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Cairo in 24 hours

 cairo in 24 hours: best of egypt’s enchanting capital

Cairo traffic is notorious for being extremely bad. So is it possible to really get a taste of Cairo in one day? Although I would highly recommend spending 3-4 days here, sometimes we just don’t have enough time. With this itinerary, you’ll be able to explore the best of Cairo in 24 hours. Immerse yourself in the magic of Cairo as we take you through iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and cultural experiences, all within the span of a single day.

Morning Exploration at the Pyramids

Start your day by marveling at the wonders of ancient Egypt with a visit to the Pyramids of Giza. The only way this itinerary works is if you start first thing in the morning. Like I said before, traffic in Cairo is notoriously bad. Look up the opening times of the ticket office, this depends on the time of the year. Be there ready to purchase your ticket as soon as they open. I promise you that it will be practically empty. You can check out this article to see when are the best times to visit sites in the country.

The tour buses start showing up around 8-9 am. This is more than enough of a head start to enjoy these ancient wonders. You could spend the whole day here if you wanted to, but the heat is a factor to take into account. By 10 am it’s sweltering hot, even during winter. Between 10-11, I’d start making my way to the next stop.

Brunch at 9 Pyramids Restaurant

This overpriced restaurant is worth the hype. If you only have drinks you won’t get a direct view of the Pyramids. My suggestion is to go for brunch. Even if it’s a bit too early, chances are you won’t be able to grab lunch if you want to follow this schedule. Grab a quick breakfast at your hotel then eat your heart out here. You’ll be given plenty of food, whether you choose the Egyptian or Western breakfast. There are only two restaurants that are within the Giza complex and this is one of them. The views are stunning.

Learning how Papyrus is made

This is one of the most authentic papyrus shops you’ll find in the whole of Cairo. It also happens to be a shop. This might be even more touristy than visiting the Pyramids, but learning about this ancient skill is fascinating. If you want to purchase any, this should also be a stop. You won’t be trying to figure out if you’re being sold fake ones or not. Every one you purchase here comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Afternoon Vibes at the Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Head to the iconic Mosque of Muhammad Ali for an afternoon of architectural wonders and historical significance. Explore the beauty of this Ottoman-style mosque. As usual, don’t forget to wear something to cover up out of respect, or simply embrace long dresses or cotton pants and shirts like we did!

Sweeping views at the Bab Zuweila Minarets

Head out to Bab Zuweila for wonderful views of the city. I highly suggest you go all the way up. The first section is pretty safe and sturdy. For the top section the steps are a bit small.  If you’re not alone, make sure you split your group into two. Or if you’re with just one other person, go up opposite minarets. This way, you’ll be able to take beautiful pictures of each other from across the minarets.

Cairo in 24 hours
Walk around Khan El Khalili

Yes, this market is well-known for being touristy, but it is stunning and has much to offer. It is, after all, a historic marketplace where you can experience bustling bazaars or just have a cup of tea and dates at one of the many shops. This is about a 15 minute walk away from the Zuweila Minarets, which should give you plenty of time to experience the bustling bazaars that are so distinct to Cairo.

If you’re wise with your time, you should be done with Khan El Khalili between 5 and 6 pm. Here are some options for you.

Evening Choices

Heading to the airport? Don’t forget how hectic transportation is in the city. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there.

If you have a late night flight or are leaving the next morning, I’d recommend taking an Uber to Zamalek. This is a beautiful part of town that deserves to be visited. It has an incredible food scene. You can pick one of the restaurants by the river for beautiful views. After dinner, walk around Zamalek if you get a chance.

If your Egyptian adventure hasn’t come to an end, you can catch a ride from Khan El Khalili to the Giza train station. If you leave the markets around 6 you should have time to make it. You can take the overnight train to Aswan from here. While it might not be the most modern train out there, I found it pretty decent. And it was a great way to make your way down South. In the morning, the views from the train going past the Nile are completely worth it.

Cairo in 24 hours
Egypt has it all

Although this might not be the easiest country to navigate alone, especially as a woman, it is worth it. History, adventures, ancient sites and some of the most otherworldly landscapes await you here in Egypt. If you only have time for Cairo in 24 hours, I hope this itinerary works. If you leave early enough, it will. If you have more time in the future, make sure to come back to explore more of it.

a woman posing in the water

Hey there, and welcome to Go Global with Sibu! I’m a global citizen that has been living and traveling around the world since 2005 – all through budget travel, scholarships, study/work and living abroad opportunities.  I share everything I’ve learned over the years here – to prove to you that you don’t need money or privilege to enjoy everything that this world has to offer. 

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