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Cairo, Egypt
Fast Facts
Historic Interest
Ancient Ruins
Market / Fair
Tourist Attractions
Points of Interest Nearby
Family Travel Tips

Pyramid of Khafre, Giza


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Apart from the hazard of crossing the street, touring Cairo with children is no different than taking the kids to any other capital city. It can be exhausting when visited at a breakneck pace, boring if too much time is spent at one place and wholly rewarding when a child's interests are considered. There is much to this city of 20 million that kids find fascinating! And street life is but the start. Tour the Pyramids at Giza and Dahshur and explore the temples inside and out. Visit the Egyptian Museum and ogle at King Tut's tomb. Cruise the Nile on a felucca and view Cairo in a different way. Float on the river at night and take in a belly dancing show. Don't forget to make time for a trip to Khan al-Khalili, Cairo's principal marketplace. It is a great place to experience commercial Cairo and introduce kids to the art of bargaining.
Getting There
Families traveling to Cairo by air will arrive/depart Cairo International Airport in Heliopolis. The airport is 22 km (14 miles) northeast of central Cairo and 40 km (25 miles) from the Giza Pyramids. While low cost airlines do not yet offer service to Cairo charter companies can be a valid alternative from select European cities. CairoTaxi provides a car service between Cairo International Airport and area hotels and can be booked online. Families traveling to Cairo from Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh, Port Said or Suez may want to consider the train. The sleeper service is operated by Abela Egypt. The Ramses Railway Station (Mahattat Ramses) is the main train station in Cairo.
Getting Around
Driving in Cairo can be a hair-raising experience: parking is limited, little attention is paid to traffic lights and lane markers, and rush hour is a constant throughout the day. Thankfully, renting a car is not a necessity. Buses and minibuses crisscross the city and make it cheap to get around. The metro is surprisingly efficient and remarkably clean. Cairo's fleet of black and white taxis are inexpensive and abundant. Car services, an upscale alternative, can be booked through high-end hotels and offer a ride in style as well as the guarantee of a return trip at a predetermined price. No matter how you choose to get about here are few words to the wise. Everything in Cairo is negotiable. The fare, calculated on distance and time, should be agreed upon before you get in. The amount shown on the meter is meaningless. Be sure to carry small bills, drivers are reluctant to provide change. Car services cost significantly more than taxis. If you book an excursion through your hotel find out what is and what is not included in the price before you pay. Understanding the cost of the trip's individual components, such as taxi fare and entrance fees, is fundamental to establishing value.
When to Travel
The best time of the year to visit Cairo is from October to April even if the months of December and January can be overcast and cool. Heat and pollution make Cairo unbearable from June to August. The peak season is New Year and Easter.
Health & Safety
Traveler's diarrhea is the most common aliment afflicting tourists in Cairo. Avoiding tap water and unpasteurized milk are the cornerstones to prevention. Drink bottled water and eat cooked or peeled fruit and vegetables and packaged ice cream only. While the incidence of theft and crime is negligible big city caution and common sense are warranted. Do not leave valuables lying about in your hotel room, be careful how you carry your money on crowded public transport, make you sure you have all of your luggage and bags when you alight a taxicab and keep an eye, if not a hand, on the kids at all times. Particular care is warranted when crossing the street; it is a game of chicken most children find disconcerting.
Things to Keep in Mind
The price of nearly everything is negotiable and hustlers are part and parcel of travel to Cairo. Be wary of individuals offering advice on local hotels and museum opening hours as well as those offering to broker services for a taxi or a tour. But don't be rude just say 'No thank you'. Families traveling with small children should note that this city of 20 million is next to impossible to navigate with a stroller. If you intend to explore Egypt's capital on foot use a child carrier instead.
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