Cairo, Egypt: The Ultimate Guide

Cairo is a unique blend of ancient history and modern culture, with iconic landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza and the Nile River just moments away from the vibrant energy of the Khan El Khalili Bazaar. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, our ultimate Cairo guide will help you explore Cairo’s treasures. Join us as we delve into the heart of this vibrant and unforgettable destination and discover all that Cairo has to offer.

Best Known For: the Pyramids of Giza

ancient cairo tour

When you think of Cairo, you think of the Pyramids of Giza. The Pyramids of Giza are undoubtedly one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable landmarks. These incredible structures have stood for over 4,500 years and continue to amaze people with their sheer size and impressive engineering.

The Pyramids of Giza were built as tombs for the pharaohs and their consorts and are surrounded by other smaller tombs and temples. One of the best ways to explore the pyramids is on our Best of Ancient Cairo Tour, where a knowledgeable local guide will show you the sights of the Ancient Egyptian world and have the chance to look inside one of the pyramids. Alternatively, take a look at the different ways to get to the pyramids from Cairo, and the different touring options to see the pyramids.

Cairo: Essential Travel Information

MoneyThe currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP).
ATMs are common, especially in tourist areas, so you can quickly get cash. Major hotels and businesses will usually accept payment by credit card. However, it is not uncommon for smaller hotels and businesses to expect cash payments.
Tipping or Baksheesh” is expected in Egypt. Tips are used to show appreciation for good service and are a living, breathing part of Egyptian culture.
LanguageThe main language spoken in Egypt is Arabic. Don’t worry, English is commonly taught in schools in Egypt with many of the population speaking at least some English.
TransportationThere are regular local buses operating throughout Cairo and Egypt as a whole. Another option is, of course, taxi travel. Taxi drivers in Egypt do not operate a standardized fare system, so you should always negotiate an upfront amount before beginning your journey. Another great way to explore the area is with one of our Cairo tours. 
CultureWe have a helpful Guide to Egyptian Culture and Customs that will help you to get a handle on local culture and customs. 
ClothingAs an Islamic country, the clothing in Egypt is generally more conservative and traditional. Public modesty is valued very highly, so be sure to dress appropriately. For a more comprehensive overview, check out our Egypt clothing guide.

Interactive Map of Cairo

More Things to See in Cairo

Khan El Khalili
Khan el Khalili Bazaar in Cairo

With so many amazing things to do in Cairo, narrowing down your choices for your time there can be challenging. Here are some of our favorite places and things to do in Cairo.

Visit the Egyptian Museum: The Egyptian Museum is a must-visit destination when in Cairo. The museum boasts the world’s most extensive collection of Egyptology artifacts, making it a haven of archaeological treasures. The museum is teeming with exhibits, including the famed golden death mask and personal belongings of Tutankhamun, as well as dozens of mummies and artifacts from Pharaohs and ancient dynasties.

Downtown Cairo: Downtown Cairo lets visitors get lost in the bustling city and explore the creative and artistic scene. You can shop, eat delectable food, or peruse local art galleries.

Best of Cairo Tour: Our Best of Cairo Tour will allow you to explore the beauty of Cairo and experience the perfect blend of ancient and modern. Marvel at the Pyramids of Giza and ride a camel, visit temples and tombs and witness the Giza Pyramid Sound and Light show. You will visit the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Saladin, and Coptic Cairo and take a trip to the Khan el Khalili Market, where you can shop or enjoy local tea or freshly squeezed juice, immersing yourself in Cairo’s unique culture.

Where to Stay in Cairo

When thinking about Where to Stay in Cairo, it is easy to feel spoiled by choice. The Egyptian capital is a bustling, thrilling, and colorful place with awe-inspiring views and stunning hotels.

Downtown Cairo: Downtown is the urban center of the city, rich in history and busy with traffic. French architects designed the district, giving Paris a run for its money. A stunning area to stay; your eyes will be drawn to contemporary European architecture as you walk through the streets.

Giza: The neighborhood of Giza is located near the Pharaonic Village, Cairo University, and Orman Botanical Garden on the left bank of the River Nile. Spend your days leisurely strolling along the riverside, exploring verdant gardens, or enjoying a scenic felucca ride along the Nile.

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Cairo’s Restaurants & Markets

Koshari

Cairo is a food lover’s paradise, with countless dining options and markets to explore. Street food is a staple of the city, with vendors selling everything from falafel and shawarma to koshari, a famous Egyptian dish made with lentils, rice, and pasta. In addition to street food, many restaurants serve traditional Egyptian cuisines, such as ful medames, a breakfast dish made with fava beans, and molokhia, a stew made with leafy green vegetables. 

Egypt’s capital is also home to the famous Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, where you can find everything from spices and teas to jewelry and textiles. For a taste of local life, head to one of the many open-air markets, such as the Friday Market or the Street of the Tentmakers, to experience the hustle and bustle of Cairo’s market culture or go on a taste adventure on one of our many food tours.

Our Recommendation: Things to Book Ahead 

When traveling anywhere, there is always a list of things you should book beforehand. We recommend ensuring that your accommodation is arranged before you arrive in Cairo. When visiting Cairo, visits to popular attractions like the pyramids have minimal availability. To avoid disappointment, we recommend booking one of our array of pyramids tours so you can see everything Cairo has to offer. 

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