Stand in awe at the base of the Pyramids of Giza or discover the glistening riches of boy-king Tutankhamen at the Egyptian Museum. There's never a dull moment in Egypt's energetic capital - bargain at traditional markets, then watch the sun go down over the River Nile.
The mighty River Nile snakes through the centre of Cairo, with the best of the chaotic city on the eastern side. Head Downtown for busy shopping areas and over 120,000 exhibits at the Egyptian Museum. Further east is Islamic Cairo, packed with medieval Islamic monuments such as the iconic Khan-El Khalili market. To the south you'll find peaceful Coptic Cairo, hub of the city's ancient Christian churches. Head 20 kilometres south-west of Cairo to Giza, home of the Great Pyramid, the sole survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Get to the Pyramids of Giza early to avoid the midday sun and to wander around the immense funereal tombs inside and out. At the vast Egyptian Museum you can see King Tutankhamen's famous golden mask as well as amazingly preserved animal mummies. Explore the grandiose Al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo where the world's first university lecture was given in 975 AD. You'll have to sharpen up your bargaining skills to pick up jewels and perfumes at Khan-el Khalili medieval market. If it gets too hot then relax with a cup of refreshing Egyptian mint tea and try a lentil and onion kosheri street snack.
Take a felucca sailing boat down the River Nile at sunset to hear the echoing call to prayer from Cairo's mosques. Take a break from ancient history to view contemporary art at the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art in the plush Gezira neighbourhood. If you were wowed by the Pyramids of Giza, venture further out to the Step Pyramid, built in Saqqara during the 27th century BC. For a cultural evening watch whirling Sufi dancers at the 12th-century Citadel or, at the white-stone Cairo Opera House, see opera or ballet and hear classical Arabic music.
Cairo International Aiport airport has undergone extensive modernisation. It is situated 21 km (13 miles) north-east of central Cairo, and 25 miles from the Giza Pyramids. A taxi will whisk you downtown in about an hour.