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A living museum of ancient wonders

Straddling the mighty River Nile, where the desert meets fertile green land, Cairo is a monument to millennia of civilisation. Home to over 20 million people, it’s a pulsating metropolis of countless eras and cultures coexisting.

From Pharaonic relics to medieval Islamic palaces and glittering Coptic churches, every corner of Cairo tells a new story. The Pyramids of Giza have stood silently for aeons on the city outskirts, while intricately decorated mosques like Al-Azhar might seem modern in comparison, yet still have over a thousand years of heritage. Wander the bustling lanes of Khan Al-Khalili, and haggle for a bargain as you breathe in the tantalising fragrances of aged oud, freshly brewed coffee, and delicately spiced street food.

If gastronomy is your thing, you can take a culinary journey through Egypt's diverse history. Savour the flavours of traditional dishes like koshari or molokhia, or delight in honey-laden konafa and basbousa – the perfect accompaniments to a refreshing cup of hibiscus tea or an earthy Egyptian coffee.

The soul of Cairo lies in its vibrant neighbourhoods. The island district of Zamalek, with its European-influenced architecture and modern art cafes, stands in contrast to historic Islamic Cairo with its maze of ancient alleys and majestic minarets, and the chaos of Downtown, where the streets are lit with neon and lined with late-night shisha cafés.

For those yearning for a break from Cairo’s crowds, the surrounding country is a treasure trove of beautiful landscapes. The serene Wadi El Rayan, with its cascading waterfalls, the oasis of Fayoum, and the coastal charm of Ain Sokhna offer peaceful retreats from the city, where you can relax and recharge under clear blue skies.

Your Cairo questions, answered

Take advantage of Egypt’s year-round dry climate and visit between October and April, when daytime temperatures are more comfortable and nights are cool – perfect for exploring the busy city streets. That said, if you don’t mind the heat, visiting in the summer low season allows you to experience the main attractions without the crowds. 
It takes around five hours to fly from London or Manchester to Cairo.
The main language spoken in Cairo is Egyptian Arabic, with other forms of Arabic spoken too. It’s a popular tourist destination, so English is widely spoken and understood.
Egyptian pound.
You can cover a lot of the city’s major attractions within three or four days, but if you want to get out of the city to see historic sites like Memphis and Saqqara, or trek out to the oasis at Wadi El Rayan, then a week would be ideal.