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Cairo is kind to travellers on a small budget. You can find two-star accommodation right in the heart of Cairo, near the most appealing historic districts and within easy travelling distance of several major attractions. There are also good-value hotels in sight of the Pyramids of Giza and in the calm peaceful district of Heliopolis. Even bright and lively downtown Cairo, with its modern art galleries, famous museums and lively shopping is packed with lower-cost guesthouses and reasonably priced hotels.
Mosques, minarets and atmospheric historic quarters cluster around the ancient heart of Cairo and cost very little to enjoy. Visit the Islamic district to watch silversmiths on Al-Mu’izz Li-Din Allah then drink traditional Egyptian coffee in the souk. Barter for bargains or just browse for hours in the labyrinth of scented streets around the legendary Khan el-Khalili souk. The Alabaster Mosque is also in this celebrated area and it’s where you’ll find Cairo Citadel and immense Al-Azhar mosque.
Venture into the Coptic quarter to see exquisite churches and wander around local markets. This is the oldest part of the city and its tightly packed alleys are filled with breathtaking art and architecture that is free to explore. Art lovers on a budget should also wander around downtown, where independent venues and galleries stage exhibitions, cultural events and wonderful opportunities to see the city’s new talent.
Traditional coffee shops and cafés, street stalls and family-run restaurants are some of the best places to eat in Cairo, both in terms of value and of taste. Sample local specialties such as ‘koshary’ (a jumble of pasta, lentils, onions and chickpeas covered in a spicy and tangy tomato sauce) and ‘feteer’ (Egyptian pancakes) followed by hot mint tea and shisha (water pipe).
Though we tend to associate Cairo with desert landscapes, the city also has a great number of pretty parks and gardens, all available for use free of cost. Linger over spectacular sunsets and enjoy peaceful walks before returning to your two-star hotel in Cairo.