Visiting Cairo – A City Guide
Stretching along winding Nile River, Cairo is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends the old and new. Gleaming skyscrapers and shopping malls tower over serene mosques and bustling bazaars, while distant views of the Giza pyramids
are a constant reminder of the city’s ancient heritage.
Cairo: City Layout and Top Attractions
Cairo is Egypt’s largest city. In the centre, the Midan El Tahrir district, known as the Paris of the Nile, has 19th
-century architecture, modern hotels and the high-energy Tahrir Square. Nearby Islamic Cairo boasts medieval buildings and historic mosques.
The Egyptian Museum
in Downtown Cairo is a must-see, with 100,000 ancient artefacts, including former pharaoh Tutankhamun’s funeral mask. Across the river, only 18 kilometres away, the ancient Giza pyramids honour the kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure.
For panoramic views of Cairo and the pyramids, visit the observation deck at Cairo Tower
Eating Out in Cairo
You’ll find some of the city’s best food at restaurants located in Cairo hotels, but there are also numerous fine-dining venues and street-food vendors serving Middle Eastern and international dishes.
In Old Cairo, you can sip mint tea in charming cafés, while the island district of Zamalek is a centre for upscale restaurants serving international cuisine. You can soak up colourful sights, flavours and aromas at food markets like Bab al-Luq and Tawfiqiyya Souq, or sample fresh falafel and fried liver from street vendors on any corner.
Shopping in Cairo
Cairo’s souks (markets), particularly famous for spices and gold, were established in the 15th
century and many still operate today. You can haggle over jewellery and handicrafts at these colourful bazaars, or shop for familiar brands at air-conditioned upscale malls and designer boutiques.
For the best shopping, browse hundreds of stalls piled high with clothing, shoes and gold treasures at the medieval Khan el-Khalili
in Islamic Cairo. In Downtown Cairo, Shar'a Hoda Sharaawi is lined with antique shops, while the modern Citystars
and Cairo Festival City
malls have hundreds of high street stores, restaurants and cinemas.
Culture & Nightlife in Cairo
Cairo’s cultural history blends Arabian, African and European influences. The city’s many museums, art galleries, cinemas and theatres showcase Middle Eastern and western art and history through exhibitions, performances and films.
There’s a mix of western bars and Arabian late cafes in the city centre, but most nightclubs are attached to hotels in Cairo. For live music, there’s Cairo Jazz Club
or El Genaina Theatre in Al-Azhar Park, and for contemporary dance or classical music, Cairo Opera
runs a year-round program.
Leisure in Cairo
Cairo is best known for its ancient sites and museums, but there are also modern attractions ranging from championship golf courses to theme parks.
You can redeem your IHG®
Rewards Club points
for a stay near such family-friendly attractions as the Pharaonic Village
, where you’ll learn about Egypt’s history through replica villages and live shows. Dream Park
in Giza has roller coasters, go-karts and water slides.
For the adventurous, there are quad-biking desert safari tours on the plateau above Cairo, where you can zoom around sandy terrain near the pyramids.
For a glimpse of life outside the city, make a day trip to Tunis Village in Fayoum
, home to traditional mud-brick houses, Lake Qaroun and the Wadi El Rayan waterfalls.