Kempinski Blog Article
Few places in the world can rival Egypt, and in particular Cairo, for its historical significance and intrigue. As home to the only intact wonder of the ancient world, this mystical city naturally holds huge international draw, but visitors to Cairo have so much to explore, not just the iconic pyramids.
Cairo has long been a melting pot of culture, with its geographical location meaning its African foundations have been constantly blended with Middle Eastern and European influences. As a result, the city has a unique, diverse feel, while rightly showcasing its heritage as the capital of one of the greatest empires in human history. This illustrious past is never too far away in Cairo, but the Egyptian capital is striving to modernise. With thriving nightlife and a lively music scene, the city is quickly adding a cosmopolitan charm to its unparallelled historical appeal.
Cairo International Airport is the second largest in Africa, with four terminals connected by a metro and shuttle bus service. The metro runs every ten minutes, so it's the most convenient method for getting around.
The airport is located around 15km from the main city centre so visitors are recommended to hire either a private car or taxi. Taxis are the more affordable of the two options, with the main collection area located opposite the main airport entrance. To guarantee a fair price, it is advisable to choose a white taxi over the black varieties, as the latter do not use meters to inform their charges. Limousines provide a more luxurious ride for those looking to arrive in style.
Shuttle buses are also available to transport passengers into the city and can drop people off in a variety of central locations.
Once you are in Cairo, there are a range of options for those looking to get around the city. The efficient and extensive metro system is a brilliant service which helps people avoid the typically busy roads, saving time and frustration. Tickets prices are reasonable and trains run with great regularity all day long. It is worth noting that a couple of the central carriages are usually reserved for women and the entrances for these sections are marked by blue ‘Ladies’ signs at each station.
With enviable locations in the business district and in the historical quarter respectively, the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Cairo and the Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City Cairo are the perfect bases for exploring the city, found just short distances from major transport hubs.
Food is an important element of Egyptian culture and identity, with meal times considered as highly valued parts of the day for families and friends to get together. To truly embrace the spirit of Cairo, visitors should try to sample some of the city’s delicacies.
Koshary is one of the country’s national dishes, with rice and lentils combined with onions and pasta, before being layered and served under a large helping of tomato sauce. It can be eaten at any point in the day so you should have plenty of opportunity to try it out.
For dessert, consider the traditional Konafah, a stringy pastry dish which comes covered in syrup and cheese. As an Egyptian favourite, you won’t struggle to find it on the menu, with cafes and restaurants all over the city offering the meal.
Cairo is blessed with an incredible assortment of attractions and things to see, with some of the world’s most iconic landmarks on their list. Both the city and the surrounding area offer great options for visitors, but here we run through some of those which are simply unmissable.
The Great Pyramid of Giza
As the largest, oldest and most intact of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza is truly an international treasure. Few sights on the planet are as recognisable as the system of pyramids found on the outskirts of Cairo, and visitors can marvel at the 4,500-year-old structures, before exploring the mysterious insides.
The Gayer-Anderson Museum
The Gayer-Anderson Museum houses a remarkable collection of objects which belonged to one of the richest men in 17th century Cairo. The building itself is worth seeing and its exhibits, including ancient Egyptian mummy cases and jewellery, are fascinating. Movie fans may recognise parts of the interior from the James Bond film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’!
For a flavour of recent Egyptian history, wander around Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. The square was the site of the 2011 revolution which ultimately removed then-President Hosni Mubarak. Some of Egypt’s most impressive and significant buildings line the area, so have a browse of these, including the interesting national museum, while appreciating the importance of events which took place right under your feet.
The world’s longest river, the Nile dissects Cairo into two and cruises along its waters are a beautiful way to take in the city’s skyline. Float gently past the capital’s atmospheric waterfront and streets, perhaps while enjoying some fine Egyptian cuisine on a dinner cruise. If time allows, consider a trip later in the day, watching the dazzling African sunset reflect in the river.