Cairo tourist attractions are world-famous for its exciting culture. The capital of Egypt, situated on the banks of the Nile River, is an important economic and cultural center for the region. Tourists worldwide flock to Cairo because of its thriving economy and historic capital, deep roots in its 5,000-year-old past. Cairo, also known as the “City of a Thousand Minarets,” has many historical monuments, Islamic monuments, cutting-edge attractions, and exciting cultural events.
Nearly 20 million people live in Cairo’s most exclusive metropolitan area, extending over 1 million square kilometers (about 390 miles). Depending on your location, you can experience a climate ranging from a high of 40° c in the summer to a low of 0° c in the winter.
Best 20 Cairo Tourist Attractions & Top Activities
A. Historical Sites
1. The Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are among the most visited Cairo tourist attractions. About 4,500 years have passed since their construction, and today they stand as the only ancient wonder that has survived to the present day. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the tallest of the three pyramids at 481 feet, and its construction is said to have taken 20 years. Visitors can tour the pyramid’s interior and marvel at the exquisite architecture and engineering that went into its development; it is estimated that 2.3 million blocks were used in its construction, each weighing 2 tons on average (and some weighing up to 15 tons!).
2. Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx is one of the must-see tourist attractions in Cairo when visiting Egypt due to its iconic status and massive size. In 2500 B.C., this enormous statue of a pharaoh’s head was hewn from a limestone hillside. Although its original coloration has long since faded, some historians speculate that its body was formerly painted a bright red or yellow. The ancient Egyptians revered the Sphinx for its representation of strength and wisdom since it faced east toward the rising sun.
The Sphinx may be found on the Giza Plateau, home to several pyramids and mummy tombs.
3. Saqqara Necropolis
The Saqqara Necropolis, an enormous complex of tombs and pyramids from the Old Kingdom, is another important historical monument of the attractions in Cairo. Travelers can see firsthand how ancient Egyptians lived by exploring the many buildings and sites.
Around 30 kilometers south of Cairo, in the Saqqara Necropolis, sits the Step Pyramid of Djoser, one of Egypt’s most recognizable and historically significant structures. The Step Pyramid is an early example of using cut stone in construction and is often cited as the earliest massive stone building in history. Visiting the Step Pyramid is one of the unique things to do in Cairo. It was constructed during the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, circa 2650 BC, while the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Djoser was in power.
4. Cairo Citadel
Located on a hill in the heart of Cairo, Egypt, the Cairo Citadel is a historical stronghold. The Ayyubid caliph Salah al-Din, better known as Saladin, commissioned its construction in the 12th century to stave off Crusader attacks on the city. Throughout many decades of Egypt’s history, the Citadel was the country’s political epicenter.
5. Muhammad Ali Mosque
One of the attractions in Cairo and the most recognizable structures is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, popularly known as the Alabaster Mosque. The mosque, which takes its name from the early 19th-century Egyptian king Muhammad Ali Pasha, is renowned for its beautiful design and attention to detail.
6. Egyptian Museum
One of the top cairo tourist attractions with more than 100,000 items from Egypt’s 5,000-year history displayed at the Egyptian Museum. Other mummies, statues, jewelry, pottery, chariots, weapons, tools made from copper, bronze, or iron, and musical instruments like harps made from wood or ivory that could be played while standing up with both hands free because they lacked strings at the time, and so much more are among the highlights. King Tutankhamun’s tomb and mummy were discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.
B. Islamic Cairo Tourist Attractions
7. Al-Azhar Mosque
Cairo is home to several stunning mosques and historical buildings that showcase Islamic architecture and art. The Al-Azhar Mosque, home to one of the world’s oldest Islamic colleges, is a haven of tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.
8. Al-Hussein Mosque
The Al-Hussein Mosque is central to Cairo attractions, Egypt’s Islamic neighborhood. Hussein ibn Ali is a famous figure in Islam and the mosque’s namesake, and he is the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. The Al-Hussein Mosque, also known as the Mosque of Sayyidna al-Hussein, is one of Egypt’s holiest locations.
9. Ibn Tulun Mosque
Located in the center of Old Cairo, Egypt’s Ibn Tulun Mosque is an ancient mosque with a fascinating past. It was constructed in the 9th century during the Abbasid era and is widely regarded as one of Cairo’s oldest and most significant mosques. The Ibn Tulun Mosque is another one of the must-see Cairo tourist attractions, with its distinctive spiral minaret and beautiful courtyard.
10. Sultan Hassan Mosque
The famous Sultan Hassan Mosque lies in the middle of Cairo, Egypt. One of the city’s most impressive and prominent mosques, it was constructed during the Mamluk era in the 14th century.
C. Coptic Cairo Attractions
11. The Hanging Church
The Hanging Church is one of the tourist attractions in Egypt, cairo oldest and most well-known churches in Coptic Cairo. It was constructed in the 7th century over a passageway to the Babylon Citadel, hence the name. The church’s interior is stunning, with intricate woodcarvings and vibrant frescoes.
12. The Coptic Museum
The Coptic Museum is an Egyptian institution that showcases the culture and heritage of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. It houses a variety of exhibitions, including Coptic linens, icons, manuscripts, and more, in a structure dating back to the 19th century in the center of Coptic Cairo attractions.
13. Ben Ezra Synagogue
There is a historic synagogue in Coptic Cairo called the Ben Ezra Synagogue, and it was likely constructed in the 9th century on the foundation of an earlier Coptic church. The synagogue’s interior is stunning, with its ornate woodwork and brightly colored stained glass windows drawing many visitors within. Many old documents and manuscripts, including the well-known Geniza documents, can also be found there.
14. Church of Saint George
The Coptic Orthodox Saint George Church may be found in Egypt’s Old Cairo neighborhood. Dedicated to the city’s patron saint, Saint George, it is one of Cairo’s oldest and largest churches.
D. Modern Attractions
15. Nile River Cruises
Nile cruises are extremely Cairo tourist attractions and one the best things to do for visitors to Egypt. An enjoyable way to see Egypt’s ancient landmarks while relaxing is on a cruise down the Nile. Nile River cruises can range from single-day adventures to weeks-long adventures.
Some cruises head north from Luxor to Aswan, and others head south from Aswan to Luxor on the Nile. Those taking a boat down the Nile may look forward to seeing several famous sights and historical places.
16. Cairo Tower
The Cairo Tower is another tourist attraction in Cairo, Egypt providing stunning panoramas of the city below.
17. Khan El Khalili Bazaar
Visiting Khan El-Khalili Bazaar is one of the unique things to do in Cairo, Egypt. Stalls offer everything from spices and fabrics to jewelry and tourist trinkets at this lively market. Tourists can bargain with local merchants and eat at one of the nearby eateries or cafes serving authentic Egyptian fare.
18. Sound and Light Shows at the Pyramids
In Cairo, Egypt, locals and tourists enjoy the Egypt nightlife activity of the sound and light exhibitions at the Pyramids. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza, can be seen in a new light through these performances.
The sound and light show is one of the unique things to do in Cairo; the Pyramids are lit in vibrant colors while a narrator describes the history of Egypt and the Pyramids themselves during the sound and light display. In addition to English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, the programs usually last for around an hour.
The Great Pyramids of Giza provide a sound and light show that is among the most attended in the world. This impressive light show narrates the history of ancient Egypt and the building of the Pyramids while illuminating the Pyramids and the Sphinx.
E. Cultural Experiences
19. Traditional Egyptian Cuisine
Egyptian food is an exotic mash-up of flavors and ingredients from many different cultures. Make sure to taste some authentic Egyptian cuisine there, such as Koshari, Ful Medames, Falafel, and Molokhia.
20. Egyptian Music and Dance Performances
The music and dance of Egypt are steeped in tradition and hold deep cultural significance. Some of the most well-liked music and dance forms to experience during your trip are the belly dance and the tannoura show.
How do You Spend a Day in Cairo?
Cairo is packed with unique cairo tourist attractions, and choosing how to spend your time; there might be challenging. But, if you only have a Cairo day tour, the following schedule will allow you to take in some of the top Cairo tourist attractions and sample its cuisine and culture.
Also, Cairo is an excellent launchpad to explore the surrounding area. In just a few hours, you may be in Alexandria, a Mediterranean port city rich in history and culture that is only a short drive from Cairo.
A city on the Nile, Luxor attracts history buffs and archaeology students alike because of its many historical monuments. Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, two Red Sea resort towns, are known for their stunning natural beauty, excellent snorkeling and diving, and laid-back vibe.
Learn more about Things to Know about Cairo tours
When is the Best Time to Visit Cairo?
November through February offer the most comfortable weather in Cairo, with average daytime highs of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) and milder evenings. This is the busiest time of year for vacationers, so expect more people and rates.
Shoulder seasons (March–April and October–November) are great times to visit Cairo because there are fewer tourists and lower prices. Generally speaking, costs drop, and crowds thin out during these months compared to the busier summer months.
You can save the most money by visiting Cairo between May and September, so long as you don’t mind the heat. Temperatures during these months can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), but hotels and tours cost far less than they do at the busiest times of the year.
During the month-long Islamic fasting period of Ramadan, many restaurants and cafes in Cairo will be closed during the day, and alcohol consumption and public behavior will be subject to stringent regulations. Yet, many street food sellers and marketplaces remain open late into the night during Ramadan in Egypt, making for busy and joyous evenings.
Learn more about the Best Time to Visit Egypt.
Finally, Cairo is a fascinating and vibrant metropolis with something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for historical sites, Islamic buildings, contemporary tourist destinations, or cultural events, you’ll find them all in Cairo attractions.
Tourists may learn about Egypt’s fascinating past and take advantage of its many modern comforts and entertainment opportunities by visiting the top Cairo tourist attractions and engaging in the top things to do in Cairo.
Book now one of our Egypt vacation packages and join one of our best tours to Cairo, Egypt, explore more of the city with its rich culture and great atmosphere, and enjoy the hospitality of its residents with our special offers and best pricing!