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3 Day Cairo Itinerary: Fun with Friends
If you are planning a trip to Egypt, you are in for an adventure you’ll never forget! If you are still hesitant to visit Egypt, then check out my last post, The Best Time to Visit Egypt is Now. When you embark on your Egypt adventure, you will definitely want to visit the capital city of Cairo and experience all it has to offer. I recommend you spend 3 days in Cairo and then move on to another one of Egypt’s amazing destinations (full Egypt guide coming soon). I hope you enjoy this Cairo itinerary!
Cairo is a city full of history, culture and people. Seriously, there are a lot of people. Cairo is the 2nd largest city in all of Africa, and because of its enormous size and scope, it can be an overwhelming city for travelers to tackle. When planning a trip to Cairo it is important to organize your Cairo itinerary by the areas you visit in order to (try and) avoid Cairo’s infamous traffic.
The Citadel is a fortification that is home to three mosques and three museums. This is an area I really recommend going with a tour guide in order to hear the in-depth history of this place. After exploring the Citadel you should head over to Al Azhar Park to catch a rare glimpse of greenery in Cairo.
Head back to the Zamalek area to have lunch at my FAVORITE restaurant in Cairo, Sequoia. This place has incredible food, amazing Nile views, and fabulous shisha (aka hookah) flavors. I recommend ordering a plethora of tasty Lebanese and Egyptian appetizers to sample. Sequoia’s menu is perfect for tasting a variety of Mediterranean dishes from around the region. After lunch, you can either explore Zamalek by foot or take a mid-day nap! Cairo traffic is notorious and I do not recommend attempting to get in a car on weekdays (Sunday-Thursday) during rush hour, unless absolutely necessary!
After some much-needed Rest & Relaxation (Trust me, no matter how seasoned of a traveler you are Cairo will still wear you out) then head over to Khan Khalili to do your souvenir shopping. Khan Khalili is an outdoor market whose colorful winding alleys have been around since 1382! Khan Khalili is another place that it I recommend you go with a guide who can help you haggle and help deter unwanted attention. Khan Khalili is loud, chaotic and overwhelming, but I personally think an evening here is not to be missed.
Morning and Afternoon:
Today you will experience Egypt’s pride and joy, The Pyramids. The Pyramids are located in Giza, about 45 minutes outside the city center. There are a few options for activities at The Pyramids, including renting ATVs, camels or horses to ride around and soak in the epic views. If you get hungry while visiting The Pyramids I recommend lunch at Mena House for a totally different Pyramids view. An interesting budget option for a meal is Pizza Hut, which also has a Pyramid view.
Consider giving Cairo nightlife a go! There are loads of fun options for a night out on the town. If you are looking for a more chill vibe then check out one of the many upscale lounges/restaurants in Zamalek, such as Mezcal or Crimson. Crimson has yummy food and a rooftop with amazing views. If you want to stick around The Pyramids at night, then check out the Sound and Light Show. If you’ve got energy to party and want to check out one of Cairo’s many popular nightlife spots then I recommend Cairo Jazz Club or Riverside.
The Egyptian Museum is a must-see. You could spend an entire afternoon getting lost in the antiquities and treasures. The mummy room is definitely worth the extra cost. It is mind-blowing to see these mummies still intact, hair and all, after more than 3,000 years.
Once you have gotten your fill of Egyptian antiquities and treasures, head over to Old Cairo, also known as Coptic Cairo, for a different piece of history. This area has many sights including the Coptic Museum, Ben Ezra Synagogue, Hanging Church, Church of St. George and Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As. This is a noteworthy part of your itinerary because it is the only place you will find representations of all 3 Abrahamic Religions co-existing side by side. This is another area that is best visited with a tour guide.
After a day in the city there is no better way to unwind than a relaxing boat ride. More precisely, you will travel down the Nile by felucca—a traditional wooden sailing boat and popular past time. There are two options for arranging a felucca. The first option is to find your way to the dock where feluccas depart from (across from the Four Seasons Hotel) and bargain a fair price for an hour on the felucca. We usually pay around 200 EGP per hour. If you are looking for a more luxurious, organized experience and are traveling with a group, then consider hiring Sweets & Treats to cater your felucca ride. They have amazing options for different catered meals and they decorate the felucca and handle the details so you can ride stress-free!
Where to Stay
I always recommend that tourists stay in the area of Zamalek. Zamalek is a small island on the Nile with a sizeable expat population. The island is easily walkable, fun to explore, very safe and centrally located. It is also a hip area with tons of amazing restaurants, nightlife spots and Nile views that cannot be beat.
Budget hotel option: You will be hard-pressed to find real budget accommodation in Zamalek, but do not fret! Nile Plaza Hostel is a good hostel option. It is located right in the center of Cairo and minutes walking from the Egyptian Museum. It is also crazy cheap.
Mid-Range option: Golden Tulip is an adorable and affordable hotel right in the center of Zamalek. This is the hotel that I always recommend my family and friends stay in when they visit. They also have sizable rooms looking over the Nile!
Luxury option: There are several top-line luxury hotels in Cairo like Four Seasons, but if you want a place with ideal location and loads of character and history then check out Marriott Hotel Omar Khayyam.
Bonus Option: If you want to plan one night where you wake up to an epic pyramid view, then consider booking at Mena House! You will be staying in a beautiful hotel overlooking the Pyramids. The catch is that the location is not ideal for exploring the rest of Cairo, so consider booking it for just one night!