After covering Cape Town a long time ago, I'm so happy that I could finally get a chance to post another city in Africa for the $10 series! And this time, we're going to North Africa to talk about a city that I felt way too close, but too far at the same time.
Why? Because back when I worked as a flight attendant, I had many flights to Cairo in Egypt, but I never got a chance to have a layover in the city. At the time, the flight to Cairo from my home base in Jeddah takes only around 1.5 hours, and we didn't necessarily have a layover in such a destination.
So, I'm so happy to have Clotilde of A Princess Travelling with Twins share how to explore the city for under $10 this week!
What could you get in Cairo on the budget?! Let's check this out!
Some Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Cairo
Cairo for most travelers is the entry point to Egypt, a base from where to discover this enchanting country and fascinating culture. Many tourists underestimate Cairo and limit themselves to a quick visit to the Egyptian Museum, and a trip to Giza to admire the splendor of the pyramids.
Obviously, these are unmissable stops but the city has much more to offer. Three days in Cairo, at the beginning of any Egypt itinerary, will offer you an excellent introduction to the coming journey thanks to the rich mix of ancient traditions, customs, and modern influences.
Egypt is generally not an expensive nation, but a large chunk of its economy relies on tourism. In recent years this has led to an exponential increase of the prices of tourist attractions. However, there are still many low-cost and free activities.
Did you know?
Apart from being the third-largest, and second-most populous city in Africa, Cairo is also the home of the Al-Azhar University. Founded in 970, it is one of the oldest universities in the world that is also the center of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world.
1. Visiting the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar Souk.
A visit to the traditional Khan el-Khalili bazaar souk is absolutely free and an excellent opportunity to become familiar with local life. It is not difficult, with a little bargaining, to buy some typical souvenirs at a low price.
However here too, as often happens, many traditional objects have been replaced with copies produced in other countries, so check carefully what you buy.
2. Strolling around Coptic Cairo.
Another remarkably interesting walk is in Coptic Cairo. Admission is free but offers are welcome.
Mosques, synagogues, and churches are built side by side in this part of old Cairo, offering even the non-religious a chance to appreciate the history of several buildings. Be sure to visit the Hanging Church built on the remains of one of the entrances to a Babylonian fortress.
3. Make the best out of the Zamalek Island.
If walking does not tire you, then you shouldn't miss a walk on Zamalek island. Even if from Cairo you will later travel south to go back in time with a Dahabiya cruise on the Nile, you must walk on the Corniche to watch a sunset over this majestic river.
If you are fascinated by the longest river in the world, with around $2 (EGP30) you can visit the incredible site that houses the, now out of use, Nilometer.
Located on the southern tip of Roda Island, the Nilometer was used to measure the floods of the Nile before the construction of the Aswan dam.The instrument itself may seem just an elaborate column, but the building in which it is housed is grandly decorated and the visit is fascinating.
4. Joining the free walking tour in Cairo.
As soon as you arrive in the city, a good way to invest part of your $10 dollars is to participate in a free walking tour. This incredible resource in all cities of Europe has now also arrived in Cairo. You will visit downtown Cairo with a local guide, and you will gain an insight into daily life.
At the end of the tour, you will pay what you think the tour is worth…How much is always subjective but your $10 will definitely be enough.
During the walking tour the guide will suggest many local cafes and restaurants, so the best thing is to return later to one of these places where for about $5 (EGP 80) you can enjoy a full local meal. For a quick meal, however, be sure to try the falafel sold as street food by many carts along the road.
5. Stopping by Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and Rifai Mosque.
If the entrance to Cairo citadel is out of your budget, no worries, because at a short distance with about $5 (EGP 80) you can enter two other sites: The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, and Rifai Mosque. Be sure to appreciate the incredible view from the courtyard of the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan.
Last but not least, while waiting for the opening of the new GEM (Grand Egyptian Museum) with better displays and detailed descriptions, it is worth spending less than $8 (EGP 120) for entry to the Museum of Islamic art. Recently renovated, it now offers a beautiful and extensive collection of Islamic art.
Cairo is an amazing city and even with a small budget you can still enjoy many different attractions. Plan your day well or you will not be able to fit everything in!
Contributor: Clotilde from A Princess Travelling with Twins.
Clotilde is a regular working mom and wife who believes anything is possible if you commit yourself. Clotilde with her husband Mark helps adventurous parents to continue to self-organize adventurous trips even if they have small kids, giving them detailed itineraries with tips and advice that they can simply copy and go!