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Cairo Travel Guide

Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is located on the land connecting Africa and Asia and is the 7th most populous city in the world. Cairo is the country's center of commerce, economy, education, and tourism. The name of Cairo means victorious in Arabic.

Cairo travel guide

Cairo, which has been conquered by various empires throughout its history, has a rich cultural and historical background. This accumulation has made this city one of the most famous tourist spots in the world. The city is also the capital of Egyptian civilization, one of the world's oldest civilizations and is home to many historical artifacts that may interest you. Cheops pyramid, which is one of the seven wonders of the world, is located in Cairo. Living as a big city for thousands of years, Cairo is a highly developed city in terms of tourism.

General Information About Cairo

Country: Egypt
Region: North Africa
Area: 3.085 km2
Language: Arabic
Average temperature: 21.3 °C
Climate: Mediterranean  - Desert
Vegetation: Desert Plants
The difference between GMT: UTC+2
Telephone Code: +20
Currency: EGP – Egyptian Pound
Socket Type: Type C


How to Get to Cairo?

Hosting the world's oldest civilizations and largest structures, Cairo welcomes tourists from around the world every year. If you are looking for a journey to the mysterious history of ancient Egypt, an adventurous holiday awaits you in Cairo. Pegasus Airlines offers direct flights that take 1 hour and 5 minutes from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Cairo International Airport. You can open the doors of this adventurous holiday with your Cairo flight ticket that is prepared by Pegasus Airlines at the most affordable prices!

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Transportation from Cairo International Airport to City Center

Cairo International Airport is 22 km from the city center. You can go to the city center from the airport by public transport, by taxi, by renting a private car.

There are 3 terminals at the airport and a shuttle service is available every 30 minutes between the terminals 24 hours a day. You can get to the city center in about 45 minutes using bus 111 and 382 from the bus stops at the exit of terminal 1. The bus tickets are 5 EGP.

Another option to get to the city center from the airport is by taxi. Pirate taxis are usually waiting at the exit of the airport and if you use these taxis you will have to negotiate the price. Black and white taxis and yellow taxis are the official taxis with a taximeter and it will cost around 150 EGP to get the city center by these taxis. You will be in the city center in 30 minutes depending on the traffic.

If you want to travel around Cairo as you like you can find a car to rent just for you with a great offer by using the Pegasus Airlines car rental service.


RENT A CAR

Public Transport in Cairo

City transportation in Cairo is provided by metro, bus, taxi, and minibusses. Metro is the most preferred public transport, but the most popular and convenient among tourists is to hire a daily taxi. There are also Nile taxis which are ferries operating on the Nile River.

In Cairo, the metro is the most preferred means of transportation by people. The metro lines, which have been in operation since 1987, are expanded each year as the city expanded and nowadays have a large network covering almost the whole city. You can travel around in the fastest way by using the metro line which has 61 stations, 3 of which are transfer stations. Metro tickets in all directions are charged at 2 EGP (2019).

Cairo has a large public transport network with city buses, Mwasalat Misr buses, and minibusses serving in the city. Many bus lines stop in the city center, such as Ramsis Station. You can find vans almost everywhere but they are usually very crowded and not so comfortable. Mwasalat Misr is a private company and has its own buses and transportation services that they provide in a wide area in the city. Bus and minibus prices vary between 2 EGP and 5 EGP (2019). You can find maps and times for city bus lines and other public transportation lines on this link.

Taxis are the most popular way of transportation in Cairo for tourists. With the choice of many private taxi companies, you can hire taxis for your trip plan and choose the one that suits you best in price. Many different brands are giving private transportation services in Cairo but also you can find an official taxi to go around. Prices may differ but you have a chance to negotiate with the drivers.

Best Time to Visit Cairo

The climate of the Mediterranean and the desert is dominated by a mixture of climate in the summer months in Cairo is quite hot. The average temperature in summer is around 40 ° C with the high humidity caused by the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile River. This makes daytime outing quite difficult and the weather is very cool at night due to the desert climate. 

In the spring, sand storms hit Cairo and the air becomes very dry. In winter the average temperature is around 15 ° C and 20 ° C. It rains in winter but Cairo doesn't get much rainfall. Overall, the period between November and March is the best time for a vacation plan to Cairo but the city is alive all year. 

You can find different activities in each season but you should prepare according to the weather of the season you are planning to go to Cairo.

Festivals in Cairo

  • Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (March - April)
  • Cairo International Film Festival (December)
  • Cairo Belly Dance Festival (June)
  • Cairo International Book Fair (January)
  • Cairo International Experimental Theater Festival (September)
  • Cairo International Music Festival (August)

 

Places to Visit in Cairo

Cairo was home to many cultures since ancient times It is a city that fascinates everyone who sees it with its rich cultural and historical heritage. The city has an atmosphere that encourages everyone who visits to explore this city more. Cairo is one of the must-see places with its natural beauties of the Nile and its magnificent historical monuments that have been included in the World history heritage list. 

Egyptian Museum

It is one of the most important museums in the world with the largest collection of ancient Egypt in the world. The museum attracts attention with its French architecture and exhibits 120.000 works including statues and mummies of ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Founded in the late 19th century, the museum grew rapidly with the discoveries made by British and French archaeologists. The tombs of archaeologists, such as Auguste Mariette, who have played a major role in the development of the museum and have worked hard, are in the garden of the museum. The museum in Midan Tahrir Square in the city center is open to visitors between 09:00 - 19:00.

Pyramids of Giza

One of the first things that come to mind when you say Egypt is, of course, the Pyramids of Giza. The pyramids, the icon of the country, are located a few kilometers south of Cairo. Giza is the first place to go on your Cairo vacation.

The secrets associated with the construction of the pyramids are still unresolved today. The pyramids, which are also included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are called Mikerinos, Kefren, Keops. The Pyramid of Cheops is one of the seven wonders of the Earth. Other famous buildings such as the sphinx are located around the pyramids, which are known to be monumental tombs in the name of Egyptian pharaoh Khufu.

Khan Al-Halili Bazaar

In the bazaar, which is one of the biggest markets of the Middle East, you can find articles made of gold and silver, spices, local clothes and shops selling various products. You can find beautiful souvenirs in the Han El-Halili bazaar, which has been the commercial and shopping center of many civilizations since the 14th century, and you can drink the most delicious Cairo coffee here. Open since 1773, Fishawis is the most popular coffee shop in the bazaar. 

Old Cairo

Located in the south of the city center, old Cairo is another UNESCO World Heritage site. There are many mosques, churches, and synagogues in the multicultural old Cairo. Considered the center of the Coptic sect, one of the most ancient sects of Christianity, there are important historical buildings such as the Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church, Coptic Museum, Roman Babel Tower, Amr Ibn El As Mosque and the Ben - Ezra Synagogue. As you walk through all these historical buildings, you will take a journey through the narrow streets of Old Cairo.

The Nile

The Nile is the longest river in the world and has influenced the cultures, economies and even religions of civilizations built around it. It is known that agriculture has been carried out around the Nile since ancient times and there is a mechanism on Rawdah and Roda Island called Nilometer which calculates the tides in the river. You can participate in boat trips and enjoy the magnificent Nile River.

Where to Stay in Cairo?

Cairo is a big metropolitan with many different areas. You can find different hotel facilities depending on the area you are staying in.

The area known as Downtown is the area where Tahrir Square, one of the central points of the city, is located. There are hotels with free wifi, airport shuttle, and restaurant services in this area, ranging from $ 24 to $ 150 per night (2019). City View Hotel, Cairo Inn, Cleopatra Hotel are some of them.

Located next to Downtown, Garden City is on the banks of the River Nile and is often a luxury hotel. It is also a convenient option for those looking for a comfortable holiday in Cairo, as it is close to the city's major attractions. The hotels range from $ 125 to $ 500 per night (2019) and offer luxury services including a swimming pool, spa, sports & wellness center. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo, Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis, Kempinski Nile Hotel are some of them. There are also hostels at affordable prices in Garden City.

Another area you may prefer for a luxurious holiday in Giza. Although the hotels here are affected by wind and sand, they are highly preferred because they have views of the Pyramids of Giza. The prices are more or less the same as those in Garden City.

On the island of Gezira on the Nile River and in the Zamalek district there are beautiful boutiques, cafes and elegant restaurants. The hotel prices here are more favorable than the hotels in the Giza area and the Garden City area. Om Kalthoom Hotel, Cairo Marriott Hotel, Horus House Hotel Zamalek are some of the hotels we recommend.

You can easily find hotels or hostels that best suit your holiday plan for Cairo.


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What to Eat in Cairo?

Blending African, and Mediterranean flavors, Cairo cuisine offers a wide range of delicious food from world cuisine to regional cuisine. Foods with plenty of spices include fish, meat and meat products, rice and some cereals, vegetables. Koshary, Molokheya, Shawarma, Hummus & Falafel, Tamiya are some of the most famous dishes in the city. There are many restaurants spread all around the city specialized with traditional food and as well as world kitchen. 

  • Koshary: Koshary Abou Tarek
  • Hummus & Falafel: Al Khal Egyptian Restaurant
  • Molokhia: Bab Al Qasr

Shopping in Cairo: Best Souvenirs to Buy

There are many options for shopping in Cairo. There are beautiful souvenirs, local items, art and craft products at the points with different atmospheres from historic inns to shopping centers. Since the history of Cairo dates back to a long time, it is a city that has been able to preserve its shopping and commercial culture until today. For this reason, we recommend you to visit the historical bazaars in Cairo and the shops where cultural craftsmanship is done. You can also bargain for the products you will get in these bazaars, markets, and shops.

Developing the culture of shopping with the development of art, Cairo's Zamalek district is a place where boutique shops and jewelers gather. Here you can find beautiful jewelry and try out special clothes for Cairo in boutique shops. However, in the bazaars where locality and culture are preserved, you have more souvenir options. Among these, Han El-Halili bazaar is the most popular and largest bazaar in Cairo. Egyptian souvenirs, papyrus, spices, handmade leather clothes, coffee, jewelry ... many items you can think of are sold in this market. As it is a historical place, it will add a different atmosphere to your shopping time. For those looking to look at antiques, you can head to the Shar' a Hoda Shawaari area in the city center.

Nightlife in Cairo

Even though Cairo is a Muslim city, the nightlife is quite lively. The viability of nightlife varies from region to region. Even though some areas are strict about it, the center of nightlife in Cairo is the Zamalek district and the Downtown area. There are 24-hour clubs, pubs, upscale restaurants and cafés.

People who want to spend a quiet night in the city, where there are different tastes and entertainments due to its multicultural structure, can try the traditional Egyptian night. You can go to the coffeehouses called Ahwa and enjoy a pleasant evening with coffee and hookah while experiencing the authentic atmosphere of Cairo.

Those looking for a lively Egyptian night can visit the Zamalek region or the city center. Although the prices in Zamalek are a bit more expensive, there are special places like El Morocco where different electronic music plays from the 80s to the present day.

After Eight in the city center is one of the most famous nightclubs in Cairo. The club is popular among young people and tourists, with different music and dance activities.

The restaurants and pubs in the Zamalek area are another option for a peaceful night with spectacular night views and quality services.

Things You Should Know

  • Those who want to rent a private car during their holidays in Cairo must be over 25 years old and have enough Arabic to understand the traffic signs.
  • If you are going to use a taxi or private transportation, we recommend you to book it before arriving at the airport.
  • Counterfeit products are the majority, so we recommend that you do not buy antiques unless you are sure they are real.
  • Due to its hot temperature during the summer season, carrying water and protecting your skin from the sun is highly recommended for summer vacations.
  • Even though it is hot during the day in Cairo, the nights can be as cool as the day.
  • Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but it is recommended that you keep cash and keep your money in a safe place for shopping in historical bazaars. 

Essential Numbers

Country Code: +20

City Code: +20 2

Cairo Airport (Terminal 1): +2 2265-5000 / +2 2265-3333

Tourist Police: 126

Emergency Police: 122

Ambulance: 123  

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