Cairo

Discover the jewels of the Cairo crown.

Cairo is a land of mystique and wonder in Egypt, often etched into people’s minds as part of tales heard and pictures seen. It is a city that defies expectations and embraces contrasts with an effortless allure. The majestic silhouette of the Great Pyramids stands stoically against the horizon, a silent witness to the passage of centuries and the rich history it brings with it.

This week, KHAMSA journeys to Cairo with the help of a detailed travel guide by Nour Zeher (@n0urzaher on Instagram). A Creative Strategist and a co-founder of Espace, Nour has been associated with the city for years. She has lived many Cairo experiences, and is eager to share them with one and all.

Amidst the chaos of honking horns and bustling markets, Cairo exudes an unmistakable energy — a vibrant symphony of colours, sounds, and cultures. As day turns to night, Cairo truly comes alive, with its lively nightlife offering a glimpse into the city’s contemporary spirit. From trendy rooftop bars offering panoramic views of the illuminated skyline to bustling street cafés alive with the sounds of laughter and conversation, the city pulsates with an infectious energy that captivates all who wander its streets. It is a place where the ancient meets the avant-garde, where tradition and innovation intertwine to create a truly unforgettable experience.

Top must-visit food spots in Cairo?

Andrea

Inside New Giza.

Babbo’s Eats

Inside Gezira Club.

Leaven Sandwiches

Inside CSA.

Ratios

For breakfast in Maadi.

Felfela Downtown

For an authentic dining experience.

Khufu

For authentic with a twist – overlooking the pyramids.

Favourite Coffee Spots?

Specialty Bun

Favourite Sweet Treat Spots?

Mandarine Koueider
Image courtesy Nour Zaher

Love their mistika ice cream and all types of oriental sweets!

– Nour Zaher

Best Places for Sundowners?

“The best sunset view is from a feluka on the Nile. Go to Le Riad Rooftop, or Crimson for drinks with a view.”

Best Places for Shopping?

“I love El Nabarawy Street in downtown. It’s one of the most organic yet exotic places you could visit while in Cairo. The street is a strip of a very well curated selection of emerging local designers, faced by shish cafés that are always packed.”

Espace Meld is my best friend and I’s upcycling brand and service that we just launched. We are located at 21 Abdel Meguid El Ramaly street in Downtown. Our showroom has a selection of upcycled ready-to-wear items, and we also offer bespoke services where you can come in with a preloved piece, and we redesign it for you to give it a new life. 

– Nour Zaher

“At Diamant in Zamalek, skip the new stuff and ask for the vintage trays. Tell him you’re my friend.”

“Other places you can visit are Malaika in Zamalek, Monaya concept store in Zamalek, Markaz by Cinema Radio in Downtown, and Suria Mustafa in Downtown.”

Must-visit cultural spots?

“Obviously, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. You can drive buggies around if you’re able to reach the entrance from Nazlet el Samman.

“Take a qahraweya art tour to familiarize with the art pop-ups happening now. Go to Khan el Khalili Bazaar with a stop at Naguib Mahfouz café for a fresh juice and a performance of live music. Make sure to visit Atlas – next to the café, there’s a fabric shop and a jewellery shop in front of it.

“Also try and visit Wisa Wassef Art Centre, Ibn Tulun Mosque, Tikkiya, Sultan Hassan Mosque, Beyt Yakan, Citadel, and the Grand Egyptian Museum and its souvenir shops.”

Best boutique hotels to stay in?

Villa Attouta, tucked away in Maadi, is gearing up for its big debut on May1, but trust me, it’s the hidden gem everyone’s going to be talking about. With beautifully designed serviced flats for any length of stay, plus a lush tropical garden and a cosy terracotta bar, it’s like escaping the city buzz without straying too far from the action, right on one of Maadi’s busiest streets.

– Nour Zaher

Underrated places?

Downtown Cairo! We’re talking Tahrir all the way to bab el louk. Grab a snack from the street vendors in the area, the grilled corn or baked sweet potato, and make your way through it. It has the most unexpected mix of past and present, where you’ll spot a blend of Eastern and Western influences. We’re talking classic French-style building, only to discover a grab and go nestle in it. It’s super unexpected and definitely niche.

“I also believe that with all the upkeeps and art popups going on recently, it’s on its way of being the hub for designers and artists very soon. Make sure to walk through Hoda Shaarawi street for the best antique finds you could dream of.”

What should you avoid?

Don’t entertain street vendors and don’t use public transport – London cab is your go-to. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for public spaces.

– Nour Zaher

Must-pack items?

“Your full skincare routine!! SPF! There’s sun all year long. Also, light linens for the summer and layers for winter.”

Any tips and tricks to tackle the city?

“Cairo is huge – I’d definitely divide it up by area to make sure I can cover it all. I’d also try to group everything close to each other by day considering traffic.”

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