A city draped in ancient history that astounds and surprises in equal measure
Encountering the heavy traffic, noise, smog and the general mayhem in Cairo, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by Africa’s largest city. But, take a deep breath and this metropolis will have you eating from the palm of its alluring and fascinating hand. Cairo’s vitality is palpable - from its buzzing markets to its teeming streets and animated residents. It has long been the hub of education and learning in the Arab world, and its people are charming and cultured. Known as ‘The City of a Thousand Minarets’, Cairo’s magnificent attractions include the Pyramids at Giza, The Sphinx, the Coptic sites, the medieval Islamic city in Old Cairo, and The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (known also as the Egyptian Museum) where there are some 136,000 priceless items on display. Unwind in the afternoon and feast on delicious Egyptian pastries, puff on a Sheesha and drink shai (tea).
Cairo is a magnificent, historical city. Once visited, never forgotten. Anyone with a ‘must-see’ list of destinations should put Cairo on it. Not only because it is a city right at the very centre of Islamic culture, but also because its monuments are too important to be missed.
When to Go?
November and March is a good time to visit Cairo, with daytime temperatures around 25°C and occasional light rain. You’ll need a jumper at night as the evenings can get chilly. March-May and October are also favoured times, but when the summer arrives the choking pollution and high temperatures can be unpleasant.
How to get there
Direct flights are available to Cairo from Aberdeen, Belfast, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Heathrow, Jersey, and Leeds. Flights take between 4 and 5 hours. Cairo International Airport (CAI) is 20km from Cairo. To get to the city centre take the 356 bus this runs every 20 minutes from the Egyptian Museum. Alternatively hop a taxi for convenience.
Head to Cairo’s largest open-air market Khan Ali-Kalili located in the heart of Islamic Cairo. Haggle over spices, perfumes, souvenirs and jewellery. Walk along the Al-Muizz one of the oldest and most impressive streets in Cairo with the greatest concentration of medieval architecture in the Islamic world. Visit the Egyptian Museum to see its glorious artefacts and the Citadel for amazing views. The Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza - while touristy and sometimes crowded are a must see.