- Discover Cairo
Cairo is situated at the head of the Nile in Northern Egypt. Tahrir Square is the centre of Cairo.
The locals are incredibly friendly and more than willing to help you cope with the chaos that is Cairo city centre.
The Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square houses over 100,000 pieces of ancient Egyptian art. Visit here before you visit the pyramids or the temples of Luxor, to get more of an understanding of their treasure. The most famous exhibit of course would be the treasure of King Tutankhamen. Have a look at the Mummy Room which houses some famous Pharoahs.
Visit the Garden City, a colonial era part of the city, and have a wander around.
There’s the Sun Boat Museum, where a Solar Boat resides. The boat was discovered in 1954. It’s thought that the boat was for the Pharoahs journey to the afterworld.
Built in 1176, the Citadel is a fortress built by crusader prisoners for Sultan Saladin. There’s a great view of the city below the fortress from here.
Mosque of Ibn Tulun is the city’s oldest standing mosque. It is believed that the wood beams used in the mosque came from Noah’s Ark. Great view from the top of the external spiral staircase.
On the southern outskirts of Cairo stand the pyramids of Gisa, Cheops great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khephren and the Pyramid of Mycerinus. These were the cemeteries of the Pharoahs. They were transported here on the Nile and buried deep inside the Pyramids. You can go down to the burial chambers if you wish, guides will take you down. It can be an ardous journey in some cases, taking over an hour.
The guardian of the Pyramids, the Sphinx, stands outside the Pyramid of Khephren and his face is said to be that of Khephren. The Sphinx has a man’s face and the body of a lion.
Cairo International Airport is served by many major international carriers such as Lufthansa and Etihad. Most international flights arrive into Terminal 1.
To get to the city centre there are taxis parked outside the terminals. Make sure the meter is turned on. You can also hop into or pre book a limousine service. These include Mercedes and mini-buses that are also parked outside the terminals. Consider sharing with other travellers.
Flight times to Cairo
Dublin 5 hours | London 4.5 hours | Hong Kong 10 hours | New York 11 hours | San Diego 15 hours | Sydney 17.5 hours
Taxis are the best way to get around Cairo. Public transport such as the metro can be intimidating, especially for women. Ask your hotel receptionist to book a taxi for you and always make sure the meter is turned on. Use the solid white taxis if you can and try not to pay in larger notes. Taxi drivers have been known to switch notes and claim that you gave them a smaller one.
Don’t get taxis to any of the sites. You are better off getting an organised tour. It will prevent you from getting ripped off. You are also less likely to get hassle from merchants in a large group.
If you insist on using public transport get on the air conditioned buses that don’t allow standing or take one of the mini buses. There are problems with sexual harassment so these are the best options for women.
If you are going to drive yourself, remember that they drive on the right. The roads here are jammed with traffic and some of the driving is downright dangerous so take care.
Women travellers will certainly be subjected to a certain amount of sexual harassment in Cairo. Wear conservative clothes at all times when in public.
Don’t allow yourself to be taken anywhere by friendly guides. Always book official guides through your hotel.
There have been sporadic protests in Cairo since the revolution in 2011. If it looks like a protest might be happening, stay away from Tahrir Square as this is where it is most likely to occur.
Don’t drink the tap water or put ice cubes in your drinks.
Mosquitoes are a problem here. Wear repellent and long sleeves and long trousers when out at night. Kill any mosquitoes that are in your room before you go to sleep.
Drink lots of water and stay out of the midday sun. Only go on tours in the early morning or late afternoon.