How much does it cost to visit Cairo?

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How much does it cost to visit Cairo?

Felucca on the banks of the Nile
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

Visiting Egypt is an exciting experience for any tourist, and in many cases, tourists want to start their visit in the capital, Cairo.

Cairo has so much to offer, from hotels overlooking the Nile to museums and camel rides in the pyramids of Giza. Although it is a bustling city with an abundance of exciting activities, budgeting will be relative to time and taste.

While Cairo has become a hub of innovation with attractions, cuisine and nightlife that can rival any big city, there are certain landmarks and dishes unique to the “City of a Thousand minarets” to try.

Upon arrival at Cairo International Airport, tourists must pay a fee worth 25 USD (479 EGP) for a visa valid for up to 30 days.

Lodging

There are plenty of accommodation options.

If one is looking for a place to simply sleep, hostels in the city center can cost around 200-400 EGP (13-21 USD) for a night.

Alternatively, there are countless options like the 4-star Steigenberger El Tahrir Hotel or the Ramses Hilton, where a night costs an average of 3,000 EGP (157 USD). On the other hand, if one chooses to stay in a hotel with stunning views of the Nile, there are Sofitel Gezirah, Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis and Conrad Cairo with the price of a night ranging from 4,100 at 5,200 EGP (214 to 271 USD). ).

Additionally, there are more luxurious options like the St. Regis Cairo Hotel and the Nile Ritz-Carlton, where the price for a night can range from 7,000 to 9,000 EGP (365 to 470 USD).

Pool view from St. Regis Cairo Hotel
Photo credit: TripAdvisor

As for those who would like to see the Great Pyramids of Giza from their balconies, the first recommendation on the list would be Marriott Mena House, for around 5,500 EGP (287 USD) per night, directly across from the view.

Places to visit

When it comes to places to visit in Cairo, the list is endless. Depending on one’s interests, one can choose to go to museums and historical sites like the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) or the Baron’s Palace, or local attractions like the Khan El Khalili Market or the iconic Tahrir, Cairo Tower or even climb a felucca (sailboat) on the banks of the Nile.

Khan El Khalili Market
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

At many tourist attractions across the country, ticket prices vary depending on whether the visitor is Egyptian or not.

For the NMEC, tickets for Egyptians and Arabs cost 60 EGP (3 USD) and 30 EGP (1.5 USD) for students, while tickets for non-Arabs cost 200 EGP (10 USD) and 100 EGP ($5) for students.

National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

As for the Baron Palace, which stands proudly in Heliopolis, the entrance fee costs 100 EGP (5 USD) for foreigners, 50 EGP (2.6 USD) for foreign students, 20 EGP (1 USD) for Egyptians and 10 EGP (0.5 USD) for Egyptian students.

Another popular attraction in the capital, Cairo Tower tickets cost 55 EGP (2.8 USD) for Egyptians and 200 EGP (10 USD) for non-Egyptians.

A felucca ride of 45 minutes to an hour can cost between 350 and 400 EGP (18 to 21 USD).

One of the most iconic attractions not to forget is the Giza Plateau, home to the Great Pyramid and other monuments. General admission tickets to the set are 60 EGP (3 USD) for Egyptians and Arabs, and 240 EGP (12.5 USD) for foreigners, with a special price. However, this ticket does not cover entry inside the pyramids.

More so, there are tombs and temples that are also worth visiting, such as the mastaba tomb and the valley temples, surrounding the three great pyramids of Giza.

Camel rides to the pyramids
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

It’s not just tourism in the pyramids. You can choose to ride a camel or a hantour (a horse-drawn carriage), but the price of these activities depends above all on what you negotiate with the camel driver and hantour driver. For Egyptians, the camel ride can cost around 50 EGP (2.6 USD), while the hantour the journey can cost between 150 and 200 EGP (7.8 to 10 USD).

Citadel
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

For those wishing to visit religious sites, the Citadel of Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin) is one of the most notable monuments in Islamic Cairo, with an entrance fee of 60 EGP (3 USD) for Egyptians and Arabs, and EGP 200 (USD 10) for foreigners. One can also visit the historical sites of the three religions side by side at the Complex of Religions in Old Cairo. The complex includes the Hanging Church, the Amr Ibn Al-As Mosque, the Ben-Ezra Synagogue, the Coptic Museum, the Church of Abu Serga and much more.

The Hanging Church
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

Food

During this time, one cannot visit Egypt and fail to try authentic Egyptian cuisine. Of molokiyya at cochary, the variety is endless. A medium size cochary box of the famous Abu Tarek costs 25 EGP (1 USD), while a plate of molokiyya with chicken from Tableia Balady in downtown Cairo costs 65 EGP (3 USD).

Molokhiyyarice and chicken
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

Another delicious option for authentic Egyptian cuisine is Abou El Sid in Zamalek. Although a bit pricey, it offers the full Egyptian menu, including Mahshi (stuffed cabbage, vine leaves, eggplant and zucchini), mousaka’a (baked eggplant dish), and mom bar (sausage stuffed with rice).

Mombar and dolma
Photo credit: Abou El Sid

Regardless of what one chooses to eat, local restaurants in Egypt like Kebdet El Prince are not to be missed. Located in Imbaba, we feel the appetizing kebda (liver) and molokiyya be cooked inside from far across the street.

While visiting Khan El Khalili, one can have a snack or a drink to refresh oneself in one of the many historical and emblematic cafes, such as Fishawy or Naguib Mahfouz.

Fishawy Cafe
Photo credit: Mohamed Khairat

Move

To get around the bustling city, the most affordable mode of transport is either the metro, with fares varying between EGP 5 (USD 0.3) and EGP 10 (USD 0.5) depending on the route, blue minibuses for 5.5 EGP (0.3 USD), or the microbus for an average of 5.5 EGP (0.3 USD). Unlike the metro, one can hop on a microbus or minibus from anywhere in Cairo.

However, for those who prefer one mode of transport, taxis are available throughout the city, and Uber is the most commonly available ride-sharing app, although not the most affordable.

Besides chaotic traffic and noisy streets, Cairo has a lot to offer, from local culture and rich history to iconic landmarks and exciting experiences. The best time to visit is between October and May, to avoid the summer heat and enjoy these experiences away from the scorching sun.

As a bonus visit, Saqqara, located 40 kilometers southwest of Cairo, has multiple tombs, pyramids, underground galleries, in addition to the remains of a Coptic monastery. Described as an “open-air museum”, Saqqara will be an important addition to the visit.

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