Egypt is a country rich in history and culture, and its capital, Cairo, is no different. Home to more than 20.5 million people, the city has many historic sites and landmarks to explore. However, many of these are spread out across the city, making it difficult to see everything in one trip.
But what if one wants to explore some of Cairo’s best sights without having to spend hours on public transport or by car? It is possible, and in fact there are many places within the city that can be easily explored on foot. The secret is knowing where to go and which routes to take.
From exploring the ancient pyramids of Giza to strolling through one of the city’s many bustling markets, here are some of the best places to explore Cairo on foot.
the pyramids of giza
The most famous sight in Cairo, and perhaps in all of Egypt, is the Pyramids of Giza. These massive structures were built over 4,500 years ago as tombs for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Today, they stand as a testament to the engineering prowess of the ancient Egyptians.
The pyramids are located approximately 7.4 miles from the center of Cairo. After arriving, visitors must purchase a ticket to enter the complex. From there, they can explore the pyramids and surrounding temples at their own pace.
- Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Winter) and 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Summer)
- Cost per adult: £200 ($10.26)
- Note: The Giza Pyramids are one of Cairo’s most popular tourist attractions, so expect large crowds, especially during peak season. To avoid the crowds, try to visit in the early morning or late afternoon.
the egyptian museum
The iconic museums found in the city are one of the main reasons travel gurus visit Cairo. The Egyptian Museum, in particular, offers a closer look at some of Egypt’s most iconic artifacts. This vast museum houses more than 120,000 items, including the world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. For those looking to learn fascinating facts about the ancient Egyptians, this is a good place to start.
Museum highlights include Tutankhamun’s treasures, a royal mummy room, and an extensive collection of papyrus scrolls. The museum is located in Tahrir Square.
- Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Cost per adult: £30 ($1.54)
- Note: Get there early to avoid the crowds, as the Egyptian Museum can get quite crowded, especially during peak season.
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali
One of the most emblematic places in Cairo is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. This huge mosque was built in the 19th century by Muhammad Ali Pasha, the ruler of Egypt at the time. The mosque is located in the Citadel, a medieval fortress overlooking Cairo. To get to the mosque, you can take a taxi to the Citadel. Once there, it’s easy to explore the site on foot. The mosque offers an impressive panoramic view of the city, among other delights.
- Opening Hours: Weekdays 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Weekends 8:400
- Cost per adult: £100 ($5.13)
- Note: When visiting the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, be sure to dress modestly as this is a place of worship. Women should cover their heads, and both men and women should avoid wearing shorts or revealing clothing.
Khan El Khalili
One of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Cairo is Khan el-Khalili. This bustling commercial district is home to hundreds of shops, restaurants and cafes.
Khan el-Khalili is the perfect place to shop for souvenirs, sample local cuisine, or just soak up the atmosphere of this historic neighborhood. The best way to explore Khan el-Khalili is on foot, so take your time wandering the narrow streets and haggling with the merchants.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours every day
- Cost: free to roam
- Note: On Sundays, most shops are closed. It’s also a good idea to bring cash, as not all stores accept credit cards.
Barely a mile from downtown Cairo, visitors will find the Cairo Tower towering over the city. The tower offers a stunning 360-degree view of the metropolis, making it the perfect place to watch the sunset or enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city.
The tower is 187 meters high and was built in 1961. Today, it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cairo. The tower is located right next to Sharia July 26.
- Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – midnight
- Cost per adult: EGP 60 ($3.08)
- Note: The Cairo Tower is one of the tallest structures in Cairo, so those who are afraid of heights may want to jump it.
Al-Azhar Park is a large public park located in the heart of Cairo. The park covers more than 70 acres and includes gardens, playgrounds, and walking trails.
Al-Azhar Park is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are plenty of benches and shady spots where you can relax, and the park is also home to several cafes and restaurants. From there, the park is just behind the Cairo University campus.
- Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- Cost: Monday to Wednesday EGP 5 ($0.26), Thursday to Sunday EGP 7 ($0.36)
- Note: On Fridays, the park can get quite crowded as it is a popular destination for families and groups of friends.
Explore Cairo today!
Cairo is a city with no shortage of things to do. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient monuments, enjoying panoramic views of the city, or enjoying a day at the zoo, there’s something for everyone. Plus, many of the city’s best attractions can be easily explored on foot. So the next time you’re in Cairo, be sure to add these six places to your itinerary.