There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Cairo each year.
The main ones are listed below.
January 7th is the day during which Egyptian Coptic Christians (the country's second religious community with more than 10% of the population) celebrate Christmas. Orthodox religion is indeed using a Julian calendar and not the Gregorian one. Families go to church, visit relatives and prepare meals consisting in rice, garlic, meat and bread. A festive atmosphere takes over Alexandria and Old Cairo's Coptic neighbourhoods.Third month of the Hijiri calendar: Moulid al-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet, national holiday)
This festival celebrated on the twelfth day of Rabi'al-Awwal commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and is one of the most important days on the Islamic (or Hegira) calendar. Egyptian Muslims use this opportunity to recall the values advocated by the Prophet. It is also a day when families gather to share a traditional meal in a festive atmosphere.May 1: Labour Day (national holiday) Ninth month of the Hijiri calendar: Ramadan (celebrated nationwide)
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, is an especially pious time in Egypt, a country with a majority Muslim population. Fasting begins each day at sunrise and ends at sunset. For the entire month, Cairo, like the rest of Egypt, operates at a slower pace during the day and stirs into action at nightfall.First three days of the tenth month of the Hijiri calendar: Eid al-Fitr (national holiday)
This three-day festival marks the end of Ramadan and is a time for family celebrations across Cairo, with exchanges of gifts, especially new clothes, and great feasts bringing together all family members. Music, dancing and street processions are also a prominent feature.July 23: Revolution Day (national holiday)
Commemorates the birth of the Egyptian republic on this day in 1952, when the Free Officers, led by the young Gamal Abd-al Nasser, toppled the Egyptian monarchy in a military coup. Highlights include official remembrance ceremonies, military parades, concerts and fireworks.Tenth day of the last month of the Islamic calendar (date changes each year): Eid al-Adha (national holiday)
This festival celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu'l-Hijja honours Ibrahim's proof of his obedience to Allah. Allah asked him to sacrifice his son Ismael, but just as Ibrahim was about to make the sacrifice, Allah told him to offer a ram instead. Traditionally, to remember Ibrahim's offering, each family sacrifices a sheep in the morning and the remainder of the day is spent in prayer and celebration, feasting on the roast mutton and sharing the meat with others.December 25: Christmas (celebrated nationwide)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||9/48||19/66||6/0.24||Not the best period to go|
|February||10/50||20/68||4/0.16||Not the best period to go|
|March||12/54||23/73||3/0.12||Not the best period to go|
|April||15/59||28/82||1/0.04||Good period to go|
|May||18/64||32/90||0/0.00||Good period to go|
|June||20/68||34/93||0/0.00||Good period to go|
|July||22/72||35/95||0/0.00||Good period to go|
|August||22/72||35/95||0/0.00||Not the best period to go|
|September||20/68||34/93||0/0.00||Not the best period to go|
|October||14/57||29/84||1/0.04||Not the best period to go|
|November||14/57||25/77||4/0.16||Not the best period to go|
|December||10/50||20/68||6/0.24||Not the best period to go|
The Cairo International Airport is located about 22 kilometres (14 miles) north-east of the city centre.
The Egyptian capital is notorious for its traffic congestion. Nevertheless, it is possible to get around the city easily, thanks to Cairo's good public transport system and the ubiquitous taxis.
Despite its high ridership, the Cairo Metro is a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to get around the city. There are two main lines: The 35-station main line stretches for 43 kilometres (27 miles) from the southern suburb of Helwan up to New Al-Marg. The second line, about 21 kilometres (13 miles) in length, connects Shubra with Giza. A third line entered into service in 2012 and is still under construction. It presently operates from Attaba to Ahram (Heliopolis), for a total length of 12 kilometres (7.5 miles). Trains run about every 5 minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 1 a.m. The middle two cars of each train, the fourth and the fifth, are reserved for women, although the latter are also permitted to travel in any other car. A single ticket costs EGP 2.00.
As a general rule, public buses and minibuses are not recommended for tourists, as regular passengers often include pick-pockets. In addition, this mode of transport is difficult to use for visitors not able to read Arabic, because very few signs are in English. Fares range from about EGP 0.25 (for local buses) and EGP 1.00 (for minibuses) to EGP 2.00 (for CTA buses).
Taxis are plentiful in Cairo. When using the older black-and-white cabs, it is important to remember that they do not have meters. For these taxis, it is best to negotiate the price beforehand. The newer white cabs and the yellow Cairo Cabs do use meters, with the initial charge starting at EGP 3.50 and short trips usually running about EGP 10.00. Cairo Cabs must usually be booked in advance by telephone. Fares charged by taxis waiting outside hotels are usually about twice those charged by taxis hailed in the street. For metered taxis, it is good to have an idea of the route the taxi should be taking to your destination, as some drivers may try to take a longer way to get you to pay more.
Renting a car to get around Cairo is not really recommended, due to traffic congestion and often inadequate signage. If you decide to rent a car in spite of these difficulties, an international driver's licence is required.
Upon your arrival in Cairo, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.Tourist Information Offices in Cairo
Offer practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
The official website maintained by Egypt's tourism authority provides a wealth of information on Cairo.
See your doctor before you travel. Cairo counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists. It is also recommended to take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation before your trip.Vaccinations
Booster doses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio vaccines are recommended. Depending on the length of your stay and hygiene conditions, the following additional vaccinations are also recommended: typhoid, hepatitis A and B.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
It is strongly recommended to drink water from sealed bottles.
All foreign nationals must be in possession of a visa to enter Egypt, regardless of the length of their stay.
For further information, visit the website of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mfa.gov.eg/english/ConsularServices/Pages/ConsularServiceDetails.aspx?ID=Visa%20Application
To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Egypt, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.
Here are a few basic Arabic phrases that will make your stay in Cairo a little easier:
Good morning: Sabah al-khair (response = sabah al-noor)
Good evening: Masaa al-khair (response = masaa al-noor)
Thank you very much: Shukran jaziilan
No, thank you: Laa, shukran
Please: Min fadlik
I don't understand: Laa afham
Could you repeat that?: Mumkin a'id hatha?
What time is it?: Kamis saa'ah?
Excuse me: Afwan
Train station: Mahattat al-qitaar
I'm (…): Anya (…)
I'm looking for (…): Ab hass ane (…)
How much is (…)?: Bikam (…)?
Do you have (…)?: Hal 'indaka (…)?
Where can I find (…)?: Ayna ajed (…)?
Where can I buy (…)?: Ayna ashtarii (…)?
I'd like (…): Urid (…)
In Cairo, it is customary to leave a tip at the city's hotels and restaurants. If you are satisfied with the service, an appropriate amount is between 5 and 10% of the bill.