How to spend 3 days in Cairo?

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa, but it has its roots in antiquity. A blend of East and West—ancient & modern, history & progress—Cairo has left a stamp on the world that can’t be erased. Planning to visit anytime soon? Here’s a 3-day itinerary to help you navigate through the majestic city that is Cairo.

Sound and light show in the Giza pyramid complex

Day 1

Situated at the crossroads of Africa, Egypt is a cultural and historical melting pot. The country gave birth to many ancient civilizations and served as a bridge between them.

  • Today, it’s a destination for everyone with something to see, do and explore. So it’s only fair to visit the NMEC Museum. The NMEC is one of four ancient museums in Egypt, situated in a shady garden overlooking Khufu’s pyramid complex.
  • Next, we visit the Cairo Citadel along with a mosque from Islamic Cairo Area. Architecture enthusiasts and people with an aesthetic eye will surely appreciate the structure and beauty of the place. The minarets deserve some attention, as do the dome and the walls of the mosque itself.
  • The next destination is the famous Hanging Church. The Hanging Church is the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo, as well as possibly the first built in basilica style. The church is the site of several reported Marian apparitions.

The whole trip will take about 6.5-7 hours which gives you plenty of time to explore more or maybe even relax a little bit to be ready for the next day.

The world famous NMEC

Day 2

The ancient land of Egypt is known for its rich history and breathtaking architectural marvels. Among the most awe-inspiring are the pyramids that dot the landscape, built by the pharaohs to serve as their final resting place. Three of the most famous pyramids complexes in Egypt are the necropolises of Giza, Saqqara, and Dahshur.

  • The Giza Necropolis is the most famous of the three, and it is home to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Great Pyramid was built during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu in the 26th century BCE and is the largest of the three pyramids at Giza.
  • Saqqara is another important necropolis located about 30 kilometers south of Giza. It is home to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which was built in the 27th century BCE and is considered to be the oldest known pyramid in Egypt.
  • Dahshur is located about 40 kilometers south of Giza, and it is home to several important pyramids from the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. The Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid are among the most famous structures at Dahshur.

Together, the necropolises of Giza, Saqqara, and Dahshur offer a fascinating glimpse into the ancient world of Egypt. These pyramids were built using advanced engineering techniques and served as the final resting places of some of the most powerful rulers in history. They continue to inspire awe and wonder in visitors from around the world, and are a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the world’s greatest civilizations.

If you’re interested in ancient history and architecture, then a visit to Memphis, Egypt is a must-see destination. Memphis lies south of Giza across the Nile from Maadi. It is near Saqqara and Dahshur and easily be combined with trips to those sites or with horseback riding at Abu Sir.

The museum only takes about 45 minutes to view but is well-organized and of historical importance. The whole day will take about 6.5-7 hours, which once again leaves you with enough time to explore and recreate in your own personal way.

The Step Pyramid of Djoser

Day 3

On this day we will be either taking the Alexandria Tour or the Al Fayoum Oasis Tour.

  • Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its Great Library, the largest in the ancient world; and the Necropolis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. The Alexandria tour usually begins with a pick-up from your hotel in Cairo, followed by a drive to Alexandria, which takes about 2-3 hours depending on traffic.
  •  Once you arrive in Alexandria, we will take you to visit the city’s most popular attractions, which may include The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa. These are underground tombs and burial chambers that are fascinating examples of ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman architecture.
  • Then we move to Pompey’s Pillar. This is a giant granite column that stands over 27 meters. Along with this visit, we explore The Alexandria Library, the modern-day library is a stunning architectural masterpiece and a tribute to the ancient Library of Alexandria.
  • What cannot be missed is The Citadel of Qaitbay. This fortress was built in the 15th century and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. We will end the day with Montazah Palace which is a beautiful palace complex and gardens that were once the summer residence of the Egyptian royal family.
Pompey’s Pillar

The Al Fayoum tour will be in Al Fayoum which is an oasis city known for its natural beauty, archaeological sites, and agricultural production.

  • During this trip we will visit The Valley of the Whales, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains some of the world’s best-preserved fossil remains of early whales and other marine life.
  • Followed by a tour of Wadi El-Rayan. This is a natural reserve that features two beautiful lakes and a series of waterfalls. Visitors can swim, kayak, or hike around the area. We head back to the hotel and get ready to depart.
Wadi Al-Hitan or the Whale Valley

Bonus Travel Tips: Since you have so much time for self-exploration (We won’t be here with you unfortunately), we suggest visiting Khan el-Khalili. It is a famous bazaar and market district located in the historic center of Cairo, Egypt. The bazaar is a maze of narrow alleyways and streets filled with small shops and stalls selling a wide variety of goods, including jewelry, textiles, spices, souvenirs, and traditional Egyptian handicrafts. The market also offers traditional cafes and restaurants, as well as street food vendors selling local snacks and delicacies. It’s a great place to shop for unique souvenirs and gifts, try local street food, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the city.

Bargain to get the right price at Khan El-Khalili market

You can also sign up for the Nile River Cruise. At night, it is a popular way to experience the magic of Cairo and the Nile River after dark. Once aboard, you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner while sailing along the Nile River, taking in the city’s stunning skyline and landmarks illuminated by night. Many Nile River cruises at night also include live entertainment, such as traditional music and dance performances, as well as belly dancing shows.

The magnificent Cairo skyline from Nile Cruise

Now that was a spectacular reading journey in itself! We look forward to seeing you in Cairo, where the sky meets the desert. Our special private tour with English speaking Egyptologist Guide will surely immerse you in an unforgetful experience. Till then Goodbye, Explore, and Discover.

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