With its pyramids, museums, bazaars and the River Nile, Cairo is an intense city for all travellers...
Cairo is heaving with activity and its sheer intensity and modern hustle and bustle are a complete juxtaposition from the historic ruins that draw the majority of tourists.
There are regular flights from many UK airports direct to Cairo International Airport with most journeys lasting around five hours.
Cairo is perfectly suited to those looking for the ultimate city experiences, who like to be on the move and sightseers aiming to take in some of the most magnificent buildings ever developed. There's plenty to keep families entertained with the many sites and attractions but generally this is a holiday best suited to singles and couples who want to stay active.
When it comes to sightseeing in Cairo, you will be spoilt for choice. The city is packed with fine 19th-century buildings and ancient districts, but most famously it offers the pyramids of Giza – the world's oldest tourist attraction. The pyramids were built, it is speculated, to be used as tombs for the great kings of the ancient civilisation and they stand as a stunning remnant to the past. The Great Pyramid is the last remainder of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Sphinx (known as the Father of Terror) is said to outdate the pyramids and is as impressive as the hype suggests.
Old Cairo is also well worth visiting, particularly if you fancy a break from the constant activity in the main city. It is the home of five of the original 20 churches of the Coptic Christian Community and Egypt's first mosque and its oldest synagogue. If you're looking to explore Egypt's history under one roof then visit the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, located in the downtown area, with more than 100,000 artefacts including royal mummies of some of the most powerful figures in Egyptian history.
Some of the lesser-known sights that you might wish to take in include the Western Desert Oases, with many hot springs to discover, the Birqash Camel Market where hundreds of camels are swapped daily, and Dahsur with its 4th and 12th century pyramids.
The restaurants throughout Cairo are expanding in numbers, but you should head to the most affluent areas to make the most of eating out.
Holidays to Cairo can be enjoyed throughout the year, though many visitors avoid the intense heat of summer...
The city is blisteringly hot throughout the year, and it's best to avoid the summer months when the temperatures can be unbearable – September-April are the best times to visit.
Be conscious of the time you travel – during the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, many businesses work half days and a lot of the tourist areas close early.
It’s possible to find cheap holidays to Cairo for travel at any time, though the winter months – as well as being more comfortable weather-wise – are also the cheaper months as summer is extremely busy in the city with people visiting from the Gulf region. You can use TravelSupermarket’s search tool to find great-value package holidays to Cairo.
Holidays in Cairo are given extra spice when the city stages a big event. Find out what’s on – and perhaps when to avoid the city...
Cairo International Book Fair; January: One of the oldest and certainly one of the biggest book fairs in the world, this might not be high on your holiday agenda but you should be aware of it as hotels are extremely busy during this event and prices inevitably rocket.
Arabic Music Festival; November: Celebrated musicians and singers from the Arab world take to the stage at Cairo Opera House and perform for enraptured audiences. Book tickets early if you wish to attend.
Cairo International Film Festival; November/December: This movie fest has been running for decades and attracts cast, crew, critics and fans, as well as the occasional Hollywood star.
Cairo is a magical place and every kind of holidaymaker can create unforgettable memories here...
Kids and teens: It’s not the most obvious choice as a family-friendly destination but children go loopy at the sight of ancient mummies in Cairo’s museums and are awe-struck by the pyramids.
Relaxing: The River Nile itself is a major tourist draw. Cruises along the Nile are vastly popular and a great way to explore its beauty, particularly with the incredible sunsets and the opportunity to hop off and visit the ancient temples during the day.
Free and cheap: Visit Coptic Cairo and its churches before touring Islamic Cairo, where you’ll find ornate mosques. It’s free to simply wander among the time-worn buildings of these neighbourhoods in the Old City of Cairo. Life here, in the shady streets, feels as if it’s being played out in another time. If you visit a religious building a small donation is always appreciated.
Shopping: Shopping in Cairo, you can pick up tourists trinkets such as onyx Pharaoh cats – plus it's a great opportunity to haggle. The best known market is Kahn al-Khalili, situated within Islamic Cairo, with traders bargaining and offering everything from perfumes to clothing. It's a great place to people watch, too, and get a real taste of modern Egyptian life.
Nightlife: The nightlife in Cairo is comparatively quiet for such a large city with the men tending to congregate in coffee houses and the women visiting each other at their homes. Nonetheless there are some exciting venues such as Latex, which caters for clubbers, Palmyra, which gives you an insight into traditional belly dancing, and the Cairo Jazz Club, which is a nightclub, bar and restaurant rolled into one.