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Cairo

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Travel Guide Africa Egypt Cairo

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Introduction

Cairo

Cairo

© All Rights Reserved capisco

Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is an amazing city full of life and movement, and it is that way almost 24 hours every day, with the noisy honking of horns, children playing in the streets and merchants selling their wares and services. And here, the Egyptians are most at home in this powerful, modern and ancient city.

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Neighbourhoods

Cairo is a massive city. The central urban area consists of the following districts:

  • Midan Tahir - the central area of the modern city, with the Egyptian Museum
  • Downtown
  • Midan Ramses - includes the main Ramses Railway Station
  • Garden City
  • Islamic Cairo - centre of historic Cairo, with the Citadel, Mohamed Ali Mosque and Khan el Khalili
  • Old Cairo
  • Dokki and Mohandeseen
  • Gezira and Zamalek
  • Giza - including the Haram District where the Giza Pyramaids are located
  • Heliopolis and Nasr City
  • Ma'adi

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Sights and Activities

Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

Cairo - Egyptian Museum

Cairo - Egyptian Museum

© All Rights Reserved Kamar

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is home to many fascinating ancient Egyptian artifacts. The exhibition can roughly be split into two pieces. The ground floor follows the history of ancient Egypt, while on the second floor as some specific exhibitions including the the treasures from Tutankhamun's tomb. The most famous of them is the death mask of the young pharaoh. Also on the upper floor is the mummy room, and countless coffins and other smaller items.

  • The Pyramids of Giza are three enormous structures (plus the mysterious Sphinx) that remain emblems of Egypt's grand past and one of the best known places in the world.
  • Khan el-Khalil Souk is a major traditional shopping area in the old city of Cairo.
  • The Coptic District, including many interesting and ancient churches and the 'Fortress of Babylon'.
  • The Cairo Opera House
  • The Khedivial Opera House

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Events and Festivals

  • Cairo International Film Festival

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Weather

Cairo has an arid climate with little rain throughout the year, averaging only around 30 mm a year. Temperatures are warm to hot. From May to October, maximum temperatures are between 30 °C and 36 °C on average during the day, dropping to around 20 °C at night. Hot winds from the southern Sahara desert can make temperatures rise to 47 °C though, especially in May and June. December to March is wintertime, with pleasantly warm conditions of between 18 °C and 23 °C during the day and slightly over 10 °C at night.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max18.9 °C20.4 °C23.5 °C28.3 °C32 °C33.9 °C34.7 °C34.2 °C32.6 °C29.2 °C24.8 °C20.3 °C
Avg Min9 °C9.7 °C11.6 °C14.6 °C17.7 °C20.1 °C22 °C22.1 °C20.5 °C17.4 °C14.1 °C10.4 °C
Rain Days3.52.71.90.90.50.10000.51.32.8

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Getting There

By Plane

Egypt Air is the national airline of Egypte and flies from Cairo International Airport (CAI), 15 kilometres northeast of the centre of Cairo. It has international scheduled flights to and from Abu Dhabi, Accra, Addis Ababa, Aleppo, Alexandria, Algiers, Amman, Amsterdam, Asmara, Assiut, Aswan, Athens, Bahrain, Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Beirut, Benghazi, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Casablanca, Damascus, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Entebbe, Frankfurt, Geneva, Guangzhou, Hurghada, Istanbul, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Kano, Khartoum, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lagos, Larnaca, Lisbon, London, Luxor, Kuwait, Madrid, Medina, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Mumbai, Munich, Muscat, Nairobi, New York-JFK, Osaka, Paphos, Paris, Riyadh, Rome, Sanaa, Sharjah, Tokyo, Tripoli, Tunis and Vienna.
Egypt Air also operates domestic flights between Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Sharm El Sheikh, Assiut and Hurghada and most cities are served at least daily.

To/from the airport

  • The Cairo Airport shuttle bus departs every half hour from the airport to Cairo.
  • The Airport Bus Service has both air-conditioned & non air-conditioned operating from Terminal 1. There are several stop bus stations; at Tahrir Square, downtown Cairo, Mohandesin, and along Pyramids Road in Giza.
  • Taxis are available at any time, and operated on a flat fee basis.

By Train

Egyptian National Railways has trains between Cairo's Ramses Railways Station north to Alexandria and south Luxor and Aswan, with a few branches to Port Said and Suez. There are also several luxury air-conditioned day and night trains with sleeping and restaurant cars from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan. If travelling overnight, you can reserve at the Abela Egypt website.

By Car

An extensive road network connects Cairo with other Egyptian cities and villages. There is a new ring road that surrounds the outskirts of the city, with exits that reach to almost every Cairo district.

By Bus

There is a reliable bus system in place in Egypt. You will usually get what you pay for. This might not be the best place to try and save money so try and go for the more luxurious options with airconditiong.

By Boat

The Nile has been used for transportation in Egypt for thousands of years, and it still is. There are lots of options for daytrips in the Cairo area as well.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Taxis are cheap and easy - make sure you check/agree on the price first. There is little regulation in the taxi industry here, so the quality can change quit a bit too. It is not uncommon for the taxi to have a gerry-can full of petrol in the trunk. So if the smell gives you headaches, always wait for a newer/cleaner looking cab.

The Cairo metro is also a good option. But the stops are not written in English, so you will need to plan it out before hand, and then count stops on the way. If you get on when they are very busy, be prepared to have a crash course in having no personal space. There are also women-only cars. If you are traveling co-ed you will have to make a judgment call about splitting up or not.

There are also "meecro busses" which are small Volkswagen vans that go around on their routes stopping to pick people up. The cost is LE0.75 (75 piaster) per person regardless of how long you ride. Just pass your money up to the driver or a person sitting in front of you after you get in. Foreigners hardly ever ride these, so it won't stop for a white person usually. You will get a lot of stares if you ride as a noticeable foreigner.

By Car

Don't drive in Cairo. Hire a car with a driver instead. You should be fine in most other places in the country, just don't drive yourself around here.

By Foot

In many parts of Cairo there is no real sidewalks. Some businesses may have one and then their neighbor won't. There are also quite often tree stumps and re bar protruding from the sidewalks. It is easier to just walk on the roads and pay attention to traffic. Do not walk on the sidewalks if it is too dark to see your feet very well, or you will trip.

There are also not many crosswalks, or walkways. When crossing the roads in groups, line up next to each other and walk out together. Sometimes you will need to cross multiple lanes. If you wait until all the lanes are clear, you will never cross, so also be prepared to cross lane by lane, frogger style. This is very frightening and depending on the duration of your stay, you may never get used to it.

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Eat

You can eat and be full in Cairo for as little as LE 2 a day. As long as you like talmaya, fuul, and kosherie.

There is an abundance of chain resturants and fast food places such as Chilis, Pizza hut, Dominoes, Hardys, Mcdonalds, etc. There is also a new trend toward "cafes". These can range hugely in price, quality and atmosphere. But there are more than a few gems where you can get excellent food for a reasonable price from a waiter that speaks English. It is also not uncommon for the owner to come shake your hand if your white and take 20% off an already fair bill or buy you desert if you promise to come back for breakfast. This is especially common in newer cafes that are starting out and are trying to attract a younger and trendier crowd. You can expect to pay LE 30-40 per person (at least) at these establishments for a meal, beverage and desert. Not including Sheesha.

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Drink

This is a Muslim country, so the majority of places do not serve alcohol. Of the ones that do, they generally do not have a menu or signs, so it si difficult to know which ones do serve it.

The local beers are actually not that bad. There are unconfirmed rumors that European brewmasters have been brought in. The hard alcohol/liquor is very expensive. Common international brands are rare. Local brands have an edge to them that hints that industrial use would be a better choice for it.

European coffees are becoming more common, popular and accessible. Some cafes are selling their own blends and you can find a barrista that knows how to use a cappuccino machine.

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Sheesha

Sheesha is a large water pipe used to smoke tobacco blends in Egypt. It consists of a large bowl, a water filled base and a hose. It is the same principle as a bong or a hookah. Many will also have wind covers and ashtrays attached. There are many different types of designs, features, decorations and sizes.

Generally when you order a sheesha at a restaurant you will be provided with a disposable hose, or a disposable tip for the hose. Insist on one if you are not. Pay attention that it came from a sealed package opened in front of you. The staff should tend the charcoal that is used to keep it burning. If it dies down you can just make eye contact with the staff and indicate your sheesha and whoever tends the sheesha will probably be quick in coming.

If you'll be going to the same place repeatedly for sheesha, it is a good idea to tip the sheesha tender directly when he collects your empty sheesha after you have finished. 1-2 LE is sufficient and you will notice how much better your sheesha is tended compared to most other patrons.

The tobacco you smoke is blended with molasses and various fruits. Many restaurants have a sheesha section on their menu. The fruitier blends actually smell like candy. It is a very unique way of smoking. The flavor of the fruit is very strong and it will often last an hour or longer. A worthwhile experience for smokers and non-smokers alike. Ask your server for a Ta-ool (Backgammon) while you smoke and try a very old and traditional Egyptian past time.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
African House Hotel15, Emad El-din str. DowntownHostel-
Alexander Hostel165 Mohamed Farid St, Down Town, CairoHostel76
Arabesque Hotel11 Ramses StreetHostel86
Arabian Nights10 Al Aded Street off of Mansouria Street, El Darasa, Islamic CairoHostel95
Atlas Opera Hotel2, Mohamed Roushdi st., Opera SquareHotel-
Bedouin Hostel4 Elwy street from Qasr el Nil street Back of the National and Central Bank of Egypt, DoHostel77
Blue bird hostel42 Talat Harb street ,DowntownHostel-
Cairo Center20 Adly St. Down Townhotel-
Cairo Inn6 Talat Harb Square downtownHotel83
Cairo Palace Hostel5 Emad El Din st, Down Town,Hostel-
Cairo Stars Hostel16, Adly Street 22222 Downtown CairoHostel76
Canadian Hostel5, Talaat Harb St. Down-TownHostel-
Cecilia Hostel47 El Falaky Street - DowntownHostel73
City Plaza Hostel13 (26 july street) sixth floorHostel82
Dahab Hostel26 Mahmoud Bassiouny St.Hostel89
Delta Pyramids HotelEnd of King Faisal Rd, Haram GizaHotel85
Each Way Hostel44 Talaat Harb Street DowntownHostel-
Egyptian Night Guesthouse13 Merit Basha StreetGuesthouse-
El Zahraa Hotel11 Ramses St., El Tahrer SquarHotel-
Gresham House Hotel20 Talaat Harb (Near Tallat Harb Square) City centreHotel85
Havana Hotel26 Syria St. Mohandeseen CairoHotel-
Hostel Brothers34 Talaart Harb Street Yacoubian Building 4th Floorhostel-
Hotel Vienna26 Mahmoud Bassiouni St., 2nd Floor,Hotel-
Indiana Hotel16, El Saraya St, Dokki, vinny squareHotel71
Invitation Hotel11 Ramsis Street Abdelmonem Riyad Square Down TownHotel84
Isis Hotel33B Ramses St Maarof TowerHotel86
Jasmine Hotel26 Sherif St. Downtown - CairoHostel86
Juliana Hotel8 Ibrahim Nagib - Garden City - DowntownHostel85
King Hotel20, Abdel Rehim Sabri Str. DokkiHotel82
King Tut Hostel37 Taalat Harb street, Down Town 8th FloorHostel63
Lialy Inn8 Talaat Harb SquareHostel85
Luna Hotel27 Talaat Harp Street Downtown Cairo 27 Talaat Harp Street Downtown CairoHotel89
May Fair Hotel9 El Aziz Osman - ZamalekHotel82
Meramees Hostel32 Sabri Abou Alam StreetHostel90
Museum View Hotel2 Champllion St. CairoHotel83
New Garden Palace Hotel11 Modereat Al Tahrir St. Garden CityHotel77
New Minerva Hostel39, Talaat Harb st.Hostel75
New Palace Hotel17, Soliman El Halaby St, From Emad El Din StHostel94
Nubian Hostel4 Elwy Street off Qasr El Nile StreetHostel88
Paris Hotel Cairo15 Talaat Harb Street Third FloorHotel88
Pension Vienna26 Mahmoud BassiouniHostel-
Pharaoh Egypt Hotel11 Ahmed Orabi St., Sphinx Sq., Mohandessin, Giza,Hotel76
Pharaohs Palace Hostel26 Kasr El Nil st. DowntownHostel86
Ramses II Hotel and Hostel37 talaat harb st cairo 12 floor down townHotel90
Regent House Hostel2Maruf Street from Talat HarbHostel90
Richmond Hotel41 Shereef street, DowntownHotel86
Rotana Palace37-Talaat Harb Street, Downtown, 6th floor Cairo,EHostel72
Sara Inn Hostel21 Yousef Elgendy St.- cnr. Hoda Sharawy St.Hostel82
Select Hotel19 Adly St. Down TownHostel80
Sun Hotel2 Talaat Harb Street Tahrir SquareHostel-
The Australian Hostel23 Abd El Khalek Tharwat DowntownHostel88
The Hotel Lotus12, Talaat Harb StreetHotel84
Venice Hosokawaya4 Souk El Tawfiqya Street 4th FloorHostel80
Venus Hotel38 Ramesis St Ramesis SqHotel83
Wake UP! Cairo Hostel33 A Ramsis st., Marouf Tower. DowntownHostel91
Windsor Hotel19 Alfi BeyHotel85
Cairo City Center Hotel14 Champlion Street DowntwonHotel79
Brothers Hostel34 Talaart Harb Street, 4th FloorHostel87
Egyptian Night13 Merit Basha St. Cairo EgyptHOSTEL87
Bella Luna27 Talaat Harb St - 3rd FloorHostel92
Jamaica Hotel34 Abd El Khalek Sarwat StreetHotel88
Cairo Paradise Hotel41 Sherif Street, DowntownHotel89
Travelers House43 Sherief Street (on the corner) 4th floorHostel89
Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar El Khayam Casino16 Saray El Gezira StreetHotel-
Le Meridien PyramidsEl Remaya Square - PyramidsHotel-
Four Seasons Cairo At Nile Plaza Hotel1089 Corniche El Nil , P.O Box 63 Maglis El Shaab Garden CityHotel-
Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers HotelEl Shaheed Sayed Zakaria St, Uruba St, HeliopolisHotel-
Four Seasons Cairo At The First Residence35 Giza StreetHotel-
Fairmont Nile City Cairo HotelNile City Towers - 2005 B Corniche El Nil, Ramlet BeaulaHotel-
Grand Hyatt Cairo HotelCorniche El Nile, Garden City Roda IslandHotel-
Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo HotelThe LakeView, El-Tesseen StHotel-
Semiramis Intercontinental Cairo HotelCorniche El Nile, DowntownHotel-
Pyramisa Suites & Casino Cairo Hotel60 Giza Street DokkiHotel-
Radisson Blue Heliopolis HotelAbdel Hamid Badawy St HeliopolisHotel-
Barcelo Cairo Pyramids Hotel229 Pyramids RoadHotel-
Golden Tulip Flamenco Cairo Hotel2 El Gezira El Wosta Street ZamalekHotel-
Zoser Cairo Hotel252 Pyramids RoadHotel-
Sonesta Cairo Heliopolis Hotel3, Tayaran St, Nasr City HeliopolisHotel-
Swiss Inn Pyramids Golf ResortDreamland, 6th of October City El Wahat RoadHotel-
Swiss Inn Plaza ResortAl Wahat Road, 6th Of OctoberHotel-
Cataract Pyramids ResortEl Haraneya - Sakkara RoadHotel-
Tiba Pyramids Resort33 Pyramids RoadHotel-
Kaoud Delta Pyramids Hotel16 King Faisal StreetHotel-
Baron Heliopolis Cairo Hotel4 Ma'ahad Al Sahary St., Heliopolis, Cairo, EgyptHotel-
Pharoahs Dokki Hotel12 Lotfi Hassouna StreetHotel-
Caroline Crillon Hotel49 Syria Street MohandessinHotel-
The Karvin Heliopolis Hotel11, Mohamed Ebeid Street Nozha Street | El Sabaa Emarat HeliopolisHotel-
Longchamp Cairo Hotel21 Ismail Mohamed Street Zamalek, Cario, EgyptHotel-
Husa Gawharet Al Ahram Hotel103, Al Ahram StHotel-
Cairo Downtown Hotel2 Amir Kadadar St, Bab El looq Tahrir Squire, CairHotel89
Hola Cairo19 ( 26 July St ) 4th FloorHostel81
Dina's Hostel42 Abd El Khaliq Tharwat ST Down town,CairoHOSTEL89
Cairo Moon Hostel28 Adly StreetHotel-
Classic Plaza Hostel26 July Street down town Fifth FloorHostel87
Ampelmann23 Abd Elkhaliq Tharwat st. downtownHOTEL-
Garden View Hotel4 Zaki Street, Orabi Square, Tawfikya, DowntownHotel-
Cosmopolitan Hotel1 Talat Harb Downtown CairoHotel-
Mesho Inn43 Sherif Street DowntownHOSTEL89
Mena House Oberoi HotelPyramids' Road, Giza,Hotel-
Hotel Royal Egypt10 Elwy street, DowntownHOTEL-
Miami Cairo Hostel34 Talaat Harb Street, 2nd Floor, cairoHOSTEL88
Tiba Midtown41 Abd El Khalek Tharwat St DowntownHOTEL93
Ismailia House Hotel EgyptMidan Et-Tahrir, 1 CairoHOTEL-
El Tonsy Hotel143 El Tahrir Street Dokki, GizaHOTEL-
Milano Hotel16 Adly St. DowntownHOTEL80
Golden Hotel Cairo13 Talaat Harb St. Down Town CairoHOTEL-
Tiab House Hotel24 Mohamed Khalaf Street DokkyHotel-
Rose Hotel6 Iran Street, DokkiHotel-
Allegiance Hotel26 July StreetHOTEL-
Qabana Hostel165 Mohamad Farid St, 2nd Fl Down TownHostel91
Pyramids Inn Motel219 Mansoureya Road Pyramids street , GizaHOTEL-
Berlin Hotel2 El Shawarby St 4th Floor Off Kasre El Nil Down THotel-
Nile Season Hotel1089 Corniche El Nil, 20 Aisha Timoria, Garden CityHOTEL83
Freedom Hostel6,Bank Misr St.,off Sherif St. Front of Egyptian Central Bank Downtown,Cairo.EgyptHostel92
Sakkara Inn HotelSakkara Road 20 Abu SirGUESTHOUSE-
My Hotel13 Merit Basha Street Floor 4Hotel90
My Hotel Cairo13 Merit Basha StreetHOTEL-
Cairo Night Hotel19 Adly Street from Shreef Street DountownHOTEL-
River Nile Hotel16 Kornish El Nile St El MaadiHOTEL90
Hotel Grand Royal1 Talaat Harb sq DowntownHOTEL-
Bluebird Hotel42 Talat Harb St, Down TownHotel-
Aussie Hostel169 Mohamed Fareed street DowntownHOSTEL84
Monte Cairo Suites88 Mokatam StAPARTMENT-
Tiba Midtown Hostel41 Abd Elkhalek Tharwat StHostel-
Pyramids View Rooms341 Elgeish st, Hadayek Al Ahram 4th Gate, 5 thGUESTHOUSE-
Guardian Guest House1 Abou al hool street Nazlet el SammanGUESTHOUSE-
Walid Emam Apartment33 ramsis stApartment-
Isis Hotel 233B Ramses St Maarof TowerHotel-
Lady DianaCorniche El MaadiHOTEL-
Hotel Royal City Center34 El-Gomhoreya SquareHotel-
Cairo Kingdom14 Emad Eldin St.HOTEL-
Cairo Center Hostel20 Adly St. DowntownHOSTEL-
Guesthouse Cairo7 Amon StreetGUESTHOUSE-
Star Plaza Hotel22 Michel Bakhoum Street from Mosadak Street, DokHOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wifi is readily available at various cafes and restaurants throughout the city. There are quite a few internet cafes as well.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

Egypt Post is the national postal service in Egypt. Services are generally reliable, affordable though pretty slow, even if you send post domestically. International letters and postcards take days, if not weeks if send to the US or Australia. They do have express mail services though, but these are relatively expensive. Opening hours of post officies are mostly from 8:30am to 2:00pm or 3:00pm daily except Friday, when all of them are closed. The central ones might keep longer hours, generally until 8:00pm. You can buy stamps here, or at certain newspaper kiosks. In touristic areas, these are available at many shops as well. For parcels, it's much better to use international courier services such as DHL, TNT or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 30.0571
  • Longitude: 31.2272

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This is version 57. Last edited at 11:49 on Jun 27, 13 by Utrecht. 95 articles link to this page.

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