What to do in Cairo, Egypt.

January 9, 2020

What to do in Cairo Egypt


Egypt, Middle East, Travel Guides, Where to Stay

What to do in Cairo Egypt
What to do in Cairo Egypt

Visiting Cairo, Egypt is definitely a bucket list experience. Egypt is one of those places we had read about in textbooks for years, so getting to be there and experience it for ourselves was truly surreal. Between walking the ancient ruins of the Pyramids of Giza to wandering through the streets of Coptic Cairo, it truly feels like you’ve stepped back in time when you’re in Egypt. Plan to spend about two days in Cairo, so you have time to see and do everything the city has to offer. Here’s our Cairo, Egypt Travel Guide:

WHAT TO DO IN Cairo, Egypt: Travel Guide

What to do in Cairo Egypt

Things to Know Before You Go:

How to Get Around:

The best way to get around is by taxi or Uber. If you’re using a taxi, we suggest getting one from your hotel and deciding on the price before hand to avoid getting scammed. If you use Uber, you won’t have to worry about negotiating a price, but we found that most of our Uber drivers would message us in Arabic, so download a translation app, so you can communicate back with them. We paid around $3 to $5 USD for a 15-20 minute drive. We also suggest getting a SIM card on arrival, so you have data to use Uber and know where you’re going while you’re there.


US Citizens need a visa to enter. The single-entry visa is $25 and you can apply for it and receive it ahead of time here or you can get it on arrival at the airport. We applied for it ahead of time through that website and avoided waiting in the line at the airport to receive it. There are other websites that say they’ll do it for you, but they charge a fee. If you’re a US citizen, don’t pay more than $25 for your single-entry visa online or on arrival.

Is It Safe?

We felt very welcome and safe while we were there. However, as always, it’s important to use caution while traveling anywhere. We didn’t travel with a tour or guide, but if you’re concerned about safety, we’d suggest hiring a local guide or joining a tour.

What to Wear:

Egypt is a very conservative and religious country, so be respectful of the local culture and make sure you’re wearing clothes that aren’t too revealing. We suggest clothes that cover your shoulders and come to your ankle, like longer dresses, skirts, or pants.

Avoid Public Displays of Affection:

Because Egypt is a very conservative country, public displays of affection aren’t really acceptable. We made sure not to kiss in public, but even holding hands seemed a little beyond the norm.

Don’t Bring a Drone:

Drones are prohibited in Egypt and will likely be confiscated at customs. Even if you’re not planning on flying it, they still won’t let you bring it in the country. You could be held and questioned if you try bringing one in, and it’s not worth the risk. Just leave it at home this trip.

Bring Sunglasses:

This might sound silly, but the sun is so bright here that you’ll definitely want sunglasses while you’re outside exploring.

Plan Your Visit During the Cooler Months:

Egypt is a desert and can get unbearably hot during the summer. If you want to enjoy your time there to the fullest, you won’t want to be standing in the heat for hours on end. We went at the end of September and it was still very hot, but not totally unbearable. We’d recommend visiting between October and April.

COVID-19 Travel updates
Great Pyramids of Giza
Great Pyramids of Giza

What to Do:

Great Pyramids of Giza:

You can’t go to Egypt without seeing the Pyramids of Giza. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen photos of them, it is truly such a unique experience looking up at them and seeing them for the first time in real life. It feels like you’ve stepped back in history. There are three main pyramids, and the Great Pyramid is the largest and oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World. You can go inside the Great Pyramid for a fee, but it’s a very crowded experience, so we wouldn’t suggest it if you get claustrophobic.
Be careful of the various people that will try to “guide” you around. They will likely show you a badge and tell you that they don’t want your money, but they will inevitably demand a hefty tip at the end and make you feel like you have to ride a horse or camel. You can definitely walk around and enjoy the pyramids on your own. Just ignore them and keep walking. It seems rude, but then you won’t feel pressured or under a time crunch. We noticed the people here were a bit more aggressive and didn’t really take “no” for an answer, so while it might seem rude to ignore them, that’s your best option if you don’t want to be hassled into spending money unnecessarily.

Entrance fee: 80 Egyptian pounds per person (about $5 USD)

Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha:

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha had the same architect as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, so they have a very similar look to each other. It has a beautiful design and is located on top of the Cairo Citadel, so it also has a beautiful view of the city.

Hanging Church:

The Hanging Church is one of the oldest churches in Egypt, and it’s the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo. It’s covered in mosaics and paintings and worth stopping by for a visit while you’re in the area.
What to do in Cairo Egypt
What to do in Cairo Egypt

Khan el Khalili Souk:

Khan el Khalili is one of the oldest open air markets in the world. It’s filled with rugs, lamps, spices, jewelry, and dozens of other goods. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking to bring home a souvenir or if you want to just wander around and look at all of the unique items. It feels like you’ve traveled back in time and are walking through Agrabah.

Visiting the Egyptian Museum:

If you’re a history buff, visiting the Egyptian Museum is an absolute must. It houses thousands of ancient Egyptian antiquities, including ancient mummies, artifacts from the Pharaohs, and the gold mask of Tutankhamun.

Entrance fee: 120 Egyptian pounds (about $7 USD)

Sunset Felucca Boat Ride Down the Nile:

The sunsets in Egypt are some of the most beautiful orange sunsets we’ve ever seen. Watch the sunset while riding down the Nile in a traditional wooden sailboat, called a felucca. It’s the perfect way to have an ancient Egyptian experience while also taking in the view of the modern city.
What to do in Cairo Egypt
What to do in Cairo Egypt

Where to Stay:

We stayed at Intercontinental Semiramis Cairo and absolutely loved it! It is in the perfect spot right on the Nile River, and waking up to views of the Nile every morning was truly surreal. Plus, watching the sunset over the Nile from the incredible pool at the Intercontinental Cairo was definitely an experience we’ll never forget. The staff made us feel right at home while we were there, and they were so helpful in making sure our entire trip ran smoothly. Not only is the hotel beautiful, but it also has delicious restaurants to choose from. Our favorites were the Indian Restaurant and the Thai Restaurant, but all of them are delicious. There’s also an incredible spa and fitness center as well as the very relaxing pool area. The Intercontinental is located in the perfect area of town and takes between 30 minutes to an hour to get to the pyramids depending on traffic. 

We also highly recommend that you have the Intercontinental arrange a driver for you to get to and from the airport. They pick you up right as you get off the plane and help take you through customs and quickly get your luggage. Then the driver takes you directly to the hotel. When you’re leaving the hotel, the driver helps you get through check-in, customs, and the various security check points again, and it honestly made the entire process so much easier and more seamless. We highly suggest doing this to make your travel experience in Cairo easier.

What to do in Cairo Egypt
What to Know Before Visiting the Pyramids of Giza

What to Pack:


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What to Know Before Visiting the Pyramids of Giza
What to Know Before Visiting the Pyramids of Giza
What to Know Before Visiting the Pyramids of Giza

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