Essential 15 Cairo Travel Tips & Hints
In the heart of Egypt, Cairo is a radiant jewel, where time-honored mosques and grandiose palaces combine with urban life. The smell of freshly brewed Egyptian coffees mixes with the tantalizing smells of spices that attract visitors to indulge in centuries-old gastronomic delicacies.
Every corner in Cairo is evidence of a treasure of history, with the iconic pyramids of Giza that loom in the distance which reminds travelers from all over the world of its grandeur. Cairo wakes up as the sun rises, and its soul stirs to life, and the lanterns cast a warm light on the bazaars and markets where wonders await the curious.
The alleyways of Khan El-Khalili and Al Muizz are filled with the sound of Egyptian songs, and as the Egyptian songs play, the happy laughter of the locals makes the atmosphere amazing. In Cairo, the old and the modern mingle together, the secrets of history are revealed, and the lively essence of Egypt amazes every traveler who explores its wonderful attractions.
1. Pick Your Best Time to Explore Cairo
The air in Cairo is warm and dry, and it carries the scent of spices and the stories of ancient Egyptian history. You will feel a sense of wonder and curiosity once you explore the ancient city and its monuments. And once you walk along its precious streets and observe the Egyptian people and the places, you will have a deep feeling of a connection to the streets and their ancestors. Cairo enjoys nice temperatures in winter while in summer, it basks in the warmth of the sun and creates lively vibes.
The peak season for tourists in Cairo is from October to April. However, if you want to avoid crowds and enjoy discounted prices, visit Cairo during the shoulder seasons of May to September when it's hotter but good. You can enjoy witnessing the wonders of the ancient past of the city such as the pyramids, the sphinx, the museums, and the citadel, and learn about their secrets and mysteries. You can explore the beauty of the natural beauty of Cairo such as the Nile River, the desert, and the Egyptian oases, and enjoy enjoyable activities like sailing, sandboarding, camel riding, and hiking.
2. Try the Local Food in Cairo Streets
Experience the Egyptian food in Cairo streets is one of the must-do things to do in Cairo. If you are visiting Cairo, you should not miss the opportunity to taste the local food as the cuisine of Egypt is full of flavors and has many dishes that will satisfy your palate. Egyptian food is a reflection of the culture and history of the country, and by trying the local food in Cairo, you can experience the diversity of Egyptian cuisine. You can also learn more about the traditions and customs of the Egyptian people who live in this city.
- Koshari: A popular street food dish made with a mixture of rice, lentils, and pasta, and is topped with a tangy tomato sauce, onions, and crispy fried onions.
- Shawarma: A mouthwatering dish that is made with thinly sliced marinated meat, wrapped in pita bread, and served with tahini sauce, garlic sauce, and vegetables.
- Molokhia: A savory green soup made from jute leaves that is cooked with garlic, and coriander, and sometimes served with chicken or rabbit.
- Ta'meya: Deep-fried balls or patties made from ground fava beans or chickpeas, flavored with herbs and spices.
- Mahshi: Stuffed vegetables, such as zucchini, or eggplant that are filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes minced meat.
- Umm Ali: A delicious Egyptian dessert that is made with layers of puff pastry, milk, nuts, and raisins, topped with powdered sugar and sometimes served with ice cream.
- Basbousa: A sweet Egyptian dessert that is made from semolina, sugar, and yogurt, flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water.
- Fatta: A traditional Egyptian dish consisting of layers of toasted or fried bread, seasoned rice, and cooked meat, all soaked in a flavorful sauce.
- Hawawshi: Hawawshi is a popular Egyptian street food dish that consists of a spiced meat filling encased in a pocket of dough and baked or grilled until crispy. Hawawshi is made with minced beef or lamb mixed with onions, peppers, and a variety of aromatic spices.
- Kabab & Kofta: Kabab and kofta in Egypt refer to grilled meat dishes. Kabab consists of skewered and grilled chunks of marinated meat, while kofta refers to meat mixed with herbs and spices, all shaped into elongated patties, and grilled or baked.
3. Learn A Few Egyptian Arabic Words
Arabic is the official language of Egypt and the most widely spoken one in Cairo. Learning some Arabic words can help you communicate with the locals and appreciate their culture, and it can help you get directions, ask for recommendations, and express your admiration.
Knowing basic Arabic phrases can help you navigate Cairo, negotiate prices, and understand signs. Also, these words can help you read signs, menus, and labels in Cairo, as well as write your name and greetings in Arabic. Try to learn words like:
- Sabah El-Khair = Good Morning
- Shukrn = Thank You
- B Kam = How Much
- Salam = Bye
- Aywa = Yes
- La = No
4. Do Haggle While Shopping in Cairo
Haggling is a type of communication in which you communicate your interest and gratitude for the goods to the seller, it is not a sign of rudeness or aggressiveness as you can also learn more about the culture and products by negotiating with the locals. Haggling may help you obtain a good price and value for your money as sellers start with a high price that is considerably higher than what they are willing to accept in order to achieve the best deal.
This method can also help you avoid getting deceived or ripped off, as there are some sellers who try to take advantage of visitors who are unfamiliar with the market and currency, charging you more than the true value of the item or providing you with goods that have poor quality. By haggling, you can show that you know the market and that you are not easy prey, it is a part of the shopping adventure and should be seen as a game, not a conflict, just remember to approach it with a nice attitude to haggle.
How to Haggle in Cairo?
- Greet the seller with a smile and a nice hello.
- Research the average price range for the item you are interested in.
- Do not be afraid to walk away if the price is not right, in many cases, the seller will call you back and offer a lower price to make the sale.
- When the seller quotes a price, respond with a counteroffer that is lower but still reasonable.
- Negotiate in a respectful manner, show interest, and engage in friendly conversation.
- If you are buying many items from the same seller, you can still try bundling them together and negotiate a package price.
5. Copy Your Essential Documents
You should make copies of your documents before traveling to Egypt. You may need them if you lose your original documents or they get stolen, this can happen when you are in a foreign country and it can cause a lot of trouble.
Copies of your documents can help you show who you are and where you come from, and make it easier to get new ones from the authorities. It is better to be prepared and have a copy of your passport, visa, travel insurance, and other essential documents.
6. Stay Hydrated While Touring Cairo Attractions
Drinking water can help you rehydrate, so bring your own water bottle and refill it once you finish. Fruits, vegetables, soups, and salads contain a lot of water and can provide you with extra fluids and nutrients that can help you hydrate and remain healthy. Cucumbers, watermelons, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery are among foods high in water content.
Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you, and if you do consume them, make sure to drink enough water to compensate for the fluid loss. Chia seeds can help you keep hydrated by producing a gel-like material in your stomach that inhibits digestion. Chia seeds can be added to water, smoothies, muesli, or yogurt to help with hydration.
7. Know Tipping Etiquette in Cairo
Tipping in Cairo is more than just a monetary exchange, it is a cultural and economic practice that has many benefits for the giver and the receiver. Tipping shows that you are grateful and respectful of the service you get, and many workers in the tourist and hospitality industries rely on tips to supplement their poor earnings, and by tipping, you are financially helping them.
Tipping is referred to as baksheesh which means "Gift" or "Charity" in Arabic. Tipping is about more than just money, it is about developing relationships and helping others, and it shows that you appreciate Egyptian culture and customs. Tipping is sometimes anticipated or even mandated by service providers that interact with visitors.
Tipping in Egypt is not obligatory, but it is highly valued, it can make a significant difference for the people who serve you and for your own personal experience. You should tip based on the quality of service, and your budget. Tipping could be done in Egyptian pounds or US dollars, however, you can also ask your tour operator or hotel staff for advice on how much to give in particular situations.
8. Avoid Using Dating Apps in Cairo
Dating apps as a tourist in Egypt can carry certain risks and, you run the danger of being harassed or blackmailed. Cultural and societal traditions in Egypt may not be as receptive to dating or meeting strangers as they are in certain Western nations.
There is the possibility of meeting someone with bad intentions, such as scams or harassment. Meeting people in person in Cairo offers a more direct and secure way to build connections without the potential privacy issues associated with dating apps.
9. Wear Modest Clothing That Respects Egyptian Culture
Dressing modestly demonstrates respect for the local traditions of Egypt as the country is mostly Muslim where most people wear modest and cover their hair, shoulders, and knees. It also helps you avoid being harassed or bothered by some locals who are unfamiliar with seeing foreigners in different clothing. Egypt is a desert destination where the heat can be quite hot and the dust can be very annoying. Wearing light clothes made of natural materials like cotton can help you to stay cool in the heat.
There are important items to bring to Egypt such as a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip palm. Dressing modestly can allow you to visit more attractions and ancient sites in Cairo such as mosques, churches, or other religious sites where you should cover your head, arms, and legs. You could even be invited to join Egyptians for a meal or tea which can help you gain a better understanding of their culture.
10. Capture Wonderful Photos of the Tourist Landmarks
If you are interested in capturing the grandeur of nature, you can visit some of the breathtaking national parks and reserves in Egypt such as Wadi El Rayan, Ras Mohamed, and Siwa Oasis. These places have wonderful landscapes, and wildlife that will make your photos more colors to your pictures.
You can also enjoy the activities and attractions that these parks have to offer, such as hiking, camping, diving, and sandboarding. Enjoy taking wonderful pictures of tourist attractions and amazing landscapes that draw photographers from all over the world, however, while visiting historical sites and sensitive locations such as government buildings, military installations, or police stations, you need first get permission.
11. Getting an Egypt Visa in Advance
We highly recommend getting a visa in advance instead of waiting until you arrive as this will help you save time and avoid possible problems or long lines at the airport you can feel more relaxed when you plan your trip. However, you should be aware that visa rules can vary depending on the situation, so you should always contact the Egyptian embassy or consulate in your country to confirm the visa requirements before you travel.
Getting a visa for Egypt is not difficult, but it requires some preparation and documentation, you can apply online or through a travel agency, it depends on your preference. You will need to provide some personal and travel details, such as your passport, itinerary, and accommodation. Discover the essential details of Egypt visa requirements and regulations now!
12. Carry Some Cash With You
Credit cards are accepted in most cities and tourist areas, however, having some cash will provide flexibility for local markets and areas with limited card acceptance for a hassle-free experience during your trip to Cairo. You can also use cash to pay for taxis, buses, metro, or other transportation options that may not have card readers.
Cash will also help you avoid any fees or charges that some card companies may impose on international transactions. You can also withdraw foreign currency from ATMs or banks anywhere, just be aware of the exchange rates and fees.
13. Share Your Information With Those Closest to You
Before embarking on your journey to Cairo, it's vital to share your key travel information. This proactive step can enhance your safety and provide peace of mind to your loved ones. Share your itinerary, including flight details, hotel reservations, and local contact information, so that family and friends can reach you in case of an emergency.
Additionally, consider registering with your country's embassy or consulate in Cairo, enabling them to provide assistance if necessary. Sharing such information not only facilitates a smoother travel experience but also ensures that you have a support network in place should unforeseen circumstances arise, allowing you to fully enjoy your exploration of this remarkable city.
14. Be Aware of Public Affection
It is important to respect the cultural and religious values of the destination you are going to travel. Public displays of affection such as kissing or hugging generally are considered inappropriate and can be offensive to locals, so it is better to keep physical contact in public. Observing the behavior of the locals and following their lead can help you gauge the acceptable level of public affection.
While this varies among individuals and regions, it's generally considered respectful to follow these guidelines, especially in more traditional and religious communities. Respecting local customs and cultural norms helps ensure a more harmonious and comfortable experience during your time in Cairo.
15. Book With a Trusted Travel Agency
If you wish to visit Egypt, you should think about booking with a reputable travel agency that can provide you with many advantages for an Egyptian trip. Trips in Egypt "A Reputable Travel Agency" can provide you with many Cairo day tours that fit your budget and interests. You can choose from many kinds of tours such as cultural, historical, adventure, or beach tours, and tailor them according to your needs, it will provide you with skilled guides, transportation, accommodations, and Nile Cruises that will improve your experience in Cairo.
You don't have to worry about booking your flights, visa, tickets, or insurance, as we will take care of everything for you, you can also benefit from our special offers that have with our partners. We will also look after your safety and security during your trip, it will also provide you with information about an emergency case. Trips in Egypt Team will make your trip less stressful, and you can have a piece of mind by knowing that you are in good hands and that you have someone to support you if you need it.
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What Should I Wear While Being in Egypt?
You should wear whatever you want. It is advised to wear something light from cotton or linen, comfortable and put on sunblock during your time in Egypt in the summer and wear comfortable footwear like a closed-toe shoe to sustain the sandy terrain.
What to Pack for Your Egypt Tour?
You should bring a brimmed hat and sunglasses if you not used to the Egyptian sun &pack everything you could ever need and put in a small bag so you could move easily between your destinations.
Are All Nile Cruises Available at Any Time?
Yes, it is available all years. as the Nile from Aswan to Luxor takes three to four days of sailing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the total cost of 600$ and the Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan take four to five days in Saturday, Monday and Thursday for the coast of 650$.
Why book Trips in Egypt?
We have experience in vacation planning for more than 10 years & our staff consists of the most professional operators, guides and drivers who dedicate all of their time & effort create the perfect vacation. All of our tours are customized by Travel, Financial & Time advisors to fit your every possible need during your time in egypt. we always keep in mind that your safety & comfort are our main priority until you return home.
Is it safe to travel to Egypt?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to travel to egypt, You will feel secure in Egypt as the current atmosphere of the country is very peaceful after the government took powerful measures like restructuring the entire tourist police to include all the important and tourist attractions in Egypt and construct an entire environment dedicated for ensuring the lives of all tourists.
What are Egypt's Visa Requirements?
They are very simples, If you want to apply for a Visa On Arrival that lasts for 30 days then you should be one of the eligible countries(check the link), have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and pay 25$ USD entry fee in cash. As for the E-Visa for 30 days, you should have a valid passport for at least 8 months, complete the online application, pay the e-visa fee then print the e-visa to later be presented to the airport border guard. You could be one of the countries eligible for a free visa for 90 days.
What is the Weather is Like?
The temperature of Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c, Summer in Egypt is somehow hot and winter is cool and mild but sometimes it becomes cold at night. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 ¡ÆC in the wintertime to 23 ¡ÆC in the summertime and average high temperatures vary from 17 ¡ÆC in the wintertime to 32 ¡ÆC in the summertime while the temperature is moderate all along the coasts.
What is the Best Time of Visit Egypt?
It is known the best time to travel to Egypt is in the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a bit tropical, a warm atmosphere with a winter breeze. You will also be notified a week before your trip if the weather is unsafe or if any changes have been made.
Should I Give Tips in Egypt?
It is totally up to you, but if you choose to you can tip the servers at your restaurant 5-10% by handing it to them directly and 5 Egyptian Pounds as a general tip of anyone.
Can I Enter the Pyramids?
Yes, you can enter the pyramids for the small fee of 20$.
How to Enjoy Egypt During Ramadan?
Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims that should be celebrated by non-Muslims and feel the essence of the Islamic culture. You can fast with the Muslim or just observe but you are always welcome to join the celebrations and festivals.