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The Sphinx and Giza Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt

Compare the best Cairo city breaks

The largest city in Africa, Cairo is a great place to take your family for a holiday. With many thousands of years of history and culture to explore, with artefacts from every era, your only issue will be fitting everything into Cairo city breaks.

Why go?

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A Unesco-protected city, Cairo's many attractions include the Egyptian Museum, the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx of Giza, Gabalaya Park, Amr Ibn El-As Mosque and Tahrir Square. Other unmissable sights are the River Nile and Zamalek (Gezira) Island.

If you want to experience the vibrant markets and traditional Egyptian bazaars, then take a walk through Cairo's Old Town. With many traditional stalls and hidden squares it's worth wandering through the area and experiencing the true feeling of living in Cairo. After visiting the busy Old Town, taking a relaxing cruise down the River Nile to the pyramids and Sphinx of Giza will bring ancient Egypt and the pharaohs to life.

The Egyptian Museum has many ancient artefacts that will astonish and amaze all of the family. The highlight of a visit here is seeing the treasures found in the tomb of the young pharaoh Tutankhamen.

When you arrive in Cairo you'll fly into Cairo International Airport (CAI) before travelling the short distance into the city. It's easy to get into Cairo from Cairo International Airport. An airport shuttle bus runs every half hour and connects the terminal with central Cairo. Expect a journey time of around 45 minutes.

Or jump into a white taxi outside the arrivals terminal. Insist on the meter being used, as fixed fares often bump up the true cost. Alternatively, the budget option is a public bus from the nearby bus station, which is connected to the airport by a free shuttle bus. It can be a task for the brave, as bus numbers are often in Arabic and the journey takes 60-90 minutes.

Getting around on weekend breaks in Cairo can also be slow going - this is a heaving city and traffic doesn't always move fast! You can get about using the two lines of Cairo's Metro - it's a fast and cheap but limited affair. Bus services also navigate the streets of the city. Some routes use old, non-air-conditioned vehicles that can be crowded, with other main routes featuring air-conditioned buses. It's a cheap way to see Cairo, though heavy traffic can slow down many journeys.

If you want to use cabs while in Cairo, white taxis are your best bet. Insist the meter is turned on when you get in. If you use older black and white cabs (usually non-metered), expect either to barter on a price at the start of the journey or pay a tourist premium at the end.

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When to go?

Short breaks to Cairo are available year round, though many visitors avoid the sweltering summer months...

You can enjoy city breaks to Cairo at any time of the year. However, many people choose to visit between November and March as the climate in the city is pleasant and comfortable, with average temperatures in the range of 18C to 23C and limited rainfall. During the summer months the temperature can get very hot, with averages of 34C in August.

What's on?

Find out what's on during your break with our guide to some of the best annual events in Cairo...

Caravan Festival of the Arts; May: In St John's Church is the Caravan Festival of the Arts exhibition, which is host to the fascinating works of more than 45 different local artists. The event has free admission and is open to all.

The Spring Festival; every other May: This festival taking place biennially in May is an art event with many different disciplines on show. It showcases local photography, writing, dance and music in many different locations throughout the city. The event is held simultaneously in Beirut and Cairo.

Egyptian International Modern Dance Festival; June-July: This is a great place for the family to relax while enjoying many international and local dancers performing their latest routines. Held every year between June and July, the festival attracts the best dancers from around the world.

Cairo International Film Festival; November: This event takes place every year at the end of November and is the largest film festival in the Arab-speaking world.

Sphinx Festival; December: The Sphinx Festival is a five-day event featuring many different artists performing traditional folk dances. The festival also plays host to different styles of traditional music performed by local musicians. The event usually takes place in December every year.

What to do?

There's a special holiday experience for every kind of visitor amid the bustling streets and iconic monuments of Cairo...

Families: Children will be in awe at the sight of the mighty Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is also a great family attraction. There will be no cries of “it's boring” in this museum - not when they spy ancient mummies.

Relaxing: Take a trip back in time along the River Nile aboard a traditional felucca sailing boat. You can base your holiday on one or simply opt for a lunch or dinner cruise.

Romance: Stay in Zamalek or Garden City during your break in Cairo and check into one of the fabulous four- and five-star hotels in these leafy areas. Chill by the pool before taking dinner with a view of the Nile.