Things to Do in Cairo - Discover the Best Places and Experiences

Spencer Davis, Unsplash
September 29
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the must-see places and best experiences in Cairo. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of this fascinating city.

Get ready to embark on a journey through Cairo, the heart of Egypt and a treasure trove of ancient history. It's a city where the past and the present blend seamlessly, and your senses will be tantalized by its vibrant colors, aromatic smells, and bustling alleys. Can you believe that Cairo is home to the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Before you start exploring what to see in Cairo, it's essential to note that this city is more than just pyramids and mummies. Amidst the towering minarets and mosaic domes, you'll find a dynamic city thriving with culture, arts and world-renowned cuisine. With so many unique things to do in Cairo, every adventurer can find their slice of joy.

This Cairo guide will take you on an unforgettable journey through some of the most awe-inspiring places to visit in Cairo. So brace yourself for an experience that promises to be as rich as the history of this incredible city.

1. Great Pyramid of Giza

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Great Pyramid of Giza
Great Pyramid of Giza / Jeremy Bishop, Unsplash

The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This imposing construction was built as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu during the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt. It is the largest of the three pyramids in Giza and is believed to have been built around 2580 BC.

This masterpiece of ancient architecture is famous for its precision and perfection. It is composed of millions of perfectly carved and placed blocks of limestone, forming a pyramid structure that stands 146 meters tall. Inside, there are passageways and burial chambers that reveal the mysteries of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza, you can enjoy stunning views of the pyramids and the city of Cairo. Immerse yourself in the history and grandeur of this world wonder and discover for yourself why it is one of Egypt's most popular tourist destinations.

2. The Sphinx of Cairo

Historical Monuments and Architecture
The Sphinx of Cairo
The Sphinx of Cairo / Adrian Dascal, Unsplash

The Sphinx of Cairo is a stone statue located next to the Pyramids of Giza. Known as the most recognizable symbol of Egypt, this impressive work of art attracts visitors from around the world.

Built during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre, the Sphinx is believed to represent the figure of that ancient ruler. The statue stands 20 meters tall and is carved from a single piece of limestone.

In addition to its artistic beauty, the Sphinx also holds symbolic meaning in Egyptian history. It is thought to have served as a guardian of the pyramids and a protector of the pharaohs and their treasures.

3. Egyptian Museum of Cairo

Museums and Art Galleries
Egyptian Museum of Cairo
Egyptian Museum of Cairo / 2H Media, Unsplash

Things to do in Cairo

The Egyptian Museum of Cairo is a must-visit tourist attraction for history and Egyptian culture enthusiasts. Located in Tahrir Square, this museum houses over 120,000 objects, including the famous collection of treasures from the pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Uncover the secrets of ancient Egypt

Explore the halls of the Egyptian Museum and marvel at the incredible variety of artifacts, from mummies and sarcophagi to statues and jewelry. Learn about life in Ancient Egypt and delve into the religious beliefs and art of this fascinating civilization.

An unforgettable experience

Visiting the Egyptian Museum is immersing yourself in the history of Egypt. Don't miss the opportunity to admire the treasures of ancient royalty and enjoy an educational and enriching experience. It's definitely one of the top places to visit in Cairo!

4. Khan El Khalili Market

Food and Markets
a group of gold and silver cups
Khan El Khalili Market / Mahmoud Ibrahim, Unsplash

Khan El Khalili Market is one of the highlights of tourism in Cairo, Egypt. Known for its narrow and labyrinthine streets, this traditional market offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in Egyptian culture and commerce. At Khan El Khalili, you will find a wide variety of products, from exquisite artwork and craftsmanship to souvenirs and jewelry. A must-visit destination for shopping and culture lovers in Cairo!

In addition to being a perfect place for shopping, Khan El Khalili is also a place full of history. Its origins date back to the 14th century, when it was built as an important center of trade in the city. Since then, the market has witnessed countless historical events and has hosted traders from all over the world.

At Khan El Khalili, you can have a unique experience. Explore its colorful alleyways, haggle with the vendors for the best prices, and enjoy the lively and bustling atmosphere. If you're in Cairo, you can't miss visiting this emblematic market that offers an authentic showcase of Egyptian culture.

5. Nile River Boat Ride in Cairo

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Discover the beauty of the Nile River

The Nile River is undoubtedly one of the most iconic rivers in the world and a symbol of Egypt. A boat ride along its waters will allow you to appreciate its grandeur and enjoy breathtaking views of Cairo.

Experience history and culture

During the boat ride, you'll be able to admire the famous monuments and tourist attractions that are scattered along the Nile River, such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum, and the Cairo Tower. It's a unique experience to delve into the history and culture of Egypt.

Breathtaking panoramic views

From the boat, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Cairo and its surroundings. You'll see the city from a different perspective and capture incredible photographs of the city skyline and the Nile River.

6. Citadel of Saladin

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a view of a city from the top of a building
Citadel of Saladin / AMMAR YASSER, Unsplash

The Citadel of Saladin is an impressive architectural complex located on a hilltop in Cairo. This medieval fortress is one of the city's main tourist attractions, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into Egypt's history and culture.

Built in the 12th century by the famous military leader and ruler Saladin, the Citadel has played an important role in Egypt's history. Its imposing architecture and strategic location make it a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Exploring the Citadel of Saladin is like stepping back in time. You can stroll along its ancient walls, visit mosques and museums, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top of its towers. It's truly a unique experience that will transport you to Egypt's past.

7. Coptic Quarter of Cairo

History and Cultural Heritage
aerial photography of pyramids of Egypt
Coptic Quarter of Cairo / 2H Media, Unsplash

The Coptic Quarter of Cairo is a must-visit for those looking to immerse themselves in the history and culture of Egypt's capital. Located in the old part of the city, this historic neighborhood is home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

The Coptic Quarter boasts numerous churches and monasteries dating back centuries. These impressive architectural structures offer a fascinating glimpse into Egypt's religious history and are true cultural treasures.

Wandering through the narrow streets of The Coptic Quarter is like stepping back in time. Here, you'll find antique shops, charming cafes, and a wealth of local art and craftsmanship.

8. Old Cairo

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Old Cairo
Old Cairo / Ashraf Abdelalim, Unsplash

Old Cairo is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city of Cairo. Located on the eastern bank of the Nile River, this historic neighborhood is home to a large number of monuments and buildings dating back to different periods of Egyptian history.

Cairo is known as the city of a thousand minarets, and in Old Cairo you'll find some of the oldest and most beautiful examples. The Great Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As and the Hanging Church of El Mualaka are just a few of the architectural gems you can find in this place.

In addition to its impressive architecture, Old Cairo also houses a large number of museums and bazaars where you can immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of Egypt. Don't miss the Coptic Museum and the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, famous for its crafts and spices.

9. Islamic Cairo

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Islamic Cairo
Islamic Cairo / AXP Photography, Unsplash

Islamic Cairo: A journey back in time to the golden age of the Islamic world. Here you will find an impressive collection of mosques, madrasas, and monuments that are true architectural gems. Don't miss the famous Ibn Tulun Mosque, one of the oldest in Cairo and a wonderful example of Fatimid architecture.

The Citadel of Saladin: From the top of the hill, the Citadel offers breathtaking views of Cairo. Explore the Muhammad Ali Mosque, also known as the Alabaster Mosque, and admire its beautiful Ottoman design.

Bab Zuweila Gates: These ancient fortified gates are one of the last remaining structures of Cairo's medieval walls. Take a stroll around them and soak in the historic atmosphere of the area.

10. Cairo Nilometer

History and Cultural Heritage
white concrete building near body of water during daytime
Cairo Nilometer / Youhana Nassif, Unsplash

The Cairo Nilometer is an impressive monument dating back to pharaohs' times and used to measure the level of the Nile River. Located on a small island in the river, this ancient device was of vital importance to the Egyptians, as the Nile was the main source of life and wealth in the country.

The Nilometer consisted of a central column surrounded by steps and markers indicating the water level. Priests and rulers used this system to predict the river's floods and droughts, allowing for precise crop predictions.

Today, the Cairo Nilometer is a popular tourist attraction that offers a fascinating glimpse into Egypt's past. Visitors can admire the architecture and details of this ancient device, as well as enjoy panoramic views of the Nile River and the city of Cairo.

11. Al-Azhar Park Cairo

Natural Spaces and Parks
Al-Azhar Park Cairo
Al-Azhar Park Cairo / Thales Botelho de Sousa, Unsplash

Al-Azhar Park Cairo is a beautiful oasis in the midst of the bustling city of Cairo. With its expansive gardens and impressive Islamic architecture, the park offers a tranquil escape where visitors can relax and enjoy nature.

From the park, one can enjoy magnificent views of the Saladin Citadel, which towers majestically over the city. As you walk along the park's winding pathways, you'll discover fountains, ponds, and picturesque resting areas.

In addition to its natural beauty, Al-Azhar Park also hosts a range of cultural and educational activities for all ages. From concerts and art events to workshops and lectures, there's always something interesting happening in this charming place.

12. Abdeen Palace

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Abdeen Palace, located in the heart of Cairo, is one of the city's top tourist attractions. With its imposing architecture and rich history, the palace served as the official residence of the Egyptian royal family until the revolution of 1952. Today, the palace is open to the public and houses a museum showcasing the life and legacy of ancient Egyptian dynasties.

Explore the history

Abdeen Palace was built in the late 19th century by Khedive Ismail Pasha, known for his love of art and architecture. The palace features a blend of styles, from neoclassical to baroque, and is surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful inner courtyards. For decades, the palace witnessed important historical events and hosted various world leaders and dignitaries.

Discover its halls and exhibitions

When visiting Abdeen Palace, you can wander through its opulent halls adorned with period furniture and artwork. The collection includes silverware, porcelain, and crystal objects, as well as hand-woven tapestries and carpets. You can also admire the impressive decorated ceilings and beautiful frescoes depicting the history of Egypt.

Don't miss it!

Abdeen Palace is a must-visit destination for history and architecture enthusiasts. Besides its architectural beauty, the palace offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Egyptian royalty and its significance in the country's history. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the impressive details and grandeur of this historical palace!

13. Muizz Street

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Muizz Street:

Muizz Street is one of Cairo's historical treasures that you cannot miss. Located in the old quarter of the city, it offers a fascinating glimpse into Islamic architecture and the history of Egypt.

Explore history:

While strolling along Muizz Street, you will have the opportunity to admire ancient palaces, mosques, and caravanserais. These historical landmarks reveal the architectural and cultural legacy of the medieval period.

Discover the charm:

Muizz Street is vibrant and bustling. Take a leisurely walk along its cobblestone streets, explore the bustling souks, and indulge in the authentic atmosphere of Cairo. Don't miss out on the local flavors at the traditional restaurants and cafes you'll encounter along the way.

14. Cairo Tower

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Cairo Tower
Cairo Tower / Jack Krier, Unsplash

Cairo Tower, also known as Cairo Television Tower, is an iconic structure that soars above the city offering impressive panoramic views. Standing at a height of 187 meters, this tower is a symbol of the city and a landmark for visitors.

From the top of Cairo Tower, you can gaze upon the mighty Nile River and see the bustling city from a unique perspective. Don't miss the opportunity to capture unforgettable photographs and enjoy special moments in this emblematic location.

One of the highlights of Cairo Tower is its revolving observation platform, which provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the city. You'll be able to enjoy a wide perspective of the city's main monuments and points of interest, such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum.

15. Cairo Opera House

Entertainment and Pop Culture

The Cairo Opera House is a must-visit destination for music and culture enthusiasts in Egypt. Located in the heart of the vibrant city, this imposing institution has witnessed countless performances and renowned events over the years. It offers a wide variety of theater productions, concerts, and ballets that attract audiences from around the world.

With its impressive and elegant architecture, the Cairo Opera House is a true gem of the city. Its design combines classical and modern elements, creating a unique and sophisticated atmosphere. The performance halls feature exceptional acoustics, ensuring a sublime experience for attendees.

In addition to live events, the Cairo Opera House also hosts art exhibitions and other cultural activities. It is a place where internationally acclaimed artists and local talents converge, creating an enriching and diverse environment.

16. Islamic Art Museum of Cairo

Museums and Art Galleries

The Islamic Art Museum of Cairo is a must-visit for art and culture enthusiasts. Housed in a magnificent building built in Fatimid style, this museum boasts one of the world's most important collections of Islamic art.

In its galleries, you can marvel at an astonishing variety of artifacts, from ceramics and textiles to jewelry and manuscripts. The exhibition covers the period from pre-Islamic times to the 19th century, showcasing the evolution and influence of Islamic art throughout history.

Don't miss the opportunity to explore this cultural treasure in the heart of Cairo. The Islamic Art Museum will transport you through centuries and allow you to appreciate the beauty and richness of Egypt's Islamic heritage.

17. Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Mosque of Muhammad Ali / BassemSaad saad, Unsplash

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture in Cairo, Egypt. Also known as the Alabaster Mosque, it offers a panoramic view of the city from its summit and is a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts.

Built between 1830 and 1848 by Muhammad Ali Pasha, the founder and ruler of Egypt at the time, the mosque stands out for its imposing dome and minarets. Its interior impresses with its exquisite decoration and is a place of pilgrimage for Muslim faithful.

In addition to its religious significance, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is an impressive example of Ottoman architecture. Its delicate details and beautiful mosaics are a showcase of the skill and splendor of the era.

18. Hanging Church of Cairo

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Hanging Church of Cairo
Hanging Church of Cairo / 2H Media, Unsplash

Things to do in Cairo: The Hanging Church is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city. This Coptic Christian church, also known as the Church of the Virgin Mary, is located in the Coptic district of Old Cairo.

History and architecture: Built in the 4th century, the Hanging Church is famous for its unique architecture. The name 'hanging church' comes from the fact that it was built on top of the two towers of the ancient Babylon fortress. Its interiors are decorated with beautiful frescoes and wood carvings depicting biblical scenes and religious figures.

Visit this historical gem: If you're interested in history and religious architecture, you can't miss the Hanging Church of Cairo. Explore its interior and admire its unique beauty. This place is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and curious travelers.

19. Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church

History and Cultural Heritage

The Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the must-see attractions in Cairo. Built in the 4th century, this church is considered one of the religious treasures of Egypt.

Located in the city center, the church is an important pilgrimage site for Coptic Christians. Its impressive architecture and rich history make it a must-visit for lovers of Egyptian religion and culture.

Marvel at the beautiful frescoes and mosaics inside the church, which depict biblical scenes and key moments in the history of the Coptic church. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to witness traditional religious services and experience the unique spirituality of this sacred place.

20. Cairo Citadel

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Cairo Citadel
Cairo Citadel / Ahmad Ajmi, Unsplash

The Cairo Citadel is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in the city and a must-visit for travelers looking to explore Egypt's rich history and culture.

Built in the 12th century by Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, the Citadel is strategically located on a hill that offers panoramic views of Cairo and the Nile River.

Inside the Citadel, visitors can explore the impressive Muhammad Ali Mosque, also known as the Alabaster Mosque, which stands out for its stunning Islamic architecture and beautiful dome. Additionally, several museums can be visited, including the Police Antiquities Museum, which houses an interesting collection of historical artifacts.

21. Sultan Hassan Mosque

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Things to do in Cairo: Sultan Hassan Mosque is one of the most impressive attractions in the city. Built in the 14th century, it is an outstanding example of Mamluk architecture. Its grand design and magnificent decoration make it a unique place to visit during your stay in Cairo.

Impressive architecture: Sultan Hassan Mosque stands out for its imposing stone walls and elegant columns. Its interior is equally impressive, with beautiful works of art and a serene atmosphere that invites contemplation.

Rich history: This mosque has a fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. Throughout the centuries, it has witnessed numerous historical events and has been a place of worship and pilgrimage for Muslim believers. Visiting it is immersing yourself in the past and experiencing the spirituality of this sacred place.

22. The City of the Dead in Cairo

Historical Monuments and Architecture$$$

The City of the Dead (also known as Qarafa or Cairo Necropolis) is an impressive cemetery and funerary complex located in the capital of Egypt, Cairo. This place is unique in the world and offers a fascinating glimpse into the culture and funerary tradition of Egypt.

With more than a thousand years of history, the City of the Dead is much more than just a cemetery. Here you will find a great number of mausoleums, tombs, and mosques that reflect the rich history and cultural heritage of Egypt.

Explore the narrow streets and labyrinth of this impressive necropolis and admire the unique architecture of the tombs and mausoleums. Immerse yourself in the magical and mysterious atmosphere of this sacred place and discover why the City of the Dead is one of the main tourist attractions in Cairo.