Cairo, a destination that must always be on the list of “Must-Visit Places” of any visitor. Cairo has its arrogant Pyramids, defying the test of time, a mysterious Sphinx, Islamic architectural works that are completely different from other places. Cairo is a city full of charm and contrasts. Standing in Cairo, you will feel sorry for the distant past. Sometimes you will lose patience because of the traffic, chaos but Cairo brings you timeless history and breathtaking architecture and delicious food. The beauty of Cairo is difficult to appreciate at first, but if you have more time than spending two short days for the Pyramids and the Sphinx, you will see a historic, different and captivating Cairo.

Cairo is a city full of charm and contrasts | cairo travel blog
Panoramic views of Cairo | cairo travel blog
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Discovering the treasures of the Egyptian Museum, wandering the mysterious market, tasting the legendary koshary or taking a cruise on the Nile River are experiences in Cairo that you will never forget when traveling to Cairo, Egypt.

Cairo is known as the “city of a thousand minarets” | cairo travel blog

So, is Cairo worth visiting, how to visit Cairo, what to do in Cairo? Let’s check out our Cairo blog (Cairo travel blog) with the fullest Cairo travel guide (Cairo tourist guide, Cairo guide) from how to get to Cairo, best places to visit as well as top things to do in Cairo to help you maximize your trip as follows!

Between the historical values and timeless beauty, there is a chaos that is sometimes “chaotic” but extremely unique. Because nowhere else in the world do old values have such a profound influence on daily life as in Cairo. A magical beauty but also full of contrasts. | cairo travel blog

Down the historic Nile River, ancient Egyptian civilization left humanity with brilliant achievements. But perhaps Cairo is where the most quintessential things are “kept”. A city with the only remaining wonder, buildings tinged with time, hustle and bustle of life… creating an enchanting yet contradictory look.

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Street fruit stalls | cairo travel blog

Cairo is the place where the most quintessential things are “preserved”. It is the wonder of the Pyramid that defies time, the Sphinx is full of unanswered mysteries, unique Islamic architectural works.

Overview of Cairo (#cairo travel blog)

Cairo capital location on the Egypt map | cairo travel blog

Cairo is a large city located in the Northern region of Egypt and is also the capital of the country of Egypt. Cairo city is located right next to the legendary Nile River. With a population of more than 22 million people, Cairo is currently one of Africa’s largest cities and also the 19th largest city in the world. The city of Cairo has a long history. Ancient Cairo dates back to 641, when the Arab commander Amr Ibn Al-Aas successfully conquered Egypt. The modern city of Cairo was founded in 969, under the Tunisian Fatimid dynasty.

Modern blend ancient of Cairo | cairo travel blog
| cairo travel blog

Cairo is closely associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located within its geographical area.

Situated close to the Nile Delta, Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in 969, but the land that makes up the city today was home to ancient national capitals whose ruins can still be seen in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been the center of the region’s political and cultural life, and is known as the “city of a thousand minarets” because of its famous Islamic architecture.

vendors streets in egypt
The market of Cairo. | cairo travel blog

Cairo is famous and known all over the world for its rich and fascinating history with many mysterious legends. Egypt has a total of 97 large and small pyramids, but the pyramids near Cairo and Giza are the most famous, pyramids such as Khufu pyramid, Khafre pyramid, Djoser pyramid… are between 4,400 and 4,600 years old. In particular, the Giza and Saqqara pyramids were the first pyramids built by architect Imhotep.

With its northern location in Egypt, on both banks of the Nile River, Cairo has long been a place associated with many brilliant dynasties of the past. And the most prominent is ancient Egypt, with the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis that still exists today.

El Khalili Market | cairo travel blog

When to visit? (#cairo blog)

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November – April: This is the best time to visit Cairo because the weather is cool, not too hot. However, this is peak time so the number of tourists will be very crowded and prices will also increase.

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May – August: Summer in Cairo is very hot, however this is the low season so the number of visitors is small and prices are quite cheap. From June to August is the hottest months in northern Egypt, especially the capital Cairo, the temperature can reach more than 40 degrees Celsius. At this time there can also be sandstorms, dust clouding the sky, traffic jams and scarcity of drinking water, so this is not the right time to travel to Egypt.

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You can go to Cairo in the months around June or September, when the weather is not too hot or rainy, there are fewer people at tourist attractions and prices are reasonable.

And one point to note, Cairo city has a very large temperature difference between day and night. I went in the winter when it was 9 degrees Celsius at night but during the day it was up to 24 degrees Celsius. Please pay attention to choose appropriate clothing.

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How to get to Cairo? (#cairo travel guide)

From Vietnam, there is currently no direct flight to Cairo. You can buy a ticket from Hanoi/Saigon to transit in a third country such as Thailand, Malaysia, Dubai… or the most economical way is to buy a ticket from Vietnam to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and then fly to Cairo from there. There are many airlines flying to Cairo or Aswan city such as Gulf Air, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Emirates Airlines… with many reasonable prices and time frames. Check out Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak to hunt cheap airfares.

Cairo International Airport | cairo travel blog

From the airport to downtown Cairo, there are 3 types of means of transportation:

Bus: The cheapest way to get from the airport to central Cairo is to take the airport bus in front of Terminal 1. Every 30 minutes, from 7:50 am to 6:15 pm, the bus will take you to Ramses train station in the city center, from here you can take the metro to other places. Bus price is about 5EGP/person.

Taxi: Taxis will be faster than buses, but be sure to negotiate the price with the driver in advance. The taxi price from the airport to the city center is about 150 EGP.

Rent a shuttle: This is the fastest and most convenient way to get from Cairo airport to the city center for about 20USD. You can refer to and book private transfer services via the link.

Getting around Cairo (#cairo travel blog)

Cairo traffic | cairo travel blog

Cairo’s public transportation system is quite developed (including a metro system). If your group has a small number of people, you can absolutely use this system.

Our group has 5 people, so traveling by public transport will not be very optimal. So we rented a 7-seat car and driver to take us around the city (and to the airport).

Actually, this is a very right decision. Because firstly, it is convenient, saving time finding directions and calling a car. Second, our driver was very nice, introducing us to the unique features of the city that only locals know.

Metro: The cheapest and fastest way to get around Cairo is the metro, it only costs you from 7EGP per trip. However, the metro does not reach every location in the city, so if you go somewhere other than the metro line, you will have to combine taxis, walking, etc.

Cairo Metro map | cairo travel blog

Taxi: Before getting in a taxi, you must ask the driver if the meter works and clearly agree on the price, negotiate the specific destination and price to avoid being scammed. Some examples for your reference: from Tahir square to the old town costs about 13EGP, from the old town to Khan el-Khalili market costs 10EGP, Tahir square to Giza Pyramid costs about 40EGP.

Cairo taxi | cairo travel blog

Buy a tour: If you want to go to places far from Cairo such as the Step Pyramid, Red pyramid, Memphis… Buying a tour is the best way. You won’t have to worry about traffic, won’t be afraid of being scammed, and will have a tour guide with you. You can buy tours at hotels or travel companies in Cairo.

Self-driving cars: I honestly don’t recommend driving yourself in Cairo because of the extremely heavy traffic and frequent traffic jams.

Where to go and what to do in Cairo?

The Egyptian capital is a fascinating metropolis with lots of interesting aspects to explore. On the one hand, it is rich in history with foundations dating back to the 10th century, with the ancient sites of Giza and Saqqara that every tourist wishes to visit. On the other hand, it’s a cosmopolitan destination with a diverse culinary scene, world-class art galleries, epic concert venues and swanky shopping malls. Mosques cover some areas of the city, while others are dominated by synagogues or Coptic churches. Whatever your interests, one thing is for sure: Cairo has something for you.

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When Egypt flourished, peaked more than 4,000 years ago and then declined in the early years of the common era, civilization in other places was just beginning.

Great Pyramid of Giza (#cairo travel blog)

The Great Pyramid of Giza includes three pyramids with different names: Khufu, Menkaure and Khafre. Many theories believe that this great work was built in about 20 years from 2560 BC, this is the only ancient world wonder remaining today. Khufu is the largest pyramid with a height of 146m (equivalent to a 40-storey building). According to scientists’ calculations, building the Khufu pyramid required 5.9 million tons of stone and 20,000 craftsmen for 20 years. Today, Giza still has many unexplained mysteries such as Giza being built exactly on the median line dividing the world, the 3 peaks of the Giza pyramid align exactly with the 3 main stars in the constellation of Orion?

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only ancient wonder of the world that remains today | cairo travel blog

Egypt’s most recognizable landmark, the Pyramids of Giza, are located on the outskirts of Cairo. Here you will find three separate pyramid complexes including the Great Pyramid of Khufu, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still stands today. The Giza Pyramids, dating back some 4,500 years to the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, are a monumental testament to the incredible skill of ancient architects.

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Sphinx (#cairo blog)

The Sphinx statue is located in front of Giza. There are many theories that the Sphinx was carved as a god to guard and protect the Great Pyramids. The statue has the body of a lion, and the head of a man with a Royal style headgear.

The Sphinx is proud of time

The statue is made of limestone in the shape of a lion’s head and body, placed in front of the Khafre pyramid in a prostrate position overlooking the Sahara desert as a deity guarding the Pharaoh’s eternal sleep.

In front of the pyramid is the Sphinx, carved from a single block of stone. | cairo travel blog

Usually gods in Egyptian religion are depicted with animal heads and human bodies, but the Great Sphinx is the opposite. The head wears a Nemes scarf – an outfit reserved only for Pharaohs, showing wisdom and control while the lion’s body symbolizes strength, this means that strength is under control, it represents strength, demonstrate the supreme authority of the Pharaohs.

Step Pyramid of Djoser

Built at Saqqara about 4,700 years ago, the Djoser step pyramid (Step Pyramid) was the first Egyptian pyramid with 6 stepped floors, 62 m high covered with limestone. This is also the largest and oldest stone construction, just after the stone city in Peru. This first pyramid was built as a burial place for Pharaoh Djoser’s body. Prime Minister Imhotep was assigned by Pharaoh Djoser to do this task.

Djoser was the first Egyptian step pyramid | cairo blog

Later, Imhotep was deified because of his incredible achievements for Egypt. The Pyramid of Djoser was originally built as a mastaba – that is, a mausoleum with a rectangular shape, a flat roof and sloping sides. After many expansions, the tomb structure has become a 62 m high pyramid with 6 floors built on top of each other.

Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid

Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid were built by Pharaoh Sneferu. The bend pyramid is a 101 m high structure, with a base of nearly 188 m, with not only two inclined angles but also two entrances. This is the most unusual pyramid compared to the others as the first 49 m largely retains the smooth outer limestone shell and is built at a steep angle of 54 degrees, then tapers towards the top.

The bent pyramid is a 101m high structure, with a base of nearly 188m | cairo blog

The Red Pyramid was built entirely of red sandstone, with a height of 104m, ranking fourth among the tallest pyramids built in Egypt. This is humanity’s first success in building a pyramid with a steep surface. The path down to the crypt is quite steep and very low, you will have to bend down close to the ground to be able to crawl down. There are handrails on both sides and the ramp has wooden edges to prevent slipping. At the end of the steep ladder is a small tunnel with an almost vertical V-shaped dome, and continue climbing another wooden ladder to get to the bottom of the pyramid.

The Red Pyramid was built entirely of red sandstone and is 104m high | cairo blog

Islamic Cairo (Medieval Cairo)

Muslims conquered Egypt in 641, then subsequent dynasties continuously built cities and magnificent architectural works. During the Mamluk period (from 1250 to 1517) was the peak period of Islam with countless mosques and mausoleums being built. Most mosques are free and allow non-Muslims to visit.

Cairo Citadel

  • Address: 27H6+G27, Privet Entrance Bel Kalaa, Al Abageyah, El Khalifa, Cairo Governorate 4252360, Egypt
  • Tel: (+20) 0-19654
  • Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Web: [email protected]
  • Ticket price: 300 EGP – Adults | 150 EGP – Children – Buy tickets in advance here
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Cairo Citadel is a Muslim fortress built in the Middle Ages in the capital Cairo, with the purpose of protecting the city of Cairo and Fustat from attacks by the Crusaders. Today, Cairo Citadel is one of the most famous attractions in Cairo.

The Citadel was the home of Egypt’s rulers for nearly 700 years, built in 1176 by the famous Muslim commander Salah ad-Din (also known as Saladin) to protect the capital Cairo from foray. Citadel today is one of the attractive tourist place in Cairo.

Muhammad Ali Mosque

Citadel is famous because it has the Muhammad Ali Mosque with bold Ottoman architecture (Turkey), built by Sultan Muhammad Ali’s first son, Tusun Pasha, to commemorate him.

Muhammad Ali Mosque bears the bold architecture of the Ottoman Empire | cairo blog

The mosque is very prominent with two soaring minaret towers and silver domes, this work was built under the direction of Greek architect Yusuf Bushnak from Istanbul and the prototype of this mosque is the mosque Yeni Islam in the capital of Turkey. The main part of the mosque is built on a square surface with an area of 41x 41m. The main dome is 21m in diameter, 52m high, gilded and elaborately carved. In addition to the main dome, there are four side domes and four secondary domes. These domes make the space inside much larger than it actually is. The inside of the church is especially majestic with a blue dome and gorgeous crystal lights.

Splendid crystal lights inside Muhammad Ali Mosque | cairo blog

City of the Dead

City of the Dead in Cairo is the largest cemetery in the world. Despite this, the area is still home to more than half a million people.

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In the past, this area was the burial place of the rich and aristocratic class (some tombs were even very large in scale). But due to war and urbanization, poor and homeless people have moved here to take refuge.

Then gradually these homeless people became grave caretakers for these graves. And of course they are allowed by the homeowner to live in this land. From there was born the “City of the Dead” area.

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Maybe this area will not be on the top list of must-visit areas when coming to Egypt. But for me, “City of the Dead” is what is most characteristic of this city and the whole country of Egypt, where “the dead is the source of the living”.

Cairo Old Town

Cairo’s Old Town is the area with the largest concentration of Islamic buildings in the world, with a full range of architectural schools built from the 10th to 17th centuries. This entire area was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1979.

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The most prominent of these are works such as the Hanging Church. This is one of the oldest churches in Egypt, dating back about 1800 years. This church is located at a height of 6m above the ground and the distance from the ground to the main building is 29 steps, so it is also called “Staircase Church”. The Hanging Church has very delicate and sharp carvings on the wooden doors. It was once the headquarters of the Coptic Pope from the 7th to the 13th century.

The Hanging Church was built on the foundations of an old Roman fortress | cairo blog

The Hanging Church is also known as the Church of the Virgin Mary. The Coptic Hanging Church in Cairo got its name because it was partially suspended above the Babylon Fortress. The current building dates back to the 7th century, and was preceded by another church built on the same site four centuries earlier. Therefore, it is believed to be one of Egypt’s oldest places of Christian worship.

Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hasan and Islamic Academy

Address: 27J4+WF7, El-Darb El-Ahmar, El Khalifa, Cairo Governorate 4292008, Egypt

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Built in the mid-14th century, the mosque and islamic school is one of the largest mosques in the world and it is an impressive architectural achievement of its time. Sultan Hassan Mosque is 150m long, the tallest tower is 68m high, the walls are 36m high and is a combination of many different decorative styles expressing strength and splendor, luxury and great beauty.

Sultan Hassan Mosque with splendid architecture | cairo travel guide

Sophisticated and extremely majestic in design, the mosque’s facade is decorated with stone and marble. In the middle of the mosque’s courtyard is a domed fountain, surrounded by four soaring domed halls are four Islamic academies of four schools of Sunni Muslim thought: Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanafi and Hanbali.

Admission to Sultan Hassan Mosque includes admission to the neighboring Al Rifa’i Mosque. Although Al Rifa’I Mosque was built more than 400 years after Sultan Hassan, you will see many similarities between these two structures.

Ibn Tulun Mosque

Address: Ahmed Ibn Tolon Sq., Tolon, El Sayeda Zeinab, Cairo Governorate 4261342, Egypt

Built in the 9th century under the direction of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, the Mosque of Ibn Tulun is the oldest still intact mosque and the largest in Cairo. Minaret Ziggurat was inspired by the architecture of the great mosque of Samarra in Iraq | cairo travel guide

Ibn Tulun is the oldest mosque in Cairo, built in 876 and made entirely of fired bricks. Ibn Tulun’s architecture is square, with an area of about 26,318m² including a central courtyard of about 92m². In the middle of the courtyard is a domed fountain, originally the dome was gilded but it collapsed in 968, the current dome was built in the 13th century. Ibl Tulun also has a Ziggurat minaret tower inspired by the architecture of the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq, you can climb to the top of the minaret and see the view of Cairo from above.

Ibn Tulun is the oldest mosque in Cairo, built in 876 | cairo travel guide
  • Address: Ahmed Ibn Tolon Sq., Tolon, El Sayeda Zeinab, Cairo Governorate 4261342, Egypt
  • Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Web: [email protected]
  • Ticket price: 60 EGP – Adults | 30 EGP – Children – Buy tickets in advance here

Abdeen Palace Museum

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Abdeen Palace is the most famous royal palace in Cairo. Once the place where the government apparatus was located from 1874 to 1952, then converted into the presidential palace, Abdeen Palace is a historical witness to many important events of Egypt.

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  • Address: 26VW+7VP, El-Gomhoreya Square, Rahbet Abdin, Abdeen, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
  • Opening hours: 09:00 – 15:00
  • Ticket price: 60 EGP – Adults | 30 EGP – Children
  • Note: You will have to send the camera outside

Coptic Cairo

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The Christian community in Cairo makes up about 10% of Egypt’s population (i.e. more than 8 million people) and is the largest Christian community in the Middle East and North Africa. Egyptian Christianity belongs to a separate branch called Coptic. Some studies suggest that Christianity began to spread in Egypt about 30 years after Jesus’ death and that by about 300 AD, Alexandria had become one of the largest Christian centers along the Mediterranean coast.

Khan El Khalili Market

Mentioning the countries of the Middle East and North Africa means mentioning mysterious bazaar markets, where exquisite handicrafts, elaborate silverware, or rows of aromatic scents are sold. And Khan El Khalili market is a tourist destination in Cairo, Egypt, where you must definitely visit when traveling to this city.

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| cairo travel guide

This market was established in 1382 with the original purpose of serving as a warehouse for merchants coming to Cairo to exchange goods. Later, as commercial activities became more and more vibrant, Khan-El-Khalili Bazzar gradually developed into a large and bustling commercial area like today.

| cairo travel guide
| cairo travel guide

The market includes many shops filled with unique items. From traditional handicrafts such as wool carpets, leather goods, jewelry, lamps or perfumes and spices to high-end items such as gold, jade, jewelry…

St George’s Church

Once inside, you’ll immediately notice the vaulted wooden ceiling, marble pulpit, and an astonishing collection of religious icons. The church is where the apparition of the Virgin Mary was once witnessed (the name for events where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared at a certain location), open every day from 9am to 4pm.

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St George’s Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery is a beautiful complex. It was rebuilt in 1904 after the original building was destroyed by a fire.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church

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This is perhaps the most unique and historically fascinating church in Cairo. Not only is it the oldest church in Coptic Cairo, but it is also built over a cave. This is where Jesus, Saint Mary and Saint Joseph stayed during their trip to Egypt.

Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo can be considered one of the largest and greatest museums in the world. In addition to storing more than 120,000 artifacts, the museum is also famous for preserving the victory stele of Pharaoh Narmer and the massive treasure found in King Tutankkhamun’s tomb.

The Sphinx in front of the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

There are so many antiques and mummies related to the history and culture of the great civilization that when entering the museum you will be overwhelmed. Egypt has many Pharaoh tombs, but almost all of them have been completely looted after thousands of years, only Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb was still quite intact when discovered in 1923. Tutankhamun’s tomb is considered the The tomb is the smallest in the Valley of the Kings, but the amount of wealth found there is still staggering. The mummy was placed in 5 gilded coffins, the mask covering the mummy weighed 11kg in gold, extremely delicately carved.

Pharaoh Narmer’s victory stele in the Egyptian museum

Located in Downtown Cairo – the heart of the Egyptian capital, the Egyptian Museum is the first Cairo experience for any traveler interested in the country’s ancient history. Since 1902, it has been a repository for artifacts unearthed at legendary archaeological sites such as the Valley of the Kings and Luxor.

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Today, the museum is somewhat overloaded with more than 120,000 items crammed into a 15-hectare space. Everything displayed here is of great value, including the treasures of Tutankhamun and the mummies of famous pharaohs (ancient Egyptian kings).

The Egyptian Museum is open from 9am every day and costs 120 EGP/adult.

Address: El-Tahrir Square, Ismailia, Qasr El Nil, Cairo Governorate 4272083, Egypt
Hours: 9 AM–5 PM

See the city with a “bird’s eye” view from Cairo Tower

Cairo Tower was completed in 1962, using funds donated by the US government to Egyptian President Nasser for political purposes. In order to protest this “bribery”, Nasser decided to use the money to build a tall tower as a symbol of resistance. The tower is located on Gezira Island today and is the tallest building in North Africa (187m).

An experience in Cairo that cannot be missed is viewing the city from the tower with a super impressive perspective. (Photo: Plan Egypt Tours)

Once you reach the tower, you can admire the mosaics in the lobby, depicting landmarks of the now-defunct United Arab Republic. At the top of the tower there is an observation deck and a revolving restaurant where you can get a 360-degree view of Egyptian Cairo city from above and from every angle. Therefore, people often compare this to a “bird’s eye” sightseeing experience. Entrance tickets cost 60 EGP.

Explore the trendy Zamalek district on Gezira island

Cairo is famous for its historic neighborhoods like Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo, but those looking for a bit of modern Egyptian culture should head to Zamalek. Located on the northern half of Gezira island, this is a trendy area filled with foreign embassies, upscale restaurants, art galleries and fashion boutiques.

SafarKhan Art Gallery is a bastion of contemporary Egyptian art, while the eclectic El Sawy Culture Wheel regularly hosts concerts, festivals, plays and engaging lectures.

SafarKhan Art Gallery

A must-have evening experience in Cairo is Le Pacha 1901, a floating venue with breathtaking views of the Nile, where you can enjoy dining at one of nine award-winning restaurants.

Go up Bab Zuweila – experience Cairo at a cheap price

One of three remaining gates in the city walls of Cairo’s Citadel, Bab Zuweila has stood there since the 11th century. Its twin towers served as a vantage point from which to observe approaching enemies, and during Mamluk era, the gate was known as an execution site.

Today, Bab Zuweila is a historical relic where you can climb two minarets for breathtaking views stretching all the way to Cairo’s Citadel. Entrance fee is 15 EGP.

Enjoy the evening at the Cairo Opera House

When traveling to Cairo, you will come across a lot of impressive architecture. One of them is the Cairo Opera House located near the southern end of Gezira Island, the most highly regarded performing arts venue in the city. In addition to foreign music performances, the Theater also organizes traditional music nights with the participation of artists from the Cairo Opera Company, Cairo Symphony Orchestra and Cairo Opera Ballet Company.

Cairo Opera House

There are 7 performance spaces in total, from the Main Hall with more than 1,200 seats to the airy outdoor stage. Remember to check information on the theater website to update the latest performance schedule.

Extend your trip with a cruise on the Nile River

The longest river in the world, the Nile has been the lifeblood of every Egyptian civilization since ancient times. To feel its timeless majesty, book a cruise on this bustling body of water.

A relaxing cruise will make your Cairo experience more complete. (Photo: Sanctuary Retreats)

Options are endless, including a romantic traditional wooden boat (felucca) cruise at sunset, or a multi-day trip to Luxor, stopping at famous attractions along the way such as the Valley kings, Karnak and Dendara. You can also take a boat to explore Cairo by destination within the city, admiring the beauty of Egypt’s past and present from a very different perspective.

What to eat?

Ful medames

Ful medames is one of the top famous Egyptian dishes consisting of fava beans cooked with spices and olive oil. Dried beans are often cooked until soft and served in the morning with eggs and pita bread. This rustic dish is often eaten for breakfast, you can buy it anytime during the day at street shops or restaurants serving local and middle eastern dishes.

Koshari (Koshary)

Many of Cairo’s restaurants are eclectic, serving dishes from around the world. However, when you come here, don’t forget to enjoy typical Egyptian delicacies. Top-rated local restaurants include Abou Tarek in Downtown Cairo and Zööba in Zamalek. Among them, Abou Tarek is a famous place that appeared on CNN with only one dish on the menu: Koshary. Although koshary is simple, it encapsulates the essence of Egyptian cuisine.

egypt foods
A local cook makes a batch of Koshari. Image free photos, Flickr

Coming to the Egyptian capital Cairo, try a fast food dish called Koshari, a perfect combination of pasta, rice, lentils, green beans and caramelized onions covered with a layer of tomato sauce with garlic. According to local people, Koshari is very good for sleep. Koshari is a famous dish with a delicious and attractive flavor.

Hamam Mahshi (Stuffed Pigeon)

Pigeon is stuffed with rice or “Green Wheat” and then fried. When enjoying this dish, you should pay attention to the small bones in the bird meat. This is one of the most loved dishes in Egypt. You will easily find this dish at the entrance to Khan El Khalili market in Cairo and at high-end restaurants.

Karkade – Hibiscus tea

Karkade drink

The tea is purple in color, created from the red color of dried hibiscus flowers, boiled, cooled, then added a little sugar to dissolve. The water has a taste between sour and sweet, this is considered a drink with quite a great taste. With this type of tea you can also enjoy it hot like herbal tea and it gives you a lot of minerals to prevent high blood pressure.

Where to stay?

You should book a room in the central Cairo (near the Egyptian Museum) for convenience in going out and traveling.

However, the city center area is far from the Pyramid area. For convenience, before visiting the Pyramids, you can change hotels to the Giza area. Hotels around this Giza area have a direct view of the Pyramids, but are very dirty (when you open the window you can smell the smell of animal dung).

Cairo night skyline

Almost all hotels in Egypt are family-run and managed. There is no doubt about the quality: firstly, the rooms are very old, amenities are minimal, and secondly, the service is poor.

We were “sold” on our first night in Cairo. Yes, sold, you heard right, sold publicly right in the middle of the capital. The story is that we booked a hotel on, but when we arrived, we received a phone call from the hotel owner (we booked the hotel’s airport shuttle) that we were overbooked today. room already. We will transfer you to a nearby hotel of similar quality.

But no, the hotel they “sold” us was old and terribly bad (rooms were old, furniture was broken) and generally too bad. But because we only stay for one night, and we had just taken a long flight, we had no choice.

Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

Check out top and best hotels in Cairo on or

Cairo itinerary 3 days

You should spend at least 3 days to explore Cairo. Because firstly, you will need time to rest after a day of flying, secondly, Cairo has many areas to visit and they are far apart (like the Giza Pyramid complex 20km from Cairo city center).

On the first day of arrival, you should rest, then 1 day go to places in the city center, 1 day go to the Pyramid area.

You can refer to our Cairo travel itinerary below:

  • Day 0: Fly to Cairo
  • Day 1: Cairo Citadel – Abdeen Palace Museum – Mosque of Ibn Tulun – City of the Dead – Khan el-Khalili Market
  • Day 2: Visit the Giza Pyramid complex
  • Day 3: Egyptian Museum

In addition, from Cairo you can go out to Alexandria city for the same day. For convenience, you can buy a tour. There are many units offering this tour but the prices are quite varied. You can go to the following page to see the listed tour prices.

A few small notes when traveling to Cairo

  • Eat oranges, eat lots of oranges, not because they are nutritious or vitamin C, simply because they are so delicious.
  • Sit and drink tea at the bazaar market, immersing yourself in the local culture.
  • Bargain a lot, even in convenience stores, always finalize the price before any activity.
  • Drink non-alcoholic beer
  • Don’t wear white clothes, the reason is simple because it will get dirty very quickly and when washed here the color of your shirt will no longer be white.
  • Tourist manipulation is quite common in Cairo, as well as throughout Egypt. If in Vietnam, just tell the seller not to buy and he will leave. But in Egypt it’s not the case. Maybe it’s still there and they’re pulling it even harder.
  • Tips are quite common in Egypt, and many people take it for granted (even if the service they provide to customers is not good, they still ask for it).
  • Always bargain when buying goods (even in stores with listed prices) because Egyptians are always to charge high prices.
  • Buy a SIM card right at the airport. When leaving the baggage claim area, you will see counters selling sim cards from Vodafone, Orange… Choosing a sim will depend on your wallet as well as your usage needs. I bought Orange’s sim package because its price was the most reasonable.
  • Bring a mask because Cairo city, firstly, is very polluted, secondly, the smell of dung is everywhere.

Today, Egypt, with its series of ancient structures and unanswered mysteries, is considered one of the most attractive destinations in the world, attracting tens of millions of tourists each year.

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Cairo you can refer to

Read more Egypt guide here.