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Best Things to Do in Cairo, Egypt

While visiting a city as old and historically significant as Cairo, Egypt, it’s easy to get lost. You might not know this, but Cairo is actually one of the largest cities in the world – and as most are probably already aware, it’s also one of the oldest.

There are literally millennia of history and culture to explore when taking a tour of Egypt. Not only is Cairo home to the great pyramids, but it was also one of the capital cities in the Islamic world during the Middle Ages.

Some of the world’s most outstanding museums call Cairo home and on top of that, the region boasts the world’s longest river. While practically the entire city can be seen as a vast open-air museum, it’s best to get familiar with the highlights before embarking on your Egyptian journey. It can be hard to know which landmarks are essential to see. Fortunately, you’re friends over here at Viewcation have already visited Cairo on several occasions and would love to share with you what we’ve learned on our visits.

Keep watching to hear what we think are the best things to do in Cairo, Egypt. We’ll hit all of the highlights, but we’ll also make sure to take some time to tell you about a few hidden gems as well.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Without a doubt, a visit to the pyramids is at the top of anyone’s Egypt bucket list. When you cross the river into Giza, you’ll immediately be taken aback by the marvelous sight of the centuries-old structures that Egypt is most famous for. In fact, the pyramids have been around for a mind-blowing 4,500 years.  The pyramids were originally constructed as burial monuments to the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. The undisputed most important pyramid within Cairo’s borders is the famed Great Pyramid of Giza, which is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or Cheops.

Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid at Giza is the only one that still stands. While it certainly would be awesome to see the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Great Pyramid is far from being a consolation prize.

For more than 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world. Even today, it remains a towering iconic symbol that will leave you speechless. Close to the Great Pyramid, you’ll find other iconic structures such as the Great Sphinx, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure.

Before we tell you about all of our other favorite things to do in Cairo, take a moment to show us a little support by giving this video a like and subscribing to the Viewcation channel.

The Citadel

One of our favorite places to visit in Cairo is the Citadel. For one thing, The Citadel is one of the few car-free places in town. It’s also one of the best places to enjoy a view of the city that stretches all the way out to the Pyramids – that is if you visit on a clear day.

The Citadel was constructed on top of a hill by Saladin, the ruler of the city, in the 12th century. It was built with the intent of protecting the city from Crusader attacks. There are a few different points of interest found within the Citadel’s walls, including three mosques, the Police Museum, the Egyptian Military Museum, and Al-Gawhara Palace.

The area is worth devoting at least a half day to explore. It’s nice to take a break from the city traffic, and very few tourists actually make their way out here. The locals all tend to be fairly friendly – or at least the ones we met who insisted on taking selfies with us. Egypt is known, after all, for being a very hospitable place. That being said, as you might have seen in news reports, extremism has resulted in some rather tragic incidents in recent years, so just keep that in mind.

Egyptian Museum

Here lies the world’s most extensive collection of Egyptian relics and artifacts. While visiting the museum, be on the lookout for the solid gold mark and sarcophagi of Tutankhamun. The Royal Mummies room is also equally impressive. While strolling through the various exhibits and rooms, you’ll see everything from ornate statues to priceless jewelry and various other pieces of historic treasures.

A visit to this museum typically takes guests about 2 or 3 hours to see everything on offer. The Egyptian Museum can be found at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.

Muhammad Ali Mosque and Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala’un Mosque

Muhammad Ali Mosque’s twin minarets are one of the most striking features of the Citadel. They are visible as soon as you approach the area coming from Downtown Cairo. When visiting the Citadel, a visit to this mosque is definitely a highlight. The alabaster-covered courtyard, elegantly carpeted interior, and warm lighting suspended from the ceiling make this destination one of the most inviting ones in the Cairo area.

Nearby is an equally impressive Mosque that’s also worth your time visiting. The Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque is much older than Muhammad Ali Mosque, but it’s arguably just a bit less ornate. Even so, it features a greenish blue dome, arched interior, and limestone walls that were taken from the Pyramids.

Islamic Cairo

The historic heart of Cairo is undeniably Islamic Cairo. This area, which has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains one of the most extensive collections of historic architecture and art in the Islamic world. Countless madrassas, tombs, fortifications, and Mosques that date back to the Islamic Era of Egypt can be found here. In case you’re not up on your history, that dates back to between the 7th and 16th century CE.

Islamic Cairo is jam-packed full of fascinating and enriching things to see and do. It’s a pretty large area as well. You can find it near the city center and if you intended to see everything it would literally take you weeks. For most visitors, however, just seeing the area’s highlights should be more than sufficient.


This street might have a really long name, but it’s very significant. Most call it Al-Muizz for short, and it’s one of the oldest streets in the city. It runs directly through Islamic Cairo from north to south and contains some of the most historically and culturally significant monuments in Cairo.

The street is about 1 kilometer long and runs from Bab Zuwella at it’s southern end to Bab Al-Futuh in the north. It can be quite busy and is almost always congested with heavy foot traffic. For some travelers, it can be a bit overwhelming, but along your walk, you’ll find many shops, markets, mosques, hammams, and madrassas. A madrassa, in case you were wondering, is an Islamic school or university and is usually adjacent to a mosque. Hammams are a middle eastern type of steam bath used for cleansing one’s body.

South of Bab Zuwella and Al-Muizz street is another must-see destination. Tent Makers Market is a 300-square-meter street full of shops and stalls that sell everything from blankets and textiles to linens and tents. If you keep walking south, you’ll see produce markets and various other shops in Islamic Cairo.

While walking around Al-Muizz street, be sure to try the street food. It’s absolutely delicious. And for very little money, you can enjoy a meal that rivals that of anything you’ll find in the finer dining establishments around town.

Khan El-Khalili

This famous shopping can be found right off Al-Muizz street in Islamic Cairo. For the most part, the market is filled with touristy souvenirs and low-end merchandise, but even though you might not want to spend too much money here, the cultural experience of engaging with all of the merchants and locals is worth a visit by itself.

Coptic Cairo

Coptic Cairo can be found in Old Cairo at the southern end of the city. The very first settlements in the city date back to the 6th  century BCE. Many of the places to visit in this area are tied to Egypt’s Christian past, but you can also visit the first mosque built in Africa as well as several historic synagogues.

The Hanging Church, also known as Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, is famous for being one of the oldest churches in Egypt. It’s located above a gatehouse of what was known as the Babylon Fortress, the Roman Fortress that once could be seen in Cairo. Of all of the churches in Cairo, this one is by far the most famous.

Another church worth checking out is the Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus. It’s traditionally believed that here the holy family consisting of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, found shelter at the end of their long journey into Egypt. The church’s interior is exquisitely beautiful, with detailed tile and woodwork in addition to numerous works of art.

The Coptic Museum houses the world’s most extensive collection of Coptic art. It’s the only thing in Coptic Cairo that isn’t free to visit, but we recommend stopping by if you have the time.

We’ve only gotten the chance to cover a small fraction of what makes Cairo such a fantastic travel destination, but hopefully now you have at least somewhat of an idea of where to start. There is so much to see and do in Cairo that you could easily spend weeks exploring everything. We’ve been twice already, and we still feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface.

Anyway, you’ve heard what we have to say about Cairo. Now, we’d love to hear from you!

What are you most excited to see on your trip to Cairo? If you’ve already had the pleasure of visiting, what are some your favorite sites and attractions in and around the Cairo region? Let us know in the comments section down below.

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As always, thanks for watching and Happy Travels!