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Egypt is one of the oldest tourist destinations. This is largely due to the great pyramids of Giza, found in Cairo. 

Most people might think that a visit to Cairo is only about the pyramids and the Egyptian museum where mummies are displayed. Those people are in for a great surprise because Cairo is a lot more, and keeps giving.

Besides the pyramids and museums, there are mosques, churches, schools, libraries, historical sites, and markets whose histories are as fascinating as they are old. 

In this article, we'll look at 10 incredible things you can do in Cairo on a holiday in Egypt.

To Things To Do In Cairo, Egypt

1. Visit The Pyramids Of Giza

giza pyramids wide

The ultimate and most popular tourist attraction in Cairo and maybe all of Egypt is the Giza pyramids. The pyramids have wowed travellers for centuries and continue to attract people who want to walk in the actual footsteps of a past long gone, and yet still here.

Besides the 3 major pyramids, you will find many smaller ones - equally old, and equally fascinating. You will also find the iconic sphinx monument - 'guarding' the pyramids.

There is a reason why so many people visit Egypt every year and make sure to visit the pyramids.

Related article: Best time to visit the Egyptian pyramids of Giza

2. Explore Islamic Cairo.

islamic cairo

Islamic Cairo is also called historic Cairo or medieval Cairo. Islamic Cairo generally refers to the historic areas of Cairo that existed before the city's expansion in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Historic Cairo is full of its rich history and heritage since its foundation. It is home to a lot of historic and Islamic architecture characterized by mosques, tombs, madrasas (schools), mansions and so much more.

A visit to historic Cairo is unmissable for the curious mind - be it about old Cairo, Islam, architecture, education, and more.

3. Explore Coptic Cairo.

coptic cairo

Coptic Cairo refers to a part of Old Cairo that includes the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic museum, the hanging church, the Greek church of St George, and many more Coptic churches and historical sites.

In the bible, the holy family [- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph] fled to Egypt when Jesus was still a baby. It is believed that they stayed at the current site of the Abu Serga church.

Coptic Cairo is full of Christian history and worth visiting and learning about - regardless of one's faith and belief system.

4. Visit The Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum in Cairo

The Egyptian Museum is one of the best museums in the world. This is because of the great collection of antiquities from times past.

From major displays like those of Tutankhamun and more royal mummies and items, going through the museum in complete detail would take years. But the Experienced Egyptologist already have the knowledge you seek about these items and their significance.

When the Grand Egyptian Museum opens, some items will be transferred to the new and improved location. The Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo will however stay as a museum, continuing its more than 150 years of service to the world.

5. Visit The Cave Church Of The Zabbaleen.

Also known as the Monastery of Saint Simon, the cave church is the biggest church in the Middle East - by capacity. It can seat around 20,000 congregants.

The cave church is found in the Mokattam mountain, in an area of Cairo known as a 'garbage city'. The name garbage city originates from the large population of garbage collectors (Zabbaleen) who have inhabited this area since the 1940s when most migrated from southern Egypt due to poor crop harvest.

The Zabbaleen are Coptic Christians and within the garbage city, they make up the largest majority. The church was established in 1975.

6. Visit Zamalek On Gezira.

cairo tower

While Zamalek has quite some interesting history, it is a more modern part of Cairo by comparison. By Cairo's standard, any place that is not older than 500 years seems pretty new.

Zamalek is quiet and a good break from the fast-paced Cairo city centre. In Zamalek, you can visit the Cairo Opera House, the Gezira Club, and the famous Cairo Tower.

From the roof of the Cairo Tower, you will enjoy the best panoramic views of Cairo. On a clear day, you will easily see the entire city from east to west.

7. Visit The "Other Pyramids"

bent pyramid

Just 30 kilometres south of Cairo is the vast necropolis of Saqqara. The most popular attractions here are the "other pyramids" - the Step Pyramid, Dahshur's Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid.

Besides these old versions of the pyramids - from which the construction of pyramids was perfected, Saqqara and Dahshur have extensive tombs, some of which are still actively being explored for the first time.

8. Try Cairo's Fast Food.

While fast food might not be for everyone - for dietary health reasons, it is one of the great ways you can experience any city. It is no different for Cairo.

Street food is often as diverse as a city's culture and history. Given Cairo's incredible history, street food is a tasteful way of experiencing the various sections of the city.

cairo street market

9. Souvenir Shopping In Cairo

Whether you want to shop for Egyptian souvenirs for your trip or everyday essentials, Cairo will give you all the options.

For most visitors, souvenir shopping is a way of carrying something back as a physical reminder of their experience in Egypt. There are shops of all kinds and sizes. Whether you prefer the 'street shopping' style of a crowded market or a more organized store feel, it is all there.

Additionally, haggling/bargaining for a lower price is commonplace in Egypt, so don't forget to try out your negotiation skills.

Given Egypt's incredible history, you could run into someone trying to give you a deal that seems too good to be true. Usually an actual piece of something from the times of ancient Egypt. This is most likely a scam.

Remember if something seems too good to be true, it is not true. Follow your gut feeling.

10. Enjoy A Cruise On The River Nile.

nile cruise at night

Egypt can not be separated from the mighty river Nile. The river has given life to Egypt and all the resulting civilizations.

There are various restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs floating on the Nile. You can enjoy all these or simply kick back and watch the sun go down while cruising on a river that is held in high and intimate regard by all Egyptians.


Given Cairo's history and heritage, there is so much more to do. While some interesting activities have been combined as a part of a bigger activity, they can easily stand on their own. 

If you were to explore most of the above activities, it would take you at least a few days.

For the extremely curious minds, it would take much longer and you would still want for more. That is the fascinating thing about a city as old as Cairo, you can explore it for a lifetime. It keeps giving.

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