairo like a pro; of course only if you follow this guide.
Cairo itinerary: How to spend two days in Cairo
1. Visit the Giza pyramids.
For my first day in Cairo, I was flying in from Dahab, a beautiful beach town near Mt.Sinai, south of Cairo. (If you plan to visit Dahab, check out this post about the exciting things to do in Dahab).
I reached Cairo in the mid-morning and since the flight was just around 1 hour, I still had all the energy to experience Egypt’s tourist spots. The excitement of arriving in Cairo is visiting the Giza pyramids and that’s where I headed first. ( Before you visit the Giza pyramids, read this post to discover the best ways to have a perfect day at the pyramids).
To reach the pyramids, you can opt for a public bus but since private taxis are relatively cheap, I’d say it is a better option. The drive will take a little over an hour and the excitement increases as you get closer and get a glimpse of the pyramids.
When you reach the gate, try to avoid the middlemen that want to sell you the entry tickets. Get into the line to buy the tickets directly from the gate window. The queue might be a bit longer depending on the time of your visit; I mean its the Giza pyramids, so it’s kind of expected.
Once you have the ticket in your hands, head over the entrance gate- and let the fun, plus the fascination begin. If you can’t locate the entry point, ask the officers where you bought the ticket from but it’s pretty much obvious since that’s where most people will be headed.
While you’re inside the Giza pyramids, there is no specific rule on where to start from. Just go with the flow as you deem necessary. It is obvious to start from the Sphinx of Giza since its next to the entrance and later head to the “three pyramids” Khufu the tallest, Khafre in the background and Menkaure which is in the front.
After admiring the 3 different pyramids up close, head over to the ” viewpoint”. Well, that’s what I prefer to call it as it a point where you can view all 3 pyramids at once and inline.
Most tourists prefer riding on a camel to head up the viewpoint, but the most fun way is hiking your way up as you get to experience a desert walk.
Note; if you visit in summer, it’s going to be pretty hot and tiring so be sure you’re able to hike in the scorching sun and don’t forget to carry enough water on your way up.
There is no better way to enjoy the Giza pyramids than at the viewpoint as you take some fun pics. So now that you’ve exhausted all you could see inside the Giza pyramids, slope down and head for the exit.
Don’t want to do all that by yourself? Why not book a tour guide from here to arrange everything for you starting from $15 and get to learn everything about the Giza pyramids.
Whoah, the Giza pyramids are now ticked off the bucket list. After a great number of hours in the pyramids, you’re probably hungry and tired.
Grab something to eat from your favorite restaurant in Cairo or enjoy some Cairo street food.
After that, head back to your hostel or hotel to relax or even take a nap. Haven’t booked a hotel in Cairo yet? You can book one from here to have a comfortable stay.
2. Visit the Khan el Khalili market
Restaurant in the Khan el Khalili market
The day is not yet done until you sleep. There is no better way to enjoy the nightlife of Cairo than visiting the Khan el Khalili market.
The market is just in the center of Cairo and if you slept at any of these hotels, it is just a few minutes walk from your hotel. If you planned to buy any souvenirs, Khan el Khalili market is the perfect place to buy them. Be sure to buy the good quality ones as you can find both the original and duplicate products in this market. The market is huge, so be ready to walk as you enjoy the nightlife of Cairo.
Hungry while you walk? Don’t worry, there are hundreds of restaurants within the market from local street food stalls to medium range restaurants.
After the market tour, head back to your hotel and enjoy a good night sleep.
We have to agree day one was jam-packed with a lot of activities that included a lot of walking. Day 2 might have less of walking in a desert but it is packed with many activities comprising of the best places to see in Cairo.
1. Enjoy the sunrise at River Nile
Why not start your day by catching a sunrise at the River Nile which is a few minutes walk from the city center. The sun in Cairo rises at around 5:30 am, so if you’re up for it, you’re going to have to leave the covers pretty early not to miss it. After the sunrise, you can head back to the hotel to sleep some more or even prepare for the day as you wait to visit the Citadel at 9:00 am.
If waking up that early to catch a sunrise over the Nile is not your thing, you can just skip it and start your day by visiting the Cairo Citadel.
2. Visit the Cairo Citadel
Cairo Citadel is one of the major tourist attractions in Egypt that should be included among your Cairo tours. Located on Mokattam hill near the Cairo city center, the Citadel is the landmark of the Islamic Cairo and the best way to get there is by taxi.
The entrance fee to the Citadel is 100 Egyptian pounds and it is normally open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. I wouldn’t advise you to visit the Citadel on Friday as there will be prayers conducted in the Mosque of Muhammad Ali and you’ll miss out on admiring the big chandelier that makes a statement as soon as you enter the Mosque.
Like any other Mosques, you’ll be required to take off your shoes plus cover your shoulders and legs. If you are not fully covered, you’ll need to rent a cover-up that goes for 10 Egyptian pounds.
From the Citadel, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of Old Cairo from the grand terrace which is just in front of the Mosque. The Citadel is definitely one of the things to see in Cairo, so if you’re looking for day trips from Cairo, the Citadel should be on your list. You can as well just book your day trip to Citadel from here.
3. Go to the Egyptian Museum
After enjoying the architectural beauty at the Citadel, head over to the Egyptian Museum but be sure to be there in time as it closes at 7 pm. The entry tickets can be bought from the Museum entrance- one for the general Museum access and one to access the mummies room all totaling to 160 Egyptian pounds. (60LP for museum entrance and 100LP for the Mummies room). Alternatively, you can buy the entry ticket online which is valid for one day. (Get the online ticket from here.) The museum tour is likely to take a little over 2 hours depending on how extensive you want to explore it.
Pro tip * You can explore the Museum on your own but paying for a tour guide will be much more rewarding as they explain everything about the artifacts and Egypt’s history. You can book your Egyptian Museum tour from here.
You should plan to leave the Museum a little before 4:00 pm to head to the Cairo Tower.
4. Visit the Cairo Tower.
With just a few hours away from the sunset, what better way to enjoy a sunset in Cairo than from the Cairo Tower.
Taking a taxi would be like the easiest way to reach the tower but since you have only two days in Cairo and want to use them in the most efficient way possible, a walk there would be perfect.
So you’re not just taking a walk to the Cairo tower but also taking a self-guided tour in beautiful Cairo. By the time you reach the tower, you would have explored most of the biggest areas of Uptown Cairo. The evening hours of day 1 were all about discovering downtown Cairo, but day two’s Cairo city walking tour is all about enjoying uptown Cairo and the modern city areas from new buildings to high-end restaurants and hotels and enjoying the beautiful sceneries of River Nile.
When you reach the Cairo tower, buy the tickets at the entrance which cost 60LP but free for children under 6 years and head up the tower. (Relax, we’re done with the walking part: to access the tower, you take an elevator to reach the top which is 187 meters high.)There is always a few minutes wait at the elevator since it is accessed in groups and not to exceed the maximum carry capacity of the lift.
Enjoy the sunset and stay there for a few hours to view the lights of Cairo at night- I tell you, they are amazing and the view of the entire Cairo city is absolutely stunning. Just to warn you, up the tower gets cold, so if you’re one that easily gets cold, you can carry a sweatshirt. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the tower at that exact time, the tower closes at midnight from 8 am which is the official opening time.
The view from Cairo tower at night
Tip* Don’t overstay though, create room for others by getting off the tower.
After the breathtaking views of Egypt’s capital from Cairo tower, head over to your hotel and take the much-needed rest after a long day of back to back activities.
So now that you know its absolutely possible to enjoy all Cairo excursions in just 2 days, start packing or take that long overlay in Cairo that you were doubting.
I admit that was a lot to take in, so here is the summary of all that we covered above from the moment you reach Cairo to the minute you leave for your next adventure.
Cairo day tours: Places to go in Cairo when you have 2 days: (The summary)
11:00 am Arrive in Cairo city
12:00 pm Visit the Giza pyramids
3:00 pm Have a late lunch
4:00 pm Head back to the hotel for a rest/nap
7:00 pm visit the Khan el Khalili market
9:00 pm Head back to a hotel for a good night sleep
5:30 am Enjoy the sunrise at River Nile
6:00 am Head back to the hotel to fully prepare for the day
10:00 am Visit the Cairo Citadel
1:00 pm Grab lunch
2:00 pm Go to the Egyptian Museum
4:30 pm Take a self-guided walking tour in Uptown Cairo
6:00 pm Visit the Cairo Tower
8:00 pm Head back to the hotel for a much-needed rest
You don’t have to religiously follow the times mentioned above (except for the official opening and closing time of the sites); they are guidelines to make sure you use your time efficiently. You can always adjust as long as you stay on track. But if the times allocated above suit you very well, just go with them.
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