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Thinking of travelling to Cairo? Whether you’re still in the beginning stages of planning, or you have your Egypt travel itinerary all ready to go — you’ve come to the right place. Getting around a new city can be intimidating, but we are here to help! We have tips and tricks to help all visitors to Egypt confidently navigate their way around Cairo — and beyond!
Click here to buy your –> National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, or DK Eyewitness guidebook to Egypt, but if you are looking for something that is more Cairo focused you can go for this Top 10 Cairo & the Nile guide.
Cairo International Airport
Connect Egypt to major world cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. Fly direct to Cairo from:
- Abu Dhabi
- New York
- and more!
Offering service to Cairo International Airport are:
- Air France
- British Airways
- Etihad Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
If you are a German speaker, check out this blog post about how to acquire your tourist visa to Egypt.
Getting From Place to Place in Cairo
These type of car-service apps with built-in GPS are the easiest and most convenient way to navigate the city. As a bonus, most drivers do tend to be able to speak a bit of English. However, GPS-generated driving-maps is still a relatively new technology in Egypt, and the maps and the streets aren’t always a perfect match. So be patient (really, a necessary practice anytime you tangle with Cairo traffic) and don’t be shocked if you experience a glitch or two in the system!
Though taxis are OK for short trips, use them with caution. The meter-boxes on the cabs do not always work or get turned on, and fares are determined through pre-ride negotiations or through a general, understood knowledge of what the ride should cost. Plus passengers are often expected to provide the driver with directions. So… download a car-service app before you travel!
The metro rapid-transit system is by far the fastest and cheapest way to get around, and as a bonus lets you avoid Cairo traffic. At 3 LE for the first nine stops, you can’t beat the price. Unfortunately, the trains serve a rather limited network.
There are a few women-only cars on each train; women are able to ride on any carriage on the train, while men are not allowed to enter these women-only carriages. (In general, I’ve found the women’s cars to be more crowded, with more pushing and elbowing by the doors!)
As is the case with any metro system in any large city, rush hour crowds are a pain, cars at the front of the track tend to be the emptiest, and harassment can be an issue for women riding alone. But as a (foreign) woman and frequent solo rider of the metro – I will say I’ve been chivalrously offered someone’s seat on a full train far more frequently than I’ve been harassed.
Cairo Metro Map courtesy of Egyptian Streets
Unless you speak fluent Arabic and know your way around the city … don’t bother.
As of early 2018, new buses and bus routes are being added around Cairo. While the old buses with their jump-on-and-off policy aren’t very useful for visitors/non-Arabic speakers, some of the new buses run regular schedules and itineraries and might be worth a try!
Traveling to Other Places in Egypt
Flights to Alexandria, Hurghada, Gouna, Luxor, Aswan, and Sharm El Sheikh are available on Egypt’s national airline, Egypt Air, as well as a small handful of other local carriers (Nile Air, Air Cairo). All flights take roughly one hour from Cairo.
- Go Bus (tickets can be booked online)
- East/West Delta Travel Company (book the tickets at bus terminals located throughout the city)
- Blue Bus (tickets can be booked online)
Expect to spend 9-12 hours on the bus, and be prepared: the “luxury” coaches vary in degree of … well, luxury. Pro tip: the seats are so inexpensive, sometimes I’ve booked two just for myself, for the extra sleeping-room on the overnight bus trips.
Egypt National Railway provides daily train service between Cairo and Alexandria, as well as over-night coaches from Cairo and Alexandria to Luxor and Aswan. Buy your tickets at the central train station in Ramses Square.
Do you think it’s possible to cover Cairo in 48 hours? Find out now..
*Our featured image is courtesy of Al-Ahram Weekly.
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