If you want to experience the real Egypt, and not only the tourist places, adding Cairo Egypt to your trip is a great idea.
Normally, Cairo would not be on our list, but as some friends lived over there we stayed 3 nights in Cairo. And we enjoyed it. It is a crazy busy place, but you really get a feeling about the real Egypt.
Cairo is an extremly busy city and traffic is one of the worst in the world. Don`t be surprised if you get stuck in traffic during the middle of the night.
Things to keep in mind.
- Although you do not see many tourists on the streets in Cairo, you still have the sales people on the streets chasing the tourists. And if you meet somebody on the street, who is working at your hotel but has a day off, it is just a tric to start a conversation. And most likely, he knows a very good shop and as he has to go into that direction anyway, he can show it to you.
- Going with a guide to the pyramids is a must. Otherwise the very aggressive sales people around the Pyramid trying to sell you all kind of stuff and tours will ruin your visit, as they are like flies around you. As tourism collapsed, there are not many tourists which makes it even worse as they insist to sell you something. Your guide can keep them away from you, but don`t forget the guide will bring you to his/her friends to sell you something. Don`t agree to quickly on prices even if the guide says it is a fair price, because his/her commission is also depending on the price. We went with a hotel car to the pyramids, which is a bit more expensive than a taxi but reasonably priced and hired a guide through the hotel.
A plus for Cairo Egypt is that they have a lot of luxury hotels, for very affordable prices. We stayed at the Kempinski which is an absolute great hotel. It has a nice location, looking over the Nile and very central. Although the hotel is not too big, the rooms are very nice, staff is extremely helpful and breakfast is outstanding.
All the luxury brands are present in Cairo Egypt and you can find for around 100€ a night, a luxury hotel with great views on the Nile.
Food & drinks
are cheap in Cairo and you have a lot of choice. If you are not to adventures, you can go to a restaurant in one the big hotels. In this case you are assured good quality, but you pay quite a bit more. There are plenty of local, good restaurants. If you want to have a beer or wine, it is good to check upfront because alcohol is not served everywhere. If you go local, you can have a good dinner for about 10€ a person.
Things not to miss.
- Most likely not needed to mention, but the pyramids in Giza are something you should have seen in your live. The area is quite big, and you cannot get everywhere by car. As we were there in June and it was quite hot, walking the area is not an option so you need to get like a horse to go around. Going inside is defiantly not advisable when you are claustrophobic, but even when you are not, there it is not really much to see inside.
- The Tahrir square is a very lively place in the night. We were in Cairo during the inauguration of president Al-Sisi. The square was secured by tanks, what gave a bit a dangerous look. However, we passed the tans and went to experience the Egyptian celebration. As we were maybe the only tourists around, many people wanted to make a picture with us. We felt like movie stars.
Safety in Cairo
There are 2 things to watch out form in Cairo Egypt
The first is traffic. Traffic is crazy in Cairo Egypt and we don`t advise to rent a car. Adjusting to the driving standard in Cairo Egypt might be a challenge. And as taxis are cheap, we just stuck to taxis.
The 2nd is off course the potential threat for terrorism. We are personally not to concerned about that. You offcourse never know, but as Cairo is not a touristic hotspot at the moment, we felt save. We also did not have any issue with something like pickpocketing, but as the city is so huge and busy it always good to be aware and carefull.
Cairo is very easy accessible, with flights from almost all major European airports. With a bit of search, flexibility in dates and booking in advance you find flights from for example Dusseldorf starting with 250€.
We visited Cairo Egypt in June, and it was pretty hot. You can combine a swim in the hotel swimingpool with some sightseeing. You should definatly avoid July & August as it is to hot to do anything. Are you just going for visiting, that early spring or autumn would be the best period. Do you want to combine with a swim, than months like May, June or September are the best.
As Egypt is predominantly a muslim country, you will find this back in the culture. It is advisable to dress properly when you go out on the street.