CAIRO — Overview

Cairo is the largest city in Africa and is one of the world’s largest urban areas. With more than 16 million people living there it can be a crowded, noisy and completely overwhelming experience for the first time visitor. It is best if you arm yourself with a plan of where to go because most of the sights are spread out over the city and wandering aimlessly around the streets isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience.

Cairo is a city that is a mixture of past and present. There are numerous alleyways full of medieval markets, monuments and ahwas(cafes) where you can enjoy a tea and a sheesa (water pipe) and most of all ‘people watch’. Exploring this city can seem overwhelming but it is not as difficult as it seems and most of what you will want to see can be easily covered in a few days. At the city’s centre is Midan Tahir. Northeast of this is the Downtown area which is where you will find cheap places to stay and eat and at the centre of it is Midan Talaat Harb. Downtown ends at Midan Ataba and then you will find Islamic Cairo which is the medieval centre. South of Midan Tahir is Garden City, home of many embassies and some up market hotels. Past here is what is known as Old Cairo, including Coptic Cairo. The main train station is located at Midan Ramses.

Getting There
The easiest way to arrive in Cairo is by air although it is possible to get there overland and if you have come from another Egyptian city there is a train. You will find the main airport in Cairo (CAI) and there are two terminals — Terminal 1 used by Egypt Air for both international and domestic flights and Terminal 2 for most other international airlines.

Traveller's Tip

If you haven’t arranged a pick up from your hotel the easiest way to get into town is by one of the many taxis you will find outside the terminal. It is probably best to ask the approximate cost at the information desk. There will be no shortage of people trying to ‘help’ you. A taxi ride from the airport to your hotel should cost in the region of 25LE. This price can be negotiated before you get into the taxi as most do not have any meter system.