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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 15 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
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
#3
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
#4
Giza Pyramids

Giza Pyramids

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One of the most mysterious Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (and the only one still standing), the Pyramids of Giza—the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre, and Pyramid of Menkaure—still live up to more than 4,000 years of hype. Seeing these 4th-dynasty pyramids and their guardian Great Sphinx rising from the Giza Plateau is a must on any trip to Cairo (and the reason many travelers find themselves in Egypt).More
#5
Khan El-Khalili

Khan El-Khalili

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With a history dating back to the 14th century, the Khan El-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
#6
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
#7
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
#8
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
#9
Sphinx (Great Sphinx of Giza)

Sphinx (Great Sphinx of Giza)

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The 66-foot-tall (20-meter-tall) Sphinx of Giza is an icon of ancient Egypt, and the subject of continued debate regarding its meaning, age, and original builder. With the head of a human and the body of a lion, the Sphinx—one of the world’s largest and oldest statues—is said to symbolize strength, power, and wisdom.More
#10
Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali)

Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali)

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The citadel of Saladin—and the Cairo skyline—is dominated by the Alabaster Mosque (also known as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Modeled on classic Turkish architecture, it took 18 years to build the structure (1830-1848, with a complete restoration taking place in the 1930s. It was commissioned by Muhammad Ali, ruler of Egypt from 1805-1849, who lies in the marble tomb inside.More
#11
Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu Pyramid)

Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu Pyramid)

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The last surviving wonder of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Giza is also known as the Khufu Pyramid or Pyramid of Cheops, in honor of the pharaoh who built it around 2570 BC. The oldest, largest, and tallest of the three Giza pyramids, it is full of narrow tunnels and eerie chambers that are open to visitors.More
#12
Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo

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Cairo is known as the "city of a thousand minarets," and that's reflected in its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A journey into Islamic Cairo is a journey into the city’s past, from Fustat, Egypt’s first Muslim capital, to the 1,000-year-old walled city, the Cairo Citadel, founded by 12th-century leader Saladin, and beyond.More
#13
Dahshur

Dahshur

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Blissfully serene compared to the Giza Pyramids chaos, Dahshur’s desert sands were once home to an impressive 11 large pyramids. Today, two survive, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both built by Pharaoh Snefru around 4,500 years ago. Unusually, travelers can explore inside both of them, as well as a smaller side pyramid.More
#14
Hanging Church (Al-Muallaqa)

Hanging Church (Al-Muallaqa)

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Tucked among Coptic Cairo’s winding streets, the Hanging Church is more than 1,000 years old. Enter the 19th-century façade to find icons, elegant screens, a marble pulpit, and a window onto Roman ruins beneath the church. The Hanging Church is an important site for Egyptian Christians, as well as one of Coptic Cairo’s top attractions.More
#15
Cairo Tower (Burj al-Qahira)

Cairo Tower (Burj al-Qahira)

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Standing 614 feet (187 meters) tall on Gezira Island, the Cairo Tower (Burj al-Qahira) is one of Cairo’s most recognizable landmarks. Completed in 1961, with a striking lattice exterior designed to resemble a lotus flower, the tower is topped with a café, an observation deck, and a revolving restaurant.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

8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
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Recent reviews from experiences in Cairo

star-5
Amazing service
Michel_G, Sep 2022
VIP Meet and Assist upon arrival at Cairo Airport- (with Hotel Private Transfer)
Awesome service with Isaac and gave us a bit of Cairo history and speak very well English, took care of all visa and customs questions, took lots of stress out for us, I recommend vip arrival to make life simpler
star-5
Definitely would recommend
Geena_S, Aug 2022
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
I had an amazing time getting to see some of the highlights of Cairo, Ibrahim was very friendly and knowledgeable.
star-5
Great Intro to Cairo Tour!
Aisha_R, Aug 2022
All Inclusive Full-Day Tour to Pyramids, Museum, mosque and Felucca
Flexible, we were able to see pretty much everything we wanted to see in Cairo.
star-5
Great layover
Gord_T, Aug 2022
CAIRO LAYOVER EXCURSION TO GIZA PYRAMIDS SPHINX COPTIC CAIRO and BAZAAR
It was a great layover to see some highlights in Cairo.
star-5
Church day
Levi_M, Jul 2022
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
This was a great trip and amazing to see all the religious history behind Cairo.
star-5
If I came back I would do this again
Andrew_K, Jul 2022
Day-Tour to the Red Sea from Cairo
I would 100% recommend this to anyone who comes to visit Cairo.
star-5
Great half-day to see the important Cairo sites
Catherine_A, Jun 2022
Private Half Day Tour Coptic Cairo and Khan El-Khalili Bazaar
We had a great time with our guide Maged, who was very informative and spoke excellent English.
star-5
Nice tour
Raychel_H, May 2022
Cairo Day Tour visit Egyptian Museum, Citadel and Khan Khalil Bazaar
Worth it if you want to learn about some background about items in the museum and to visit the market.
star-5
Friendly service and great experience
Reem_A, May 2022
Nile Dinner Cruise in Cairo with Belly Dancing and Hotel Transfer
He was so informative about the area and what to do/ visit in Cairo.
star-5
Excellent Transfer with a great Driver!
Jacqueline_K, May 2022
Private Pickup Transfers From Cairo To Luxor By Bus
He speaks excellent English and is very accommodating.
star-5
Easy, stress free, fantastic
Andrew_H, Apr 2022
Full-Day Tour Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, and Saqqara
I would recommend this trip as an easy way to see the best sites in Cairo in a day.
star-5
Ride with Duba
Lisa_H, Apr 2022
Private Pickup Transfer from Cairo Airport to Hotels in Cairo
He was courteous and offered some insight on activities to do in Cairo that I had not considered.
star-5
Amazing
Kim_E, Apr 2022
1 Hour ATV at Giza Pyramids from Cairo
Great experience and definitely more valuable than just visiting the pyramids, which was great, but the ATV ride is an unforgettable way to see the views of desert & Cairo.
star-5
Excellent adventure around
Carlicia_A, Apr 2022
Full Day Tour Visiting Coptic and Islamic Cairo
Good experience around cairo such a nice tour guide he tried to show me everything I needed to see about cairo
star-5
Fantastic Experience
Terrance_W, Apr 2022
Private Guided Night Tour of Cairo
The sites were amazing to see at night and the locations to see over all of Cairo made for a very memorable experience.
star-5
The greatest tour experience by far
Jasmine_C, Sep 2022
8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar from Cairo
We got the chance to visit the museum in Cairo.
star-5
Excellent Tour - Incredible Value for Money
Michael_M, Sep 2022
All inclusive trip Giza Pyramids,Egyptian Museum,Sphinx,Bazar,Camel Ride,Lunch
We didn't bother going to any of the shops as we had already visited these on our cruise so the tour was very much tailored to what we wanted to see which made it even better.
star-5
Brilliant tour guide Essam
Letitia_R, Sep 2022
Full-Day Tour Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, and Saqqara
We went through to see the pyramids where he gave us tips on where to go and what to do.
star-5
Great tour to explore Cairo
Wagner_L, Sep 2022
Private Islamic and Christian Cairo Day Tour
The distances between the attractions are not close, and public transport, specially in that region is not that good.
star-5
Want to get out of the airport fast and without hassle? Book this service!
Sophie_H, Sep 2022
VIP Meet and Assist upon arrival at Cairo Airport- (with Hotel Private Transfer)
Since there wasn’t much traffic, he took us on a short detour to see a really cool palace.
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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.

Currency
Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Time Zone
EET (UTC +2)
Country Code
+20
Language(s)
Arabic

People Also Ask

What is Cairo famous for?

Cairo is most famous for the Giza Pyramids, a complex of pharaonic tombs built about 4,500 years ago. Most visitors admire these monumental UNESCO-listed structures—alongside the mysterious Sphinx—before discovering the city’s other attractions, including Tutankhamun’s treasures at the Egyptian Museum and Old Cairo’s mosques, churches, and Khan el-Khalili bazaar.

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How many days should I spend in Cairo?

Two or three days is enough to cover Cairo. Devote day one to the Giza Pyramids and Egyptian Museum to see its mummies and Tutankhamun’s gold burial mask. Next, discover Old Cairo’s mosques, citadel, and Khan el-Khalili bazaar; visit Coptic Cairo's churches; and take trips to nearby ancient Memphis or Saqqara.

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What do tourists typically do when visiting Cairo?

Most Cairo visitors prioritize Giza’s Pyramids before checking out the city’s wider offerings. History buffs head for the Egyptian Museum’s antiquities and then dive into Old Cairo’s many sights. Those wanting a slower pace, meanwhile, are happy browsing the colorful souks and malls and taking scenic cruises on the Nile.

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What can you do in Cairo at night?

Cairo buzzes at night, with shops, bazaars, and restaurants packed till late. Watch a spectacular Pyramids Sound and Light Show or admire Cairo’s sunset and skyline on a Nile felucca (sailboat) or dinner cruise, complete with belly-dancing shows. Alternatively, roam Old Cairo’s lit-up souks, pausing for coffee at a cafe.

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What activities are popular in Egypt?

The popular activities largely depend on location. In the Nile Valley, touring pharaonic-age treasures is tops, with most visitors focusing on ancient pyramids, temples, and museums. Along the Red Sea, other pursuits dominate: relaxing at the beach or pool, scuba diving, snorkeling, and shopping and dining out at night.

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Is Cairo safe to walk around?

Yes. Cairo is safe to stroll around, although women should be cautious about walking alone at night in some areas, and be ready for occasional unwanted attention. Statistically, crime and terrorism risks are low, but it’s wise to stay vigilant, follow local security measures, and keep your valuables safe while exploring.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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