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I'm visiting Cairo, Egypt in November and was wondering what people would suggest as the best single-day trips and activities, and what tips might apply specifically to a single traveler.

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I like photography and outdoor adventures, but am looking forward to hearing all ideas! –  Matt Oct 14 '11 at 8:17
    
You want a trips for an only single day stay, or trips which takes only 1 day? –  Yousf Oct 16 '11 at 10:31
    
Trips that take only a day in and around Cairo -- I will be there for longer, and take some longer trips away from the area, but some of my time will be spent in Cairo on more local trips. Thanks! –  Matt Oct 19 '11 at 21:20
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2 Answers

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Ok, I was in Cairo in 2007. With the tensions some may have changed, but here are my suggestions:

  • Alexandria - it's only a few hours away, and there are connections to get there (my tour company just offered a day trip before the tour started). It was fantastic and I'm so glad I got to it - the new Great Library is cool, lots of old monuments and Egyptian heritage around, and the seafood was so good!
  • the churches - there are a variety of historical churches. This is important because as Egypt is now 97% Muslim, it's important to realise that this wasn't always the case. There are three main ones I'd recommend - the Coptic Church, the 'Hanging Church' which is something to be seen to understand and is also allegedly where the Holy Family stayed at one point, and of course, the Citadel and Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha up above Cairo for a spectacular view, although quite smog filled.
  • Obviously, the pyramids and Sphinx in Giza. Easy to get to, and yes, you've seen them a thousand times in pictures, but nothing beats seeing them in person. And it blew my mind that you were actually able to enter one - made my day! Not good if you're claustrophobic though.
  • Egyptian Museum - I was shocked that I actually had to argue with my group to extend a 30 min visit to 45 minutes for this. Fortunately we had a rest day when we came back through Cairo, so I was able to spend most of a day here - it's spectacular, an absolute gem if you like your history, and even if you don't - the Mummy Room - with kings and queens of past - it's incredible that you can be so close to royalty in that way (if a little weird).

There are obviously lots of local attractions like the Nile felluca rides, sheesha, and the Cairo Tower, but I'm trying to write about trips that take a good part of a day, if not all of it. I hope that helps.

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Thanks -- I appreciate the suggestions and look forward to any others that people may have! –  Matt Oct 19 '11 at 21:20
    
Don't forget the markets. If your going to buy stuff do it before you take your photos; they tried charging me more than my friends because I had a DSLR round my neck. Even after haggling my price was 10% higher than friends who had only negotiation a small discount. I found 10% of their opening offer was reasonable and EVERYTHING is negotiable. –  Stuart Oct 21 '11 at 10:18
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  • Museums: Cairo have a lot of museums, just to name a few. The Egyptian Museum is a MUST SEE.
  • Khan Elkhalili: a major old market area. They sell a lot of antiques and souvenirs. Better to go at night.
  • Pharaonic Village: a village, which simulate a lot of ancient Egyptian activities.
  • Cairo Opera house: The Cairo opera house, with many nice shows.
  • Al-Azhar Park: A big nice park, with lots of green surfaces and large lakes.
  • Cairo down town: You can explore the almost-endless down town. Which contains a lot of hidden old markets, mosques, churches and houses.
  • Cairo tower: A 187 meter long tower. You can watch Cairo from the above.
  • Nile at night: Watching nile river at night is amazing. You should do it at weekend in Egypt.

The best thing about Cairo is going out at night. It is normal to start your night outing at midnight.

A really nice list of things to do with more details are on lonely planet website.

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