Things to Do in Cairo Egypt | Top Rated Attractions & Activities
Best What you do with family and Fun activities in Cairo for adults in one day or more to visit The Pyramids of Giza, Sphinx and more Egypt Tours.
Cairo the capital city
We Can not talk about the best Cairo Tours before we talk about Cairo city. is the mother of the world and he who has not been in Cairo has not seen the world.
is actually the largest city in the African continent and in the Middle East and the fifteenth largest city in the world.
Cairo occupies an area of about 528 square kilometers in northern Egypt. Cairo is about 120 km west of Suez Canal, and 200 km south of the Mediterranean Sea.
History of Cairo
The city was founded in 969 A.D by Gohar El Siqilli, the founder of the Fatimid dynasty. Then the city became one of the richest cities in the new Muslim world order. Cairo continued as the capital of Egypt during the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamelukes dynasty, Ottoman Empire.
In Egypt, is always called the name of the country Misr but the official name is Al Qahirah. Scholars believe that the name is derived from the planet Mars (Al Najm Al Qahir) because when the Fatimid dynasty founded the city in 969 C.E the star rises in the sky. Also, the name means victorious. Umm al-Dunya (“the mother of the world”) is another name of the city beside the city of one thousand minarets.
- Cairo located 20 km to the south of the Nile Delta on the east bank of the river Nile with latitude 30.033333, and the longitude 31.233334.
- Cairo is bordered by On the North by Qalyubia, In the South uninhabited desert On the West Giza Governorate and the River Nile.
- The Greater Cairo region consists of Cairo, Giza, and Qalyubia.
Cairo National Day
Cairo National Day is on the 6th of July which is the day on which General Jawhar Al-Siqilli, the Fatimid leader laid the foundation stone of Cairo in 969 AD.
Horizontally divided red-white-black tricolor flag with the Eagle of Saladin. Al-Azhar Mosque Islam’s Minaret and its platform in the whole world
The city’s population in 2016 was estimated to be as high as 12 million but now the population is estimated at 21,750,020 in 2020.
City has a population density of 19000 people per square kilometer which ranks 37th in the world. The majority of Cairo’s population is Muslim. with a significant number of Egyptian Christians. The majority of the Christian in Egypt is of the Coptic Orthodox faithز
The city has been inhabited by many ethnic groups in centuries past but now surprisingly the city has a homogeneous population with very little in the way of ethnic minorities. The city has Egyptians, Nubians, Sudanese plus foreigners from USA and United Kingdom.
Arabic is the most widely spoken language in the city plus English and German.
Cairo like most of Egypt has a desert climate hot dry during the daytime and cool during the night time. The average temperature is 28°C with sunshine most of the day.
Summer (June to August) averages 35°C
Winter (December to February) 20°C
Spring (March to May) 23°C
Autumn (September to November) 25°C
In other words, the hottest is July and the coldest is January
The modernization of Cairo
The history of Egypt goes back thousands of years but the modern Cairo, we see right now was built in the late 19th century.
The modernization of Cairo and Egypt started under Mohamed Ali (c. 1769–1849), often called the “The builder of modern Egypt” who ruled the country beginning in 1805, modernizing and strengthening it, and expanding its borders. Modernization of Cairo began in 1830, but the period of greatest progress occurred during the reign of Ismail Pasha (r. 1863-79). Khedive Ismail ordered talented French and European architects to build a modern city center.
Today, many of downtown’s buildings look European but contain oriental influences that set them apart from their Western counterparts.
Cairo between past and present
The city is not only a historical city with historical ancient places but it has a modern life and interesting places to see. if you are a romantic person and you love romance, you can have a walk along the river Nile, especially at night. Explore the Cairo Tower and watch the capital city from the top. Spend a night in the Cairo opera house or have a romantic dinner in one of the Cairo Nile Dinner Cruise.
If you love shopping, Cairo is the shopper’s paradise, you must visit Khan EL Khalili bazaar but do not forget to smoke Shisha or water pipe or have coffee or Egyptian tea in the most ancient coffee in the area.
In The city, if you like Christian history, you can visit old Cairo or Masr El Kadima where you can smell the history of the holly family in the church of Saint Sergius or Abu Serga.
If you like history and monuments you can visit the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza. Meanwhile, Step Pyramid in Sakkara, Memphis, and Dahshour Pyramids.
If you like Islamic history and monuments, you can visit the Azhar Mosque or the Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali.
In general, Cairo hosts a unique collection of monuments that attest to the shared cultural heritage of ancient Egyptians, Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Best places to visit in Cairo
Cairo is a hub of rich history, hot touristic destinations, tourist attractions, and an unparallel experience for anybody who loves history and historical monuments.
When you are in Cairo and if you like to know more about Cairo sightseeing, Cairo Museums, and Cairo gems, you can join one of the Cairo Day Trip or Day Trips in Cairo to know more about Cairo history and Cairo sightseeing.
Cairo has a lot to offer and you have to plan your time and make your list to enjoy as much as you can the Cairo city.
Giza Pyramids and Sphinx
The pyramids of Giza are on the top to-do list In Cairo. Giza Pyramids is the only surviving wonder of the old seven wonders. While you visit the Pyramids, you will be able to marvel at the Great Pyramid of Cheops, also called the Pyramid of Khufu. The largest in Giza Plateau and the only wonder of the old seven wonders still survive. Walk around the Great Pyramid till you reach the Pyramid of Chephren or the second Pyramid. The Pyramid of Khefre is the only Pyramid in the Giza Plateau that still keeps part of its casing near the top.
Do not miss the Pyramid of Mycerinus (Pyramid of Menkaure), the smallest in the Giza Plateau. You can enter at least two of the three Pyramids nowadays, the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the second Pyramid of Khefre. End your tour with the Great Sphinx of Giza and admire that lion-bodied and the king’s face. From the Giza Pyramids Panorama, you can see Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), the biggest Egyptian Museum in the world whenever will be finished.
The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, commonly known as Cairo Museum is one of the world’s great museums. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is located in the heart of Cairo on the northeast of the main square in Cairo Tahrir Square. Cairo Museum is the first national museum in the middle east and one of the largest museums in the world.
The present building is the 5th place for the Museum since Mohamed Ali Pacha’s decree on the 15th of August 1835 to establish the first Museum in that time (Check the history of the Museum in Cairo Museum History). The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has a collection 120 000 items from ancient Egyptian antiquities. Cairo Museum is divided into two floors, the ground floor, and the first floor.
The ground floor has large and heavy objects like sarcophagi and the floor of the palace of king Akhnaton. In what’s called ATRIUM facing the entrance of the present Museum, we can see the huge colossi of the Amenhotep III (father of the king Akhnaton) and his wife Queen Ty with some of their sons and daughters.
The Egyptian Museum offers the history of Egyptian Civilization from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era. You can explore on the ground level the Akhnaton or Amarna Period section where you can see busts of King Akhnaton, and an unfinished head for Queen Nefertiti. Some heads of their daughters and the sarcophagus of Akhnaton.
Do not miss the Sphinx statue for Queen Hatshepsut, the statues of the great kings Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, the builders of the Giza pyramids at the Giza plateau. Do not miss the first floor with the rest of Tutankhamun’s treasures like the golden mask, the golden sarcophagus, some of his shrines, and his Canopic Jars. Besides, all we mentioned the Fayoum portraits and Fayoum Mummies are among the best you can explore on the first floor. One of the best treasures you can spot now in the Egyptian Museum the treasures of Yuya and Thuya with their mummies out of linen.
Animals’ mummies chamber with a lot of mummified animals like dogs, cats, baboons, cows, and the mummified crocodile. Meanwhile, there are a lot of human mummies displayed on the first floor with wooden colored sarcophagi. Please do not miss the Cairo Museum while you are in Cairo and you can give a visit to the newly opened one in Old Cairo, the Egyptian Museum of civilization where you can see the Egyptian Pharaohs of the New Kingdom.
Saqqara and the Step Pyramid
One of the most famous monuments of ancient Egypt, the Pyramids. So, it is worth visiting the first true pyramid, the step pyramid of Djoser.
Djoser sometimes spelled zoser was the founder of the Third Dynasty of Egypt and the builder of the first Pyramid built by his engineer Imhotep. Saqqara Step Pyramid of Saqqara necropolis is located 25km to the south of Cairo. Step Pyramid is a complex consisting of many buildings like the Southern tomb, Serdab, The house of the north, hypostyle hall, the house of the south, and the Heb- Sed court. Besides all that, Saqqara necropolis has much more to offer like, the Pyramid of Unas with the first Pyramid text, Serapeum of Saqqara, and the tomb of Mereruka.
Mereruka was a wealthy man and he was the vizier during the reigns of Kings Teti (c.2345–2323 BC). The tomb of Mereruka is a family tomb and it has some of the best daily life scenes of the noblemen in ancient Egypt. While you are in Saqqara, do not miss Imhotep Museum, The Museum was built to honor the memory of Imhotep, the first doctor in the world.
Memphis Egypt is one of the most important sights in Cairo Egypt as it was the first capital of united Egypt. Memphis has located 30km to the south of Cairo near the modern village of Mit Rahina and it was declared one of the UNESCO World Heritage in 1979.
The Capital was founded by King Menes (Narmer) around 3100BC, who united the two prehistoric kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. King Menes founded the capital on the west bank of the Nile River but unfortunately, the city and its temples are in ruins.
The city has a chief god called Ptah, the creator god and he was worshipped with his wife Sekhmet and their son Nefertem. The three gods are called the triad of Memphis.
Among the most important things you can see in Memphis are the ruins of the main temple, Ptah temple. The colossal statue of Ramses II is in what’s called the open-Air Museum. Meanwhile, the biggest alabaster sphinx was carved from a single piece of alabaster. Besides, some steles, sarcophagi, and busts mostly date back to the new kingdom.
Dahshur | Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid
Dahshur has located 40 km to the south of Cairo on the west bank of the Nile River. Dahshur was the royal necropolis before Giza Plateau and it is one of the best places to visit in Cairo Egypt.
Dahshur has many Pyramids like the white Pyramid for Amenemhat II, The black Pyramid for Amenemhat III, and those of King Sneferu. King Sneferu was the first king of the 4th Dynasty of Egypt.
Meanwhile, the father of the king Cheops, the builder of the Great Pyramid in Giza. Sneferu built two pyramids, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. The Bent Pyramid was the first in Dahshur and the Red Pyramid was the first true pyramid in Egypt. The Red Pyramid in Dahshur is known by this name relate to the red limestone they used for the building.
Citadel of Cairo
The Citadel of Cairo is one of the tourist attractions in Egypt. Cairo citadel is one of the most iconic monuments in Cairo. Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi chooses the highest place between the River Nile and Mokattam Hills to build his citadel.
The citadel of Cairo was built like defensive fortresses to protect Cairo from Crusader attacks. Cairo Citadel was the seat of government for about 700 years during Ayyubid Dynasty, Mamluks Dynasty, and Ottoman Dynasty.
Khedive Ismail (1830-1895) moved the seat of government from the Citadel to Abdeen Palace. The construction of the Citadel of Cairo started in 1167 and ends in 1182. Do not miss to visit one of the most famous Islamic mosques, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali or the Alabaster Mosque.
Mohamed Ali Mosque Cairo took about 18 years the construct. The mosque is famous for its French wall clock and the Alabaster Fountain.
Cairo Citadel has a lot to offer like Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalaun Mosque, Mosque of Sulayman Pasha, Al-Gawhara Palace Museum, and Egyptian Military Museum.
Mosque Madrassa of Sultan Hassan | Sultan Hassan Mosque
One of the unique things to do in Cairo is visiting the Mosque Madrassa of Sultan Hassan. It took 7 years between 1365 and 1363. Sultan Hassan mosque is part of Egypt’s Islamic history. Sultan Hassan mosque covers 8000 square meters and it is 63 meters high and it measures 500*86 meters.
The mosque madrassa of Sultan Hassan is located in Salah El-Din square facing the Citadel. One of the most impressive parts of the mosque is the entrance portal which is very gigantic besides the mausoleum and the dome. Suntan Hassan Mosque is one of these military-style architectures, that was because Mamluks used art and architecture as a means to manifest their power over their territories.
Khan el Khalili | khan el khalili bazaar
From a Fatimid necropolis for their sultans and princes, Mamluks converted it into bazaars. Khan El Khalili was the meeting point for all the merchants with their goods to offer and sell merchandise.
Facing Al Azhar Mosque, if you are coming with one of Egypt Tour packages trip or individual, you will enjoy one of the most picturesque and beautiful tourist attractions in Cairo. For Egyptians, Khan El Khalili is the place where they like to buy fabrics, clothing, gold, jewelry, and metalworks.
For tourists, Khan El Khalili Bazaar is the place where they will experience Cairo’s largest Souk. Khan El Khalili is the place to practice your negotiation skills, so, if you are the kind of people who pay the price they first asked while shopping, please do not go there.
You can find here silver Jewellery, gold, alabaster, pottery, Shishas, and a lot of traditional Egyptian items. Egyptian traditional handicrafts are some of the most beautiful stuff you can find in the Khan El Khalili market.
Do not be surprised when you know that one of the Egyptian Nobel prize winners Naguib Mahfouz was always set on the oldest café in the area dating back to 1797 El Fishway café.
After you walk the labyrinth of Khan El Khalili bazaar and experience the narrow streets full of vendors selling whatever you can imagine, enjoy a lemon meant or tea with fresh meant in one of the café shops before you leave the area.
Al Azhar Park is the only real park in Cairo. From a garbage dump for hundreds of years to one of Cairo’s attractions. Facing the city of Dead, the green paradise with gardens and fountains, restaurants and cafes.
Al Azhar Park has a stunning view of some of Cairo’s historical sightseeing like the Citadel, Mohamed Ali Mosque, and Ayyubid wall. 30 hectares of gardens and alleyways. Azhar Park is worth a visit to relax with family and enjoy a good coffee with 5 stars services.
If you like to experience Cairo nightlife and see the magnificent Cairo attractions from the water. On this two hours Dinner cruise in Cairo, you will see the high lights of Egypt’s capital. This cruise covers Cairo’s waterfront and the famous Cairo hotels, the Nile fountain, and the famous Giza Bridge.
Pyramids Sound and light show
One of the Cairo activities you can do in Cairo at night is the pyramid’s sound and light show. Enjoy a 45 minutes show with the most advanced multimedia techniques to highlight the Pyramids’ historical, cultural and architectural legacy. Seat with your beloved or family and listen to the story of the mythical Sphinx and Giza Pyramids.
Hidden Gems in Cairo / must-see hidden gems in Cairo
These are some of the hidden gems in Cairo for those who like to side something different and new
- Manial Palace Museum
- Cave Church
- Gayer-Anderson Museum (Bayt al-Kiritliya)
- Bellies En-Route
- Nile Zamalek Hotel Roof Top, Zamalek
- The city of the Dead
- Access Art Space (formerly Townhouse Gallery), downtown
- Said Halim Pasha Palace, downtown
- Abdeen Palace Museum, downtown
- Abdeen Palace was built in 1863 for Egypt’s royal family and later served as the
- AUC Bookstore, downtown
- Cairo Opera House small hall, Zamalek
- Al Azhar Park, Darb al-Ahmar
- Nilometer, Rhoda Island
- Garbage City
MUST-SEE BUILDINGS IN DOWNTOWN CAIRO
Cairo downtown is full of hidden gems that are often missed by visitors. Here are some of the top picks for must-see architecture and historic buildings.
The Assicurazioni Generali building
- Eish & Malh cafe
- Immobilia Building
- Shurbagi Building (aka Davies Bryan Building)
- 33 Sherif Street
- The Suares Building
- Talaat Harb Square
- Kasr el-Nil Bridge
Museums in Cairo Egypt
Cairo is home to museums of Egyptian Antiquities, but it is also a congregation of museums committed to every period in history:
- The Egyptian Antiques Museum
- The Egyptian Museum of Civilization
- The Grand Egyptian Museum
- The Museum of Islamic Art
- Carriage Museum
- Military Museum
- The Coptic Museum
- Imhotep Museum
- Manial Palace
- Police Museum
- Kasr (Qasr) El-Gawhara (Jewel Palace)
- Abdeen Palace Museum Complex
- Agricultural Museum
- Ahmed Shawki Museum
- Gayer-Anderson Museum
- Mukhtar Museum
- Museum of Mohamed Khalil
- Postal Museum
- Rail Museum
- Taha Hussein Museum
Parks and Gardens in Cairo
- The Andalusian Gardens
- Al-Azhar Park
- Aquarium Grotto Garden
- Cultural Park for Children
- Al Salam Awal
- Al Salam Second
- El Marg Hay Al Matareya
- Al Nozha
- Ain Shams
- East Nasr City
- West Nasr City
- Al Azbakeya
- El Mousky
- El Waily
- Bab El Shaareya
- Manshaet Nasser
- 15 May
- Al Basatine
- Hay El Tebeen
- Al Khalifa
- Al Sayeda Zeinab
- El Maasara
- Al Mokattam
- Dar AL Salaam
- Misr El Qdema
- El Zawia El Hamra
- El Zaitoun
- Al Sahel
- Al Sharabiya
- Hadayek El Kobba
- Rawd Al Faraj
- It consists of 12 districts:
- Masr El-Qadima
- Dar El-Salam
- El-Sayeda Zeinab
- May 15
It consists of 9 districts:
- Misr El-Gadidah
- Sharq Madinet Nasr
- Gharb Madinet Nasr
- El-Salam Awal,
- El-Salam Thani
It consists of 9 districts:
- Manshaet Naser
- Wast El-Qahira
- Gharb El-Qahira
- Bab El-Shaaria
It consists of 8 districts
- El-Zawia El-Hamra
- Hadayek El-Kobba
- Rod El-Farg
Cairo Famous Squares
- Ataba Square
- Bab El-Louq Square
- El-Korba Square
- El-Mahkama Square
- Lazoghly Square
- Opera Square
- Ramses Square
Universities in Greater Cairo
- University Date of Foundation
- Al Azhar University 970–972
- Cairo University 1908
- American University in Cairo 1919
- Ain Shams University 1950
- Arab Academy for Science & Technology and Maritime Transport 1972
- Helwan University 1975
- Sadat Academy for Management Sciences 1981
- Higher Technological Institute 1989
- Modern Academy in Maadi 1993
- Malvern College Egypt 2006
- Misr International University 1996
- Misr University for Science and Technology 1996
- Modern Sciences and Arts University 1996
- Université Française d’Égypte 2002
- German University in Cairo 2003
- Arab Open University 2003
- Canadian International College 2004
- British University in Egypt 2005
- Ahram Canadian University 2005
- Nile University 2006
- Future University in Egypt 2006
- Egyptian Russian University 2006
- Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development 2009
- New Giza University 2016
Where To Stay
you will have many accommodation options and choices depending on your budget. Here are some of the options with a different meal plan like bed only, breakfast only, breakfast and dinner, or full board basis. Overall, please keep in mind that is an amazing city, and affordable.
- 4 **** hotels
- 5***** hotel
Where to eat in Cairo?
Most tourists come to Cairo to visit the top Cairo tourist attractions like the Giza Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, and Pharaonic tombs and to learn more about ancient Egyptian history, and ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. However, some tourists are epicure, gourmets trying new foods, new dishes, new cuisines. Here are some of the best restaurants in Cairo where you can try Egyptian cuisines.
Best Restaurants in Cairo
- Le Pacha 1901
- Abou El Sid
- Koshary Abou Tarek
- Pier 88
- Naguib Mahfouz Café
- 139 Pavilion
- Kebdet el Prince
- Maison Thomas
- Bab Al Qasr
- The Grill
- Revolving Restaurant
- Olivo Pizzeria & Bar (Zamalek)
- Crimson Bar & Grill, Cairo, Egypt.
- Sobhy Kaber
- Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
The best clubs and nightclubs in Cairo
Some of us are epicure but also some are revelers, they love nightclubs and they believe Celebrating and partying with friends is also a very powerful cause of enjoyment. Here are some of the very famous pubs and nightclubs in Cairo
- Cairo Jazz Club
- Pub 28
- Cairo Cellar
- L’Aubergine Zamalek
- Riverside Cairo
- Crimson Bar & Grill, Cairo, Egypt.
- Stage One Lounge & Bar
- Odeon Palace Bar
- SASS Restaurant / Bar
- Johnny’s Pub
- Almaz Restaurant and Pub
- Buddha Bar
Best sushi restaurants and sushi bars in Cairo
Recently, Sushi restaurants started to be everywhere in Cairo Egypt. Sushi is a delicious, fishy Japanese bites of heaven. Whether you prefer westernized, fried creations, or classic nigiri sushi, you will find it in Cairo. Here are some of the best Sushi restaurants in Cairo
- Shogun Japanese Restaurant
- Saigon Restaurant & Lounge
- The Smokery
- TAO Cairo
- Kamala Restaurant & Bar
- Makino Japanese Restaurant
- Mori Sushi
- Jo Sushi
- Fuego – Grill and Sushi bar (Zamalek)
- ONE OAK-Steak & Sushi bar Mall of Egypt
- Santoku Sushi & Steak House
How to Get to Cairo from Sharm El Sheikh?
There are many options for how to get from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo such as
There is more than one airline that offers flights from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo for example Egypt Air, Fly Air, and Nile Air. Flying from Sharm to Cairo is the fastest way but the most expensive one and it takes one hour flight.
Getting from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo by bus is the cheapest way and it takes around 8 hours. Departure station from Sharm El Sheikh is Watania and arrival at Tahrir Square. The best companies to travel with are Go Bus and East Delta Travel.
If you have your own car or drive with a friend from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo, kindly note that it takes 7 hours driving including a coffee break as the distance is 490km.
How to Get to Cairo from Hurghada?
There are many options for how to get from Hurghada to Cairo such as
There is more than one airline that offers flights from Hurghada to Cairo for example Egypt Air, and Nile Air. Flying from Hurghada to Cairo is the fastest way but the most expensive one and it takes one hour flight.
Getting from Hurghada to Cairo by bus is the cheapest way and it takes around 6 hours. Departure station from Hurghada is Go Bus Station or White Bus Station at Watania petrol station and arrival at Tahrir Square. The best companies to travel with are Go Bus and White Bus.
If you are driving your own car or driving with a friend from Hurghada to Cairo, kindly note that it takes 5 -6 hours driving including a coffee break as the distance is 450km
Best Things to Do in Cairo with Kids
There are plenty of things and a lot of places you can visit with kids while you enjoy Egypt family holidays. Yes, will be best enjoyed when children are a little older and able to really able to understand ancient Egypt history and ancient Egyptian civilization. Family adventure holidays are all about discovery, and fun experiences over the standard package beach holiday. Egypt has many things to offer and you have too much to try. Egypt is different cultures, landscapes, people, and animals, so go and see the best things to do in Egypt for families and kids.
Here is a list of suggested best things to do in Cairo for families with kids
- Ride Camels by the Giza Pyramids
- Visit the Cairo Zoo and let the kids enjoy the animal’s life
- Spend half day at Al Sorat Farm in Abu Sir near Saqqara where you can ride horses, and donkeys, and see green fields, goats, sheep, and water buffalo.
- Enjoy life in ancient Egypt and visit the Pharaonic Village
- Enjoy a Felucca ride in the Nile
- Al Azhar Park is a place that has spectacular views over Cairo and it is filled with trees, fountains, running water, and a lake. in addition to restaurants, a kid’s playground, and many music concerts
- Give a visit to KidZania An educational city for kids
- Dancing Fountain, Mall of Arabia
- Maadi Island
- Aquarium Grotto Garden
- Aquarium Grotto Garden
- Fagnoon Art School on the way to Saqqara
- Cairo Puppet Theatre
- Kayak down the Nile River
- Al Manial Palace
- Spend the day at Family Park
- Marvel at Cairo Museum
- Visit the first-ever Pyramid, the Pyramid of Djoser (Step Pyramid)
- Walk the Old Cairo area and visit the oldest Church in Egypt, Oldest Mosque, and Oldest Synagogue