"Home to some of Egypt's iconic attractions such as the Pyramids, The Sphinx and National History Museum..."
The bustling city of Cairo is a feast for the senses; a myriad of sights, sounds and smells where the ancient legacy of Egypt collides with modern life head on. An ancient city that oozes life, Cairo, is the perfect place for anyone who wants to try something completely different. It offers access to places of incredible historical significance, including the Pyramids of Giza, which are more than 4000 years old and are the only ancient wonder of the world that is still standing. This along with the famous Egypt museum, where visitors can see the iconic Tutankhamun death mask and the legendary River Nile, make it a place that everyone is sure to enjoy. It also has a bustling nightlife, incredible bazaars filled with products from Egypt and around the world and excellent weather, making it a destination that everyone should see at least once.
Cairo Travel Guide
At A Glance:
A vast, sprawling capital, Cairo, is built on the banks of the Nile river. Its links to Egypt’s ancient civilization including the iconic pyramids, the great sphinx and a plethora of other incredible things, means that it combines history and modernity into one incredible package. It is also massive with a population of almost 20 million people. It is located in the northern part of the country, meaning that it is part of the area that was traditionally known as upper Egypt.
The city has a hot climate throughout the year, with hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters, making an ideal city break. Temperatures average in the 20’s between April and the end of October, meaning visitors can enjoy hot weather throughout the year. The best time to visit is just before and just after the height of summer, as the city gets seriously hot during those months.
History and Culture
Its history can be traced back to the capital of ancient Egypt, Memphis, which is estimated to have been founded around 4000 BC. It is located close to the historic Giza area, where visitors can see the massive pyramids that were built in honour of the Egyptian pharaohs and are the only remaining ancient wonder of the world. The city is built on the banks of the River Nile, whose floods made it the breadbasket of the ancient world. This strategic importance meant that the Romans built a fort where present-day Cairo is located and said fort remains the oldest building in the capital itself. The city began to expand in the 10th century, when a dissident branch of Islam, known as the Fatimids, made it their headquarters. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1517, and they ruled the city until 1798 when it was captured by Napoleon, although it was returned after he was defeated. The British Empire then took control of the city, using it and the famous Suez Canal to access the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
There are a great range of family events on offer in Cairo, with the area around the Pyramids especially good, for incredible historic sights, like the pyramids and other fun activities like camel riding that children are bound to enjoy. The main Cairo museum is also an excellent place for those who want an educational and fun day out, offering the chance to learn about ancient Egypt and see some cool exhibits, like mummies. The winding streets of Khan al Khalili is also a great spot for those who want to find a bargain and children are sure to enjoy the colours and the fascinating alien products on sale, making it a great family holiday.
Tours and Attractions
Its incredible history means that there is a vast array of things to do. No trip to the city would be complete without seeing the pyramids, which were built more than 4000 years ago and have been considered a wonder of the world ever since. No less impressive is the magnificent sphinx, famous for having the body of a lion and the face of a man. The Egyptian Antiquities Museum is crammed full of treasures from Ancient Egypt and a journey down the River Nile in a traditional Egyptian boat, known as a Felucca, is also a must.
Cairo used to be renowned for its bustling nightlife, but a state of affairs during the political upheaval that followed the Arab Spring and subsequent events, limited the night-time entertainment and was quite restrictive. That has since been lifted and nightlife in the city is beginning to return to its previous glory, with places like Zamalek especially popular. Although being a Muslim country, alcohol isn’t as bigger part of the night scene as it is in other places.
An excellent place to shop, it has a plethora of different markets, shops and fashion outlets selling things from around the world. The best shopping is found in the bustling bazaars, where locals sell exotic spices, handmade jewellery, gold and cloth. The best of these are the Khan al Khalili bazaar and the Khan el Khalili Souk: the kind of places where you can haggle, find a bargain and really soak up local culture.