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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Best places to stay in Cairo
Awe-inspiring ancient sites
Taken from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences, may we present a bevy of BC (or thereabouts) beauties that have stood the test of time without losing any of their ability to drop your jaw...
Cairo destination guides
Religious architecture of Islam
The first mosques were modelled on the Prophet Mohammed’s house: there’s the open sahn (courtyard), the arcaded riwaq (portico), and the covered, often domed, sahat al salah (prayer hall)...
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.
Best of Egypt
This journey through Egypt packs in the best of culture and adventure in eight energetic days. Explore the ancient sites along the Nile and discover the most famous of them all, the Great Pyramids of Giza. Embrace the culture and meet remarkable people as you sample some traditional fare with a Nubian family in a local village.
World's best traditions
Forget birthdays and anniversaries, what about these grand traditions? High tea, The Ritz, London, England Take a prime place in the Palm Court overlooking the Royal Gardens and watch for heads turning to see how famous or fabulous you are...