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Things to do in Cairo

Things to do in  Cairo

Welcome to Cairo

For many travelers, the Pyramids of Giza, along with the Sphinx, are the sole purpose of a visit to Cairo—and understandably so. Of the three pyramids (Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure), the largest, oldest, and most impressive is undoubtedly Khufu, or the Great Pyramid of Piza, which dates to 2600 BC. Standing 480 feet (147 meters) tall, it’s rightfully deserving of its title as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ride a camel around the pyramids for a look at their exteriors. For an additional cost, you can even enter these tombs of ancient Egyptian kings, though tickets are limited. Beyond the pyramids, Cairo is a wonder in and of itself. Situated on the banks of the Nile River in a location that’s been continually inhabited for thousands of years, it remains Egypt’s largest city, with a metropolitan area that’s home to 20 million people. Take some time to get to know the attractions in and around the city, which include the historic capital of Memphis, the Egyptian Museum, Alabaster Mosque, Citadel of Saladin, Khan el-Khalili bazaar, Old Cairo, and more. A guided tour will ensure a complete understanding of Cairo’s history and culture (and will prevent you from getting lost among the city’s winding streets). With easy access to the international Cairo Airport, Cairo also functions as a great hub for trips around Egypt, such as Nile River dinner cruises, multi-day tours of ruins, and day trips to Aswan, Alexandria, Sakkara, Fayoum Oasis, and Luxor.

Top 10 attractions in Cairo

#1
Egyptian Museum (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities)

Egyptian Museum (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities)

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A centerpiece of Tahrir Square, the Egyptian Museum (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities) has been a mecca for Egyptologists since it opened and houses some of the world’s greatest ancient relics. While some collections are moving to the new Grand Egyptian Museum, it remains a must-see for anyone interested in ancient Egypt.More
#2
Khan Al-Khalili

Khan Al-Khalili

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With a history dating back to the 14th century, the Khan Al-Khalili bazaar is Cairo’s signature shopping destination. It’s an intoxicating warren of streets, houses, and merchants selling everything from gold and spices to shisha pipes and toy camels, not to mention the inevitable scarabs, pyramids, and belly-dancer costumes.More
#3
Nile River

Nile River

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Measuring a mighty 4,150 miles (6,680 kilometers) from end to end, the Nile is the world’s longest river. It’s also the lifeblood of Egypt, flowing through the heart of the Sahara desert, and passing through cities, including Khartoum, Aswan, Luxor, and Cairo, before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria.More
#4
Saqqara (Sakkara)

Saqqara (Sakkara)

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Set about 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of Cairo, Saqqara (Sakkara) was the burial place for the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, now in ruins. The site features a small sphinx and several pyramids—the most famous of which is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which represented a major advance in building techniques.More
#5
Memphis

Memphis

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During Egypt’s Old Kingdom period, Memphis, located near Cairo, was home to the pharaohs who built the pyramids. But domestic architecture didn’t last like the pyramids did, so most all that remains of Memphis today is the Mit Rahina open-air sculpture museum.More
#6
Old Cairo (Misr Al-Qadima)

Old Cairo (Misr Al-Qadima)

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Located in south Cairo on the Nile’s east bank, Old Cairo, also known as Misr Al-Qadima, dates to the sixth century BC and occupies the sites of several early Egyptian capitals, including Fustat. Merging into Islamic Cairo to the east, its heart is Coptic Cairo—home to a crumbled Roman fortress and numerous early medieval Coptic churches.More
#7
Cairo Citadel (Citadel of Saladin)

Cairo Citadel (Citadel of Saladin)

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Standing proud above the hubbub of the modern city, the Cairo Citadel (Citadel of Saladin)) is one of Old Cairo’s most striking sights. First built by Saladin in the 12th century, during the Crusader conflicts, the fortress complex houses palaces, museums, and mosques, including Muhammad Ali’s 19th-century Alabaster Mosque.More
#8
Dahshur

Dahshur

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Think of Dahshur as pyramid-proving grounds: Although not nearly as famous at the pyramids of Giza, the structures here pre-date the Great Pyramids and highlight the engineering progress and understanding that took place on the way from a stepped structure to a true pyramid. The royal necropolis at Dahshur comprises a two-mile (3.5-kilometer) field of pyramids that date back between the fourth and 12th dynasties, and although 11 structures once dotted the landscape, only two remain: the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. Nearly identical in size, these two pyramids are the third-largest in the country after the two biggest at Giza. The Red Pyramid is the older of the two and the only one that visitors can actually enter.Archaeologists believe that Snofru, the first Pharoah of the fourth dynasty,commissioned Dahshur's most notable pyramids, and, as the Bent Pyramid with its crooked peak illustrates, not all takes were entirely successful. It towers above the sand not far from the Nile's fertile green band and is believed to have been the first try at a smooth-sided true pyramid.It’s said thousands of people spent decades building the ultimately-flawed Bent Pyramid before trying again just over a mile to the north with the Red Pyramid, incorporating some lessons learned and a different type of stone, which shines red after the rains. Some Egyptologists think the Red Pyramid is where Sneferu was buried.More
#9
Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo

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Cairo is known as the "city of a thousand minarets," and that's reflected in its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A journey into Islamic Cairo is a journey into the city’s past, from Fustat, Egypt’s first Muslim capital, to the 1,000-year-old walled city, the Cairo Citadel, founded by 12th-century leader Saladin, and beyond.More
#10
Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali)

Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali)

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The citadel of Saladin - and indeed, the Cairo skyline - is dominated by the Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali). Modelled along classic Turkish lines, it took 18 years to build (1830 - 1848) although later the domes had to be rebuilt. It was commissioned by Muhammad Ali, ruler of Egypt from 1805 - 1849, wholies in the marble tomb on the right as you enter.Perhaps the most evocative description of it is in Olivia Manning'sThe Levant Trilogy: "Above them Mohammed Ali's alabaster mosque, uniquely white in this sand-coloured city, sat with minarets pricked, like a fat, white, watchful cat." It has never found much favor with writers, who have criticized it for being unimaginative, lacking in grace and resembling a great toad. Note the chintzy clock in the central courtyard, a gift from King Louis-Philippe of France in thanks for the Pharaonic obelisk that adorns the Place de la Concorde in Paris. It was damaged on delivery and has yet to be repaired.More

Trip ideas

How to Choose a Giza Pyramids Tour

How to Choose a Giza Pyramids Tour

How to Spend 3 Days in Cairo

How to Spend 3 Days in Cairo

Alexandria Day Trips from Cairo

Alexandria Day Trips from Cairo

Top activities in Cairo

Private Tour: 8 Days 7 Nights Pyramids and Nile Cruise by Air from Cairo

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Private Tour: 8 Days 7 Nights Pyramids and Nile Cruise by Air from Cairo

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USD880.00
USD1,000.00  USD120.00 savings
Full-Day Luxor private Tour from Cairo by Plane

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Full-Day Luxor private Tour from Cairo by Plane

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USD376.28
USD400.00  USD23.72 savings
Day Trip To Luxor From Cairo By Plane Including Lunch

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Day Trip To Luxor From Cairo By Plane Including Lunch

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USD450.00  USD90.00 savings
Day-Tour to the Red Sea from Cairo

Day-Tour to the Red Sea from Cairo

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USD35.00
Nile Dinner Cruise in Cairo with Belly Dancing and Hotel Transfer

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Nile Dinner Cruise in Cairo with Belly Dancing and Hotel Transfer

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USD30.00  USD2.00 savings
4 days Nile cruise with abu simbel,balloon.luxor&Aswan tours from Cairo by plane

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Recent reviews from experiences in Cairo

star-5
Amazing long layover
Sabrina_B, Jul. 2021
Private Cairo Layover Tour from Cairo Airport
We were able to cater the tour to what I wanted to see and it was an amazing time.
star-5
One day of fun and pyramids
Amy_H, May 2021
Top Rated Private Trip to Giza Pyramids,Sphinx,Camel-Ride,Lunch
Such a great day, I had one day to see Cairo.
star-5
Good
Daniel, Apr. 2021
12 Hrs Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian museum, Market, Dinner cruise
The gide was very helpful to give more information on more to see in Cairo.
star-5
Great Cairo by night experience
Andrei_A, Mar. 2021
Private Guided Night Tour of Cairo
We managed to see Cairo's top attractions in a relatively short time.
star-5
Exceptional Tour Guide with Exceptional Knowledge and Abilities
michaelrea7, Jul. 2021
All inclusive -Tour Giza pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum,Camel Ride, Bazaar
Egypt can be pretty overwhelming and intimidating to English speakers and foreigners.
star-5
Take this tour!
Dara_G, Jun. 2021
Top Rated Private Trip to Giza Pyramids,Sphinx,Camel-Ride,Lunch
We only had the afternoon in Cairo and wanted to visit as much as possible in such a short time.
star-4
Decent trip
Kaylin, Jun. 2021
Half Day Tour To Memphis Sakkara And Dahshur Pyramids
I enjoyed seeing these pyramids out of Cairo a lot, although I felt my guide Ahmed struggled a little bit in his English.
star-5
Beautiful night in Cairo
Jane_S, Jun. 2021
Private Guided Night Tour of Cairo
We were able to see the highlights of the city in an efficient fashion and especially enjoyed the traditional felucca ride down the Nile under the many beautiful lights.
star-5
Amazing Experience
Anthony_D, Jun. 2021
All inclusive -Tour Giza pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum,Camel Ride, Bazaar
He was very professional, spoke English extremely well, engaged our entire group (including the kids) regularly throughout the tour, was extremely knowledgeable about all parts of current and historical Egyptian culture and religion, is very kind, very patient, very flexible, knew the best locations to take pictures at each of our stops and thoroughly answered any question we could ask (we had lots of questions).
star-5
Great trip. Responsive tour coordinator and glad to see so many sights
Alvin_L, Jun. 2021
8 nights Cairo,Aswan,Luxor,Abu simbel,Nile cruise&Red sea from Cairo airport
First it's amazing to see ancient Egypt and this tour covers a ton of ground if you look on a map how far away Cairo/Giza is from Luxor-Aswan-AbuSimbel, and then to Hurghada.
star-5
Great Airport Pickup from Cairo International
LanMorgan, May 2021
Private Pickup Transfer from Cairo Airport to Hotels in Cairo
After a little bit of confusion arriving at the airport, we exit the baggage claim at the airport and call the company to see if our driver was there.
star-4
Depends on what you want
Kate, May 2021
Amazing 8 Days Cairo,Luxor,Aswan,Abu Simbel,Nile Cruise&Air Balloon from Cairo
So we had to pay an extra $80 for day use of the hotel; - We had to wake up 3-5 am at the morning almost every day to start our program and had around 3 different places to visit per day which one's may find exhausting; - Due to so many places we had to visit, we didn't have enough time in each of them and we were always in a rush.
star-5
Amazing Experience
Renee_C, May 2021
Day Tour to Cairo from Hurghada By Bus
It was impressive to see all the work the ancient Egyptians put in to build these structures and they are still standing strong.
star-5
Luxor in 1 day what a magical experience
Stephen_W, Apr. 2021
Full-Day Luxor private Tour from Cairo by Plane
I recently visited Egyot and have always wanted to visit Luxor and Aswan but did not have enough time to do both.
star-5
Incredible and unforgettable!
PiotrBiedacha, Apr. 2021
Valley of Whales and Wadi El Rayan Water Falls Day Tour from Cairo
The waterfall was maybe a little less impressive than I had expected, but also nice, and the Valley of the Whales was definitely much more impressive than what I had imagined 😊 The lunch was homemade back in the desert village and it was delicious.
star-4
Great driver, guide & lunch
Drew_B, Apr. 2021
Full-Day Private Tour to Alexandria from Cairo
But, we were very disappointed because Alexandria Library is closed on Fridays, so we did not get to see inside.
star-5
HIGHLY recommend this tour - with Amir. 5 Stars
Drew_B, Apr. 2021
Smart Tour to Giza pyramids,Sphinx, Sakkara, Dahshuh,Memphis,Camel Ride
We got to see every highlight in Cairo - Giza Pyramids, Sakkara, Memphis, Dahsure pyramid and went inside 2 of them.
star-5
Perfect tour with the perfect guide!
Danny_P, Apr. 2021
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
We were most excited to see the pyramids but she made every single part of this tour entertaining and educational and also had a wonderful sense of humor which was great!
star-5
Wonderful tour!
John_S, Nov. 2020
Full-Day Tour Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, and Saqqara
Very impressed with our guide’s knowledge and his fluency with English.
star-5
Wonderful Day Trip
Dan, Mar. 2020
Private 8-hours Egyptian museum , Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo
Our guide was great, incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, humorous and his English was excellent.

All about Cairo

When to visit

Spring is a sweet spot for visiting Cairo, when the peak winter crowds have gone home, but before the sweltering heat of summer arrives. Lines are shorter at the Pyramids of Giza and other ancient attractions, plus modern Egyptian culture is on display at seasonal events such as Ismailia International Film Festival and Cairo Fashion Week, both in April.

Frequently Asked Questions