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The metro (www.cairometro.gov.eg) is blissfully efficient, inexpensive and, outside rush hours (7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm), not too crowded. Given the impossible car traffic in Cairo, if you can make even a portion of your journey on the metro, you’ll save time and aggravation.

Metro stations have signs with a big red ‘M’ in a blue star. Tickets cost LE2 to any stop; keep yours handy to feed into the turnstile (or, more likely, hand in to the turnstile attendant) on the way out. Trains run every five minutes or so from around 6am until 11.30pm.

Two carriages in the centre of each train are reserved for women. Look for the blue ‘Ladies’ signs on the platform marking where you should stand.

Metro Lines

Line 1 Stretches 43km along the east bank of the Nile via Downtown, Coptic Cairo and Ma'adi.

Line 2 Crosses to the west bank, passing through Downtown and across Gezira en route.

Line 3 Long-awaited Line 3 has opened partially from Ataba in Downtown to Al Ahram station in Heliopolis, and eventually will run from the airport to Imbaba via Zamalek.

Useful Metro Stations

Ataba Convenient for Downtown.

Bab Al Shaaria Closest to Islamic Cairo, on the north side.

Opera By the Cairo Opera House, closest to Zamalek.

Giza Next to Giza train station, handy for buses to the Pyramids.

Mar Girgis In the middle of Coptic Cairo.

Mohammed Naguib Close to Abdeen Palace.

Al Shohadaa Beneath Midan Ramses and Ramses Railway Station.

Nasser Sharia 26th of July and Sharia Ramses; closest to Downtown nightlife.

Sadat Beneath Midan Tahrir, close to the Egyptian Museum.