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Things to do in Cairo

Queues at the incredible Egyptian Museum are a fraction of the length they were. It’s (literally) a golden opportunity to spend time gazing at the glistening riches of Tutankhamen.

The pyramids and Great Sphinx at Giza, just outside the city, are likewise underpopulated. Don’t miss the Solar Boat Museum – an intact 44m funerary vessel discovered at the foot of the Great Pyramid. The 14th century marketplace Khan el Khalili is one of the Arab world’s grandest souks; your bargaining power might be enhanced as tourist numbers decline. The former settlement of Babylon (no relation to the ancient city in modern-day Iraq) in Old Cairo became the home of Coptic Christians as the Roman Empire dissolved. Main sights: the Coptic Museum, Babylon Fortress and the Hanging Church. Main appeal: peace and quiet. Sail back in time in one of the small, two-sail feluccas which have plied their trade on the Nile for centuries.

Giza.

Giza

Visit the pyramids and sphinx at Giza. Best go with an experienced guide – or, better still, a trained Egyptologist. That way you’ll be pestered less by the camel ride sellers and trinket merchants. Don’t miss the Solar Boat museum – less crowded than the main sites, but beautifully presented and absolutely fascinating.

The Egyptian Museum.

The Egyptian Museum

Spend the morning – you will need at least that – at the Egyptian Museum. Be prepared to come back a couple of times, as there is so much to take in and the crowds are a fraction of what they were pre-revolution. You get to spend quality time with Tutankhamun and Rameses the Great.

Cairo restaurants.

Cairo restaurants

Buy an Arab Spring t-shirt in Tahrir Square, then wander over to Felfela for lunch. It’s an authentic, atmospheric Egyptian restaurant and a good introduction to a cuisine that’s at once healthy, spicy and fresh. Over in Giza, head to the restaurant Andrea – great al fresco dining – and cooking.

A trip down the Nile.

A trip down the Nile

Hit the Nile. From the sedate – a dinner cruise – to the active and frankly damp – early morning rowing, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to see the river that created a civilisation. Best of all, take a traditional felucca just before sunset.

Sandboarding in Cairo.

Sandboarding in Cairo

Not far from the city you’ll find the Kataneya Dunes, the authentic steep, sculpted Sahara things you’ll have seen in the movies, where you can try sandboarding. Choose whether to be a daredevil (standing) or a sensible person (sitting). Either way, you get a starlit barbecue afterwards.

Cairo weather

Prepare for the weather before your holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • 14°Jan
  • 14°Feb
  • 17°Mar
  • 21°Apr
  • 25°May
  • 27°Jun
  • 28°Jul
  • 28°Aug
  • 26°Sep
  • 23°Oct
  • 19°Nov
  • 15°Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 8
  • 9
  • 11
  • 11
  • 12
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8

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