By Jenna Jolie
Looking for the most attractive spots and best things to do in Cairo? From the majestic Pyramids of Giza to the intricate labyrinth of the Coptic Quarter, these are the destinations you absolutely must include in your itinerary. Besides, the fascinating museums, bustling bazaars, and mouthwatering cuisine in Egypt also give tourists a deeper understanding of the unique culture in this "Land of Pharaohs." To help visitors utilize their trip plan, Egypt Immigration Services has compiled a list of 10 top things to do in Cairo and the sights the city has to offer.
1. Admire the Giza Pyramids
A trip to Cairo is incomplete without admiring the Pyramids of Giza, which is considered the most worthwhile thing to do in Cairo. As the last remaining wonder of the ancient world, these colossal structures have stood for nearly 4,000 years along with time. Constructed as monumental tombs by the command of pharaohs, these incredible monuments were constructed by tens of thousands of workers. Today, they are an awe-inspiring testament to the ancient Egyptian civilization's might, organizational prowess, and monumental achievements.
The four most renowned attractions – the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Sphinx draw tourists when they visit this world-renowned attraction. Nevertheless, there's much more to explore beyond these iconic landmarks. The desert plateau surrounding the pyramids preserves a rich history, adorned with tombs, temple ruins, and smaller satellite pyramids, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of ancient Egyptian life and culture. Don't forget to snap a photo with the enigmatic Sphinx, guarding the pyramids for millennia.
A trip to Cairo is incomplete without admiring the Pyramids of Giza
2. Explore the Egyptian Museum
Exploring the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is among the best things to do in Cairo - a journey through millennia of Egyptian civilization that no traveler should miss. Located in Downtown Cairo, on the north side of Midan Tahrir, this museum preserves one of the world's most significant collections of ancient artifacts. Housed within the grand domed, distinctly pinkish building, travelers will find glittering treasures of Tutankhamun and other legendary pharaohs. As you wander through its hallowed halls, you'll encounter the grave goods of renowned rulers, mummies, jewelry, eating bowls, and toys of ancient Egyptians.
Exploring the Egyptian Museum is among the top things to do in Cairo
3. Wander through the Khan El Khalili Bazaar
Step into the bustling heart of Cairo at the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, a labyrinthine marketplace that has been a trading hub for centuries. Here, you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, shop for exotic spices, intricate carpets, and exquisite jewelry, and haggle with friendly shopkeepers. Colorful lanterns, perfumes, musical instruments, and a variety of handicrafts are also available at the bustling stalls.
Most vendors here are proficient in English, and this is your chance to test your haggling skills and a few Arabic words! Even if shopping isn't on your agenda, simply strolling through the market offers a fascinating glimpse into the vibrant daily life of people in Cairo. The stalls typically open around 9 a.m. and remain bustling well into the night, although it's worth noting that some may be closed on Friday mornings and Sundays. Don't forget to sample some traditional Egyptian street food and sip on sweet mint tea as you soak in the vibrant culture.
Wandering around Khan El Khalili Bazaar to buy some souvenirs
4. Visit the Citadel of Saladin
Perched on a hill overlooking Cairo, the Citadel of Saladin is a stunning medieval fortress that offers panoramic views of the city. Built in the 12th century, it houses several impressive structures, including the iconic Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. Explore the well-preserved historic site, admire the intricate Islamic architecture, and gain insight into Egypt's storied past.
5. Discover the Museum of Islamic in Cairo
The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, situated on the edge of Islamic Cairo, boasts one of the world's most exquisite collections of Islamic art. It is not only Egypt's but also one of the Middle East's most stunning and meticulously curated museums.
Discovering the MIA, among the world's largest repositories dedicated to Islamic Art, is often referred to as one of the best things to do in Cairo. It contains an astonishing collection of over 100,000 artifacts, spanning various Islamic art branches and representing diverse periods in Islamic history. Its collection is large in quantity and quality, making it an enduring symbol of Islamic art and civilization throughout its illustrious history.
Additionally, the Cairo's historic Islamic district is famous with ancient mosques, madrassas (Islamic schools), and architectural wonders. Stroll through the winding streets of Al-Muizz Street, where you'll encounter stunning examples of Islamic architecture, such as the Ibn Tulun Mosque and the Sultan Hassan Mosque.
Travelers should spend their time discovering the Museum of Islamic in Cairo
6. Immerse Yourself in Coptic, Cairo
Coptic Cairo, also Old Cairo, is a captivating enclave that serves as the city's living connection to ancient history. This district is known as the epicenter of Christianity in Old Cairo, housing places of worship that date back to a time when the pharaonic beliefs of Ancient Egypt had faded and Islam had not yet taken hold. Travelers may find it interesting to visit some of the earliest Christian churches within Coptic Egypt, with origins dating back to the 4th century AD.
As this is a pedestrian-friendly complex, travelers can stroll around and admire these historic churches, a Roman fortress, a synagogue, ancient cemeteries, the Coptic Museum, and narrow alleys adorned with books, postcards, and other charming souvenirs.
7. Take a Nile River Cruise
A Nile cruise goes beyond mere sightseeing; it offers a genuine connection to the local culture. While on your voyage, you'll have the chance to explore authentic Egyptian villages and vibrant markets, immersing yourself in the daily rhythms of Egyptian life. Let's engage with friendly locals, partake in their daily activities, and savor the delectable flavors of their cuisine for a truly enriching cultural experience.
Whether you choose a daytime excursion or an enchanting dinner cruise, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of Cairo's skyline and the ancient monuments that line the riverbanks. It's a romantic and memorable experience that you won't want to miss.
A Nile River cruise offers a genuine connection to the local culture
8. Sample Egyptian Cuisine
Regarding things to do in downtown Cairo, savoring Egyptian cuisine should not be missed. Cairo is a food lover's paradise, with a wide array of delicious dishes to try. Dive into authentic Egyptian cuisine by savoring classics like koshari (a hearty mix of rice, lentils, pasta, and spices), falafel, and ful medames (mashed fava beans). Don't forget to indulge in sweet treats like baklava and kunafa, often accompanied by a steaming cup of Arabic coffee or hibiscus tea.
9. Shop for Souvenirs
Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs to remember your journey in Cairo. In addition to the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, you can browse modern shopping malls like City Stars or visit local markets for unique handmade crafts, jewelry, and textiles. Egyptian cotton, papyrus artwork, and aromatic oils are just a few of the items you can take home as mementos.
Markets in Cairo have a variety of souvenirs that you can purchase for your loved ones
10. Experience the Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids
For a truly magical experience, travelers should attend the Sound and Light Show at the Giza Pyramids. This nightly spectacle combines music, narration, and dazzling light effects to bring the history of the pyramids to life. As the pyramids are illuminated against the night sky, you'll feel transported to ancient Egypt and gain a deeper appreciation for these iconic structures.
Cairo, with its rich history, world-class museums, and delectable cuisine, welcomes tourists and promises an unforgettable journey through time. Hope the article about the best things to do in Cairo may help you arrange a suitable itinerary for your Egyptian journey. Fortunately, the introduction of an Egyptian visa online has made it easier for foreigners to enter this transcontinental country, ensuring them a smooth trip there. So, pack your bags, prepare to be enchanted, and embark on a Cairo adventure of a lifetime.