The 5 Best Cairo Attractions for First-Timers

Why you Should Visit Cairo Now 1

When you think of Egypt, the thing that pops to your mind first is probably the pyramids. But this country has so much more to offer! The mysterious and imposing ancient sites, e.g., the Abu Simbel temples, the colourful and exciting reefs, vast deserts, and the modern side of Cairo!  With that in mind, let’s look at the best Cairo attractions and where to find them.

You can try jeep-riding through the desert, snorkeling in the Red Sea, exploring the ancient sites, and learning all about the rich Egyptian history and culture. If this is your first time visiting Egypt, make sure to spend at least a few days in Cairo.

Cairo is one of the largest cities in Africa and the Middle East. The city is world-famous for its beginnings on the Nile river. There are many traditional and cultural tourist attractions in Egypt’s capital  that reflect the true image of the old Egyptian civilization. Some world-famous tourist attractions in Cairo are the:

  • Coptic Museum
  • Egyptian Museum
  • Cairo Tower

Do I need a visa to visit Egypt?

Visa is a must-needed document if you wish to explore Egypt. However, you no longer have to bother to obtain it in a traditional way. Now, you can consider applying for your visa online!

An e-Visa is an electronic entry permit issued by the Egyptian government to the foreign travelers of eligible countries to enter and stay in Egypt. 

You can apply for your Egypt e-Visa online on visa-for-egypt.com. Please note! It’s best to submit the form no later than 7 days before your travel. 

The best thing about e-Visa is that you don’t have to visit the embassy to get it. So, you will save both your time and money avoiding the complicated procedure associated with traditional embassy visas. 

Both e-Visa types available allow their holders to stay in Egypt for up to 30 days at one time. Moreover, the application process consists of only three easy steps! Apply using your phone, laptop, or any other device within minutes from home.

The 5 Best Cairo Attractions

Now that you are prepared and ready for your trip, buckle up and get ready to learn more about Cairo!

The whole of Cairo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the numerous Islamic buildings, including mosques, tombs, and fortifications. You can explore the historic parts of Cairo – the staple attractions, such as the Pyramids of Giza, or look for a bit more modern activities.

Take a look at the following list of must-see things dedicated to all first-time visitors to Cairo in Egypt:

Pyramids of Giza

First up on this list of the best Cairo attractions is, of course, The Pyramids of Giza. They are located right on the edge of the Cairo city, on the Giza Plateau. 

The pyramids of Giza are one of the country’s top attractions and have been drawing travelers for ages. You will surely like a trip despite the extreme temperatures, tourist hustle, and dust. 

The Pyramid of Cheops is the biggest one of them all. Explore its narrow passages and make sure to get to the plain tomb chamber with an empty sarcophagus. 

If you’ve had enough of the pyramids, try visiting the Solar Boat Museum that is located directly behind the Great Pyramid where you can see one of the ceremonial solar baroque. 

Another must-see site when visiting the Pyramids of Giza is the pharaoh-faced Sphinx. With the imposing 20 meters in height, Sphinx is believed to be the oldest monument in the whole of Egypt!

Al-Azhar Mosque

The Al-Azhar Mosque is one of the oldest Cairo mosques which was completed in the 10th century. The mosque hosts the world’s oldest university, named the Al-Azhar University, which is considered to be the most significant theological center of the Islamic world. 

The main entrance to the mosque is via the Gate of the Barbers, located on its northwest site. Remember that before entering the building, you will have to take off your shoes. 

Upon entering, pay attention to the El-Taibarsiya Medrese on your right side. It has a spot for prayers which was built back in 1309! Moreover, standing in the courtyard will grant you a splendid view of the all five minarets.

The Citadel

Next up is the Citadel of Cairo that was built in 1176 by Salah ad-Din (a former Egyptian leader). It is located at the foot of the Mokattam Hills perfectly showing a legacy of rulers. The main thing not to miss when visiting the Citales is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. 

This Mosque is also famous under the name of Alabaster. Its lean minarets, white walls, and the 52 meters height make it quite imposing. The Ottoman building can’t be missed no matter which side of the city you’ll be at, since it’s visible in all of Cairo!

If you want to get the full experience, we’d recommend heading just south to the Muhammad Ali Mosque to see the Gawhara Terrace. The whole city will be at your sight!

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum is one of the greatest museums in the world due to an astonishing collection of antiquities. You can find over 120 000 different artifacts, including those that belonged to the Pharaohs! See for yourself the death mask of Tutankhamun, sarcophagi, mummies, their jewelry, and much more.

Everything is organized in a chronological manner and you can easily explore the museum in clock-wise direction. Discover both the ground as well as the first floor and learn more about the Egyptian culture!

If you want to see the museum where it’s currently at, consider visiting this year, since the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza is being constructed right now and the collections will be moved to a brand new location.

Bab Zuweila

Bab Zuweila, or Babzuweira is one of the oldest retaining gates on the west wall of Cairo. 

During the Egyptian military takeover of the country Bab Zuweila was destroyed, but fortunately restored in the early 1920s. Today it attracts tourists from around the world who enjoy the ancient Coptic architectural style and a tour of the historic site.

Bab Zuweila is the most interesting and unique among all other district gates of Cairo, since it provides numerous description of its history and various interesting facts in English. 

It is a medieval era relic of the 11th century that offers fabulous rooftop views over the Islamic Cairo. Moreover, if you’re feeling adventurous, try climbing your way up to the top of the two minarets!

Get a view of the Sheikh al-Mu’ayyad Mosque (famous for its red-and-white stonework) and the previously mentioned Citadel. 

Final words

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and world-famous due to its magnificent cultural tourist attractions. If you plan on visiting Egypt for the first time ever, this city is a must!

Explore both the modern and the ancient in Cairo and after all your excursions, head over to one of the breath-taking beach resorts to relax and enjoy the rest of your trip!


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