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Egypt’s sprawling capital claims the title as the largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. In Arabic, Cairo means ‘the victorious’, and it is certainly a city that makes a strong impression. Set on the banks of the legendary Nile River, the hubbub of central Cairo is within easy reach of the country’s famous pyramids.
Cairo International Airport is 12 miles northeast of the city centre, close to the ancient Roman city of Heliopolis. Reaching the central area can take anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour depending on traffic. At the airport you’ll find a large modern complex with ample facilities including banks, restaurants and shops. Free WiFi is provided, as are business and conference facilities, and you can enjoy a VIP lounge for an additional fee.
Whether you’re here to see Egypt’s most celebrated sights, to enjoy some sun or for a spot of golf, Cairo is a worthy contender for a balmy yet educational holiday. Famous sights aside, Cairo’s busy streets are a hive of excitement for those keen to absorb a little culture. This city of contrasts melts ancient architecture with heady atmosphere, all wrapped up in Egypt’s hot deserts.
You can easily fly to Cairo from the UK, with direct flights operated by British Airways and Egypt Air from London Heathrow. Other major UK airports, such as Manchester and Birmingham, offer connecting flights through London, Istanbul, Frankfurt and Amsterdam with airlines including Lufthansa, Turkish Airways and KLM. Your five-hour flight to Cairo from the UK will take you to a cultural metropolis of sights and sounds quite unlike anywhere else in the world.
Travellers can choose from a range of options to get around Cairo upon arrival. Aside from hiring a car, which offers a good way to explore at your leisure, there are plenty of taxis available. It’s wise to negotiate a price ahead of time. Alternatively, many of Cairo’s hotels offer a pick-up service.
For those on a budget, hop on the airport shuttle bus, which departs every 30 minutes, taking passengers to a range of destinations including downtown Cairo, Giza, Heliopolis, and Nasr City. There is also a number of air-conditioned buses running between central Cairo and the airport every 20 minutes.
Cairo originated in the ancient settlement of Memphis, southwest of modern Cairo and well worth a visit on a day trip from Cairo. If you’re keen to get a taste of Cairo’s history, make Coptic Cairo your jumping-off point, while those seeking more modern surroundings or a business-friendly base will find varied accommodation in New Cairo. And, of course, while you’re in Egypt, you should visit the pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza, a laid-back district with magnificent sights and lots of places to stay to choose from. You’ll find accommodation to suit a range of budgets in Cairo’s diverse neighbourhoods.