Cairo is a bustling and noisy city full of colour, beautiful mosques, elegant grand avenues and imposing 19th century palaces, as well as bazaars, souks and street after street of delicious food. All with a hazy view of the pyramids of Giza in the background.
The most pleasant time to travel to Cairo is from November until March, as the rest of the year can be unbearably hot. The Islamic festivals of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadam, fall on different dates each year. The Cairo International Film Festival is held in November.
British passport holders require visas to enter Egypt and passports should be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. For further information contact Egyptian consulates. Vaccinations against hepatitis A, typhus, tetanus and diphtheria are recommended. Tap water is not suitable for drinking, and fruit and vegetables should be peeled or cooked before eating. Taking antiques and protected species of animals and plants out of the country is strictly forbidden.
Restaurant prices start at around 20 EGP, while street food prices begin at about 10 EGP, both cheaper than UK prices. Locally grown seasonal food is cheap to buy in the markets. Prices for alcohol, imported food, textiles and electrical equipment can be high. Bartering is the normal way of trading in souks and is widely expected.
The number 356 bus runs from Cairo Airport to Tahrir Square, while the number 381 stops at Ramses Train Station, both with prices at around 2 EGP. Taxis are more expensive, with a trip from the airport costing approximately 200 EGP. Keep an eye on the meter and insist on paying the meter price, as taxis will often over-charge. Cairo has a well-developed public transport system of trains, urban trains, trams, buses, minibuses, underground services and ferries. Prices for most forms of public transport start at around 2 EGP. Taxis are cheaper than in Britain, with a fixed price for the first 3 km of about 5 EGP, then around 1.5 EGP per km. Tourists are often charged more, so visitors should be prepared to haggle.
Budget hostel accommodation starts at around 85 EGP per night, while 3-star hotel rooms are about 250 EGP per person per night.