Cairo is one of the largest and most important cities in the world, a must-see if you are planning a vacation in Egypt. With a metropolitan area of around 16 million inhabitants, it is the eleventh most populous city in the world.

The most important wonders of the Egypt of the Pharaohs and the most valued relics of the Muslim past of this country coincide in its capital, so sightseeing in Cairo is essential to live an authentic and complete Egyptian experience. In addition, because it is the capital, from there you can make an organized logistics for the rest of your destinations within Egypt.

What is the usual temperature in Cairo?

AverageJan.Feb.Mar.Apr.May.Jun.Jul.Aug.Sep.Oct.Nov.Dec.
Maximum19 ºC21 ºC24 ºC29 ºC32 ºC35 ºC35 ºC35 ºC33 ºC30 ºC25 ºC21 ºC
Media15 ºC16 ºC18 ºC22 ºC26 ºC29 ºC29 ºC29 ºC25 ºC25 ºC20 ºC16 ºC
Minimal10 ºC11 ºC13 ºC16 ºC19 ºC22 ºC24 ºC24 ºC23 ºC20 ºC15 ºC12 ºC

Zones and districts

As can be expected, a city with so many millions of inhabitants has multiple zones and districts. But before you panic and stress about organizing your trip, we will give you a summary of the main neighborhoods in the city and metropolitan areas that are worth visiting. You will see that everything is perfectly manageable during your visit to Cairo.

  • Heliopolis. A commercial and residential neighborhood, with large shopping areas and Cairo houses, so you can do your shopping and, at the same time, savor the local atmosphere. It is located next to the airport and is the wealthiest area of the city, with very modern buildings and luxury goods stores. This area in Cairo is also known as the City of the Sun and has a large number of bars to relax and have a drink or dinner.
  • Zamalek. The most westernized area of Cairo and the busiest in the city for its famous cafes, restaurants and music bars. Where alcohol is available in places specifically authorized for sale to tourists.
  • The Islamic quarter. Located within the historical center Cairo and the oldest part of the city, it is home to the most important monuments of the city, the ancient mosques and the famous bazaar of Jan el-Jalili. This is the perfect area for the western traveler to blend into the local life of Cairo, its religious customs, beliefs and culture.
  • City of the Dead. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods of Cairo and where it is advisable to go in a transport, if possible driven by a person who lives in the city, as it can be dangerous especially if you try to take pictures. It owes its name to the ancient necropolis it houses and where long ago poor and homeless families settled, so that today they live among tombs and niches and help to keep the cemetery in good condition.
  • Giza. Although it is an independent city, its proximity to Cairo makes it unavoidable if we talk about areas within the Egyptian capital. Because Giza is home to the famous three pyramids and the Great Sphinx, 20 km southwest of downtown Cairo, it can be considered part of the metropolitan area of the Egyptian capital and undoubtedly the essential place to visit.
  • Coptic Quarter. Where the Christian community of Egypt is centered, with many churches and a museum with 16,000 pieces of Coptic art.

What to see in Cairo

  • Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza. They do not need too much introduction, but it is always good to remember that these wonders built around 2500 BC are located 20 kilometers from Cairo, in the metropolitan area of Giza. The pyramids were built to house the tombs of the pharaohs Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus. There is also the famous 20-meter high Sphinx, one of the most symbolic icons of Egypt. You can get there by cab or bus if you are on your own. If you hire a guided tour, you will be picked up at the hotel. Generally, organized tours begin at 8:00 am.
  • Egyptian Museum. Located in Tahrir Square, the Grand Egyptian Museum contains the largest collection of ancient Egyptian treasures. Although it was built in 1902, it was not until 1922 that it became one of the most visited sites in Egypt after the arrival of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the 3500 pieces found inside. Other essential pieces of the museum: statue of Zoser and Akhenaten, the Triad of Mycerinus and the figure of the Seated Scribe.
  • Citadel of Saladin. A panoramic viewpoint of the city and an ancient fortress of Saladin with large towers and walls, built in 1176 by order of Saladin to defend the city from the Crusaders. It houses the al-Nasir Mosque (famous for its tile-decorated minarets), the Ottoman-style Gawhara Palace and the Muhammad Ali Mosque, popularly known as the Alabaster Mosque. The Al Rifa’i Mosque, Alabaster Mosque, Ibn Tulun Mosque and Sultan Hassan Mosque are located a few meters away.
  • Jan el-Jalili. The largest and most historic bazaar in Cairo, where local life mingles with tourist life and where you can buy excellent quality products. It was born in the year 1382 as a resting place for merchant caravans and grew until today, becoming a large market.
  • Hanging Church. Located in the Coptic Quarter, this is one of the oldest churches in Egypt, built in the third century AD on one of the towers of the Babylon Fortress of Roman origin.
  • Al-Azhar Mosque. Located in the historic center of Cairo, it was built between 970 and 972 and from its origin until today it has served as a religious center and center of Islamic studies. It has a very striking white marble courtyard and a library that is worth visiting.
  • Cairo Tower. On days when there is no fog and the sky is clear, you can enjoy the immensity of Cairo from the top of this tower of 186 meters high located in the neighborhood of Zamalek, on Gezira Island.
  • Mosque of Ibn Tulun. The oldest in the city, the best preserved in its original form. Ibn Tulun It was built between 876 and 879 with mud bricks and is noted for the number of arches and domes.
  • Bab Zuwayla Gate. It is one of the three remaining gates of the walled city in Old Cairo. It was built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries to protect Cairo from attack and still retains the two minarets that were used to visualize the invaders.

Where to stay in Cairo

The hotel offer in Egypt has no middle ground: the hotels are either very good or very bad. Therefore, a three star in Cairo is not the same as a three star in any western country and if you want comfort, we recommend choosing a minimum four star hotel.

According to the essential visits to make in the city, these are the neighborhoods where we recommend staying: Giza, Zamalek (especially on the island of Gezira), Garden City, historic center or Heliopolis.

Getting around Cairo

To get around Cairo, you have the options of cabs, buses and the metro.

  • Cab. There are two types. Black and white, cheaper and older, without air conditioning or taximeter, so do not forget to agree on the price before boarding. And the yellow and white ones, more modern, with air conditioning and taximeter. In both, it is common to leave a tip of 10% of the rate. It is not possible to pay with cards or large bills, so always carry cash and change.
  • Bus. They do not usually have the line number or destination indicated, they are overcrowded and the driver often does not stop the vehicle completely at a stop, so you will have to get on the bus while it is moving. But if you like adventure and want to mingle with local life, it is a good option for getting around, and the cheapest: a ticket costs 1 LE and is paid in cash inside the bus to a conductor.
  • Metro. Good service, with clean and punctual trains. It operates from 05:30h to 01:00h and with three lines: L1 (red), L2 (blue), L3 (green). The minimum ticket is 3 LE and is equivalent to a maximum of 9 stations, if you have to travel more the price increases: up to 16 stations 5 LE, more than 16 stations 7 LE. It is the best option to move fast around the city. Points of interest on each line: L1 (Tahrir Square), Egyptian Museum, Coptic Quarter; L2 (Heliopolis, Zamalek, Giza); L3 (Heliopolis, Islamic Quarter).

Photos of Cairo

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