outside view of Egyptian building

How to spend 12 hours in Cairo

It’s been over 150 years since Egypt’s big, bold capital was given a Parisian makeover. Last year, heritage buildings were returned to their former glory to remind us exactly why Cairo was once called the Paris of the Middle East. With a wave of new galleries, restaurants and hotels opening to celebrate the anniversary, now’s the perfect time to book your Nile river cruise.

If you choose a cruise that stops in Cairo, here’s how to spend your day:

Start the day with a hearty breakfast

The area of Zamalek is becoming a hotspot for foodies in Cairo. Zooba opens at 8am and serves Westerner-friendly Egyptian street food. Likewise, Left Bank is where to go if you’d rather fill up on pastries, eggs and pancakes.

Head to the pyramids

Taxis to the pyramids of Giza from downtown certainly won’t break the bank. If you’re not sure where to pick up a taxi, Uber is alive and well in Cairo. It will only cost you around £2 to get there.

Entry to the site itself, which includes the Great Sphinx, is £3.50. Add another £8.70 if you want to go inside the Great Pyramid. You’ll be able to clamber all the way down into the depths of the tomb, but take some water and a fan; it can get a little claustrophobic for first-timers.

If you decide to go in the evening, get a ticket for the Sound and Light Show. It starts at 7pm, lasts for around an hour and gives you an insightful and dramatic history of Egypt to the backdrop of a stunning display of lights.

Find some afternoon shade in the Museum

If you’re going to Egypt in the summer, you’ll need to stay out of the mid-afternoon heat. Temperatures have been known to exceed 45ºC. Luckily, Egyptian treasures are housed in the air-conditioned Egyptian Museum. As well as the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb, you can gaze at the truly bizarre gallery of mummified pets. Prices are truly Egyptian: you’ll only need to part with £2.60 to see these world-class exhibits.

Ibn Tulun Moschee by captain.orange licensed under Creative commons 4

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