Call us anytime at +20 100 213 5997 or Request a Quote

things to see in cairo

What to See in Cairo: Highlights for First-Time Visitors

Most travelers dream of traveling to learn the secrets of cairo, The city of a thousand minarets. This article is directed at people who intend to travel to Cairo. So please read our article to benefit from a great deal of knowledge about Cairo and know the best Things to see in Cairo.

One of the largest metropolises on earth is Cairo. The capital of Egypt has a lot to offer those who can look past its issues, even though it can be challenging to traverse due to its sheer volume of noise and traffic on your first visit.

The Giza Pyramids, right outside the city, are the most significant tourist draw, but the city is teeming with essential structures dating back hundreds of years.

So, Cairo must be included in any itinerary for an Egypt trip, no matter how brief or extensive, as the city serves as both the entry point for many tourists and the location of the famous pyramids.

Celebrate Easter in Egypt: Traditions, Events, and Travel Tips

Things to see in Cairo

Nearly all tourists who visit Egypt for the first time must spend some time in Cairo. (Cairo, Egypt) is one of the world’s oldest cities in the middle east and a transportation hub for other vital destinations in Egypt, such as Luxor and Aswan.

You will require some time to visit everything that Cairo offers, such as its markets, museums, and mosques. Because of this, you should plan to spend at least three days in the capital city throughout your vacation.

Pharaonic Areas

Cairo has many ancient pharaonic areas, and these areas are usually concentrated in the Giza district of Cairo.

1- The Pyramids of Giza & The Great Sphinx

Top Things to see in Cairo

The three most famous Pyramids in Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza, are burial chambers built to accommodate the mummies of the pharaohs: the father Cheops, the son Chephren, and the grandson Mycerinus. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the only wonder of the ancient world still standing, and that’s why visiting the Pyramids is a dream for many people.

The Egyptians believed in an afterlife, and so they were buried with all their precious items so they could use them in this afterlife.

To this day, it’s still a mystery how the Giza pyramids were built, as each stone block weighs anywhere from 2 to 15 tons. The pyramids measure respectively 147m, 136m, and 65m. This is one of the main attractions that cannot be left out of your itinerary on what to do in Cairo.

The pyramids of Giza are on the outskirts of the capital, about 20 km from Cairo, in a city called Giza. To get there, it’s best to order a taxi or uber from your hotel. Another option is to book a tour of the Pyramids with a guide who explains the history even more.

The pyramids of Cheops, Chephren, Menkaure, and the Sphinx, are in Giza, hence the name “Giza Necropolis.”

The Great Sphinx

Top Things to see in Cairo

The mysterious Sphinx is 66 feet (20 meters) tall and 240 feet (73 meters) long from paw to tail. It resembles a magical creature with a lion’s body and a man’s head. In Ancient Egyptian mythology, the Sphinx is seen as a symbol of strength, intelligence, and kindness, even though its name in Arabic means “The Father of Dread.”

The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the biggest mysteries of Ancient Egypt because no one knows when, by whom, or why it was built. Most historians and archaeologists agree that it was probably built around 2500 BCE as part of Khafre’s tomb complex, probably as a guardian of his tomb. This means that the Sphinx’s face is a likeness of the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh.

It might be missing a nose or a beard and the bright colors used to cover it, and its body might have been buried in the sand for hundreds of years. Still, the Sphinx is one of Egypt’s most beautiful buildings and gives a fascinating look into the ancient Egyptians’ culture, history, and architectural achievements.

2- The Saqqara Complex

Things to see in Cairo

The Saqqara Necropolis is 30 km from the center of Cairo. With its length of eight kilometers, it is the widest in all of Egypt and historically the most important. The entire site is dominated by the Pyramid of Djoser, the Step Pyramid, or the Pyramid of Saqqara, as it is more commonly known.

It is considered the first pyramid to be built in Egypt. It initially reached 62 meters in height and was covered with polished white limestone. It is also seen as the oldest monumental stone building in the world!

3- Memphis City

Things to see in Cairo

The ancient city of Memphis, now known as Memphis City, served as Egypt’s first capital during the reign of the Pharaohs. Memphis City was located near the Giza plateau and south of the Nile River delta.

Around 3100 B.C., the town was established, but by 641 B.C., after Luxor and Alexandria had been established, it had fallen into disuse.

Ptah, believed to be the god who created everything and gave life to the gods, was the primary god in Memphis. Ptah was also thought to be able to hear his people praying, which is why he is frequently depicted with large ears: he was believed to have this ability.

4- Dahshur Necropolis

Top Things to see in Cairo

In the Dahshur Necropolis are two of Egypt’s pyramids that have been preserved the best. They were constructed during the reign of King Snefru, who reigned from 2613 BC to 2589 BC and was the founder of the Fourth Dynasty and Pharaoh Khufu’s father.

Before the construction of the Pyramid of Khufu and his two associates on the Giza Plateau, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid at Dahshur provided a wealth of information regarding the development of architectural style.

In Dahshur Necropolis, the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid were constructed long before the pyramids at Giza were built there. A transitional pyramid is a curved pyramid that gets its name from the abrupt change in the angle formed by the pyramid’s sides around a third of the way up.

5- Abusir Pyramids

Top Things to see in Cairo

Abusir Pyramids and The City of Dead Egypt are about 1.2 miles north of Saqqara and south of Giza. From the Horus Netjerkhet cemetery, it is easy to see its three main pyramids still standing.

The Abusir Pyramids Complex doesn’t get as much attention as it should, and many travel guides and brochures don’t even discuss it. In reality, though, it’s an important place in history because many pharaohs, nobles, and other important people were buried, especially those who lived during the 5th Dynasty in Egypt’s Old Kingdom. Even though this site isn’t usually part of our Cairo tours, it can be added if you ask.

Abu Sir has been called the place where the 5th Dynasty’s forgotten kings lived. Even though their monuments are significant, these kings are not as well-known as those from the 4th Dynasty.

Top Cairo Museums

Regarding Egypt’s museums, everyone is waiting with bated breath for the Grand Egyptian Museum to open in 2023. It will be the world’s most significant archaeological Museum next to Giza’s Great Pyramids.

But while we wait, that doesn’t mean that Cairo has no other fascinating museums. From the world-famous Cairo Museum to the recently renovated National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. There are a lot of museums in Cairo that everyone should visit at least once, whether they live there or not.

5- Egyptian Museum

Top Things to see in Cairo

The Egyptian Museum, also known as the Cairo museum, combines an impressive collection of works and objects from the country’s history and the ancient world. There are so many pieces that understanding the dates and organization is precarious. Don’t miss these: The Treasures of Tutankhamun, on the first floor.

6- National Museum of Civilization

Top Things to see in Cairo

In April 2021, Cairo witnessed a grand parade that transported the royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum to Cairo’s new Museum, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

In addition to a collection of more than 50,000 artifacts, which include pieces from the most varied historical periods and date back to prehistoric times, the mummies were highlighted in the Museum and gained an entire floor for them.

7- The Coptic Museum

Top Things to see in Cairo

The Coptic Museum is in Coptic Cairo, in a garden that was once part of the Roman fortress of Babylon. It opened in 1910 and is the world’s Museum of its kind.

It has an impressive collection of about 16,000 pieces arranged annually in 12 sections. One of the building’s wings is old, and the other is new.

8- Gayer-Anderson Museum

Top Things to see in Cairo

The Gayer Anderson House Museum is a beautiful example of 17th-century home design. It is next to the Ibn Tulun Mosque and can be done in one or two hours, making it a great thing to do after going there.

9- Abdeen Palace Museum

Top Things to see in Cairo

The President of Egypt lives and works in the Abdeen Palace, a museum. Dignitaries from other countries and other important people can use the top floor of the building. If you think about these things, you should already know how big Abdeen Palace is.

10- Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo

Top Things to see in Cairo

Near the Al-Azhar Mosque, in the middle of Islamic Cairo, is the Cairo Museum of Islamic Art. It has one of the world’s best art collections from the Islamic Middle Ages.

It has more than 100,000 pieces of art from different times and types of Islamic art. The Museum has some unique elements that show how well MuMuseumraftsmen did their work.

Islamic Cairo

The city’s historic center is today’s Islamic Cairo, a historical Islamic settlement that was the Egyptian capital during the Middle Ages. It is one of the oldest Islamic towns in the world, including renowned mosques, forts, and the modern metropolitan center of Cairo. A tough job is visiting Islamic Cairo. The Ibn Tulun Mosque, the neighborhoods south of Saladin’s Fortress, and the historic Fatimid city make up this sizable region.

Hundreds of locations on these congested streets vary in size and significance. Islamic Cairo can be challenging, especially since it is still a lively residential and business neighborhood. There are many places where casual tourists should concentrate their attention to see much of what this historic neighborhood offers in a short time; yet, you may spend several weeks getting lost in these ancient streets without exhausting yourself with new sights and experiences.

Cairo has so many old buildings and mosques to see. What are the best ones, and What to see in Islamic Cairo?? We’ve made a list of the most beautiful mosques and places for you to see:

11- Muhammad Ali Mosque

Top Things to see in Cairo

The mosque of Muhammad Ali is one of the most well-known mosques in Islamic Cairo, and it is on top of the Citadel, a medieval hilltop fortress.

The Blue Mosque in Turkey looks a lot like the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire when Muhammad Ali built the mosque, and he also helped build modern Egypt, so it’s not a coincidence that the two look the same.

Inside, the building is beautiful and has a lot of details, and everything is made of marble and alabaster. The monument’s beauty, the place’s history, and the overhead view make it worth going.

12- Ibn Tulun Mosque

Top Things to see in Cairo

The Ibn Tulun Mosque, built in 879 AD, is the oldest building in Cairo. In terms of land area, it is thought to be the largest in Egypt and one in the world (about 7 acres).

Ahmad Ibn Tulun made it so soldiers could stay there on Fridays while they prayed. It has very rich and detailed patios, galleries, and decorations. The outside minarets are also interesting because they are the only ones of their kind in Egypt and have become a symbol of Cairo.

13- Al-Azhar Mosque

Top Things to see in Cairo

Another important place in Islamic Cairo is the Al-Azhar Mosque. Not only is it necessary because of its unique architecture, but also because of its history. It was built in 970 AD, and now, less than 30 years later, Egypt’s best university is there (and the second oldest in the world).

It is a natural oasis in the middle of Cairo, and people can study, pray, and hang out without being bothered. It’s a great place to start when you want to see Islamic Cairo.

14- Sultan Hassan Mosque

Top Things to see in Cairo

Another must-see in Cairo is the Sultan Hassan Mosque, which looks a lot like the Al-Azhar Mosque, which is also a must-see. It is near the Citadel, and next to it is a mosque called Madrassa. Both are worth seeing on the same trip.

The Sultan Hassan Mosque is one of the biggest in Cairo and has beautiful architecture. It has a fountain in the middle of an open patio and all its details on the inside.

15- El Muizz Street

Top Things to see in Cairo

The most important historical sites in Islamic Cairo are on El Muizz Street, which runs between Bab Al-Futuh and Bab Zuweila, the entrance to the original Fatimid city.

16- Al Azhar Park

Top Things to see in Cairo

The park of Al Azhar is a new part of Islamic Cairo. People in Cairo threw their trash outside the city walls for hundreds of years, building a massive mountain of garbage over the city.

Coptic Cairo

Coptic Cairo is the only part of the city where there are plenty of Christian churches and other sites from when Egypt was predominantly Christian, between the end of the Pharaonic era and the beginning of the Islamic religions.

17- Military Fortress Babylon

Top Things to see in Cairo

The three Roman military fortresses are still one of the most important Roman military installations, even though they were destroyed at the turn of the 20th century.

They have been added to many times since the early Roman times. The fortress is an irregular pentagon about 300 meters long and 230 meters wide, and it has a narrow side that runs from north to south and from south to north.

The walls are made of five or six layers of evenly cut limestone and three layers of burnt red bricks held together with lime mortar.

18- The Hanging Church

Things to see in Cairo

The most famous church in Coptic Cairo is the Hanging Church, also called el-Mu’allaqa or el-Mo’allaqa. It is south of the Coptic Museum and was built on top of the south gate of the fortress.

A wooden lintel in the Museum that shows Christ’s entry into Jerusalem shows that the church was built in the fifth or sixth century. It is a gift to the Virgin Mary (Arabic: Kansat al-Ar Maryam).

19- Church of St. George

Top Things to see in Cairo

On top of the fortress tower, north of the entrance to the Coptic Museum, are the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and the nearby monastery. The Greek patriarchs are also buried in the church.

Theodosius may have written about the monastery for the first time in the sixth century, but Eutychius’s account from the ninth century is the first one we know.

The current church has a dome from 1909 (it was dedicated on November 1), with a crown on top and 56 steps leading up to it. The old building burned down five years ago.

20- Church of St Sergius & Bacchus

Top Things to see in Cairo

St. Sergius and Bacchus Church Near the northern end of the enclosure wall, an underpass leads into the old fortress, where you can find several churches and the Ben Esra synagogue.

At the end of the alley that turns to the right is the 7 Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus. Tradition says that this is the oldest church in Cairo and was built on the spot where the holy family stopped to rest on their way to Egypt.

It is named after two Roman soldiers who died as martyrs in er-Rusafa, Syria, in 296 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Maximinus. At the end of the 7th century, the church was built by Athanasius, who worked for the governor Abd el-Aziz ibn Marwan (685-705). Before the 11th century, a bishop lived in the church.

21- Church of St. Barbara

Top Things to see in Cairo

At the end of the 7th century, the church was also built by Athanasius, the governor’s secretary (685-705). It was given to the doctors St. Cyrus (Abqr) and St. John as gifts. In the 1100s, the relics of St. Barbara were moved from the church of el-Muallaqa to the new building.

22- The Ben Ezra Synagogue 

Ben Ezra Synagogue It is Egypt’s oldest synagogue. In the 1980s, the synagogue was fixed up by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority and the American Jewish Congress. It is now a museum and no longer a place where people can get services.

Amr ibn al-Aw gave the land where the current synagogue is to the Coptic community in 641. The Copts think of Jeremiah as one of their prophets, the New Testament says.

23- Garbage City and Cave Church

The Cave Church, far from the center of Cairo, is connected to the Hanging Church. Mokattam Mountain was dug up so that a church could be built there. Both churches are connected because the Virgin Mary would have come to the Hanging Church and picked Simon for the miracle of the Mountain Moving.

People say that Simon, who became an essential Coptic saint, could have moved the Mountain a few meters with the power of his faith. Later, the Cave Church, also called the Monastery of So Simo, was built there.

Historic Cairo

Historic Cairo is the area around the historic center on the east side of the Nile. This area has more than 600 monuments on the list of protected sites from the 7th to the 20th centuries.

From the 7th to the 14th century, Cairo was the Islamic world’s most important political, cultural, and religious center.

24- Citadel of Salah El-Din

Top Things to see in Cairo

One of the top things to do in Cairo is to visit Saladin Citadel. Saladin began building this in 1176 as a defense against the Crusaders; after that, it became the home of Egyptian rulers for over 700 years.

The Cairo Citadel is home to several fascinating landmarks, such as a grouping of three impressive mosques, several palaces, and numerous terraces with stunning views over Cairo.

The Citadel has multiple buildings, including an armory, entranceways, a courtroom, a sizable terrace, innumerable gates, and other intriguing landmarks.

Salah al-Din, constructed this enormous fortification in Islamic Cairo in the late 1100s. The Mohamed Ali Mosque and two more stunning mosques are among the exciting things that can be found inside its gates.

25- Khan El Khalili Bazaar

Top Things to see in Cairo

There is no better place to go shopping than the “Khan El-Khalili Bazaar,” the world’s largest open-air market.

There, you’ll find a spice market where you can buy fresh spices of all kinds and a market where you can purchase essential oils in a wide range of flavors.

There are also places to buy fabrics, carpets, clothes, and many other things, and the prices are reasonable. Shisha pipes, toy camels, miniature models of the three pyramids, outfits for belly dancers, and many more can be bought there.

Khan Al-Khalili was built in the 1400s and is a must-see on tours of Ancient Cairo and Islamic Cairo. It is also the center of any shopping tour of Cairo. Khan Al-Khalili is one of the top markets in Egypt and worldwide.

Other Cairo Activities

26- Try Authentic Egyptian Dishes.

Top Things to see in Cairo

Egypt is best known for its delicious traditional food, which you can try at your hotel or while walking down the streets. And some of the best Egyptian dishes are Koshari, Molokhia, Stuffed Vegetables (Mahshi), Fatteh, Hawawchi, Falafel and Ful Medames, Musakka, Stuffed Pigeon, and many more that sound strange but are worth trying.

27- Sail the Nile in a Felucca

Top Things to see in Cairo

The felucca is a traditional Egyptian sailboat plying the mighty Nile since ancient times. Some of the Cairo feluccas sail during the day taking in the colorful sights of the Nile villages with several stops. Others sail at night, and nothing beats the experience of seeing the starry sky by the river.

28- Discover Cairo from the highest point of the Cairo Tower.

Top Things to see in Cairo

Get exceptional panoramic views from the highest point of the ‘Cairo Tower,’ 187m. There you will find a restaurant at the top of the Tower, which revolves around the central axis of the Tower. It opens from 8:00 am to 12:00 midnight.

29- Watch the opera at the opera house.

Top Things to see in Cairo

In Egypt, going to the Cairo opera house with your partner is one of the most romantic things you can do. Artists worldwide perform in beautiful costumes that will leave you speechless for the show.

30- Have a coffee at El- Fishawy Café.

Top Things to see in Cairo

At El-Fishawy Café, you can take your love to new heights by sharing a hot cup of coffee. The bright colors and soft lighting in this café make it a great place for a romantic date.

Do you need a guide in Cairo?

First, we’ll answer a question you might have been thinking about. You don’t need a guide to see the most important sights in the Egyptian capital; you can do it alone.

But isn’t it dangerous? From what we saw, Cairo seemed peaceful, and I thought the tourist area was well-prepared for visitors because there were police in several places. But I think it’s important to mention some safety tips: don’t walk in places that aren’t on the tourist axis, dress appropriately, and listen to your “tourist friends.”

But visiting Cairo with someone who knows more about the city’s history and how the Egyptians live is more interesting. So, we tell everyone who wants to go to Cairo to book their trip through a travel agency to make things easier.

If you aren’t used to traveling to exotic places like this and are afraid of walking alone on the streets, I think you should book a guided tour. It’s better to have someone give you that security and let you drive without worrying.

As travelers embark on their Cairo sightseeing adventure, they’ll undoubtedly encounter many remarkable landmarks and attractions that showcase the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. From the awe-inspiring pyramids of Giza to the bustling Khan el-Khalili market, there’s no shortage of captivating experiences awaiting exploration. Amidst these beautiful adventures, it’s essential to ensure a comfortable and convenient base for your excursions, and for that purpose, discovering the Best Hotels in Cairo becomes a crucial part of your journey, offering a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation after each day of immersive exploration.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cairo famous for?

The capital of Egypt is particularly famous for hosting the Giza Necropolis and the Egyptian Museum. However, many people also tend to fall in love with the city due to its exquisite cuisine.

What are the best places to visit in Cairo at night?

The Opera House: If you are interested in the arts and opera, visit the Opera House Complex in Cairo at night. This beautiful architectural work was established in 1988 and housed seven different theatres, galleries, museums, and many more.

Wekalet El Ghouri: Wekalet El Ghouri is, in essence, a vast art center located in the heart of downtown Cairo. It hosts various shows and events, including the captivating Tannoura show.

Cairo Tower: The Cairo Tower was once the tallest African building at 187 meters. Its concrete has amazing external lattices that combine ancient and modern design elements. At the top of the Tower, you will find a terrace and a revolving restaurant from where you can admire the captivating sunset and city lights.

The Muizz: The Muizz street, immersed in the heart of Islamic Cairo and one kilometer long, represents the extravagant and sumptuous side of the city.

Try a Felucca on the Nile: Feluccas are, in fact, traditional wooden boats that have been cruising the River Nile for centuries. They are a slower but more enjoyable mode of travel, primarily through Cairo.

How to visit Cairo?

It would be best if you remembered that most of the places to see in Cairo are pretty far from each other. In other words, it is not a city with a compact historical center. You will have to use taxis or Uber ( to go from one place to another.

Although the metro network does not reach many places of tourist interest, it does allow you to move between Tahrir Square (where the Egyptian Museum is) and the Coptic Quarter.

How to get around Cairo?

Traffic in Cairo is chaotic; there is no law or organization. Public transport follows the same line, except for the subway, which is still quieter.

Therefore, the best thing to do is to opt for a taxi or Uber for a more relaxed trip. Try to establish the price with the taxi driver and always be accompanied.

What is the best time to visit Cairo?

First of all, know that the summer temperatures in Cairo can easily exceed 40 degrees! So be careful when planning your trip so you don’t “toast” in the scorching sun.

However, the best months to visit the city are February, April, August, and November. However, December and January are months with lower temperatures.

Why is it safe to book your vacation with a travel agency?

If you are looking for Cairo vacation packages to visit our great country, it is always worth looking at our Egypt Vacation Packages.

Our company offers all types of security to tourists, such as providing a professional tour guide who knows the areas by heart and can guide tourists to different places without fear of any danger. (Egypt Planners) is also responsible for introducing a qualified representative who helps, assists, and finalizes everything for you at the airport. So, if you want to have fun, enjoy, meditate, and be safe in Egypt, choose a professional travel agency in Egypt.

In short, you can travel safely to Egypt. Please take the opportunity to book one of our egypt packages with the Ancient egypt Nile River Cruise to visit the most famous tourist attractions in upper Egypt between Luxor (Air Museum) and Aswan, like Abu Simbel, at special prices and with expert guides!

Is Cairo worth seeing?

Most people start their trip through Egypt in Cairo, a big, old, and historic city. Most people’s top choices are the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum, but this city has much more to see and do.

What should I be careful about in Cairo? Things You Need to Know Before You Go to Egypt

  • Security is an important thing to think about.
  • There are a lot of hassles, scams, and bribes.
  • Tipping is very likely to happen.
  • You don’t have to stay away because it’s Ramadan.
  • Summer is the hottest time of the year.
  • Get ready for the extra fees.
  • Dress as conservatively as you can.

When looking for Egypt day trips, chances are you only have a few days to spend in Egypt and want to see as much as possible… Right? “Egypt Planners” has made every traveler’s dream come true by offering affordable day trips to Egypt’s most famous and beautiful cities and tourist attractions.

About the author

Egypt Planners Team is a highly experienced travel agency specializing in memorable trips to Egypt. The team comprises expert travel planners and tour guides with a deep knowledge of Egypt's history, culture, and top tourist destinations.