If you only have a few days to discover this busy metropolis with over 20 million residents, you must plan your time carefully. Cairo is a bustling metropolis with plenty to see and do. From ancient Egyptian ruins to mosques and museums, there is something for everyone in Cairo. Here are the top 5 things to do in this vibrant city.
1. Visit the Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are the most famous attractions in Cairo and indeed all of Egypt. These massive structures were built over 4,500 years ago and are a true wonder and an absolute must-see when visiting Cairo. The best time to visit the pyramids is early or late in the afternoon when it is not so crowded, and the heat is not as intense. After dark, the pyramids host a wonderful light show depicting their history through the ages and up to modern times.
2. Tour the Egyptian Museum
Cairo is home to one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive museums dedicated to ancient Egyptian history. The Egyptian Museum houses over 120,000 artefacts, including some of the most famous pieces from King Tut’s grave: a golden funeral mask, his massive burial chamber, and many other funeral objects. The museum is also home to many impressive mummies and a large collection of papyrus scrolls. A visit to the Egyptian Museum is essential for anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating civilization. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
3. Stroll Around Tahrir Square
Tahrir Square is the heart of Cairo and the site of many important historical events. Today, the square is a bustling hub of activity, with people from all walks of life coming to Tahrir to shop, eat, meet up with friends or simply to relax and people watch. The square is also home to the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, one of Cairo’s most iconic buildings. This imposing structure was built in the early 19th century and is visible everywhere in the city. The mosque is especially beautiful at night when it is illuminated by hundreds of lights. Visitors are welcome to enter the mosque but must be respectful of Islamic customs and dress appropriately (no shorts or sleeveless tops).
4. Tour the Islamic Cairo
Islamic Cairo is a fascinating city area with plenty of mosques and madrassas (religious schools) to explore. This area also hosts the Khan el-Khalili bazaar, one of the largest markets in the Middle East. This huge market is full of stalls selling everything from spices and souvenirs to clothing and jewellery. This area also homes the Citadel of Saladin, a medieval fortress built in the 12th century, where you can find several museums and the Al-Azhar Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Cairo. The best time to visit Islamic Cairo is early morning or late afternoon to avoid the day’s heat.
5. Take a felucca ride on the Nile River
A felucca ride is a must-do when visiting Cairo. These traditional Egyptian sailboats ply the waters of the Nile River and offer a peaceful and relaxing way to see the city. Many boats will have music playing, and some even serve refreshments. A felucca ride is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Cairo and simply relax while taking in the sights of this great city. The best time for a felucca ride is early morning or late afternoon when the weather is cooler. Cairo is an amazing city with so much to see and do. These are just a few highlights, but there is something for everyone in Cairo. Whether you’re interested in ancient history, mosques and temples, markets and bazaars, or just want to relax by the Nile, Cairo has something for you. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Cairo today!