Eco-friendly travel guide to Cairo advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Cairo, Egypt.
- Air quality: 2 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 4 / 5
- Public transportation: 4 / 5
- Parks: 4.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $400
- Budget per day: US$40 - $600
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Cairo, Egypt's capital city, is home to one of the seven wonders; the Giza Pyramids. The town holds a very significant part in the history of the Middle East. There are various archaeological sites in Cairo that are very enlightening and educational. The city is located near the River Nile Delta and offers fantastic views of this famous African river. You will find that the local communities are a mix of Islamic, Christian, and Jew religions, which are the three prominent religious communities in Cairo and live together peacefully. While traveling to Cairo, you need to make sure that you act responsibly and negatively impact the environment and people.
- As a tourist, you will prefer to buy mineral water bottles as they are safe to drink and relatively cheap. Try to avoid buying mineral water bottles as these bottles are made of plastic, which is not reusable and causes a lot of harm to the environment.
- To get the local culture and traditions' best experience, try using public transport or walking as the best transportation mode. Avoid using rental car services, cabs, and other private vehicles as they are not friendly to the environment or your pocket.
- While visiting the city, prefer buying or visiting local businesses as they are the best places to get authentic Egyptian products at affordable rates. The international and retail stores don't sell such quality products and often overcharge you for their services.
- While exploring the city, make sure to follow the proper waste disposal, and recycling laws as the city has a high pollution rate. You should prefer using reusable items such as water bottles, cloth bags, handkerchiefs, etc.
Air Quality and Pollution
Cairo has the second-worst PM10 rank and has a high rate of pollution. The air is clogged with fumes of cars and motorbikes, the city's primary transportation mode. The city's air is saturated with 11.7 times more than the safe level of PM2.5 and about 14.2 times more than the safe level of PM10, which is recommended by the World Health Organization. Noise pollution and particulate pollution are the other different kind of pollution in the city. Here are some statistics about the air pollution levels in Cairo according to the World Health Organization as of August 2020;
- PM10 – 179
- PM2.5 – 76
- PM10 Pollution Level – Extremely High
- Pollution Index – 91.87
- Pollution Exp Scale – 166.01
Respect the Culture
While visiting a foreign city, you have to respect the local culture, people, and heritage places. You can do so by participating in cultural activities or by taking a cultural tour. It will help you in learning many vital things about Cairo's culture, importance, and history. Doing so will also enhance your experience and help you create a memorable time in the city. You can opt for visiting the many theatres and museums to attend cultural events. These events will help you understand about Egyptian culture and its significance. Only by taking part in social and cultural activities you will be able to pay respect to the culture.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- The Pyramids of Giza: These are every tourist's top must-visit place as it is the world's most popular tourist place. The site is located on the city's edge on the Giza Plateau and consists of royal pyramids, temples, and causeways. The right way to explore this historical place is by riding a camel that many hotels provide to their foreign guests.
- The Sphinx: It another must-visit place while visiting Cairo. It is located at a commanding position near the Giza plateau and is a significant enigmatic symbol of ancient Egypt. The Sphinx is believed to be guarding the Giza pyramids for thousands of years. While exploring the Giza pyramids, Sphinx is a must-visit place as it is a very enlightening one and is an inspiration to many emperors, poets, artists, scholars, and travelers.
- Old Cairo: It is the best place for tourists that want to get deep insights into Egyptian culture and history. Old Cairo is the most senior settlement place and religious worship. You will find Amr Mosque, Ben Ezra Synagogue, and Church of St. Gergius. These worship places are some of the first worship places in Egypt and have a significant role in modern Egypt’s culture.
- The Hanging Church of the Virgin Mary: It is located in Old Cairo and is a 4th-century church. It is built on the ruins of two towers of the Fortress of Babylon. It has great historical importance because it served as the residence of the Coptic patriarchs of Alexandria. The church is also very famous as a place where many synods were hosted in ancient times.
- Al-Azhar Mosque: It is a recent addition to Cairo's mosques, but its sheik has the highest theological authority amongst the Muslims in Egypt. The mosque is made of three minarets that date back to the 14th, 15th, and 16th century respectively. The mosque's central courtyard is the oldest part of the site. You can also visit the university located on the mosque's grounds and is the second-oldest university in the world. The university dates back to 988 AD and is a prestigious place where you can study Sunni theology.
- Sultan Hassan Mosque: It is one of the culturally significant mosques in Cairo that dates back to 1356-63. Initially built for Sultan Hassan el-Nasir, it is one of the finest examples of Mamluk architecture. It has stalactite detailing and intricate arabesque features. The mosque is located in the Midan Salah-ad-Din area and is a must-visit place for tourists.
- Bab Zuweila: It is a medieval era relic that dates back to the 11th century and provides the visitors with fantastic views of the city from the rooftop. It is located in Al-Miuz li-Din Allah Street and is located in a prime location near the Sheik al-Mu’ayyad Mosque and Street of the Tentmakers.
- Ibn Tulun Mosque: It is the second oldest mosque in Cairo that dates back to AD 876 and 879. It is located on Al-Saliba Street and is the largest mosque when it was built. The mosque consists of a primary court, prayer hall, and the mihrab. The mosque also has a 40-meter tall minaret on the northern side with a delicate horseshoe arch over the entrance. It is an excellent place for people who want to learn about the religious side of Cairo.
- Ancient Heliopolis and El-Matariya: The site contains the ruins of an ancient Egyptian town of Yuno, which is also famous by the name Heliopolis during the Greek period. As the oldest city, it is also the spiritual center of the country. You will find that it is quite popular amongst archaeologists and people with similar fields. It is located 13 kilometers in the northeast direction of Downtown Cairo.
- Manyal Palace: It is a beautiful palace that is located on the north end of Roda Island in Cairo. Traditional Arabic designs and European designs influence the exterior of the palace's architecture. Built-in the 20th century by King Farouk’s uncle, it is a must-visit place for those who seek to explore more about Cairo’s history and culture in some peaceful environment.
Cairo is home to the Giza Pyramids that hold great significance in the world's history and culture. The town is trendy amongst archaeologists as there are many sites where archaeological studies are still done to learn and discover about the ancient Egyptian society. Other than these historical sites, many monuments and buildings are of extreme importance to human civilization. Apart from historical places and locations, the city also homes various nature parks that prove to be a haven for nature lovers.
- Al-Azhar Park - Al-Azhar Park is a great place to get away from the city's crowded and polluted areas and get some fresh air. It is located on Salah Salem Street and is considered as the green lungs of the old district. It first opened in 2005 as a medieval rubbish dump, but now homes manicured gardens and beautiful ancient city views. You will find many families, couples, and even tourists having a stroll or picnic, especially during the evening, to enjoy gorgeous sunset views.
- Al Horreya Garden - It is located in the Zamalek area and sits right across from the Cairo Opera House and Al Andalus Garden. It is famous for the unique eleven statues representing significant individuals such as Ahmed Shawky, the Prince of Poets, the Nile poet, Hafez Ibrahim, Talaat Harb Basha, etc. Most of these statues are gifts from neighboring countries. The park is a great place to get away from the city’s crowded places and enjoy some peaceful time under palm trees while lying on the fresh grass.
- Al-Andalus Garden - It is located between Qasr El Nil and 6 October Bridges in the Zamalek area. Built-in 1935 by Zulfaqar Basha, it served as the royal mansion of Khedive Ismail. The garden is famous for its unique Andalusian architecture styled entrance and arches. There are many statues in Pharaohs' garden, lions, Ahmed Shawky, and the Prince of Poets. The park is the best place for those who seek peace and gives breath-taking views of the Nile.
- Japanese Garden - Built-in 1917 by an Egyptian architect named Zulfaqar Basha, the garden represents the East's beauty. It is filled with fish ponds, hills, canals, statues, and a wide variety of trees. Most of the figures of the garden are of Lord Buddha that represents the Buddhism religion.
- Al Fustat Garden - It is the most extensive garden as well as a historical garden in Egypt. Covering over 250 acres of land, it is a place for nature lovers and those who seek peace. It is located near Al Azhar Park and Amr Ibn Al Aas Mosques. It is a popular park amongst locals and tourists for its peaceful environment.
- International Park: It is one of Cairo's most popular parks that homes species of flowers, trees, and animals from different continents. The park has its train that the visitors can ride to explore the other parts of the park. There are a theatre and a mini zoo inside the park containing mummified bodies and animal skeletons.
- Aquarium Grotto Garden: Built-in 1867 by Khedive Ismail, this beautiful garden is located along the Nile on El Gabalaya Street. It is famous for its architecture and information slabs that look like fish gills. The garden is renowned for its many underground grottoes that host various fishes from the Nile. The park is also famous as the home of a wide variety of trees and flowers.
- Orman Garden: Egypt's one of the most famous botanical gardens hosts more than 150 flower plants and over 500 rare plant species. Built-in 1875 by French architects provided a wide range of fruits and vegetables to the royal palace. It covers over 28 acres of land that consists of a pond with a wooden bridge built over it. It is located next to the Giza Zoo near Cairo University.
- Family Park: Recently added to Cairo's landscape, it is located on Suez Road in New Cairo. The park offers many activities that are categorized into educational and entertainment. The park's academic center includes the Bibliotheca Alexandrian buildings, the Giza Zoo, and the Martial Museum. The entertainment center consists of a 3D cinema, a mini zoo, a safari plaza, a lighthouse, and a train ride. As the name suggests, Family Park is ideal for families and even solo travelers or explorers.
There are no such places inside the city as Cairo is located far from the coastline when it comes to beaches and sea-front areas. The nearest beach to Cairo is the Ain Sokhna beach, which is only 2 hours drive from the city. The Ain Sokhna beach is a great place to get away from the crowded and polluted urban areas and spend some rejuvenating time at the beachside. It homes luxurious resorts and restaurants that serve mouth-watering Egyptian cuisines and seafood dishes to the guests. Unlike other beaches, Ain Sokhna is a private beach and will provide you with a peaceful environment.
- The Khan el Khalili Bazaar: It is a bazaar or market that dates back to the 14th century and is one of the world's oldest fish markets. Today, you can not only buy fish, but anything that you can imagine is available. The area has a prime location that gives fantastic views of the many monuments and mosques in the surrounding area. The market is of the biggest market and has narrow alleys where you can discover Egypt's spices, luxury fabrics, and perfumes. It is the best place to search for souvenirs and necessities items at low prices.
- Cairo Tower: It is located in Zamalek and is one of the most famous landmarks in Cairo. The tower is about 187 meters tall and gives 360 degrees of panoramic views of the whole city. Designed like a lotus plant, it dates back to 1961. You can visit the Sky Garden Café that sits below the observation deck and serves mouth-watering food.
- The Citadel: It is located at the foot of Mokattam Hills and dates back to 1176. The current structure only consists of the original structure’s eastern outer walls. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is the main attraction to the place and gives the most beautiful views from its Gawhara Terrace. It is a must-visit place as you can learn a lot about the city's history and culture.
- Al-Muizz li-Din Allah Street: Al-Muizz li-Di Allah Street is one of the most crucial parts of Islamic culture and history in Cairo. It consists of many fine Mamluk buildings such as the Madrassa of as-Salih Ayuub, Madrassa of Qalaun, Madrassa of An-Nasr Mohammed Egyptian Textile Museum. It is an Islamic cultural landmark and is quite popular amongst locals and tourists.
- Zamalek: It is located on the Nile Island of Gezira and is home to Cairo’s artistic boutiques and many hipster restaurants. The area dates back to the 19th century and gives off a European vibe because its architecture resembles Europe's. It is a famous landmark that serves as the best dining destination in Cairo.
- Downtown Cairo: It is also called 'Paris of the East,' the area's buildings that date back to the late 19th century have blackened architecture. You will find Belle Époque buildings in the area and are the remnants of Midan Talaat Harb. The best way to explore this place's hidden gems is by walking, as it is usually packed with traffic.
- The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities: It is located in the city, outside Tahrir Square; it is one of Egypt's best museums. It showcases many unique artifacts of ancient Egyptian history. The collections include more than 160,000 pieces and are placed in different chambers and rooms. These sections are dedicated to some prosperous dynasties of Egypt. The Egyptian Museum is an excellent way to learn about the history and culture of the city.
- The Coptic Museum: It is a museum that stands as a testimony to Cairo's multiculturalism and is located in Mari Gerges district of Cairo. The museum dates back to 1908 and houses Coptic art that ranges from early Christianity to the first Islamic period. The museum's galleries consist of many sculptures, woodcarvings, rich textiles, and monastery walls of frescoes.
- Museum of Islamic Art: Home to some of the most significant Middle Eastern artistry collections globally, the museum has recently reopened to the public. It showcases many Ottoman tile works, Ayyubid ceramics, frescoes, coinage, jewel-toned carpets, delicately patterned wood-inlay, carved marble tombstones many other artifacts of the Middle East.
- Cairo Opera Museum: It is a cultural landmark of Cairo and is a place where people can exercise their creativity and imagination. The museum offers some of the finest productions of Egyptian ballet, opera, and symphonies. The museum serves as a place for talented individuals from all over Egypt to perform and show their talent regularly.
- Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum: It is about a decade old museum that hosts many events such as exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances, outdoor garden theatre, poetry recitals, etc. The museum showcases a fantastic collection of contemporary art that the visitors are charmed too. It is located in the El Tahrir area and is named after Mahmoud Mokhtar, a famous sculptor that died in 1934.
Egyptian dishes are not as popular as other Middle Eastern cuisines, but you have to try them while exploring the city. Whether they are traditional Egyptian dishes or street food dishes, they will only enhance your experience and help you learn about Egyptian people's culture and livelihood. As Cairo is the capital city, there is a wide variety of options, and you will be able to select those that are the most convenient and affordable to you. If you don't try the Egyptian dishes while exploring Cairo, your experience will stay incomplete.
Traditional Local Restaurants
These restaurants serve Egyptian food that is prepared in conventional ways following the original recipes. These dishes are the comfort food of the local people and are ready in almost all households. Many traditional restaurants have been serving traditional food to the locals for decades. If you want to broaden your tastes and try authentic Egyptian food, these restaurants are the ones to visit Cairo. These places will give you deep insights into the beautiful culture of Cairo.
- Bebo: Serving Egyptian dishes for over 40 years is one of Cairo's most famous traditional restaurants. It has a classic and simple look without any big hoardings or flashy banners. It serves a wide range of Shawarmas, grilled meats, stews, and other comfort food that will lit up your taste buds with their flavors. The restaurant is located in the Gesr Al Bahr areas and is a must-visit place for tourists that seek to explore Egyptian food.
- Tagen W Bram: It is located in the El-Horeya area and is a great traditional restaurant where you can enjoy some quiet time. Unlike other traditional restaurants, it is located away from the crowded street, so it has a quiet and peaceful vibe. It serves conventional Egyptian food such as okra Tagen and cutlets with vermicelli. Tagen's menu has a wide variety of dishes from which you can choose.
- Tajoury Oriental Restaurant: A popular place for comfort food amongst locals, it is located in El-Manial on Rhoda Island and is usually packed with locals rather than tourists. The restaurant serves food that not only tastes heavenly but is also perfect for Instagram stories and posts. The menu includes traditional Egyptian dishes made with okra, onion tagine, and pigeon meat.
- Andrea El Mariouteya New Giza: Andrea El Mariouteya is one of the most popular restaurants amongst the tourists as it is located near the pyramids. The restaurant serves mouth-watering Egyptian dishes that can be eaten as brunch, lunch, and even dinner. The Feteer Meshaltet and chargrilled chicken are the most popular dishes in the restaurant.
- Kazouza: It is another popular restaurant in Cairo that serves a wide range of traditional Egyptian street foods. The restaurant is ideal for tourists with no experience with Egyptian food. The must-try item is the spicy liver, sujuk, and meat hawawshi, which is believed to be the best in the entire city. There are many branches of the restaurant spread all over the city. You can visit any of them and enjoy mouth-watering food with laid-back vibes.
- Kebdet El Prince: It is located in the Al Prince area and is often called as Cairo's favorite restaurant. It is a classic and straightforward looking restaurant that gives off homely vibes. It serves Egyptian comfort food dishes like molokhia, sujuk sausage, and grilled liver. It is a must-visit restaurant while exploring Cairo's food culture.
- Koshary El Tahrir: Named after the country's national dish and the street on which it is located, Koshary El Tahrir is a nation-wide popular restaurant. The restaurant's main attraction is the Egyptian dish; Koshary is made by combining rice, macaroni, and lentils. It is served hot with a spicy tomato sauce and chickpea and crispy fried onions as toppings.
Vegetarian and Vegan
There are some vegan and vegetarian restaurants for those tourists who prefer to eat healthy and plant-based food. Vegetarian dishes are not that prominent in Egypt as most cuisines are made with some sort of meat. Some restaurants serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. You can opt for those restaurants but be careful while placing an order and make sure that the waiter knows that you are a vegetarian. Here are some of the famous restaurants in Cairo that serve vegan and vegetarian dishes;
- Abu Tarek: It is a popular restaurant that serves Egyptian fast food made with high-quality ingredients. The vegetarian items on the menu include koshary, a traditional Egyptian vegetarian dish made with chickpeas, lentils, tomato sauce, vinegar, fried onions, rice, and noodles. It is served in various sizes and is purely vegan.
- L’Aubergine: It is Cairo’s first full vegetarian meal restaurant that is popular amongst vegans in Cairo. It has a laid-back atmosphere, and the menu has a wide variety from starters to desserts. Some popular dishes of the restaurant include; carrot and coriander soup, aubergine-peanut ravioli, or moussaka.
- Taboula Lebanese Restaurant: It is a Lebanese restaurant that serves Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes that vary from non-vegetarian to vegetarian ingredients. You can choose vegetarian dishes that come with options like Humus, shanklish, fattehs with yogurt, bread, and rice, taboula salad, etc.
- Kazaz: It is a small takeaway restaurant located in the Mohammed Sabry Abou Alam area in downtown Cairo and comes with limited seating. It serves the best taameya, which is a Middle Eastern variety of falafel made with green beans. It is the best place to try some traditional Egyptian dishes with a vegetarian twist.
Cairo’s street food is a must-try one while exploring the city. The many street food vendors serve mouth-watering dishes that will make your taste buds dance with its flavor. These local street food dishes are the best places to indulge in authentic Egyptian tastes. These dishes are not only affordable but also hold a lot of cultural and historical significance to them. Most of the following street food dishes are easily found at any square, street, and city center in Cairo. Here are some must-try street food dishes in Cairo;
- Fuul: Considered as Egypt's national dish, it is a decadent breakfast dish that comes with many options. Fuul is made with cooked fava beans spiced with Egyptian herbs and spices and served in pitta bread. It is a quite popular breakfast dish amongst the locals as it is rich in protein. The locals eat Fuul in combination with taameya, which is an Egyptian take on falafel.
- Koshary: It is often considered a poor man's meal; it is one of Cairo's most famous street foods. It consists of a mixture of rice, macaroni, lentils, and chickpeas served with spicy tomato sauce. There are many street food vendors, restaurants, and cafes that serve this dish as it is a very cheap and authentic dish that is loved by all.
- Taameya: It is the Egyptian take on Middle Eastern street food; falafel. Instead of using chickpea as the main ingredient, taameya is made with fava beans. It is a popular dish amongst locals and tourists. It is also eaten during Ramadan as an alternative food. You can find it eaten regularly in every Egyptian household as a breakfast dish.
- Kofta Kebabs: Made with lamb or goat meatballs, it is a street food version of the Egyptian kofta dish. The minced meat is mixed with onion and spices before it is put on metal skewers for grilling. It is popular street food, and you can find vendors selling it in almost every street and square. It is served hot and eaten right from the skewers.
- Fiteer: It is another Egyptian street food inspired by another popular western food dish; pancakes. It is made with phyllo-like dough and consists of many thin layers. It is considered a pastry in Egypt as it is layered with icing sugar and has a sweet taste. The best place to eat this unique dish is in Tawfiqiyya Souq, the fruit and vegetable market in downtown Cairo.
- Hawawshi: Another Egyptian street food inspired by Turkish lahmacun pizza is made with cooked minced meat, onions, and chilies. This stuffing is put between two layers of Arabic bread dough and roasted in a wooden oven. It is a popular street food dish and is even served in many restaurants because of its popularity.
- Shawarma: It is a popular Middle Eastern street food dish that is a portion of comfort food for many locals and tourists. It consists of skewered meat slices stuffed inside flatbread and served with salads and sauces to accompany it. It is a popular street food dish as it is affordable and served by street vendors and restaurants.
There are many options for drinking in Egypt that many traditional Egyptian drinks and western drinks as well. When you visit any café, restaurant, bar, or pub, you can find cocktails, beers, and hard liquors from different parts of the world, but if you want to experience the authentic drinks of Egypt, then here are some of the must-drink ones while exploring the drinking culture in Cairo;
- Coffee: Called by the locals as Qahwa, it is a Turkish style coffee which is sweet. The sugar levels can vary according to your preference. You can convey your sugar preferences to the server by saying, 'Saafa, ' which means without sugar, 'Riha,' which means with little sugar, 'Masbut,' which means sweet, and 'Ziada' means very sweet.
- Chai: Tea or Chai is a healthy drink with extreme sweetness. It is served hot in teacups and is a popular drink for health-conscious people as it is made from the dried leaves of many herbs and medicinal plants that can benefit your body.
- Zibib: There aren’t many hard liquors in Egypt, but Zibib is a strong liquor made with anise and has a potent and lingering flavor. You can easily find at local bars and hotels and is served on the rocks to dilute its intense flavor.
- Sahlab: It is a popular winter drink made with the starch found in the ground bulb of an orchid. The starch is mixed with milk, sugar, and rose water and garnished with cinnamon powder and chopped pistachios.
- Karkade: A tainted red drink that is made from boiling dried Hibiscus plant leaves. The strained out water is added with sugar for taste and can be served hot or cold, depending upon the customer's preference.
- Egyptian Sobia Drink: It is a popular drink consumed by the locals during Ramadan but is available throughout the year. It is a unique drink that tastes and looks like milk but is made with coconut. It is served cold and is the ideal way to drink it.
- Homs Al-Sham: It is a nutritious drink that is usually available during the winters as it is served hot and gives warmth and energy to the drinker. It helps maintain blood sugar levels and is protein-rich, so it is usually consumed in winters.
Cairo's tap-water can be unconsumable for tourists as it is hard and has a strong chlorine taste. The Nile River serves as the primary source of tap water in the city, and other groundwater aquifers include;
- Nile Aquifer
- Nubian Sandstone Aquifer
- Moghra Aquifer
- Coastal Aquifer
The best source of water is either filtered water or mineral water. Still, you should avoid using mineral water bottles because even though they are cheap and readily available, they are not friendly to the environment and causes a lot of pollution. Prefer using water filters, iodine, or a Steripen to make the tap water more comfortable to drink. If you drink Cairo's tap water directly, it might cause you indigestion or other issues that can ruin the rest of your trip. Always ask about the water before drinking it to avoid any uncomfortable incidents. You should prefer carrying a water bottle with you that you can re-fill. You can ask for your hotel or hostel to re-filling the bottle and save lots of money from buying mineral water bottles.
There are not many organic cafes in Cairo, but the few present are best in Egypt. These cafes use locally sourced ingredients and use eco-friendly measures to minimize the negative impact on the environment. These cafes are ideal places to visit if you want to explore Cairo's food culture. These cafes serve dishes that are not only healthy but also very delicious. Some of the best organic restaurants in Cairo are;
- Vegan In Our House
- Osana Wholefood Café
- Sea Salt Bakery & Café
- Earthly Delights Stall
Beers were considered a staple and essential dietary component in Egypt, and there are many tombs with inscriptions of the Egyptian brewing process. The beer industry laid foundation 1897, and two primary breweries were set up named – "The Pyramid Brewery" and "Crown Brewery." These two breweries were established in Cairo and Alexandria, respectively, and produced a beer called Stella. In the 1930s, these two significant breweries merged, and Heineken International became the partner of the merged brand. Currently, Cairo's only beverages company is sold by the international Heineken Group, which serves a non-alcoholic and alcoholic version of the original Stella drink. There are no breweries present in Cairo, as many laws were implemented to limit and control alcohol consumption.
Apart from the usual sightseeing and archaeological sites, the city has lots of other things to offer that will make your time in Cairo one of the most memorable ones. While participating in such activities, you will be able to get deep insights into the local culture, traditions, and history.
- Cruise on the Nile
- Visit the Amusement Park of Cairo
- Visit the Vertically Zorbing Park
- Take part in Indoor Skydiving at Aerodium Egypt
- Experience real-time combat at The Battlefield
- Visit the C.O.D.E. Paintball Park
- Join the Nile Kayak Club
- Try out your skills at Cairo’s Escape Rooms
Yoga and Retreats
Suppose you are looking to indulge in some recreational and healthy exercises while exploring Cairo. In that case, there are many options from which you can choose from according to your conveyance and affordability. Yoga, an Indian spiritual practice that has taken the whole world like a storm, has also spread its popularity in Cairo. You will find many yoga studios and gyms provided yoga and other recreational fitness classes to their customers.
- Shanti Yoga Cairo
- Mudra Yoga Studio
- Ashtanga Yoga Cairo
- Keiko Shanti Yoga
- Reform Pilates Studios
- Yalla Yoga
Many options come in a wide variety from which you can choose according to your convenience and affordability when it comes to accommodation. As Cairo is the most popular city globally and Egypt's capital city, the accommodation options are the best. While exploring Cairo by yourself, you should opt for hotels, hostels, campsites, and couch-surfing. But is you are traveling with your family or a group of friends, the best accommodation options include guesthouses, hotels, and apartments. To avoid any problems relating to housing, prefer booking in advance before visiting the city. Also, make a list of the backup options for accommodation in case of any uncertain incidents.
Hotels in Cairo range from luxurious ones to cheap and affordable ones. If you want the best hotel experience, then you should opt for green hotels. Green hotels are no different from simple hotels. The only difference is that green hotels are eco-friendly and follow various measures to minimize their local environmental impact. Although Cairo is a highly polluted city, only a few hotels have turned or adopted green practices. These green hotels in Cairo are;
- Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino: It is a popular international hotel chain that can be found in a prime located inside Cairo city. It is one of the top green hotels in Cairo. It has received many awards and recognition for its eco-friendly measures to minimize its impact on the local environment and promote green living.
- The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo: It is located in Qasr El Nil and provides its guests with beautiful views of the Nile River. It is a popular green hotel equipped with a friendly staff that ensures that the rooms are properly sanitized and cleaned for the guests' stay. It follows various eco-friendly measures like eco-products, reuse of used water for toilets, etc.
- Windsor: It is located in a prime area in the Al Azbakeya area and is one of Cairo's best green hotels. Because of its location near Cairo's markets, eateries, and other stores, it is a popular hotel. It follows various eco-friendly practices like smart lights, eco-friendly and locally sourced products, clean and hygienic areas, etc. that attract many tourists who prefer eco-friendly hotels.
- Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir Cairo: Also located in Qasr El Nil, it is a beautiful hotel that offers breath-taking views of the Nile River. It is just within walking distance from the Egyptian Museum, Sadat Metro station, and Tahrir Square. It provides many wellness amenities to its guests and follows eco-friendly measures to maintain their carbon footprint.
- Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City Cairo: It is a popular green hotel amongst families as it provides various eco-friendly and wellness amenities to its guests like clean dining space and friendly and professional staff. It is also popular amongst couples and business travelers as it provides a peaceful and quiet time for its guests.
- Conrad Cairo: It is a 5-star hotel in the Souq Al A.S.R. area that is one of Cairo's best green hotels. It offers many amenities that include an outdoor pool, spa area, clean dining space, and a casino, giving off a luxurious vibe. It follows many measures to minimize their impact on the local environment and promote employing people from Cairo's local communities.
- Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezirah: It is another 5-star hotel popular amongst travelers as one of Cairo's best accommodation options. It is located in El Orman Giza and offers various amenities like an outdoor pool, spa, dining space, and friendly staff. The hotel promotes the use of eco-friendly products and reusable items.
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Freedom Hostel: It is one of Cairo's most popular hostels amongst solo travelers as it offers dorm rooms with single beds. The hotel's staff is friendly, and it is equipped with various facilities and amenities. It gives off a friendly and relaxed vibe that is sought by most people.
- Egypt Travel CC Hostel: It is a convenient hostel near the Giza pyramids and is a great place for people traveling in groups. It offers
clean and private rooms that are equipped with ensuite and shared bathrooms. Because of the location, you can visit many famous places within walking distance from the hostel.
- Dahab Hostel: One of the best hostels that are located in downtown Cairo is quite popular amongst solo travelers. It offers fantastic views of the surrounding city area from the rooftop terrace and a standard room for the guests to share their experiences.
- Pyramids Guest House: It is located in the Giza district and is situated next to Amr ibn al-As mosque. It is one of Cairo's most popular guesthouses, about 0.3 kilometers away from the Sphinx, and offers excellent views of the Giza pyramids. It is an ideal place for people traveling in groups.
- Atlantis Pyramids Inn: Also located in the Giza district, it is one of the best guesthouses in Cairo that offers airport shuttle bus, laundry service, and other services to its guests. It follows certain eco-friendly practices like non-smoking guestrooms, climate control rooms, LCD flat television, L.E.D. Lights, and many more to make your stay one of the most convenient and comfortable ones.
- Cozy Studios Pyramids View: Cozy Studios is one of the best guest houses in Cairo that is located in the Giza district and offers breath-taking views of the Giza pyramids. It offers its guests various services like shuttle service, 24 hours security, grocery delivery, free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, kitchen wares, etc.
For those travelers staying in the city for a long time, apartments are the best accommodation options as they are relatively cheaper than hotels, hostels, and guest houses. You can search for apartments in Cairo before visiting to shortlist the best places to stay in Cairo. You should always avoid making advance payments for such things as you may get spammed and lose a lot of money even before visiting the city.
Couch-surfing is not a common practice in Cairo, but you will find some couch-surfing hosts willing to help out tourists. Most of these hosts are young students studying in local universities and colleges and want to earn a little extra money from helping out a tourist. You can find couch-surfing hosts on the couch-surfing website and contact them to make arrangements for the particular time you are staying in the city.
Camping is not only a popular activity but also a convenient choice of accommodation amongst tourists. It is usually preferred by individuals who love to indulge in outdoor activities and explore the nature and wildlife. Three prominent campsites in Cairo offer tremendous outdoorsy experience. They also provide many recreational activities and extreme sports that you can take part in and get your heart beating faster than ever. Camping is a cheap and convenient mode of accommodation, and if you are on a tight budget and want to get the most out of your trip to Cairo, you should prefer these campsites instead of the many hotels, hostels, and guest houses. While staying at these campsites, make sure not to indulge in any activity that may harm the environment.
- Wadi Degla
- Wadi El Hitan
- Farafra Oasis
How to Get There
As Egypt's capital city, Cairo has some of the best transport facilities in the country that is well-connected to all the significant areas inside and outside the city. You will hardly face any issues while trying to use Cairo's transportation. After landing at Cairo International Airport, you can find many transportation options right outside the airport. You can opt for rental car service, airport shuttle bus service, public buses, metro, etc. These options are not only efficient but also a great way to explore the culture of Cairo.
Cairo's main airport is the Cairo International Airport, which is the busiest one in the country. It is equipped with modern facilities like airport shuttle buses, airport lounges, and access to free Wi-Fi, restaurants, etc. The Cairo International airport is considered the primary hub for many Egyptian airlines like EgyptAir and Nile Air. Situated 15 kilometers away from Cairo's city center, it is the best way to travel to the country.
The buses operating in the city are of both private and public ownerships. It is the most common mode of traveling to different areas inside the city. The River bus in the Nile is the most popular bus service amongst the tourists as it is affordable and quite convenient. You will find locals and tourists using bus services regularly as it is one of the fastest and cheapest modes of travel.
Trains are the best option for tourists that are on a tight budget. Egyptian Railways is the most comfortable way to travel to different cities in Egypt. Trains in Cairo are the best way to explore the local culture while touring as you can find many Egyptian using them daily. If you want to visit other Egyptian cities apart from Cairo, railway trains are the most comfortable transportation mode for intercity travel.
Hitchhiking is common amongst solo travelers in Cairo that have a tight budget. The Academy of Free Travel has established a base for hitchhiking in Cairo, which offers hitchhikers cheap trains to the train station. It is quite a popular way of traveling, and the local people try their best to help out such tourists whenever they can.
Other modes of transportation are different from these primary ones that can be used but aren't convenient and cheap. These transports include rental car services, taxis, boats, etc. These are not at all cheap and are quite harmful to the environment. While exploring the city, try to avoid such vehicles as the drivers often take advantage of tourists by overcharging them.
You will not find any trouble in moving around the city. Cairo is equipped with an efficient transportation system, and you will hardly face any issues while using it.
Exploring the city's culture and beauty by walking around is the best way as it doesn't cost a penny and maintains your health. By walking around the various streets and places, you will get a first-hand experience learning about the local culture, people, and livelihood, which will enlighten you.
It is another healthy way of moving around the city and affordable as you can find bicycle shops in almost every street, square, and district. You can rent out a bicycle, explore the city by yourself, and get deep insights into Cairo's culture.
Electronic vehicles have started to gain a lot of popularity with high pollution rates amongst locals and tourists. You will find that electric bikes, cars, and bicycles are available in all parts of the city. You can rent one out and explore the city in an eco-friendly way. To promote such vehicles, the Egyptian government has launched many charging stations for users of electronic cars. These users can also avail of specific amenities for using electronic vehicles.
It might not be the fastest travel mode but is one of the best ways to explore the city and learn about people's culture and livelihood. It is the standard mode of transport for the locals as it is relatively cheap and convenient.
Tram, Train and Subway
Currently, the local government has stopped using the Cairo tramway network and is yet to reinstall a modern tramway network. The best way to travel to different areas of the city is by using the subway. The metro train rides are the fastest mode of transport and are popular amongst locals and tourists.
It is also called eco-shopping; it is a concept of buying products that are eco-friendly and are made using locally sourced resources. This type of shopping is gaining immense popularity worldwide as it helps promote local businesses and is also relatively cheap.
Many food markets in Cairo sell some of the best quality food products in the city. These markets are the best place to indulge in authentic Egyptian food. You will find that not all of these markets operate daily; some of these markets work only on particular days of the week. You will see locals selling fresh produce, vegetables, fruits, seafood, etc. of high quality and affordable rates. Some of the best food markets in Cairo are;
- Khan El Khalili
- Mahalu Ayzys subar market
- Subar Marikt Aleasima
- Awlad Hasan Eabdah
These markets are an excellent place for people who have a tight budget and can't afford to buy from retail stores. Most of the items sold in Flea markets are of low prices. You will find that these markets are usually packed with locals belonging to low-income families. Some of the must-visit flea markets in Cairo are;
- Ayeda Aisha Market
- El Ataba Market
- Kurdish Street Market
Second Hand Stores
Also called 'Thrift stores,' they offer a wide range of used products that possess the potential to be used again. These stores provide such second-hand products at a low rate and are a great place where you can get unique souvenir items to gift your friends and family back home. You can find some antique items in these stores as well.
- The Space Store
- Furniture Stores El-Matareya
- Hani Ebye Lilmulabis
- Misr Elkher Foundation
Eco-fashion or sustainable fashion is a new trend that promotes organic substances that are friendly to the environment and are sourced from local resources. Eco-fashion is gaining a lot of popularity globally as people realize the importance and need to protect our environment. Here are some eco-fashion stores in Cairo;
- Boutique 51
- The Sahara Collection Store
The local government and municipalities in Cairo have adopted many recycling measures to reduce the city's pollution level. You will find that there are many strict rules regarding the recycling and proper disposal of waste that must be followed by both locals and tourists. Any individual, who fails to follow these rules, is fined. You can find many recycling stores in the city that offer to recycle your waste and efficiently dispose of reusable and recyclable items.
As a famous tourist city, pollution levels are some of the highest in the world. Maintaining its reputation and make the city livable for locals and tourists, the local government and municipalities take specific measures for proper disposal of waste from all Cairo areas. There are many waste disposal containers located in every street or district to promote and make the people aware of the need for proper waste distribution.
Work and Study Abroad
If you are looking for working or studying in Cairo, you can make many great opportunities. Many universities and colleges in Cairo offer international students scholarships to study in Cairo and learn about their culture, heritage, and history. The job opportunities are also quite good, but most of them are archaeology, history, and religious fields.
The student exchange program is an international program that allows students from different countries to study in a foreign country. There are many universities and colleges in Cairo that are part of the student exchange program. You can enroll yourself in the program and get the opportunity to study in Cairo. Some of the universities and colleges that are part of the student exchange program in Cairo are;
- Ain Shams University
- Canadian International College
- Cairo University
- College of Sharia Law
Au Pairing is a relatively new way of living where a foreign individual or couple volunteers to help out another country's family. An au pair helps a family that cannot provide their children and other family members with necessities such as education, food, clothing, etc. An au pair receives monetary benefits for helping out a family and taking share in their responsibilities. You can find a few families in Cairo with an au pair to help them manage their household and finances.
Many volunteering programs in Cairo focus on solving the city's paramount issues such as animal protection, humanitarian help, protection of the environment, etc. Volunteering activities play an essential role in helping the town resolve significant issues and maintain its heritage and beauty. You can participate in such volunteering activities and programs to broaden your knowledge about the local culture and people.
- Egyptian Red Crescent
- Volunteers for Human Rights
- Have A Dream
- Endeavor Egypt
- Educate Me Egypt
- Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services
As a tourist, it is your sole responsibility to act like a mature and responsible person why exploring the city. You need to see that your actions do not negatively impact the environment of the town.