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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Best Things to Do in Downtown Cairo


Fri 05 Jul 2024 | 01:20 PM
nile bus
nile bus
Ahmed Emam

Downtown Cairo, also known as Wust al-Balad, refers to the western expansion of Egypt's capital Cairo in the 19th century. Situated between historic medieval Cairo and the Nile, it emerged as the city's commercial center during the 20th century. 

With its rich architectural heritage from the era of Khedive Ismail, the area has been officially named Khedival Cairo and declared as a protected Area of Value by the government. 

If you allocate a few hours for a downtown Cairo walking tour, you’ll be astounded by the architectural gems, art galleries, and trendy eateries it has to offer. A walk through downtown Cairo offers a glimpse of modern-day Egyptian life that extends beyond the Ancient Egyptian and Islamic tourist sites.

Take A Walking Tour

Here's our ultimate local's guide to the best things to do in downtown Cairo and how to embark on your own walking tour of this unforgettable neighborhood. Explore this authentic heart of the city and consider hiring a tour guide to delve into Cairo's architectural gems, culture, and history. Alternatively, you can plan your own itinerary and spend a few hours exploring some downtown cafes and landmark cinemas.

Sail On A Felucca

Sailing on a felucca—a small traditional wooden sailboat—is an invigorating way to take in the city lights along the peaceful waters of the Nile. You can bring some take-out on board for an evening meal or gather a group of friends for dinner with a view. Feluccas, crewed by local sailors, can be rented at hourly rates from a few spots around the Kasr El-Nil Bridge. 

There's also a spot for felucca rentals in the quieter suburb of Maadi near the Grand Cafe, which offers a better view of nature and downtown. While neon party boats blasting loud music are popular, we recommend the calmer and wind-powered felucca. 

You can book a felucca sail online from a travel agency or head to the Kasr El-Nil bridge to the felucca stands and negotiate your own rate with the captain.

Walk across the Kasr El-Nil Bridge

The historic Kasr El-Nil Bridge is a downtown must-see for its great Nile views and Khedive history. The bridge connects downtown’s Tahrir Square to Gezira Island and the Cairo Opera House. 

It’s bustling with traffic during the day and popular in the evenings for young people and Egyptian couples out on romantic strolls. The bridge is always vibrant, with street vendors selling roasted nuts and the blaring music of party boats passing along the river. 

Dating back to 1931, the Kasr El-Nil Bridge was constructed by Dorman Long & Co. Ltd using hardware and equipment imported from Britain, with some 3,700 tons of steel from Yorkshire used during its construction.