What to see in Cairo in 3 days

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

While not the true cradle of ancient Egypt, Cairo is still capable of transport its visitors back through the centuries to the time of the pharaohs.

In this combination of history and modernity, we suggest a itinerary that touches the highlights in the immediate vicinity. Except in some rare cases, we advise you to move mainly by taxi, the means we believe to be the fastest and safest. In this way you will not waste time trying to understand the routes of public transport and you can enjoy the area safely.

Are you ready to go? Here is all the useful information on what to see in Cairo in 3 days.


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. How much does a weekend in Cairo cost
  5. User questions and comments

1 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Giza Plain, Orman Botanical Garden

They are undoubtedly the image of ancient Egypt all over the world so our itinerary can only start with a visit to the pyramids, in the Giza plateau.
But first, we advise you to have breakfast in the center, at Tea Garden, which is located in the lobby of the InterContinental Cairo Semiramis Hotel (prices starting from € 14,00 for a full breakfast).

We take a taxi or a microbus and after about 25 kilometers we will be in the famous one Plain of Giza, which hosts the three Pyramids of Cheops, Chefren and Menkaure. The site is open every day from 06:00 to 22:00 and the entrance costs 80 EGP (about € 4,00). If you want to enter each pyramid, you have to pay a supplement.

Soon after, on the way back, we could stop at the Orman Botanical Garden, open until 17:00. The entrance fee is only 10 EGP (about € 0,50).

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Tahrir Square, Egyptian Museum

For lunch time, we return to the center and have a snack at Café Riche, specializing in Middle Eastern and Egyptian cuisine, which also offers quick lunches. For a lunch you will spend around € 10,00 per person.

After that, we visit Tahrir square (free, always accessible), and then head to the Egyptian Museum, the most complete exhibition of ancient Egyptian treasures, some of which also found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. The Museum is located just 500 meters from the main square, so it is possible to reach it on foot. It is open every day from 09:00 to 19:00, on Fridays from 09:00 to 11:00 and from 13:30 to 19:00. During the Ramadan period, the museum may close at 17pm. The entrance ticket costs 00 EGP (around € 60), while the Sala delle Mummie costs 3,00 EGP (around € 100); the museum is free for residents.

3 - Evening: Dinner, Corniche

After visiting the Museum, taking a taxi again, we can be accompanied on the Corniche, the suggestive "waterfront" of Cairo which, of course, runs along the Nile River.

We have dinner at Nile Terrace, a place that also serves drinks before and after dinner, which start at € 9,00, and then we enjoy the evening walking on the banks of the Nile.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 46,7 km / 1 h 22 min (by taxi)
  • Places visited: Plain of Giza (80 EGP, around € 4,00), Orman Botanical Garden (10 EGP, around € 0,50), Piazza Tahrir (free), Egyptian Museum (60 EGP, around € 3,00), Corniche ( free)
  • Cairo: Pyramids, Museum and Bazaar Private Tour Egyptian Museum Cairo: 4-Hour Private Tour with Transfer
  • Breakfast at Tea Garden (Get Directions), Lunch at Café Riche (Get Directions), Dinner at Nile Terrace (Get Directions)

2 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Coptic Quarter, Citadel, Mohamed Ali Mosque

Let's start with breakfast at Cafe Frais, located on the terrace of the Novotel Hotel, located in the center and specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine, with full breakfast at around € 12,00 per person.

Taking metro line 1 to Sadat, our first stop on the second day is the Coptic Quarter, which houses the largest Christian community in Egypt. The journey takes about 25 minutes and the cost of the ticket is 3 EGP, while the district is free and always accessible. We can walk through its narrow tunnels and stop in the various churches, until we reach that of San Giorgio where, according to tradition, the Holy Family took refuge during the flight to Egypt.

By taxi, we travel about 5 kilometers and arrive at the area of Cittadella, or the fortress of the city, located on a hill. Open from 09:00 to 16:00, ticket 50 EGP (about € 2,50). Inside the Citadel, it is possible to admire one of the most impressive mosques, that of Mohamed Ali, also known as the Alabaster Mosque, open from 09:00 to 16:00, the ticket costs 35 EGP (about € 1,70).

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Citadel, Sultan Hassan Mosque, Al-Azhar Mosque, Al-Azhar Park

We have lunch around the Citadel, perhaps at Studio Misr, a local specialized in Middle Eastern cuisine and barbecue, with a beautiful terrace with a view and with prices starting at € 15,00 per person.

After lunch and we head to another mosque, the Sultan Hassan Mosque. This attraction is about 2 kilometers from the previous one and we always suggest traveling by taxi. There Sultan Hassan Mosque is recognized for its immense structure and the beautiful mosaics in the courtyard and it is open from 09:00 to 17:00, the entrance fee is 25 EGP (approximately € 1,20).

Still moving by taxi, we travel just over 2 kilometers and reach the Al-Azhar Mosque, which also houses an ancient university inside which probably started the academic tunics. It is open from 09:00 to 17:00, the entrance fee is 10 EGP (about € 0,50).
With a walk of about a quarter of an hour, we also visit the Al-Azhar Park where, in addition to enjoying the greenery and relaxing, we admire the panorama of the cities and the remains of an ancient wall. The park is open from 09:00 to 22:00 and the entrance fee is 20 EGP (about € 1,00).

3 - Evening: Khan-El-Khalili, Islamic Cairo

We return to the Mosque, always on foot or with a microbus, and we reach Khan-El-Khalili, the most important bazaar in all of Egypt, where you can walk among the scents of spices and the colors of the stalls. The souk is free and open until late at night and, before heading to our restaurant, we recommend that you stop for a coffee or a typical tea.

Our evening, then, will end at neighborhood of Islamic Cairo (a couple of kilometers away, towards the center), full of restaurants and bars. For dinner, we might stop by Ibn Hamido, specialized in fish cuisine, with prices starting from € 15,00 per person.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 38,1 km / 1 h 28 min (by taxi)
  • Places visited: Coptic Quarter (free), Citadel (50 EGP, around € 2,50), Mohamed Ali Mosque (35 EGP, around € 1,70), Cittadella, Sultan Hassan Mosque (25 EGP, around € 1,20) , Al-Azhar Mosque (10 EGP, approx € 0,50), Al-Azhar Park (20 EGP, approx € 1,00), Khan-El-Khalili (free), Islamic Cairo (free)
  • Cairo: Citadel, Old Cairo and Khan el-Khalili Tour Old Cairo Tour: Citadel, Coptic Cairo and Khan Bazaar
  • Breakfast at Cafe Frais (Get directions), Lunch at Studio Misr (Get directions), Dinner at Ibn Hamido (Get directions)

3 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Memphis, Saqqara

After a breakfast in the center, at Omars Cafe (inside the Marriott Hotel, with prices starting from € 10,00 for a buffet breakfast), the morning of the third day is dedicated to visiting the nearby necropolis.

For this excursion, we recommend buying an organized tour, due to the difficulty of getting around. Memphis and Saqqara are about 30 km from the capital and represent royal funerary monuments: Memphis, in fact, was the ancient capital of the Kingdom, while Saqqara recalls the main pharaonic dynasties.
Tours generally cost from € 60,00 per person. There is also the possibility of taking part in a tour that lasts all day and also includes a visit to the pyramids, for a cost starting from € 80,00 per person. For any information, however, we recommend that you inquire directly at your hotel, will be able to advise you on the best tours and where to request them. Maybe the hotel itself has a tour for you.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Cairo Tower, Zalamek

Upon returning, we stop in the center for lunch, maybe from Felfela, which offers Egyptian cuisine, with prices starting from € 15,00 per person.

We then continue to the island of Gezira where, first of all, we admire the famous Cairo Tower: it is the second tallest tower in Africa, as well as the most important monument in Cairo, after the pyramids. It is open from 09:00 to 01:00 and the entrance ticket is 70 EGP (about € 3,50).

Once we get off the tower, we can stay on the island of Gezira e entertain ourselves in the Zalamek district, full of shops and clubs, perhaps to have an aperitif or to go shopping.

3 - Evening: cruise on the Nile river

From the island of Gezira, we can conclude the itinerary in the city of Cairo with one mini cruise on the Nile river: our solution will also include one dinner on board, with typical cuisine and traditional dances.

The boat will not follow a precise itinerary, but will allow you to admire the Corniche of the city of Cairo directly from the river, offering a different point of view of the waterfront. During the cruise there are no intermediate stops or stops during which it is possible to get off, but it will be possible to experience a dancing evening on board, on a floating restaurant, until the end of the evening.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 77 km / 2 h 28 min (by taxi)
  • Places visited: Memphis, Saqqara, Cairo Tower (70 EGP, approx € 3,50), Zalamek (free), Nile River cruise
  • Pyramids of Giza, Sakkara & Memphis: private tour with lunch Cairo: Nile cruise with dinner and entertainment
  • Breakfast at Omars Cafe (Get directions), Lunch at Felfela (Get directions), Dinner at Nile boat (see recommended tours).

How much does a weekend in Cairo cost

While there is an entrance fee for all attractions, Cairo is an economic city, both for travel and for visits and leisure, including museums, mosques and aperitif bars and cafes. Restaurants fall within the European average.

  • Costs to eat: about € 30,00 per day per person (including breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Costs for museums and attractions: about € 35,00 per person per day
  • Transportation: the transfer from the airport by taxi costs about € 5,00 while a ride of 4 or 5 km, or the average of the journeys indicated by us, costs about € 1,00
  • Hotels, accommodation and b & b: Hotel and b & b starting from € 29,00 per room -
  • Fun: from € 15,00 per person for coffee and aperitifs per day
  • Total cost of a weekend in Cairo: from € 308,00 per person (flight excluded)

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Cairo: The best time to visit Cairo is from October to May, when the temperatures are not very high - find out more
  • the best way to reach Cairo is by plane; the main airport of the city is the Cairo International Airport, which is only 18 kilometers from the city center, the transfer from the airport by taxi costs about € 5,00; from Rome, you can find flights starting from € 250,00 per person a / r
  • due to its proximity to attractions, we recommend staying overnight in the center, near Tahrir square or on the island of Gezira
  • Getting around: although there is a metro network, it does not reach all the attractions, or stops very far away, so we recommend traveling by taxi, the fastest and safest way, a 4 or 5 km ride costs about € 1,00

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