Cairo Travel Guide & Information

Cairo, the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab World, has long been a center of the region's political and cultural life. The city exemplifies the "Land of Contrasts". On the one hand, travelers can experience the vast, arid desert, which seems to be never ending. On the other hand, you see a bustling city, which looks like a modern day oasis. Travelers from all over the world have marveled at Egypt's amazing antiquities for thousands of years.

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Travel to Egypt, a city that is known for offering its visitors a fascinating mix of old world charm and a modern city vibe. Flights to Cairo are your tickets to exploring world class monuments, like the Great Sphinx and the pyramids in nearby Giza. Though firmly attached to the past, Cairo is also home to a vibrant modern society.

Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a center of the region's political and cultural life. Situated on the River Nile, Cairo is famous for its own history, preserved in the fabulous medieval Islamic city and Coptic sites in Old Cairo. Anyone who is interested in the mystery of ancient Egypt will love a vacation in Cairo, where the mysterious Sphinx and Great Pyramids have dominated the landscape for thousands of years.

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Things to do in Cairo

Museums:

The city of Cairo has preserved its rich cultural past, evidenced by its quality museums.

Coptic Museum: The Coptic Museum is a museum in Cairo with the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world. It was founded by Marcus Simaika Pasha in 1910 to house Coptic antiquities and traces. The Coptic Museum contains the world's largest collection of Coptic artifacts and artwork. Coptic monuments display a rich mixture of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman traditions, linking ancient and Islamic Egypt. The objects are grouped into different mediums, such as stonework, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts.

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Museum of Egyptian Antiquities: The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, is home to an extensive collection of many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history, including the world’s largest collection of Pharaoh Antiquities and many treasures of King Tutankhamen. The museum has 120,000 items on display.

Must See:

Cairo is overflowing with “Must See” landmarks and no visit to this great city can be complete unless you visit all of them.

Great Pyramid of Giza: The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis. The monument is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is substantially intact. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. The Great Pyramid is the only pyramid known to contain both ascending and descending passages. There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid.

Sphinx: Sphinx is a mythological figure depicted as a recumbent lion with a human head. Generally the role of sphinxes was that of temple guardians. They were placed in association with architectural structures, such as royal tombs or religious temples. The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a reclining lion with a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the third millennium.

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Where to Stay in Cairo:

Being a premier tourist destination, the city of Cairo has an abundance of accommodation options, ranging from cheap hotels to 4-Star Hotels Under $99, spa hotels, resort hotels and hostels.

Downtown Cairo: Downtown Cairo is the commercial heart of the city, centered on Midan Talaat Harb and located to the east and north-east of Midan Tahrir. Most of the budget hotels are located around Midan Tahrir, in the downtown area.

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Giza: Giza is best known as the part of Cairo closest to the world-famous Pyramids of Giza, situated high on the desert plateau immediately to the west of the urban district. The city or district of Giza is important as a secondary and increasingly popular option for travelers, for food, hotels and entertainment beyond central Cairo. Everything is concentrated along the local transport artery, the Pyramids Road, the area with a great mix of luxury and budget hotels.

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Passport & Visa Requirements

For US Citizens:

As per the latest travel information available for Cairo, a passport and visa is required in order to enter Cairo.

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* Tourists can obtain a renewable thirty-day tourist visa on arrival at an Egyptian airport for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars.

* Visitors arriving overland and/or those who previously experienced difficulty with their visa status in Egypt should obtain a visa prior to arrival.

* Visit the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most current visa information.

For Canadian Citizens:

* A valid Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Egypt. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from Egypt.

* All Canadians must get an entry stamp upon arrival in Egypt in order to get an exit stamp that will give them the permission to leave Egypt.

* The passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of the expected departure from the country. Canadians intending to visit Egypt should be in possession of a return or onward airline ticket and sufficient funds for the stay.

This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.

We recommend that you check the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips, so that you do not miss out on any of the fun while visiting Cairo.

*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.

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When to visit Cairo

As with most destinations in Egypt, the weather really determines the best time to go because it gets very, very hot during the summer. The peak travel season in Cairo runs from mid October to May. This is the best time to visit.

The least popular time to visit is during the hottest months. However, if you plan on travelling during this time, some real hotel and airfare bargains can be found. The month of Ramadan is not an ideal travel time, either as many restaurants are closed for the month, among other things tourists will want to visit during their stay in Cairo.

Planning your Visit:

High season: (October to May)

Low season: (May to August)

Cairo Weather

The weather in Cairo is always warm or hot, and the nights are cool. Cairo experiences only two seasons: Very hot summers between May and October and a mild winter from November to April.

* Cairo is very dry city receiving on average of about a centimeter of rain a year, but it does have high humidity levels during the summer.

* Wind storms can be frequent, bringing Saharan dust into the city during the months of March and April.

Currency and Language:

Currency:

The Egyptian Pound is the official currency of Cairo.

ATMs are available throughout Cairo. However, before departure, call your bank to let them know that you’ll be traveling, also find out what the fees are to withdraw cash during your trip.

Languages:

* The official language of Cairo is Standard Arabic.

* English and French are also widely spoken.