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Three Days in Cairo Guide: What to Do, See & Eat (with Google Map)
December 14, 2022
Cairo is a city full of history, culture, and delicious food. It’s hard to know where to start with exploring this great metropolis, but we’ve got you covered. Here’s my three days in Cairo guide and everything you should know, including a Google Map!
Three Days in Cairo Guide: What to Do, See & Eat
Cairo, also spelled Al-Qahirah or al-Kahirah, are the capital of Egypt and the largest city in northeastern Africa and the Middle East. It is located along the Nile River, immediately south of the Mediterranean.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt, and it’s both a city of contrasts and a vibrant cultural hub. The city has hosted several famous historical figures—including Napoleon, who marked his presence in Cairo by leaving behind some French-style architecture that can still be seen today. The Pyramids are also nearby, as are other monuments from ancient times.
Cairo is home to many museums and tourist attractions such as the Egyptian Museum (a must-see!), which houses treasures such as King Tutankhamun’s tomb and items from his tomb; the Arab Museum; Khan el Khalili bazaar (a world heritage site); Islamic Cairo with its mosques, madrassas, and palaces; Coptic Cairo with its churches; Jewish Ghetto Cemetery (which holds graves of Bahr El Doukkala Synagogue); Citadel of Saladin; Ramses II Temple at Medinet Habu Temple Complex; Islamic Art Museum at Citadel of Qaitbay Fortress; Ramesses III Temple at Medinet Habu Temple Complex & many more…
Cairo has many attractions to offer, from the pyramids to museums. The city is also home to many ancient mosques and churches, which have been well preserved. Cairo is also known for its souks (bazaars) and markets—if you’re looking for souvenirs or gifts, Khan el-Khalili bazaar is a great place to start!
Cairo is a city that never sleeps—it’s full of life and activity 24/7. The people are amicable, welcoming, and helpful (especially if you need directions). You’ll find that everyone from taxi drivers to shopkeepers speaks English, which makes it easy for tourists to get around the city.
Cairo is a fun city with diverse activities that appeal to many different types of travelers.
Cairo, the largest city in Africa and the Middle East, is an excellent choice for travelers who want to experience something new. There are plenty of things to do and see here, including:
The pyramids at Giza (the most famous tourist attraction)
The mosques in Old Cairo
The Citadel of Saladin (an A.D.ent fortress), which has been around since 1176 A.D., but was never completed due to lack of funds
The Egyptian Museum (an impressive collection of artifacts from Egypt’s history)
Cairo is also known for its vibrant nightlife scene; there are several popular bars and clubs throughout the city where you can get your groove on with Arabic and non-Arabic music! If you want something more low-key, there are plenty of rooftop where you can view downtown Cairo or perhaps even watch some fireworks during Ramadan celebrations.
Languages Spoken in Egypt
If you’re looking to get the most out of your trip to Egypt, it’s a good idea to brush up on your Arabic before you leave. There are plenty of online tutorials that can help!
Many Egyptians speak English, but even if they don’t, most people will understand if you say, “excuse me” or “I don’t speak Arabic.” It will also be helpful to learn some key phrases like “thank you,” “good morning,” and “please.”
Currency in Egypt
The Egyptian pound is the local currency in Egypt and works like any other currency.
The best way to exchange currency is at a bank or an exchange house such as Travelex or Thomas Cook. You can also withdraw money from ATMs or use credit cards if you have them handy.
Cairo is a sprawling metropolis, so you’ll want to consider how you plan to get around when you visit. You can fly into Cairo or take the train from anothU.S. city, but if you’re coming from U.S., Europe, or Asia, it might be easier to fly there and then take a connecting flight into Cairo (there are several airlines that have routes between European cities and Egyptian cities).
The airport is about 20 miles outside of downtown Cairo, so depending on where your hotel is located, this may be a short ride away. If you’re planning to spend time in other parts of Egypt during your trip (for example, Luxor), it’s probably worth considering taking an internal flight from one city to another. Most flights between major Egyptian cities are relatively affordable; if they aren’t, I’d advise against taking them unless necessary–the hassle with airports/security/lines isn’t worth it!
Getting Around Cairo
If you’re going to be in Cairo for a few days, walking is a great way to see the city. On foot, there are many things to do in Cairo, including visiting famous landmarks such as the Egyptian Museum and Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
However, if you’re planning on traveling further than that (like I did), Uber is cheap and easy to access. Uber drivers generally speak English so communication won’t be an issue. Taxis is also available in Cairo, but I prefer Uber better – download it before getting to Cairo!
If public transport is more your thing, then taking the metro might be better for getting around once inside Cairo’s city center itself as it’s quicker than walking or taking a taxi for short distances within central neighborhoods like Zamalak or Downtown/Central Cairo where most tourists stay when visiting Egypt’s capital city. he city has its metro system which is cheap and easy to use.
Which Area To Stay
The great thing about Cairo is that it is so diverse. You can choose a place to stay anywhere in the city. If you are looking for a hotel close to the pyramids, head to Giza; if, on the other hand, you want to be right in Tahrir Square and get an authentic feel for the city’s culture, then stay near there. The best thing about staying in Cairo is that there are hotels everywhere, and they will all offer different experiences.
Some would argue that it makes sense to stay by your chosen activity or sightseeing spot – but sometimes this isn’t possible depending on where your interests lie or what budget you have available.
If you are staying in the center of Cairo, it will be easy to find your way around. Just remember that traffic can be crazy! If you plan to go elsewhere in Egypt during your stay, consider hiring a driver for the day or Uber. Many hotels offer this as part of their services, so don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to do it yourself – ask them!
Three Days in Cairo Itinerary
Day 1: Explore & Dine: Egyptian Museum, Cairo Tower, Dinner on Nile River
On your first full day, start your first activity with a visit to the Egyptian Museum. It’s one of the largest museums in the world and contains over 120,000 artifacts from many eras of Egypt’s history. You can spend several hours here touring through its halls and reading about each artifact that you find interesting. Visitors have never seen many treasures, such as King Tutankhamun’s tomb (not even his own family was allowed inside). Hours: 9 AM-5 PM everyday. Entry fee – Adult: EGP 200 Student: EGP 100.
Afterward, head to Gad or Cafe Riche for lunch, where you’ll taste Egyptian sandwiches, pies, and falafel.
After lunch, head to the Cairo Tower for some fantastic city views. It’s a great place to watch the sunset. When I arrived in the evening at Cairo Tower, there were no lines. Entry cost is about 200 Egyptian Pounds/$8 USD.
For dinner, book a reservation at a restaurant on the Nile River. A suggestion would be Pier88 which serves Italian food and has a great ambiance. Another option would be booking a cruise dinner on the Nile with belly dancers.
Day 2: Pyramids: Great Sphinx & Giza Plateau, Eat Koshary
Day two is Pyramid day! A trip to Cairo isn’t complete without seeing the pyramids.
Cairo is a city of majestic sights, but the main attraction for most visitors is the ancient wonders of the Giza Plateau. The pyramids—Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure—are some of Egypt’s oldest and most significant monuments. The Great Sphinx guards over these temples from his perch on top of a stone mountain just north of Menkaure’s pyramid. In addition to its breathtaking architectural beauty, this site has other delights as well — including camel rides around Saqqara, which you can book through Viator; visits to other nearby places like Dahshur Necropolis; or simply exploring all that this sprawling site has to offer by foot or bike rental (available near the entrance).
For lunch (or dinner), stop by Cafe Riche at Midan Ataba Market District or the popular Abou Tarek, where they serve up Koshary—the quintessential Egyptian dish made with rice noodles topped with lentils, chickpeas, and crispy fried onions served with hummus on top. Ful medames is also a staple food Egyptians eat daily, that you must try! If you’re feeling adventurous, try eating with your hands as locals do!
On the last day in Cairo, spend the entire time in Cairo shopping (or window shopping). There are plenty of great places to do so, especially Khan el-Khalili, but if you’re not interested in buying souvenirs or spices (or art), there are a few other spots worth checking out.
Start the day visiting the Citadel. The Citadel is one of the most beautiful and historic sites in Cairo and can be reached by Uber/taxi from anywhere within the city. It costs 50 Egyptian pounds (EGP) to enter and is open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM. There is no entrance fee for children under 12 years old or 70 EGP for those aged 60+ years old! The site offers several museums, including The National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, which houses ancient relics from Egypt’s history, King Tutankhamun’s treasures, and many others dating back centuries ago, like mummies etcetera.
From the Citadel, head to the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar by Uber/taxi. This is one of the oldest and largest bazaars in Egypt and a great place to buy souvenirs or gifts for friends back home. If you’re interested in shopping, this is where you want to go! The market’s main street is lined with shops selling everything from jewelry and clothing to spices and rugs.
The bazaar is big, so if you want to experience it fully, plan to spend at least two hours here. There are also some mosques and churches within the market area, including the Church of St. John the Baptist, which has been around since 1310 AD.
Next, hop on an Uber to Midan Tahrir Souk. Midan Tahrir Souk is one of the most popular markets in Cairo. Located in downtown Cairo, it has been around since 1772! You’ll find everything from traditional handicrafts like glassware, papyrus paintings, and wooden furniture to souvenirs like miniature camels made out of stone or leather sandals with tassels on them (the kind you might have seen Egyptian men wearing). The market also has some great restaurants where you can sit for lunch or dinner while enjoying views over Midan Tahrir Square below.
Cairo’s souks (markets) are a feast for the eyes. With so much to see, it’s easy to spend hours browsing the wares of artisans selling everything from rugs and jewelry to spices and ceramics. You will find some good quality arts & crafts here and souvenirs, but prices vary depending on what type of item, so make sure you bargain hard before making any purchases.
Essential oils are a natural way to improve your health and wellness. At their most basic, essential oils are liquid-based extracts from plants. They can be used in many ways by adding them to hot water or diffusing them into the air using an oil diffuser. The benefits of essential oils include improved sleep quality, reduced stress levels, increased focus and concentration, increased energy levels (especially when combined with exercise), weight loss support, and more!
In Egypt, many shops sell essential oils; however, for tourists who only have a few days in Cairo, this guide will cover where we recommend purchasing the best ones:
Sultan & Adam Aromatherapy Oils & Perfumes is a small shop in Zamalek. They have a wide range of essential oils and perfumes. They also gave a short presentation of their selection, a part of my tour that I took and enjoyed because I learned so much about essentials and smelled some of their famous oil perfume, which smelled amazing. I highly recommend taking a visit if that’s your sort of thing. Prices are very affordable!
5th Settlement is an excellent spot for finding essential oils. The place has an extensive collection of these products from many different brands and sellers, so you can find something that suits your needs. The prices are also reasonable; you’ll get excellent deals if you look around enough!
The Essential Oil Company (12 El Kasr El Aini St., Downtown)
Al-Anwar Pharmacy (El-Roda Mall; off of Nasr Rd.)
It can be hard to find good restaurants in Cairo as a tourist. However, this list of recommendations should help you out! (View google Maps at the bottom for each location)
If you’re looking for a traditional Egyptian restaurant in Cairo, this is the one for you. The food here is delicious and authentic, the atmosphere is excellent, and it’s a relaxing place to have dinner with friends or family.
Zööba is located on 26th of July Street in Zamalek—a nice neighborhood outside central Cairo. It’s surrounded by many other restaurants if you’re looking for something different!
O’s Pasta is located in Zamalek, a neighborhood in Cairo. The restaurant serves Italian cuisine, and it is a great option for anyone who loves Italian food.
The restaurant’s specialties include homemade pasta, pizza, and various meat dishes such as lamb chops, steak tartare, and beef carpaccio.
Agnano offers a variety of pizza options, including margherita, quattro formaggi (four cheese), prosciutto e funghi (ham with mushroom), and other options that can be made vegetarian upon requests like the mussaka with eggplant slices topped with mozzarella cheese or basil pesto sauce.
Le Petit Chef at Four Seasons
This is the place to go if you want an immersive culinary journey experience, complete with professional chefs, a live cookbook and a personalised menu. The kitchen is open for guests to watch as they prepare their food. But be warned: it’s pricey ($385 per person) and the menu can vary depending on what’s available in season—and space is limited so make sure you book in advance!
Street Food in Cairo
Street food is a way to try authentic Egyptian food. It’s cheap, and it can be found in the medina (old city), or in tourist areas. Some of the most popular street foods include:
Shawarma – Pita bread filled with chicken, beef, or lamb shaved off a spit and topped with vegetables like onion, tomatoes, and pickles.
Falafel – Ground chickpeas served fried in a ball shape as an appetizer or snack with hummus and tahini sauce on top.
Taamiya (falafel sandwiches) – A sandwich made from two pieces of pita bread stuffed with falafel topped with pickles, parsley salad & tahini sauce.
NOTE: When booking a hotel in Cairo, select a hotel that serves breakfast in the morning.
Sunset views in Cairo
There are many places to catch the sunset in Cairo. The best spot is the Nile Corniche, where you can comfortably watch the sunset over Cairo. You’ll want to get there early (before 6 PM) to secure a good spot on this popular strip of land.
There are also two other great viewing spots: Cairo Towers and Qasr El-Nile Bridge. Both offer stunning views of the sunset. If you want an even better view of Cairo’s sunset, head out to the pyramids for sunset, too—it won’t disappoint!
Things to Keep In Mind in Egypt
In general, Egypt is a safe country. However, keep in mind that Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and has over 20 million residents. As such, many visitors and tourists come through the city every year—so it’s not uncommon to see crowds at all times of day or night.
Dress appropriately. While Egypt is generally safe and relaxed, certain areas can have more volatile atmospheres due to political unrest or other issues (such as Tahrir Square). For this reason, it’s always best to dress modestly when visiting these areas to avoid attracting attention from locals who may be distracted by your clothing.
Driving in Egypt can be insane! Traffic lights are often disregarded by drivers here; people will drive on sidewalks if there isn’t enough space on roads; buses pass each other on highways without using indicators; pedestrians cross streets without looking both ways first…the list goes on! Just remember that this isn’t our home country, and try not to get frustrated too much by its quirks 🙂
One good tip: cross streets with locals when walking around Egypt – don’t follow maps blindly! It’s easy enough for us foreigners not knowing our way around but imagine being lost without any knowledge of Arabic or street signs!
It’s easy to see why Cairo has so many visitors and is a great place to visit. There are so many things to see and do here that it can be overwhelming. Planning is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your trip. We hope this guide helps you plan a fantastic trip!
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