After leaving the United States almost a year ago to live in Cairo, my life perspective has changed greatly and it has forced me to get out of my comfort zone. One great thing about being an expat is being able to have the opportunity to explore the country that you live in so much more than just being a visitor for a short period of time. What I have enjoyed the most about living in Cairo is being able to see things that I have only read about in books or online and was curious to see during some point in my life. If you do plan on visiting Egypt, I would highly suggest staying a few days in Cairo and take the time to experience all of what Cairo has to offer. There is so much to see other than the famous Giza Pyramids or the Egyptian Museum. Here are my favorite places (so far) that I have seen in and around Cairo and recommend visiting if you are planning to visit this city.
1. Al-Azhar Park
You may be wondering, are there any green spaces in Cairo? Yes there is! Al-Azhar Park is a large public park located near the Citadel. The park boasts many green landscaped gardens, a lake, spectacular views of the city of Cairo and the Citadel as well as many café’s and restaurants. This is a great place to spend the afternoon having lunch, taking photographs of Islamic Cairo, or a taking a lazy stroll through the park!
If you want to visit some of Egypt’s pyramids and are looking to avoid the crowds of Giza, head to Dashur. This archaeological site is located approximately 35 km south of Central Cairo and contains 3 note-worthy pyramids. The Red Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid and the Black Pyramid are the main pyramids at this site, with the Red Pyramid holding a lot of significance as it was the Egyptian’s first attempt at building a real pyramid. If you are brave and not too claustrophobic, you can climb down into and explore the Red Pyramid.
Situated between Giza and Dashur, Saqqara is an archaeological site that houses the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which is Egypt’s oldest pyramid. Also located at Saqqara, are other worthwhile sites to visit including several tombs and other smaller pyramids, one of which visitors are able to climb down and explore.
4. Gianaclis Vineyards
Most interesting fact of the day-Egypt does produce it's own wine! Gianaclis Vineyards is located approximately 2 hours from Cairo and is a great place to go on a day trip! While at the vineyards, visitors will be shown a short video on the history of winemaking in Egypt, given a walking tour of the vineyards and given an explanation of the winemaking process and a chance to taste the different red and white wines that are made at the winery. This was a fascinating experience and another thing to note is that this is the only wine that can be bought at "drink" stores (called Drinkies) in Cairo.
5. Islamic Cairo
If you want to be transported back to Cairo’s past Islamic heritage, a visit to Islamic Cairo is a must see! Islamic Cairo is located in the eastern part of the city and boasts many winding streets, markets, café’s and great architecture. Noteworthy attractions that should be on your list to visit while in Islamic Cairo include Khan el-Khalili bazaar for great shopping for Egyptian goods and souvenirs (this is THE place to shop in Cairo for souvenirs and for great people watching!), the Mohammed Ali Mosque and the Ibn Tulun Mosque.
If you plan to visit Cairo or are interested in learning more about this fascinating city, check out this book to plan your next trip!
Stay up to date with The Becky Diaries on: