10 Travel Tips for Cairo, Egypt

10 TIPS

1. NOT ALL ABOUT THE PYRAMIDS

Even though everyone knows and talks about the pyramids, that’s not for sure all that Cairo has to offer. Other interesting places to see could be (and I would just stick to 5) :

  • Muhammad Ali Mosque – take off your shoes at the front door
  •  Al – Azhar Mosque and Park
  •  Khan elKhalili– an old souq in the bazaar district which is also my favourite, for the life sparkling out of it
  • The Hanging Church
  • The Egyptian Museum – where you’ll find the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun

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2. PLEASE, PLEASE HAVE A COFFEE AT EL FISHAWY CAFE

In the old bazaar I mentioned earlier (Khan elKhalili) you’ll find this iconic coffee shop named El Fishawy, where the famous novelist and Nobel laureate from 1988,  Naguib Mahfouz, used to come and write.

This timeflavoured place, with pictures on the walls of the famous people that came and visit it back in the days, will really get you into the atmosphere of what Cairo is all about.

3. AROUND THE PYRAMIDS

Going back to the pyramids, I must add a minus here. There are many hustlers around the pyramids, mostly local vendors of souvenirs or locals offering tourists rides on camels or simply their services as tour guides. The problem is they tend to get aggressive (mostly between themselves) by trying to get your attention first.

Just remain firm and polite and they’ll have to lay back eventually. Better is even to don’t speak to them at all as a”no” can be interpreted as an opening for conversation (as strange as this may sound).

4. CAMELS

Camels are usually peaceful animals, but don’t approach them from the front. They can attack humans. I’m just saying that because one tried to bite me ☺.

5. STREET FOOD

Despite the many offers of food on the streets of Cairo, i’ll just mention my 2 favourites :

1. Sweet potatoes (or “batata” for them) – baked directly on the streets of Cairo, served especially in the winter

The egyptians consider it as a dessert or snack because of its sweet taste, me as an eastern European,  i see it more as a side dish or simply carb meal.

2. Prickly pears or officially called Opuntia ficusindica, what a fancy name right ?

A prickly pear is the fruit of the cactus. Don’t worry I had no idea about this either, “TEEN SHOOKI” as it’s named locally is amazing for digestion, being sweet and watery.

6. CAIRO BY NIGHT

There are many things that you could possibly do in Cairo by night, but I would simply recommend a cruise on the Nile River with dinner and music. What better way to relax after a long day of sightseeing ?

7. TRAFFIC

The well-known thing about Cairo it’s the traffic hell (the peak hour is around 3 pm). Your patience will be tested for sure, I do think it’s a good idea to hire a private driver that will take you all around.

You’ll avoid the stress of not finding a taxi and the price negotiation process every time you take one (which trust me will get you white hair on your head).

8. SHOPPING

Cairo is so cheap, yuhuu, I bought 4 medium sized sishas (hookahs – the official term) for my friends back home with less than 5 dollars (each).

You may purchase scarves, perfumes, oils, textiles, carpets, artefacts, furniture items, silverware, cooper, glass, antique products etc. with amazing good prices, just remember to bargain.

The original purpose of bargain was that in the end, both parts to be happy with their deal.

9. RESPECT FOR THE CULTURE

The major religion in Egypt is Islam so you should be aware of 2 aspects at least: wearing decent clothes while in public and not displaying signs of affection while in public (like french kissing per example). This could be considered offensive and pointed at.

10. OLD CAIRO

My grandfather visited Cairo back in the 60s and he was very impressed, telling us stories especially about the Old Cairo.

Old Cairo is a small area in the southern part of Cairo. If you want to get the historical sense of the city this is the place to start with.

Egypt in the 50s-60s

Cairo was considered back then as a center of culture, learning and arts. My grandfather mentioned stories about the egyptian cinema, music, arhitecture and he even talked about a swimsuit competition that took place when he was there.

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35 Comment

  1. kallsypage says: Reply

    Some really thoughtful tips here – many of which I wouldn’t have known prior to visiting. I feel like I couldn’t travel solo here because I would be hustled for sure! I usually am firm but people wear me down! Also, do the locals here look down on any signs of affection (hand holding, hugging, arms around one another etc). I feel like it’s very important to always be respectful of other cultures/religions so I’d love to know a little more!

    1. I was with my husband (who is egyptean) in this trip, they are not looking at people holding hands but I would not go to the extreme and kiss a man on the streets 😀 Also what i like about Egypt is that Muslims and Christians live in peace together, they are friends actually:)

      1. kallsypage says: Reply

        Thank you so much for the information! It’s very important to know this. 🙂

  2. Orsi says: Reply

    Great tips! These are things that I would have never even thought about in traveling to Cairo. Also, when I think of Cairo my mind turns to the Pyramids (as probably everyone else does), thanks for the different ideas. I try not to feel too much like a tourist when visiting a city so finding good street food and not drawing unwanted attention to myself is always paramount.

    1. I’m happy you liked the tips. Yes sometimes you see tourists with their faces buried in a map or holding huge expensive cameras hahaha..I would not recommend this

  3. Egypt is so on my wishlist of places to go. I’d love to visit the pyramids and cruise down the Nile. Hopefully I will get there soon.

    1. You should go definitely, you’ll not regret the experience. If you need any help when you are there or before please contact me (my husband is Egyptian :)) and I can take from him any advice ) .good luck !

  4. rhiydwi says: Reply

    Oh, I can’t wait to see Cairo some day! For sure I already knew there was a lot more to it than just the pyramids, but most travel blogs referencing Cairo only really write about the pyramids so it was truly refreshing to read yours! The street food you mentioned – both the potato and the pears with a fancy name – sound amazing, I’ll be sure to give them a go when I eventually make it there!

    1. I’m so happy you liked my post. Yes I totally recommend the street food in Egypt, it’s yummy and fresh. As I was telling the girls if you go there one day and you need any assistance before or during your trip feel free to contact me (my husband is Egyptian hahaha and we can help for sure).

  5. Thanks for sharing all these tips. Hahaha I had no idea camels can be angry and attack you! I do agree that it is always good to have a private driver especially in big cities with a lot of traffic.

    1. Yes I even have more pictures of camels trying to bite me hahaha, when I’ m a lucky one lol

      1. Maybe i’m a lucky one *

  6. I agree with you- Cairo is about way more than just the pyramids. I was there last year and even though it’s a lot to take in, I did enjoy the city. Great photos!

    1. I’m glad you liked the pictures, if you didn’t go yet try to visit also Alexandria, it’s very nice ..

  7. Some really great advice here. I’ve always wanted to go to Cairo but I’ve been put off by people having bad experiences there. This has made me reconsider though. Thank you.

    1. Yes I know how this goes, but you know what they say …”beauty is in the eye of beholder”😍

  8. inspiredwanderess says: Reply

    You’ve got some really good advice here. Egypt has long been on my bucket list but it’s one of those counties that just never really works out for me. There’s either massive issues right before I’m going to be in the area so I give it a wide birth or I run out of money before making it there. One day I’ll make it though, and that coffee shop sounds like the perfect place to get myself used to the surrounds.

    1. Definitely don’t miss out the coffee shop, you’ll feel like you are part of Egypt s history seating there …you’ll like it for sure🤗

  9. I always have a romantic image of Cairo, this is a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

    1. It is a place that has history, in the real sense of the word. Plus the people you’ll meet there are funny, smart, a little tricky but for sure memorable…

  10. Thoughtful tips to those who are planning to travel to Egypt… and I am one of the many now… Egypt is very interesting… hmmm, the camel,,, its a hard- way to learn a lesson but thanks for warning us…
    More adventures for 2017,,,

  11. Brown Gal Trekker says: Reply

    Thanks for this – it’s great to know there are plenty of other options in Cairo and off the beaten paths. Now I’m intrigue about that coffee shop you recommend.

    1. I wish i could go back there to write my blog posts 🤗

  12. […] via Cairo, Egypt — Travel tips […]

  13. I would LOVE to experience Egypt! Traveling there is a dream and these tips make it that much more exciting. Hopefully I will be able to check it off my bucket list one of these days!

    xo, Taylor (thesprinkle.tayloramead.com)

  14. Alissa says: Reply

    What great trips. Looks like I’m going to be planning an Egypt trip soon .

  15. Jennifer says: Reply

    These are some really great tips. I hope to be able to travel to Egypt some day. It is so great to be able to experience such a different culture.

  16. Ashley says: Reply

    The hanging church sounds like an interesting sight. coffee at El Fishaway cafe sounds like my kind of place. This really sounds interesting,

  17. Great tips!!! This is definitely a bucket list place.

  18. Egypt has always been on my list since my friend studied abroad there in college. The culture is just fascinating!

  19. Cara says: Reply

    I had no idea of the folkways involved in navigating Cairo!

  20. Sheryl Bjorn says: Reply

    These are great tips! and I love the “not just about pyramids” title. great way to spread a little education around also!

  21. Such great information!! Egypt would be so cool!!

  22. Melissa says: Reply

    What great tips! Makes me wanna pack my bags and go 😊

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