Get absorbed by the chaos and bustling nature of the bazaars. Travel light, haggle, weave through the stalls and generally immerse yourself into this marketplace-style experience where you can buy curios, food, traditional clothing and shoes, books and even camels.
Wekalet al-Balah is ideal for colourful fabrics and Egyptian cotton, Khan Al-Khalili is one of the most ancient bazaars in the world and this is a paradise for those of you who want to buy handmade jewellery, and Khan Misr Touloun is a haven for souvenirs and and Cairo keepsakes.These busy markets can be intimidating so it’s important to maintain a sense of humour and have fun with the shopkeepers when haggling for items.If you also want to shop somewhere you feel familiar with, or if you need to stock up on anything during your stay then visit Citystars Centre; a luxury mall with chain stores and high-street retailers. And for furniture, glassware and home accessories Beit Sherif is a great place to go.
Cairo boasts an impressive number of restaurants and a variety of cuisines as well as style of eateries; from high-class hotel restaurants and street restaurants to cafes, sheesha bars and snack stalls.
For a taster of traditional Egyptian and middle eastern food – which is available all over Cairo – try taa’miya (falafel), fetyeer (pancakes with either sweet or savoury fillings), muzagga (Egyptians take on moussaka), shawarma (strips of roasted meat wrapped in bred – a dish originally from Syria and Lebanon) and kushari (rice, lentils, macaroni and sauce). Hygiene in the smaller, independently owned restaurants can vary immensely so just take a look around to see what the quality of the place is like and how many diners are there to get an idea of whether it’d be a risk to eat there or not.
Another hygiene and health issue is the tap water and vegetables; always drink bottled water and always wash fresh produce before eating or cooking. International chains like Costa, Starbucks and The Bakery are also spread across the city.
For a spectacular dining experience sign up to a night on the Nile Pharaoh Cruising Restaurant; the ride lasts for two and a half hours, the buffet and set menus are delicious and along with the enchanting views of Cairo there’s also entertainment in form of belly dancers and singers.
In Cairo there’s a great choice of bars and clubs – a lot of the trendy and most chic ones are in hotels and around the Zamalek area where the more party-goer tourists flock. But, for something a little less upmarket venture to Downtown Cairo.
Recommendations for nightlife in Zamalek: Mojo’s Lounge & Bar; a dramatic and luxury setting on the top deck of a boat. Pub 28; contrary to its name this is a chilled out cosy restaurant and bar. L’aubergine; an up-beat vibe and amazing sound system make this a popular venue with 20-something party fans.
Recommendations for nightlife Downtown: Palmyra; a big venue with a gold and red interior offering entertainment such as cabaret and belly dancers. O Bar; offering a great selection of cocktails, fresh and hip decor and a lively, exciting atmosphere.
Things to do
Visit the Giza Pyramids
Documentaries, photos and postcards can’t convey the magical and breath-taking sight of these limestone wonders and the Sphinx. These vast tombs are steeped in history and a trip to Cairo wouldn’t be complete without going on a guided tour of them. You can even be offered the opportunity to take a look inside Khufu and Khafre. Every hotel will offer tour deals and information.
With a staggering number of artifacts – approximately 130,000 – this is a must see for any tourist. Learn about the powerful and world-changing history and culture of Egypt. Look at the incredibly preserved mummies, marvel at the ancient jewelry, learn about all the incredible items excavated from the tombs, and stand in awe observing the death mask of Tutankhamun.
A cruise along the Nile
Book your expedition in advance – if you haven’t been able to arrange it before your trip to Cairo then ask the staff at your hotel when you arrive. The Nile is – regarded as the longest river in the world – flows through Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt, and North of Cairo it divides. Most cruises offer food, drink, entertainment and, on the whole, a beautifully exuberant atmosphere.