Upon arrival, the choreographed chaos here hits you like a ton of bricks. It doesn’t take long, however, to acclimatise to Cairo’s wall of noise, snarl of traffic, cry of hawkers and blanket of smog, and get drawn into the hypnotising charm of this pulsating metropolis. Known to its nearly 20 million residents as Um ad-Dunya (Mother of the World), modern Cairo is a hotchpotch of recent growth barely superimposed on a dense bed of history. Wander down to Islamic Cairo and you’ll be sucked in through the looking glass to a bygone medieval era. Head out west to Giza’s famed pyramids and the time warp sets you back a full 4000 years. Meanwhile, the city’s main museum bursts at the seams with the priceless wealth of ancient Egypt’s antiquities. But the real allure of Cairo lies somewhere in the quiet moments in between: sipping a sugary shai or puffing leisurely on a sheesha while watching the life of the city whirl past as it has for eons.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Cairo
Egypt - Cairo Outskirts & the Delta (Chapter)
It’s easy to get from Cairo’s confines to open green fields; ancient sites you’ll have all to yourself; modern Coptic monasteries with roots 17 centuries deep; and the only-in-Africa action of a live camel market.
Is now a good time to visit Cairo?
'Do you have a strong heart?' asked the man behind the Egyptian Museum’s bookshop counter. 'You need one here…' 'Yes, yes, I think so', I said, nodding earnestly. I assumed we were about to segue from a conversation about the museum’s layout to talk of the challenges facing Cairo after three years of revolution...
Egypt - Cairo & Egyptian Museum (Chapter)
Crowds and smog are a small price to pay to tap into the urban buzz produced by 20-or-so million inhabitants simultaneously crushing the city’s infrastructure under their collective weight and lifting its spirit up with their exceptional charm...
Cairo destination guides
Egypt protests - advice for travellers
Protests continue across Egypt and are expected to escalate in the next few days as the growing clamour for political reform shows no sign of abating. Do you need to get the latest information? Lonely Planet has collated a handy list of links to up-to-the-minute news and travel advice...
Private Tour: Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, Sakkara
Step back in time to the days of ancient Egypt on a private tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, the necropolis of Sakkara and the former capital, Memphis. With your own private Egyptologist guide to lead the way on this private tour, you can determine the amount of time you'd like to spend at each of the sites you'll visit.
Private Tour: Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
Take a leisurely private tour of Cairo's most famous sites: the Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum and Khan el-Khalili bazaar. With your own private Egyptologist guide to lead the way, you'll see Cairo's most famous attractions in one day. As this is a private tour, you can determine the amount of time you'd like to spend at each site.
A perfect day in Cairo
When in Cairo, it’s imperative to see a pyramid or two, browse the wonders of the Egyptian Museum and shop the stalls of the Khan al-Khalili market...