THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN CAIRO
Anyone who has spent some time in Cairo will already know that there are an almost infinite number of places to visit in Cairo, as well as the surrounding area. Of course, getting to some of these places can be a somewhat of a challenge, and particularly those which are a short distance outside Cairo because to reach them you will need to hire a taxi, or perhaps rent a car and drive yourself. However, if your list of places to visit in Cairo is a long one, relying on taxis can cost a small fortune, while driving yourself around in Cairo is definitely not for the faint hearted.
What many people don’t actually realize, is that Cairo tour packages can often be cheaper and more affordable than traveling independently. Obviously, a great deal depends on which Egypt tour operator you decide to book through. A good tour operator will be able to offer you sound advice about the best places to visit in Cairo, and transport to and from the various attractions will all be included in the price.
A well established company should also be able to put their clients into good 4 or 5 star hotels, whereas a smaller company may be forced to put their clients into 2 or 3 star hotels simply because they aren’t in a strong enough position to demand the same sort of discounts a more established company can.
You should also try and determine what sort of transport will be used if you book a tour package. When you have a long list of places to visit in Cairo, the last thing you need is to be stuck all day in a battered old car with a rundown air-conditioner that doesn’t even work properly. After all, when you are on vacation, you want to be comfortable, and travel in style. Anyway, without further ado, let’s take a look at some amazing places to visit in Cairo.
AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN CAIRO AND BEYOND
The Giza necropolis which is about 25km from the center of Cairo is usually one of the first places people visit when they arrive in Cairo, and particularly first time visitors. The three giant pyramids you will see at this site belonged to pharaoh Cheops; pharaoh Khafre, and pharaoh Menkaure, with the largest one having belonged to Cheops. More than 2 million huge blocks of stone were required for building this incredible pyramid which is today the last one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World which is still standing.
Generally speaking, it is normally possible to enter at least one of the three pyramids, but if you think you would like to go inside, we highly recommend that you let us know before you actually book one of our tours so that the necessary arrangements can be made.
The site is also home to the Sphinx; the Valley Temple; the Solar Boat Museum; numerous smaller queens’ temples, and a number of small cemeteries. There is also the remains of what was once a workers village inhabited by the workers who built the pyramids.
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
If ancient Egyptian artifacts fascinate you, then you just have to add this museum to your list of places to visit in Cairo. Not only does it house the world’s biggest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, but is also home to a special section know as the Treasures Room where you see all the items that were recovered from the tomb of King Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings. There’s also a Mummies Room where visitors can view actual mummies that are kept in special displays.
The museum, which is often just called the Egyptian Museum, is located right in the heart of Cairo so it is a very convenient place to visit as well. However, a spectacular new museum is due to open near the pyramids sometime in 2020. The new museum will be called the Grand Egyptian Museum, and it certainly is going to be grand indeed. Thousands of artifacts which have never yet been on display before will also on display at the new museum, along with most, if not all of the artifacts which are currently on display at the Egyptian Museum.
Khan El Khalili Bazaar
While the Khan El Khalili Bazaar may seem a bit out of place in a post discussing ancient monuments and attractions, it most definitely deserves a mention because it is one of the most colorful and most charming places to visit in Cairo. The bazaar has essentially been open ever since 1389 and it is believed to be the biggest open-air market in all of the Middle East. Even if you have no intention or desire to buy anything at the market, it is still absolutely fascinating to just walk around and watch as the locals go about their daily lives.
The Royal Saqqara Necropolis and Memphis
Like the Giza Necropolis, Saqqara is also an ancient royal necropolis located just a short distance from Memphis, the old capital of the Early Kingdom. It is approximately 33kilometers from Cairo, and home to a number of ancient pyramids which predate the Great Pyramids of Giza, but it is best known for the Djoser step pyramid which is believed to be the very first pyramid ever built, dating all the way back to the 27th century BC.
Not only is this pyramid considerably older than the pyramids at Giza, but in terms of design complexity, it is also far superior to the Giza pyramids. Rather than just being a large structure being built from the ground up, the Djoser pyramid connects to a vast labyrinth of underground passageways, chambers and shafts, some of which reach a depth of more than 30 meters. The underground labyrinth also occupies an area of roughly 6 square kilometers. All said, it is certainly one of the most interesting places to visit in Cairo.
Because so many people rate this site as being one of the top places to visit in Cairo, you will find that we have included it in most of our Nile cruise packages, or at least, those which feature two or more days in Cairo.
The Ancient Dahshur Pyramids
The Dahshur Pyramids are located in another ancient royal necropolis located approximately 40 kilometers to the south of Cairo. The pyramids at this site all appear to have been constructed between 2613 – 2589 BC, making them some of the oldest pyramids in Egypt.
While the site is best known for the Bent Pyramid, there are other equally as fascinating pyramids at the Dahshur necropolis as well. One of the most fascinating things of all, are the variations in style and design from one pyramid to the other.
Even though this site is justifiably one of the best places to visit in Cairo, you won’t find it featured in many of our tour packages. This is only because of time restraints, given that when visitors only have 2 or 3 days in Cairo, most want to visit the more famous attractions such as the Giza Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum, and etc. However, for those who do wish to visit some of the lesser known sites, such as the Dahshur Pyramids, it can easily be arranged by taking advantage of our customized Nile cruise packages.
The Fascinating Mosques and Churches of Cairo
For anyone who has an interest in beautiful religious places of worship, then Cairo can quite literally be like a dream come true. The city is home to so many beautiful mosques and churches, and many people would argue that they are amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Egypt.
Of course, since not everyone is passionate about visiting such sites, we generally don’t include them in our regular Nile cruise package tours. One exception might be the Mohamed Ali Alabaster Mosque.
The Mohamed Ali Alabaster Mosque is very conveniently located within the old Cairo Citadel, which in itself is one of the most popular places to visit in Cairo. It is a strikingly fascinating mosque, and fortunately, non-Muslim visitors are also allowed inside the mosque, other than during prayer times. There are also two very interesting museums at the Citadel as well, which makes it a great place to visit if time permits.
If you looking for the best holy places to visit in Cairo, then we would also have to recommend the huge Al Hussein Mosque which is located just a short distance from downtown Cairo, near the Khan El Khalili Bazaar. Apart from its spectacular architecture, the Al Hussein Mosque is also the holiest mosque in Egypt. It also houses the world’s oldest complete manuscript of the Quran, and is believed to house the head of Hussein, who is said to have been the grandson of the prophet Muhammad.
As has been said already, the mosques and churches in this vibrant city are amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Cairo, and the Coptic Church of St. Mary is a prime example. Also widely known as the Hanging Church of Cairo, it was built in about 690 AD, thereby making it the oldest church in Egypt. It is also the most famous basilica-style church in the country, attracting thousands of tourists every year.
Another amazing religious site which definitely deserves being mentioned is the Monastery of St. Simon the Tanner. It is unlikely that you will see this incredible site mentioned in many guide books, and it is even more unlikely that you will see it featured in any regular Cairo tour packages, but most tourists who have made the effort to visit the site will agree that it is one of the most impressive and most memorable places to visit in Cairo.
The Monastery of St. Simon the Tanner is essentially a collection of seven chapels which were carved out of the surrounding limestone rock. The carvings and the colors of the stones are truly amazing. Interestingly, this site was only discovered, more or less accidentally, in 1969.
Getting to the site can be a bit of a challenge if you are traveling independently, so the best way to visit would be with the help of a reputable Egypt tour operator, or simply by booking a Cairo tour package that includes visiting this site. Again, this is one of the most unique places to visit in Cairo, so it is certainly a site worth considering.
In this post we have quite literally only scratched on the tip of the iceberg in terms of places to visit in Cairo. There are so many more, but we simply cannot list and describe all of them here.
One thing is for sure, and that is that no visitor to Cairo ever needs to feel bored, or feel as though they have seen everything. In addition to all the great places to visit in Cairo, and are also an almost endless amount of fun things to do as well, including romantic Nile River dinner cruises for example, or even a nice day out on the ski slopes in the only indoor ski center on the African continent.
Building a Dream Vacation in the Land of the Pharaohs
With more than half a century of experience behind us, we believe that our Egypt vacations really are second to none, and we believe that our policies regarding flexible travel, along with our willing to fully customize any one of our tour packages can make traveling with us one of the best and most memorable travel experiences imaginable.