Cairo is a wonderful city and there are many interesting and exciting places for tourists to visit. It is considered to be one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world; famous for its ancient history, vibrant atmosphere and cultural institutions.
Cairo provides tourists with luxury hotels as well as other more basic hotels in order to suit everyone. From the Marriott in Zamalek to the Ritz Carlton on the Nile, Cairo is able to cater for all desires and requirements whilst giving tourisits the chance to visit some of the World’s most famous landmarks.
The best tourist places in Cairo
Cairo is home to many tourist attractions that attract visitors from all around the world. Here are some of the most famous and those that a tourist shouldn’t miss.
Giza pyramid complex
The last of the old seven wonders of the world standing to date. The three pyramids are one of the most famous sights all around the world. For many tourists, they are synonymous with Egypt and will most likely be at the top of their to-do list.
The Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure are located on the Giza plateau in Giza governorate around one hour’s drive from Cairo Airport. Recently a void has been discovered inside the pyramids, a finding that announced a new discovery and a new search within this miraculous architecture. The void is located under the current accessed room within the pyramid of Khufu.
The statue of a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human’s head. Believed to be built by the ancient Egyptians in the reign of Pharaoh Khafre (2558-2532 BC), the Sphinx is located in front of the Pyramids. Whilst maintanence and crowds can be a visual hindrance, it is easy to be swept away in the beauty and majesty of the 4,000 year old Sphinx.
Stories and tales have been told about the Sphinx, and its access to a new dimension, or secret rooms, but those who visit the Sphinx are bewitched by its vague simplicity in reflecting the strength of a lion and a head of a man.
The Pharaonic Village
The Pharaonic Village is one of the nicest spots for tourists to mellow, taken through a boat ride, it is an ideal place to learn about Ancient Egyptian history, the civilization of the pharaohs and the lifestyles that prevailed in those times, especially for children, The village resembles an ancient village form the time of the Pharaohs, and includes immersive activities, actors, dioramas and even an exact replica of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Khan El Khalili
One of the most talked-about touristic areas in Cairo, for both visitors and Egyptians, the old market, Khan al-Khalili is a frantic network of narrow roads and market stalls. It includes impressive yet humble exhibits of handicrafts such as brass, gold, silver, papyrus and wood along with many trinkets and souvenirs. Meandering through the bustling crowds and haggling prices with vendors are just part of the fun to be had at Khan El Khalili.
However, if you’re looking for a more serene experience, the market also includes many bookshops, traditional restaurants and Cafes. The Feshawi café, remains the oldest and most famous Café in the area, followed by, the Naguib Mahfouz Café, the Café were the Egyptian noble prize novelist soaked in his deep impression for the Egyptian culture and much more.
Cairo Tower offers you a great view of the city at a staggering height of 187 meters. The tower is located in the heart of Cairo, on the island of Zamalek and has a unique restaurant at the top with is positioned on a rotating platform, giving you a 360 degree view of Cairo and a hearty meal.
A magnificent architectural masterpiece built during the reign of Mohammed Ali Pasha’s family of Egypt, and the seat of government from 1872 to 1952, this palace has witnessed important events that have shaped Egypt’s modern path from the monarchy to the presidency. The palace was since converted into a museum chronicling the royal family, revolution and the emergence of the republic and is now frequented by thousands of tourists a year.
Cairo Opera House
Also know as the National Cultural Center, the Opera haouse was opened in 1988 and was built as a grant from the Japanese government to its Egyptian counterpart in the south of Zamalek, very close to Cairo Tower.
The opera building contains many different cultural and entertainment centres, museums and works of art, whilst hosting the world famous Omar Khairat group each month. Daily cultural activities and events keep visitors who follow the Opera’s schedule in a volatile cycle of cultural trips.
Baron Empain Palace
The Baron Empain was built by the Belgian millionaire Baron Edouard Empain, who came to Egypt from India at the end of the nineteenth century shortly after the opening of the Suez Canal. Its design was supposedly based on the Cambodian temples of Angkor wot and it was the beginning of Empain’s vision to build a new city form the sand. He built an area in front of the palace today named Al-Korba, an area of 1800s architecture with modern restaurants, cafes and shops.
Nowadays it is in the heart of Heliopolis on Al Orouba Street, the main road leading to Cairo International Airport, but although the palace is unfortuantle closed to the public, remains an excellent background for a photo.
Salah El Din Al Ayoubi Citadel
The citadel of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi is located in the outskirts of the city, on the hill of Mokattam. It was built by Saladin in 1183 to defend the city from oncoming crusaders and offers incredible views of the city along with a fresh breeze that is sometimes hard to come-by in Cairo.
The Citadel has various museums. For engineers and other scientific visitors, you will notice the surprising water system that used to transfer the water up to the the citadel and the waste down at a time no technology or electricity existed.
The Citadel also houses the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, this grand and ornate mosque was built in the Ottoman style, with particular inspiration form the mosque of Ayia Sophia in Istanbul, by Muhammad Ali Pasha inside the Citadel of Salah al-Din. It took from1830 to 1848 to be completed and it is considered as one of the most beautiful and visually stunning buildings in all of Cairo.
El Tahrir Square
The largest and most famous square in Cairo was formerly known as Isma’iliya Square after Khedive, or king, Ismail Pasha. It was later changed to Tahrir Square in relation to Egypt’s liberation from colonialism in the 1919 revolution. Modern history has cemented the square’s place in Egyptian society and the world’s knowledge.
Museums of Cairo
One of the oldest museums in the world, it is located in Tahrir Square, next to the Nile Ritz-Carlton. It consists of two floors, containing more than 160,000 rare relics, including mummies belonging to the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. The museum is organised according to the history of the exhibits, on the first floor are the large-sized monuments and the second floor features royal mummies, manuscripts and statues.
Dedicated to the Coptic Christian society in Egypt, the museum is located within Babylon Fortress in what is known as Coptic Cairo, by the east bank of the Nile. With artifacts that date back to Early Greek and Roman influence the Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Egyptian Christian antiquities.
One of the most famous parks in Cairo and one of the most beautiful touristic places is located in Abbas El Akkad Street in Nasr City. The garden includes many sections containing trees, animals and plants famously specific to different countries around the world. You can find a special section for the United Arab Emirates and another section for the Kingdom of Bahrain and another for Japan. Do not miss visiting this park, it is one of the best places to relax and unwind in Cairo.
Al Azhar Park
Cairo’s largest and most beautiful theme park is located on an area of 80 acres, Al Azhar Park is called a paradise in the heart of the Egyptian capital because it is located in the middle of the old and historic city of Cairo. The park enjoys great views, overlooking the city from all sides, and offers something a bit different to museums and places of historical interest. You can view from there the old Cairo, the city with a thousand minerates.
Al Hussein Mosque
It was built in the Fatimid era in the year 1154 AD under the supervision of Minister Salih Talai. The mosque is located near Khan El Khalili, in the centre of Cairo and is considered to be one of the holiest Islamic sites in Egypt. Named after the great grandfather of the 15th Fatimid Caliph as it was the final resting place of the former’s head. With the beginning of the Crusades the Fatimid caliph feared that the head of his Great grandfather would be harmed in its initial resting place of Ashkelon. As a result, he relocated the head and the mosque has been famous ever since.
Tourism in Luxor
Ancient Thebes, capital of the Pharoh’s New Kingdom dynasty and the world’s living museum of civilisation and history. Luxor is home to the Valley of the kings, a bundle of tombs and temples that has been called the biggest open air museum in the world. As well as, Karnak Temple, the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the richest and most diversified design for a temple honouring one of the strong ladies that governed Egypt. Exploring the colorful wall arts of the tombs and gazing at the colossal columns in the temples, Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.
Tourism in Aswan
Egypt’s most tranquil town is Aswan, set upon the winding curves of the Nile. Backed by orange-hued dunes this is the perfect place to stop and unwind for a few days and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere. Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on the East Bank. Or just drink endless cups of tea on one of the riverboat restaurants, while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past. There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, but one of Aswan’s biggest highlights is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.
Tourism in The Nile-cruise between Luxor & Aswan
This is nothing like a sea or an ocean cruise where the shores are far, a nile cruise resembles a peaceful walk through the visible shores of an old civilisation, the trip covers visits to temples along the way from Luxor to Aswan, passing by Edfu, Esna and other sites, visiting temples and sites along your trip. The warmth of the the view along the day and night (especially at sun rise and sun set) from your room or on-deck is entertaining and unforgettable.
Tourism in Abu Simbel
Ramses II’s great temple, resembles the great astronomical and engineering skills reached by our ancestors. Two times in the year the sun rays pierce through the temple on the King’s statue inside the temple, once on his birth date and a second time on the date he became king of Egypt. The temple was set to disappear under the water because of the Aswan dam and during the 1960s in a massive UNESCO operation that took four years transferred the temple to higher grounds numbering the stones. The entire temple moved from its original setting to higher grounds, yet with all technology reached then the Sun ray backed one day from its original setting.
Tourism in White Desert
Egypt’s kookiest natural wonder is the White Desert where surreally shaped chalk mountains have created what looks like a snowy wonderland in the middle of the arid sand. The landscapes here look like something out of a science fiction movie with blindingly white boulders and iceberg-like pinnacles. For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who’s had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery.
Tourism in Siwa Oasis
Siwa is the tranquil tonic to the hustle of Egypt’s cities. This gorgeous little oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and numerous fresh water springs, is one of the Western Desert’s most picturesque spots. The town is centreed around the ruins of a vast mud-brick citadel that dominates the view. This is a top spot to wind down and go slow for a few days as well as being an excellent base from which to plan adventures into the surrounding desert. The city is is surrounded by mythism, from stories of Alexander the Great visiting its temple and becoming a pharaoh and waters that cure diseases.
Tourism in Alexandria
Alexandria has a history that not many others can match. Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra, and razzmatazz renegade city of the Mediterranean for much of its life, this seaside city has an appealing days-gone-by atmosphere that can’t be beaten. Although today, there are few historic remnants of its illustrious past – feted in songs and books – this is a place made for aimless strolling along the seashore Corniche, café-hopping, and souk shopping.
Tourism in St. Catherine’s Monastery
One of the oldest monasteries in the world, St. Catherine’s stands at the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. This desert monastery is home to an incredible collection of religious iconography, art, and manuscripts (some of which can be seen in the on-site museum) as well as the home of the burning bush. For most visitors here, a trip to St. Catherine’s also involves a hike up Mount Sinai to see sunrise or sunset. Take the camel path for the easy route or climb the famous Steps of Repentance if you want better views.
Tourism in South Sinai
Egypt’s centre for beach fun is the South Sinai region on the Sinai Peninsula. Sharm el-Sheikh is a European-style resort full of luxury hotels, international restaurants, and bags of entertainment options. Dahab is a low-key beach town with a budget traveler heart, which is just as much about desert excursions and adventures as the sea. Up the coast, between the port town of Nuweiba and the border town of Taba, are the bamboo hut retreats that offer complete get-away-from-it-all respites from life. Wherever you choose, the South Sinai is all about diving. The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, and the South Sinai region is home to much of the best dive sites.