Cairo is one of the world’s greatest tourist cities for many reasons. It’s crazy, it’s beautiful, and it has more history than most other places on earth.
Although it’s noisy and polluted now, the history of this place dating back thousands of years can be hard to fathom until you visit and see for yourself. Arabs call Cairo the Mother of the World (Umm al-Dunya), and exploring the city, you’ll see what they mean.
When visiting Cairo, there are some great places to see; the obvious ones are on most people’s bucket lists, but there is much to this city, so here are some of the best places to visit in Cairo.
Pyramids of Giza
Of course, right at the top of everyone’s list are the Pyramids of Giza. They are Cairo’s top attraction and a must-do part of your travels in Egypt.
Gezira is an island in the Nile that’s home to the upscale district of Zamalek, which is lined with trendy boutiques and hip eateries. This area doesn’t feel like the rest of Cairo; it’s more like somewhere in Europe. With boulevards lined with Belle Époque mansions, Zamalek is not only a spectacular place to visit, it’d also Cairo’s finest dining destination.
The Egyptian Museum
The astounding collection of ancient artifacts on display in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum delivers one of the most intriguing museum experiences in the world.
Khan el-Khalili (Souq Quarter)
Khan el-Khalili is possibly the world’s most amazing shopping experience. This Middle Eastern souq (bazaar) is a complex series of narrow alleyways that have been a shopping district since the 1400’s. You can hear and see local metal workers, silversmiths, and other artisans in action, and there are thousands of tiny stores and workshops where you can find traditional Egyptian products.
The Coptic section of Old Cairo is home to several ancient Christian churches, the Babylon Fortress, and the Coptic Museum, among many other historic sites. Sections of Roman towers still exist, and the Coptic Museum houses a treasure trove of information on Egypt’s early Christian history.
Bab Zuweila is the most fascinating of the Islamic Cairo district’s gates. This relic was built in the 11th century, and you can climb to the top for some of the best views in the city.
Built on what was basically an ancient Egyptian rubbish dump, Al-Azhar Park is the green heart of the old district. Opened in 2005, it provides much-needed green space to the overcrowded chaos of Cairo. Perfectly manicured gardens and views over the old city create a stunning backdrop at sunset. It also boasts some very good restaurants.
Cairo is a beautiful but chaotic place to visit. You’ll want to have a nice quiet hotel room to give yourself some quiet time after a day of exploring, and there are so many amazing places to choose from.