Cairo is almost as old as the sands around it, steeped in a history and legend so rich, few places can compare. If you’re planning a trip to this capital city, we humbly suggest a few items for your checklist:
1) Descend into the depths of a pyramid
Obviously you’re going to see the pyramids, but did you know that you can go inside of many of them, including the famous Great Pyramid? Unlike the elaborate tombs at the Valley of the Kings, the pyramids are devoid of ornamentation and no mummy has ever been found in one.
2) Kiss the Sphinx
You could let the Sphinx rest in the palm of your hand a la the Eiffel Tower, or you lay a big wet one on him.
3) Have some shawarmaStreet food satisfies like no other, and shawarma might the king of street food. Ask your driver for a recommendation when it’s lunch time.
4) Get your name written in hieroglyphsIf you’re on a tour, you’ll undoubtedly end up in one of these shops. It’s neat to see how this ancient paper is made, and you can take home a piece with your name on it as a souvenir.
5) Say hello to the pharaohsPhotos aren’t allowed in the Egyptian Museum, so a pic of the courtyard will have to suffice. But trust us, it’s worth going to check out the pharaohs’ mummies, along with King Tut’s treasures and tons of other stuff.
6) Party on a dinner cruise
The Nile is the life blood of Egypt, and at night it comes alive with cruise ships and party boats. Get a great perspective on Cairo while you dine.
7) Ride a camel on the Giza plateau
Extra points for successfully getting the pyramids in the background of your new profile pic.
8) Have a coffee at Cairo's oldest coffee shop
El Fishawy in Khan El-Khalili bazaar has been a hot spot throughout history, and you can have a cup of Arabica where celebrities, philosophers and literary figures have been spotted over the years. Or tea, if you prefer.
9) See where the Holy Family stayed
According to tradition, when the Holy family fled to Egypt, they stayed at the spot that the Abu Serga is now located. Visit the shrine along with the rest of Coptic Cairo.
10) Find pin-worthy decorating ideas at old Cairo mansions
One day we’ll build our dream house and model it after the riads of Morocco and the Ottoman-era houses of Cairo. Room after room of amazing details.
11) Get schooled
You didn’t travel halfway across the world to go to school, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t visit the Al-Azhar mosque which houses the oldest university in Egypt.