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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 15 attractions in Cairo

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

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

Giza Pyramids

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One of the most mysterious Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (and the only one still standing), the Pyramids of Giza—the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre, and Pyramid of Menkaure—still live up to more than 4,000 years of hype. Seeing these 4th-dynasty pyramids and their guardian Great Sphinx rising from the Giza Plateau is a must on any trip to Cairo (and the reason many travelers find themselves in Egypt).More

Khan El-Khalili

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With a history dating back to the 14th century, the Khan El-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

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

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

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

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

Sphinx (Great Sphinx of Giza)

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The 66-foot-tall (20-meter-tall) Sphinx of Giza is an icon of ancient Egypt, and the subject of continued debate regarding its meaning, age, and original builder. With the head of a human and the body of a lion, the Sphinx—one of the world’s largest and oldest statues—is said to symbolize strength, power, and wisdom.More

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

Dahshur

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Blissfully serene compared to the Giza Pyramids chaos, Dahshur’s desert sands were once home to an impressive 11 large pyramids. Today, two survive, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both built by Pharaoh Snefru around 4,500 years ago. Unusually, travelers can explore inside both of them, as well as a smaller side pyramid.More

Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu Pyramid)

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The last surviving wonder of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Giza is also known as the Khufu Pyramid or Pyramid of Cheops, in honor of the pharaoh who built it around 2570 BC. The oldest, largest, and tallest of the three Giza pyramids, it is full of narrow tunnels and eerie chambers that are open to visitors.More

Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali)

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The citadel of Saladin—and the Cairo skyline—is dominated by the Alabaster Mosque (also known as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Modeled on classic Turkish architecture, it took 18 years to build the structure (1830-1848, with a complete restoration taking place in the 1930s. It was commissioned by Muhammad Ali, ruler of Egypt from 1805-1849, who lies in the marble tomb inside.More

Hanging Church (Al-Muallaqa)

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Tucked among Coptic Cairo’s winding streets, the Hanging Church is more than 1,000 years old. Enter the 19th-century façade to find icons, elegant screens, a marble pulpit, and a window onto Roman ruins beneath the church. The Hanging Church is an important site for Egyptian Christians, as well as one of Coptic Cairo’s top attractions.More

Colossus of Ramses II at Memphis

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The Colossus of Ramses II is the showpiece sight at the Memphis Museum, located in Mit Rahinah, just south of Cairo. The open-air museum stands on the site of Memphis, a onetime capital of ancient Egypt, and displays the enormous reclining statue of Ramses inside a 2-story hall, together with a large number of other sculptures throughout its grounds.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

Day-Tour to the Red Sea from Cairo

Day-Tour to the Red Sea from Cairo

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US$35.00
Nile Dinner Cruise in Cairo with Belly Dancing and Hotel Transfer

Special Offer

Nile Dinner Cruise in Cairo with Belly Dancing and Hotel Transfer

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US$30.40
US$38.00  US$7.60 savings
Guided Tour To Alexandria From Cairo

Guided Tour To Alexandria From Cairo

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US$55.00
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Recent reviews from experiences in Cairo

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Delightful Day Trip from Cairo
Thomas_L, Dec 2022
Guided Tour To Alexandria From Cairo
This is a great way to see the highlights of Alexandria!
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A dive into ancient Egypt sites
Jose_R, Nov 2022
Private Trip Giza Pyramids Sphinx Saqqara, Dahshur, Lunch,Camel, Entrance fees
Giza is well-known but there is much more around Cairo and it is worth to visit the oldest pyramids and the history behind.
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Would definitely recommend EMO tours
Teresa_B, Nov 2022
Private Departure Transfer from Hotels in Cairo or Giza to Cairo International Airport
Timely pick up, clean smoke free car, English speaking service, experienced driver that didn't terrify us in the Cairo traffic.
star-5
Must do while in Cairo!
Harry_C, Nov 2022
Local Cairo walking & Food tour
We were brought to parts of Cairo that I would have never known to visit on my own, and got to sample authentic local food.
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Fun, Fascinating Cairo Highlights
Sarah_R, Nov 2022
All Inclusive 2-Day Ancient Egypt and Old Cairo Highlights Tour
Wonderful tour that allowed us to see the big highlights of Cairo with the short time we had here.
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Exception experience and great value
allan_m, Oct 2022
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
If you only have a day in Cairo and want to experience the best sights and sites with a very knowledgable guide this is the way.
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The process was quick and...
Nicholas_P, Oct 2022
Skip the Line Cairo Tower & Admission Ticket.
I'm glad I went to see the Cairo Tower with Viator.
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Professional services
Stefanos_K, Oct 2022
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
A very good for for those who have limited tone to see some of the main attractions Cairo has to offer.
star-5
Excellent
Kauser_A, Oct 2022
Cairo City Tour Felucca Ride and Cairo Tower
It was great enjoyed 😉 guide was very good felt comfort English was good if it wasn't for the trip we wouldn't of been able to explore cairo we also got to go to take photos near the pyramids
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Tour in Sakkara and Memphis
joel_e, Oct 2022
Half Day Tour To Memphis Sakkara And Dahshur Pyramids
Also had a great at the lunch portion and she recommended other activities to do in Cairo.
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Loved Cairo by Night.
Richard_S, Oct 2022
Private Guided Night Tour of Cairo
It was wonderful to see Cairo by night.
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Perfect!
Joseph_N, Oct 2022
Day Trip To Luxor From Cairo By Plane Including Lunch
Her English was also excellent which made communication very easy.
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Good experience
Anjali_G, Sep 2022
Avoid Scams I Enjoy the night in Cairo
Didn’t get a chance to visit Cairo Tower as it was closed for a week.
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Amazing service
Michel_G, Sep 2022
VIP Meet and Assist upon arrival at Cairo Airport- (with Hotel Private Transfer)
Awesome service with Isaac and gave us a bit of Cairo history and speak very well English, took care of all visa and customs questions, took lots of stress out for us, I recommend vip arrival to make life simpler
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Great Intro to Cairo Tour!
Aisha_R, Aug 2022
All Inclusive Full-Day Tour to Pyramids, Museum, mosque and Felucca
Flexible, we were able to see pretty much everything we wanted to see in Cairo.
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Great layover
Gord_T, Aug 2022
CAIRO LAYOVER EXCURSION TO GIZA PYRAMIDS SPHINX COPTIC CAIRO and BAZAAR
It was a great layover to see some highlights in Cairo.
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Church day
Levi_M, Jul 2022
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
This was a great trip and amazing to see all the religious history behind Cairo.
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If I came back I would do this again
Andrew_K, Jul 2022
Day-Tour to the Red Sea from Cairo
I would 100% recommend this to anyone who comes to visit Cairo.
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Very nice trip to see some incredible religious architecture
Jason_N, Dec 2022
Full Day Tour Visiting Coptic and Islamic Cairo
Excellent day out to see the grand hill top Mohammed Ali mosque.
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Great trip to see all the main sites
VictoriaLouise_T, Dec 2022
Enjoy 8 days Egypt tour package from Cairo airport with Flights
Overall this was a great trip to see a lot of the main sites in Egypt.
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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.

People Also Ask

What is Cairo famous for?

Cairo is most famous for the Giza Pyramids, a complex of pharaonic tombs built about 4,500 years ago. Most visitors admire these monumental UNESCO-listed structures—alongside the mysterious Sphinx—before discovering the city’s other attractions, including Tutankhamun’s treasures at the Egyptian Museum and Old Cairo’s mosques, churches, and Khan el-Khalili bazaar.

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How many days should I spend in Cairo?

Two or three days is enough to cover Cairo. Devote day one to the Giza Pyramids and Egyptian Museum to see its mummies and Tutankhamun’s gold burial mask. Next, discover Old Cairo’s mosques, citadel, and Khan el-Khalili bazaar; visit Coptic Cairo's churches; and take trips to nearby ancient Memphis or Saqqara.

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What do tourists typically do when visiting Cairo?

Most Cairo visitors prioritize Giza’s Pyramids before checking out the city’s wider offerings. History buffs head for the Egyptian Museum’s antiquities and then dive into Old Cairo’s many sights. Those wanting a slower pace, meanwhile, are happy browsing the colorful souks and malls and taking scenic cruises on the Nile.

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What can you do in Cairo at night?

Cairo buzzes at night, with shops, bazaars, and restaurants packed till late. Watch a spectacular Pyramids Sound and Light Show or admire Cairo’s sunset and skyline on a Nile felucca (sailboat) or dinner cruise, complete with belly-dancing shows. Alternatively, roam Old Cairo’s lit-up souks, pausing for coffee at a cafe.

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What activities are popular in Egypt?

The popular activities largely depend on location. In the Nile Valley, touring pharaonic-age treasures is tops, with most visitors focusing on ancient pyramids, temples, and museums. Along the Red Sea, other pursuits dominate: relaxing at the beach or pool, scuba diving, snorkeling, and shopping and dining out at night.

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Is Cairo safe to walk around?

Yes. Cairo is safe to stroll around, although women should be cautious about walking alone at night in some areas, and be ready for occasional unwanted attention. Statistically, crime and terrorism risks are low, but it’s wise to stay vigilant, follow local security measures, and keep your valuables safe while exploring.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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