Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is a vibrant and captivating destination that offers visitors an immersive cultural experience unlike any other. The city is a melting pot of ancient history, rich traditions, and modern urban life, making it a truly unique destination that’s perfect for anyone looking to explore something new and exciting.
One of the biggest draws of Cairo is its incredible historical sites, including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum. These ancient wonders are not only visually stunning, but they also offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into the lives and customs of the ancient Egyptians. Whether you’re exploring the massive stone structures of the pyramids or marveling at the intricate artifacts on display at the museum, Cairo’s history is sure to leave you in awe.
Beyond the city’s historical offerings, Cairo is also known for its incredible food scene. From street vendors selling savory koshari and ful medames to high-end restaurants offering gourmet twists on traditional Egyptian dishes, there’s no shortage of delicious options to explore. And of course, no visit to Cairo would be complete without trying some of the city’s famous sweets, like the flaky, syrupy baklava or the creamy, indulgent umm ali.
But perhaps what sets Cairo apart most is its people. Egyptians are known for their warmth and hospitality, and Cairo is no exception. From the bustling markets of Khan el-Khalili to the quiet cafes of Zamalek, you’re sure to encounter friendly locals eager to share their city with you. So if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a rich and fascinating culture, indulge in delicious food, and meet some of the friendliest people around, Cairo is definitely a destination worth considering.
Here are 10 things to do while you’re in Cairo, Egypt
1. Marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramids of Giza are undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world. These incredible structures, built over 4,500 years ago, still stand tall today, defying the passage of time and the elements. To marvel at the pyramids is to be transported back in time, to a world of pharaohs and ancient civilizations, and to witness the incredible feats of engineering and architectural prowess that made them possible.
As you stand before the pyramids, you’ll be struck by their sheer size and scale. The largest of the three pyramids, the Pyramid of Khufu, stands an impressive 147 meters tall and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. It’s hard not to feel humbled and overwhelmed by the sheer size of these massive stone structures, which were built without the aid of modern machinery or technology.
But it’s not just their size that makes the pyramids so impressive - it’s the incredible precision and craftsmanship that went into their construction. The blocks of limestone and granite that make up the pyramids were carefully cut and shaped, then transported across long distances and assembled with incredible precision. The result is a monument that is not only massive but also stunningly beautiful in its symmetry and design.
Whether you’re admiring the pyramids from afar or exploring their inner chambers, the experience is sure to leave you in awe. From the soft glow of the sunrise to the fiery hues of sunset, the pyramids are a marvel to behold at any time of day. So don’t miss the chance to experience this incredible wonder of the ancient world for yourself - marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza and witness the incredible legacy of Egypt’s pharaohs.
2. Delve into the Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum is a true treasure trove of ancient artifacts and historical treasures, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of ancient Egypt. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be surrounded by a world of wonder, with rooms filled with statues, sarcophagi, and other priceless artifacts.
One of the museum’s most famous exhibits is the collection of treasures belonging to the boy king Tutankhamun. This collection includes an array of stunning gold jewelry, ceremonial objects, and other artifacts that were buried with the young king in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The dazzling beauty and intricate craftsmanship of these objects are truly breathtaking and offer a rare glimpse into the opulence and grandeur of the ancient Egyptian royal court.
But the treasures of Tutankhamun are just the beginning of the wonders that await you in the Egyptian Museum. The museum’s vast collection includes over 120,000 artifacts, including mummies, papyri, and everyday objects from ancient Egyptian life. Among the most fascinating objects on display are the mummies of ancient Egyptian pharaohs and other dignitaries, which have been carefully preserved for thousands of years.
As you explore the museum’s halls, you’ll be struck by the incredible artistry and skill that went into creating these ancient objects. From intricately carved statues to beautifully painted pottery, the museum’s collection is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the ancient Egyptians.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the world of ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Museum is an absolute must-see. So put on your explorer’s hat and delve into this fascinating world of ancient treasures and historical wonders.
3. Haggle at Khan El-Khalili Bazaar
If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Cairo’s vibrant culture and bustling energy, look no further than the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar. This vibrant market is a maze of winding alleyways and colorful storefronts, where vendors sell everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and souvenirs. The air is filled with the rich aroma of spices, and the sound of vendors calling out their wares fills the air. As you weave your way through the crowded streets, you’ll be greeted by an endless array of sights, from the vibrant colors of the textiles to the glittering gold of the jewelry.
And if you’re up for a challenge, there’s no better place to test your bargaining skills than the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar. Haggling is a time-honored tradition here, and vendors expect customers to negotiate for the best possible price. Whether you’re searching for the perfect souvenir or simply enjoying the experience of bargaining with local vendors, the market is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
But the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar isn’t just a place to shop - it’s a cultural experience that offers a glimpse into the heart of Cairo. As you explore the market, you’ll encounter a diverse array of people, from locals doing their daily shopping to tourists from around the world. And as you haggle over prices and soak in the vibrant energy of the market, you’ll feel like you’re a part of this rich tapestry of culture and tradition.
So don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar. Whether you’re in search of souvenirs, spices, or simply a taste of authentic Cairo, the market is a must-visit destination that offers an unforgettable experience of this vibrant city.
4. Conquer the Citadel of Salah El-Din
The Citadel of Salah El-Din is a medieval fortress that stands tall on a hill overlooking Cairo. Built in the 12th century, this imposing structure has been the site of numerous battles and has played a pivotal role in the history of Egypt. Today, it is a popular destination for visitors who want to explore its rich history and enjoy stunning views of the city.
As you approach the Citadel, you’ll be struck by the sheer size and majesty of the fortress. The walls are thick and imposing, and the watchtowers loom high above. But don’t be intimidated - inside the Citadel, you’ll find a world of wonder waiting to be explored.
One of the highlights of the Citadel is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, a stunning example of Ottoman architecture that was built in the 19th century. This mosque is known for its soaring domes and minarets, and its interior is adorned with intricate tilework and ornate chandeliers.
But the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is just one of the many treasures that the Citadel has to offer. As you explore the fortress, you’ll come across other historic mosques, museums, and monuments, each with its own unique story to tell.
And if you’re up for a challenge, don’t miss the opportunity to climb the walls of the Citadel for breathtaking views of Cairo. From the top of the fortress, you’ll be able to see the sprawling city below, with its iconic landmarks and bustling streets stretching out before you.
So whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply in search of stunning views, the Citadel of Salah El-Din is a must-visit destination in Cairo. So put on your climbing shoes and get ready to conquer this medieval fortress for an unforgettable experience of the rich history and culture of Egypt.
5. Cruise down the Nile River
No visit to Cairo is complete without a relaxing cruise down the Nile River. The Nile is the lifeblood of Egypt, and a boat ride along its tranquil waters is the perfect way to soak in the sights and sounds of this fascinating city.
As you embark on your cruise, you’ll feel a sense of peace and tranquility wash over you. The hustle and bustle of the city will fade away as you glide along the calm waters of the river, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning vistas.
The Nile is lined with historic landmarks and cultural treasures, and a boat ride offers a unique perspective on some of Cairo’s most iconic sights. As you cruise down the river, you’ll be able to see the towering minarets of mosques, the ancient ruins of temples, and the sprawling cityscape stretching out before you.
And if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the local wildlife - from graceful egrets to playful dolphins, the Nile is home to a diverse array of animals that thrive in its rich waters.
But a Nile cruise is more than just a scenic journey - it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of Egypt. Many cruises offer onboard entertainment, including live music and traditional dance performances, and some even serve authentic Egyptian cuisine, allowing you to sample the flavors of this rich and diverse cuisine.
So if you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing way to soak in the sights and sounds of Cairo, don’t miss the chance to cruise down the Nile River. It’s an experience that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired by the beauty and wonder of this remarkable city.
6. Admire the Mosque of Ibn Tulun
The Mosque of Ibn Tulun is a breathtaking example of Islamic architecture and design, and one of the oldest mosques in Cairo. Built in the 9th century, this iconic landmark has stood the test of time and remains one of the most impressive structures in the city.
As you approach the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, you’ll be struck by the sheer size and grandeur of the building. The mosque’s exterior is adorned with intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy, and its minaret towers high above, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
But it’s not just the exterior of the mosque that’s impressive - the interior is just as awe-inspiring. The mosque’s central courtyard is surrounded by a covered arcade with beautiful arches and columns, and the walls are adorned with intricate designs and carvings.
One of the highlights of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun is the spiral staircase that leads to the top of the minaret. This staircase is unique in its design and is a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the craftsmen who built the mosque.
But the Mosque of Ibn Tulun is more than just a stunning work of art - it’s a place of worship and a symbol of the rich Islamic heritage of Egypt. Visitors are welcome to enter the mosque and observe the daily prayers, offering a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual side of this remarkable city.
So whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, the Mosque of Ibn Tulun is a must-visit destination in Cairo. Be dazzled by the stunning architecture and intricate design of this historic landmark, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Egypt.
7. Uncover the Coptic Cairo
Coptic Cairo is a historic Christian quarter of Cairo that dates back to the early days of Christianity in Egypt. Here, you can discover a wealth of ancient churches, monasteries, and other religious sites that offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Coptic Christian community.
One of the most iconic sites in Coptic Cairo is the Hanging Church, which is suspended above the ground by a series of arches. This church dates back to the 3rd century and is one of the oldest and most important Coptic churches in Egypt. Its intricate carvings, beautiful icons, and stunning architecture are a testament to the skill and creativity of the craftsmen who built it.
Another must-see site in Coptic Cairo is the Church of St. Sergius, which is believed to have been built on the site where the Holy Family took refuge during their flight to Egypt. This church is an important pilgrimage site for Coptic Christians, and its peaceful atmosphere and beautiful architecture make it a popular destination for visitors from around the world.
But Coptic Cairo is more than just a collection of historic churches and monasteries - it’s a vibrant and thriving community that is deeply rooted in the traditions and culture of Egypt. As you explore the narrow streets and alleys of this ancient quarter, you’ll encounter local artisans, street vendors, and other residents who are eager to share their stories and traditions with visitors.
Whether you’re a history buff, a religious pilgrim, or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, Coptic Cairo is a must-visit destination in Cairo. Explore the ancient churches, monasteries, and other religious sites that make this quarter so special, and uncover the rich history and culture of the Coptic Christian community in Egypt.
8. Discover the Cave Church
The Cave Church, also known as the Monastery of Saint Simon the Tanner, is a one-of-a-kind destination in Cairo that’s well worth a visit. This unique church is carved into the side of the Mokattam Hills, which rise up on the eastern edge of the city. It’s a truly breathtaking sight, and the views from the church are equally impressive.
To reach the Cave Church, you’ll need to navigate the narrow and winding roads that lead up into the hills. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a sprawling complex of caves and tunnels that have been carved into the rock over the centuries. The church itself is the centerpiece of this complex, and it’s a remarkable sight to behold.
The interior of the church is surprisingly spacious, with high vaulted ceilings and beautiful stone columns that support the structure. The walls are adorned with colorful paintings and intricate carvings, which tell the story of the life of Saint Simon the Tanner, the patron saint of the church.
As you explore the complex, you’ll also discover a number of smaller chapels and shrines, each with its own unique history and significance. There are also several lookout points that offer stunning views of the city and the surrounding hills.
But perhaps the most memorable part of a visit to the Cave Church is the sense of peace and tranquility that pervades the complex. Despite its location in the heart of a bustling city, the church feels like a world away, a place where you can escape the noise and chaos of the world and connect with something greater.
So if you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in Cairo, don’t miss the chance to discover the Cave Church. It’s a destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.
9. Climb to the top of the Cairo Tower
Cairo Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Cairo and a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to the city. At 187 meters tall, it offers spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of Cairo and the surrounding areas. It’s a true engineering marvel that offers a unique experience for anyone who ventures to the top.
When you arrive at the tower, you can take an elevator ride that will whisk you up to the observation deck in just a few seconds. As you step out onto the deck, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the city, with its sprawling streets, bustling markets, and ancient landmarks all visible from above.
You can take your time to explore the observation deck, which is equipped with binoculars and informational displays that provide fascinating facts about the city and its history. You can also grab a bite to eat at the rotating restaurant, which slowly spins around as you dine, offering a constantly changing view of the city.
One of the best times to visit Cairo Tower is at sunset, when the sky is painted in shades of pink and orange, and the city begins to light up. It’s a truly magical experience that’s not to be missed.
In addition to its stunning views, Cairo Tower is also an important symbol of modern Cairo. Built in the 1960s, it represents the city’s ambition and its desire to move forward into the future. It’s a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Egyptian people, and a true source of pride for the city.
So if you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in Cairo, make sure to climb to the top of Cairo Tower. It’s a destination that’s sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
10. Step Back in Time at the Manial Palace
The Manial Palace is a stunning palace complex located on the Nile island of Rhoda, just south of downtown Cairo. Built in the early 20th century, it was the summer residence of Prince Mohammed Ali, the son of Khedive Tawfik, and served as a retreat for Egypt’s royal family. Today, it’s a fascinating historical site that offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the country’s aristocracy.
The palace is known for its unique blend of architectural styles, which combine Islamic, Ottoman, and European influences. The interior is adorned with intricate decorations, including carved woodwork, colorful tiles, and ornate plasterwork. Visitors can explore the many rooms and halls of the palace, including the reception hall, the harem quarters, and the prince’s private chambers.
One of the highlights of the Manial Palace is its extensive collection of art and artifacts, which includes Islamic ceramics, Persian rugs, and rare manuscripts. Visitors can also admire the palace’s beautiful gardens, which are filled with exotic plants and fountains.
As you walk through the palace and its grounds, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a bygone era of Egyptian history. The attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into the construction of the palace is truly remarkable, and it’s a testament to the skill and creativity of the country’s artisans.
If you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply want to experience the grandeur of Egypt’s royal past, a visit to the Manial Palace is a must. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Cairo, Egypt is a city that is full of history, culture, and beauty. From the awe-inspiring Great Pyramids of Giza to the bustling Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, there is something for everyone in this vibrant metropolis. Whether you’re interested in ancient history, modern art, or simply soaking up the local atmosphere, Cairo has plenty to offer.
The 10 things to do in Cairo that we’ve highlighted in this article are just a small sample of the many experiences that await you in this amazing city. Whether you choose to climb to the top of the Cairo Tower or explore the Coptic Cairo, you’ll find that each activity is filled with unique sights, sounds, and experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.
As you travel through Cairo, take the time to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods and immerse yourself in its vibrant culture. Whether you’re bargaining for souvenirs at a local market or admiring the intricate architecture of an ancient mosque, you’ll find that Cairo is a city that is both welcoming and endlessly fascinating.
In the end, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, Cairo is a city that is sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags, book your flight, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget!