Cairo is a true city of wonders, with centuries-old ruins, unearthed treasures, and of course, the famous Pyramids. There are so many more must-see places and things to do in Cairo, Egypt’s capital city. If your travel bucket-list includes wandering urban streets as well as desert landscapes, tasting delicious traditional cuisine, and visiting awe-inspiring attractions, you’ll find it all here. Cairo has something for everyone. Whether you want to discover top things to do alone or you’re joining one of our thrilling tours, here are the 10 best things to do in Cairo on your next visit.
1) Visit the Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are easily the most visited attraction in Egypt, and it’s our top recommended thing to do in Cairo. Located in Giza, just across the Nile and minutes from Cairo, these world-famous structures have withstood against the sands of time – literally – making them one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Dating back to over 4,500 years ago, the three pyramids of Khufu, Menkaure, and Khafre still stand strong, each with its own unique story. As you bear witness to their greatness, take in the rugged landscape surrounding you.
2) Marvel at the Great Sphinx
Considered to be a royal symbol of power, the Great Sphinx – whose purpose still remains unclear – is notably one of the most famous landmarks in Cairo. Built of limestone, this statue depicts a mythological figure of a human head with a lion’s body, and towers at a staggering 240 feet tall. Here is a great place to take photos of yourself, your family and friends, and mark your memorable trip.
Take a look at our guide to choosing a pyramids tour that’s right for you. If you’re already in Cairo, you’re only a few steps away! Join our Best of Ancient Cairo Tour, to get an exclusive look at the Great Sphinx and the brilliant pyramids, and hear all about their secrets.
3) Spend Time in the Egyptian Museum
A must-see in Cairo is the most extensive Egyptology collections the world has ever seen in the Egyptian Museum’s mega haven of artifacts. Teeming with archeological findings, here you will find the royal treasures of Tutankhamun, like his famous golden death mask and other personal belongings. Additionally, the museum houses dozens of mummies and remains of other Pharaohs and dynasties, including artefacts from Egypt’s famed lost cities and their rulers. With our Best of Cairo 3 Day Tour, you’ll gain unique access and get to discover these ancient findings for yourself with a brilliant guide at your side.
4) Taste Authentic Egyptian Food
The best part of traveling is getting to learn more about the cultures of the countries you’re visiting through their food. One of the best things to do in Cairo is tasting authentic dishes, like Egypt’s national street food, Koshari, which is a combination of pasta, fried rice, brown lentils and tomato sauce. Indulge in Taameya – Egyptian falafel – and try the spicy chicken soup, Molokhia, often served over a bed of rice. For something sweet, enjoy some Basbousa, a syrupy coconut cake topped with fruit or cream.
5) Tour the City of the Dead (Saqqara)
The fascinating necropolis of Saqqara, also coined the ‘City of the Dead’, is not only home to many burial complexes and tombs, but also lots of important pyramid texts and artistic symbols. The necropolis is a must-see destination for ancient Egypt fans. These works are particularly crucial for archeologists and historians, allowing them to study day-to-day life of ancient Egyptian civilizations. Like the Tomb of Ti, for instance, with wall paintings showcasing the lives of fishermen, farmers, and hunters.
6) Get Lost in Downtown Cairo
Another great thing to do in Cairo is exploring Downtown, which serves as a remarkable space for artists and creatives alike. The streets are lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and offer a wonderful nightlife atmosphere. Local artists showcase their talent in galleries; from retro to contemporary. You can enjoy the cinema or even stop by the Museum of Islamic Art where you’ll find ancient weaponry, craft jewelry, and Islamic manuscripts on medicine, astronomy, and more.
7) Explore Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
As you stroll through Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, take in the bustling sights and sounds of this vibrant market. From jewelry sellers and spice vendors to traditional clothing and souvenir trinkets, this souk, (outdoor market), has got it all. Our Cairo 4 Day Highlights Tour will take you through the market and give you a chance to get in some Cairo shopping as you enjoy the colorful surroundings.
8) Discover Coptic Cairo’s Religious Sites
Among the holy sites of this historic district, Coptic Cairo is home to some of the oldest churches in Egypt, like the Hanging Church. The Synagogue of Ben Ezra is located here as well – an absolute gem, filled with intricate design and restorative history. Get an in-depth look at these houses of worship with our Best of Cairo 2 Day Tour.
9) Check Out the Papyrus Institute
One of the best and most informative institutions in Cairo is the Papyrus Institute. This culture center offers visitors a chance to go back in time and see how writing on papyrus evolved into the way we write today. Listen to the fascinating history of hieroglyphics among other artistic features of ancient Egypt, and get a chance to buy some papyrus of your own.
10) Wander through Mohammed Ali Castle & Mosque
Mohammed Ali Castle is just another amazing thing to do in Cairo. This castle or fortress is the defining example of eclectic Egyptian beauty. Here, you’ll find Ottoman architecture, impressive watchtowers, and the Alabaster Mosque, all situated on the top of Cairo’s Citadel. Be amazed at the dome structure and gorgeous detailing before taking in the spectacular views of the city skyline from the terrace.
While it’s hard to narrow down every possible experience in Egypt’s beautiful capital, this list of the 10 best things to do in Cairo is a great place to start. As you tour each bucket list destination, take in the ancient sights, captivating history, and remarkable views of Egypt’s capital city. You won’t regret visiting these must-see locations as they’ll make your journey an unforgettable one, with memories to last a lifetime.
Our collection of Cairo tours have something for everyone. Whether you’d like to join a quick day trip to see the city’s highlights, like this one-day Sinai to Cairo experience. Or perhaps, you want something longer, combining other Egyptian cities into your itinerary, in which case this Highlights of Egypt 4 Day Tour is a great option for you. For tourists that are ready for an exhilarating cross-country adventure, our Jordan, Egypt, and Israel 14 Day Tour offers a breathtaking 2-week journey that cannot be missed.
Be sure to check out all our Egypt tours to make your next trip amazing!