Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis with a rich history dating back thousands of years. From the majestic pyramids to the bustling bazaars and museums, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this city. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best ways to spend three days in Cairo, including what to see, where to stay, and where to eat.
Travel Tips in Cairo
- Dress modestly, especially when visiting mosques and other religious sites
- Carry cash with you, as many places do not accept credit cards
- Be prepared for hot and dry weather, especially during the summer months
- Bargaining is common in markets and bazaars, so don’t be afraid to negotiate prices
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding tap water
What to See in Cairo
There are so many incredible sights to see in Cairo, but here are some of the most important places that you should definitely visit:
- The Great Pyramids of Giza – The last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the pyramids are a must-see for anyone visiting Cairo. You can explore the pyramids on foot or on camelback.
- The Egyptian Museum – Home to a vast collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, the museum is a treasure trove of history and culture. Don’t miss the exhibits on King Tutankhamun’s tomb.
- Khan El-Khalili Bazaar – This bustling market is a must-visit for anyone who loves shopping and haggling. You can find everything from spices to jewelry to traditional Egyptian souvenirs.
- Mosque of Muhammad Ali – Located in the Citadel of Cairo, this stunning mosque is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture. Don’t forget to take in the panoramic views of the city from the Citadel.
- Coptic Cairo – Visit the old town of Cairo, home to many churches, monasteries, and synagogues, and the oldest continuously inhabited area in Cairo.
- The Nile River – Take a relaxing cruise along the Nile River to see the city from a different perspective.
These are just a few of the many incredible sights to see in Cairo. For a more detailed itinerary, check out the official tourism website of the city of Cairo:
Most Important Places Highlighted in Cairo
If you only have three days in Cairo, you’ll want to make the most of your time by prioritizing the most important places to visit. Here are some of the highlights:
- Day 1 – Start your day at the Pyramids of Giza, and then head to the Sphinx. After that, visit the Egyptian Museum and take a break at the nearby Tahrir Square. End your day with a visit to Khan El-Khalili Bazaar.
- Day 2 – Start your day at the Citadel of Cairo, where you can visit the stunning Mosque of Muhammad Ali and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Next, head to Coptic Cairo to visit the Hanging Church and Ben Ezra Synagogue. End your day with a dinner cruise along the Nile River.
- Day 3 – Start your day at the Al-Azhar Park, and then visit the Al-Azhar Mosque. After that, head to the Ibn Tulun Mosque and the nearby Gayer-Anderson Museum. End your day with a visit to the Salah El-Din Citadel and the Alabaster Mosque.
Of course, these are just suggestions – feel free to customize your itinerary based on your own interests and preferences.
Routes in Cairo
Getting around Cairo can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the city. Here are some routes to help you navigate the city:
- Pyramids and Museum Route – This route takes you to the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum.
- Citadel and Old Cairo Route – This route takes you to the Citadel of Cairo, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, and Coptic Cairo.
- Parks and Mosques Route – This route takes you to Al-Azhar Park, the Al-Azhar Mosque, the Ibn Tulun Mosque, and the Salah El-Din Citadel.
You can use taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber and Careem to get around Cairo. However, be prepared for traffic and always negotiate prices before getting in the car.
Where to Sleep in Cairo
Cairo has a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some recommendations:
- Luxury – Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Fairmont Nile City, and Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezirah.
- Mid-Range – Kempinski Nile Hotel Cairo, Le Meridien Cairo Airport, and The Nile Ritz-Carlton.
- Budget – Freedom Hostel, Wake Up! Cairo Hostel, and Luna Hotel Cairo.
Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
Where to Eat in Cairo
Cairo is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of delicious cuisine to try. Here are some recommendations for where to eat:
- Street Food – Head to Tahrir Square or Khan El-Khalili Bazaar to try traditional Egyptian street food like koshary, falafel, and taameya.
- Local Cuisine – Try traditional Egyptian dishes like ful medames (fava bean stew), kofta (grilled meatballs), and molokhia (a leafy green soup) at restaurants like Abou El Sid, Felfela, and Zooba.
- International Cuisine – Cairo has a diverse range of international restaurants, including Italian, French, Japanese, and Lebanese. Some popular options include Pane Vino, Maison Thomas, and Kazoku.
Be sure to try some traditional Egyptian drinks like karkadeh (hibiscus tea) and shay bil na’na (mint tea) to complete your dining experience.
Free Tours in Cairo
If you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of free tours and activities to enjoy in Cairo. Here are some options:
- Free Walking Tours – Many local tour companies offer free walking tours of the city, including Old Cairo, Islamic Cairo, and Downtown Cairo.
- Free Museums – Some museums, like the Gayer-Anderson Museum and the Agricultural Museum, offer free admission on certain days of the week.
- Free Parks – Al-Azhar Park and Al-Andalus Park are both beautiful green spaces that are free to enter.
Be sure to check the official tourism website of the city of Cairo for more information on free tours and activities: https://www.cairo.travel/
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cairo safe for tourists?
Cairo is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always important to take precautions like avoiding crowded areas and keeping an eye on your belongings. Be aware of the current political situation and follow local news and travel advisories.
What is the best time of year to visit Cairo?
The best time to visit Cairo is from November to March, when the weather is mild and comfortable. Avoid visiting during the summer months, when temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F).
Do I need a visa to visit Cairo?
Most visitors to Cairo will need a visa to enter Egypt. You can apply for a visa online or at the airport upon arrival.
What should I wear when visiting Cairo?
It’s important to dress modestly when visiting Cairo, especially when visiting mosques and other religious sites. Women should cover their heads and wear loose-fitting clothes that cover their arms and legs. Men should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts.
How do I get around Cairo?
You can use taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber and Careem to get around Cairo. However, be prepared for traffic and always negotiate prices before getting in the car. Alternatively, you can use the Cairo Metro, which is a fast and efficient way to get around the city.
Remember to stay safe, dress modestly, and always carry cash with you. Be sure to book your accommodation and tours in advance, especially during peak tourist season. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy your time in Cairo!