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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
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
#10
Hanging Church (Al-Muallaqa)

Hanging Church (Al-Muallaqa)

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Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Hanging Church (Al-Muallaqa), which is still in use, is called the Hanging or Suspended Church as it is built on top of the Water Gate of Roman Babylon. Steep stairs lead from the forecourt to a 19th -century façade topped by twin bell towers. Beyond is a small inner courtyard, usually filled with sellers of taped liturgies and videos of the Coptic pope, Shenouda III.The interior of this 9th-century (some say 7th-century) church, renovated many times throughout the centuries, has three barrel-vaulted, wooden-roofed aisles. Ivory-inlaid screens hide the three haikal s (altar areas), but in front of them, raised on 13 slender pillars that represent Christ and his disciples, is a fine pulpit used only on Palm Sunday. One of the pillars, darker than the rest, is said to symbolize Judas. In the baptistry, off to the right, a panel has been cut out of the floor revealing the Water Gate below. From here there is a good view of one of the gate's twin towers.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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From
US$880,00
US$1 000,00  US$120,00 savings
Nile River Dinner Cruise in Cairo

Nile River Dinner Cruise in Cairo

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From
US$121,80
5 days 4 nights Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan included flight from Cairo

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Day-Trip to Alexandria from Cairo by Private Car

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Day-Trip to Alexandria from Cairo by Private Car

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US$31,50
US$45,00  US$13,50 savings
4-Days Nile Cruise Aswan&Luxor,Hot Air Balloon&Abu Simbel.Hot deal

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4-Days Nile Cruise Aswan&Luxor,Hot Air Balloon&Abu Simbel.Hot deal

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US$342,00
US$360,00  US$18,00 savings
Full-Day Giza Pyramids and Egyptian Museum and Bazaar

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Full-Day Giza Pyramids and Egyptian Museum and Bazaar

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From
US$15,00
US$25,00  US$10,00 savings
4 Days Nile Cruise Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel with Train Tickets from Cairo

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4 Days Nile Cruise Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel with Train Tickets from Cairo

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US$349,60
US$368,00  US$18,40 savings
Enjoy 4-Day 3-Night Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor

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Enjoy 4-Day 3-Night Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor

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From
US$247,00
US$260,00  US$13,00 savings

Recent reviews from experiences in Cairo

star-5
Wonderful tour!
John_S, Nov 2020
Full-Day Tour from Cairo: Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, and Saqqara
Very impressed with our guide’s knowledge and his fluency with English.
star-5
If you have no many time for sightseeing
Dmitry_M, Dec 2020
Full-Day Guided Private Tour to Pyramids of Giza Dahshur Sakkara and Memphis
I would recommend this tour when you have no time, like me and want to see many different places in one day.
star-5
Great experience
Bulat, Nov 2020
Day Trip To Fayoum From Cairo with lunch
We visited desert miracle Qaraun lake, Fayoum with it's countrystyle life and ancient castle as well as natural pearl of Egypt Wadi El Rayan waterfall near lake boats marina.
star-5
Perfect Day with Amir
Randi, Nov 2020
Best Giza pyramids Sphinx Tour,Camel Ride, Lunch,Bazzar,Quad bike
I know with COVID people have their reservations about traveling, but if you choose to visit, PLEASEEE book this tour with Amir.
star-5
Day visit to Alexandria from Cairo
Andrew_B, Oct 2020
Private Guided Full-Day Tour to Alexandria from Cairo
Mohammed was very knowledgeable at all attractions and made our day pass very smoothly and without a hitch.
star-5
Wonderful Tour Guide and Amazing Tour
Morgan_D, Sep 2020
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
We got to see the good spots of Cairo like the Egyptian museum and the bazaar.
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.
star-4
Great religious tour of Cairo
Carlos, Mar 2020
4-hours private Tour to Islamic Mosque and Coptic Cairo
Just a bit overpriced compared to other tours that include food and a full day of activities.
star-5
Perfect Transfer
David_S, Mar 2020
Private Departure Transfer from Hotels in Cairo or Giza to Cairo International Airport
I would use them again if I were to visit Cairo.
star-5
Prompt
Edwin_C, Feb 2020
Round-Trip Airport Transfer in Cairo or Giza
Driver gave us some history about Cairo and his English was pretty good.
star-5
Alexandria Day Tour
aljohngalura, Feb 2020
Alexandria Day Tours From Cairo Daily Trip To Alexandria From Cairo Giza hotels
3 hour drive from Cairo and there's plenty to see and do
star-5
Amazing experience
ahmedimam1977, Feb 2020
Sound and Light Show at Giza Pyramids
Show was amazing, professional driver showed up on time and spoke English, car was clean.
star-5
Very busy, but interesting
NathanDickinson484, Jan 2020
Private Cairo Half Day Tour Visit Egyptian Museum
Was good to visit the museum, and learn about cairo and egypt.
star-5
Amazing tour to see the highlights on Cairo
dominicjpd, Jan 2020
2-Day Ancient Egypt and Old Cairo Highlights Tour
Day 1 was the pyramids/desert activities and day 2 was inside Cairo (mosques, museums, and bazaar).
star-5
Great tour of pyramids made excellent by guide
VancityMichelle, Jan 2020
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
The whole point of our trip was to see the pyramids.
star-5
Great Tour
Kim L, Dec 2019
Day-Tour of Cairo Highlights and Giza Pyramids from Cairo
We only had one day to see the sights of Cairo.
star-5
Welcome sight
Linda W, Oct 2019
Pickup from cairo airport to anywhere in Cairo
We were so happy to see Eslam holding a sign with our name on it outside the Cairo airport!
star-5
Best tour ever
iloveyou2019, Oct 2019
4-hours half day Giza pyramids ,sphinx , lunch and camel ride
I would recommend this tour to every friend that goes to visit cairo.
star-5
Excellent experience
bernardoc641, Jul 2019
Top Rated Private Customizable Day Tour to Alexandria from Cairo
I highly recommend to work with this company if you want to visit Alexandria from Cairo.
star-5
Nile Boat Cruise
josephjames5, Jul 2019
Evening Dinner Nile Cruise in Cairo with Private Transport
Ali is very good in English,well spoken, very Hospitable and took real good care of my kids.

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