7 Reasons To Visit Cairo With Kids Now

Cairo, Egypt has been on our family’s travel bucket list for years, but the timing was never right. The instability of the 2011 and 2013 revolutions felt too unpredictable and dangerous to take our young children. Egypt received ample negative publicity since 2011. Despite the turbulent past, we were excited to visit Cairo with kids on our 2018 trip to the Middle East and take in the historical sites and vibrant city life.

We based ourselves on the island of Zamalek in the heart of the city, and welcomed in the New Year from a rooftop party in Cairo overlooking the River Nile.

New year in Cairo from Zamalek with Egyptian comedian Shadi Alfons New year in Cairo from zamalek

We shared New Year in this exciting and sometimes dusty city with 19.5 million of our closest friends. Cairo is incredible!

View of sun and minarets in Cairo

Here are 7 Reasons to Visit Cairo With Kids

1. Cairo is Safe and Stable

Why visit Cairo? Aren’t other places that you haven’t seen?

When we told friends we were spending three weeks visiting five Middle Eastern countries with our kids, they thought we were insane. Tourism to Egypt hit an all-time high in 2010, but dropped significantly after the 2011 and 2013 revolutions, and has yet to fully recover. Egypt was perceived as unstable and dangerous before. However, the political situation has now stabilized and tourists are flocking back to this historic city.

Pyramids of Giza by camel Great pyramid of giza - another reason to visit Cairo with kids

Egyptians are extremely welcoming to tourists. In fact they were grateful we were there and wanted us to spread the word that Cairo was safe and open for business again!

We felt extremely safe at all times. It’s very apparent, by seeing the massive security presence and checkpoints at the historical sites, the government does not want a problem with tourists or Americans on their watch.

NOTE: Like any large city you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, negotiate your taxi price BEFORE getting into the car, and leave the flashy jewelry at home. According to Forbes, “Security is number one now in Egypt. All tourist sites are fully secured inside and out.”

2.  The Egyptian Museum

Visiting Cairo with kids means… mummies! The Egyptian Museum is located on Tahrir Square and it’s easy to imagine the chaos of the revolution when you approach this busy location. There’s nowhere in the world where you can see so many Egyptian artifacts in one place.

The Egyptian museum cairo egypt

It’s easy to purchase entrance tickets when you arrive, and there’s an extra charge for the mummy exhibit and also to take pictures inside the museum.

The museum is divided into two floors. The first floor is dedicated to the three dynasties, and the second floor is dedicated to King Tutankhamun.

Cairo Egyptian museum Massive statues of Kings in the Egyptian museum

King Tut was 19 years old when he died and was buried with large amounts of treasure. Viewing the Tutankhamun exhibit in the Egyptian Museum and seeing the artifacts recovered from his tomb was pretty spectacular. We were able to see his famous golden death mask and throne. Egyptologists differ on what killed King Tut, and recent tests on his mummy show he suffered from malaria.

Golden burial mask, Egyptian museum, cairo Gold gold and more gold King's desk, exhibit in cairo egypt

The Royal Mummy Hall

Our highlight was the Royal Mummy Hall containing the most important Egyptian Kings and Queens. Each mummy lies in a temperature-controlled case, and you can clearly see their toenails, teeth, fingernails and hair.

King Ramses II reigned for 67 years, fathered more than 100 children and is very well preserved. It’s a strange feeling looking at the almost perfect remains of a person who lived over 3000 years ago. We only had three hours to spend here, and could have used a full day to truly appreciate this museum.

Egyptian museum on tahrir square, cairo Egypt

3.  The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving standing structure of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and we were ecstatic to finally visit!  We arrived early in the day to avoid the intense heat and crowds, and negotiated for a camel and guide to take us around the pyramids.

The Pyramids of giza on camels in cairo Clear blue skies over the pyramids of giza Hands Up! Pyramids of giza on camels in cairo

Pyramids of giza in cairo egypt riding camels

The sheer magnitude of these structures is incomprehensible and seeing them in person was incredible. They are massive, and you can’t help but wonder how on earth the Egyptians built them over 4,000 years ago!

** NOTE: Be sure to bring a hat, water, and plenty of sunscreen as there is zero shade.**

Pyramids of giza on camels in cairo
Of course we had to stop for the prerequisite cheesy tourist pictures!

Mastering camel riding with pyramids in the background Awww, we love family travel! And loved Cairo!

Our camels slowly walked around all of the pyramids, stopping for the best pictures. We were able to climb into the inner chamber of the main pyramid. It’s a steep climb into the tomb, and you have to crouch down low pretty much the whole way.

Inside the great pyramids in cairo, to the burial chamber

It's eerie inside, and hot!
This is deep inside the inner chamber of the pyramid

If you are even slightly claustrophobic, this is not for you. It’s hot, stuffy, dark, crowded, and at many points there’s only room for a single person to pass. We climbed to the top room to see the large stone sarcophagus. After we climbed back down and out of the stifling pyramid, we were dusty, hot, and ready for a cool beverage.

Quite a photo of the pyramids! Family photos at pyramids of giza on camels in cairo Travel to Cairo with kids and see this! pyramids of giza on camels in cairo - that's a lot of rocks

4.  The Great Sphinx

The Pyramids and The Great Sphinx go together hand in hand, and can be viewed from the same location. The Great Sphinx is built of limestone and is 240ft long, 66ft from the base to the top of the head, and 62ft across.

the mysterious sphinx in cairo, pyramids of gizaKissing the Sphynx the Sphinx in cairo with kids

A sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. It’s unknown who built the Sphinx, but it’s widely believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafre.  Regardless, The Great Sphinx has stood guard over the three remaining pyramids for over 45oo years, and it’s hard not to soak in the history of this impressive monument we have all grown up reading about in books and watching on TV.

5.  Delicious Egyptian Food

Middle Eastern cuisine is filled with fresh veggies, beans, lentils, delicious spices and loads of olive oil. Meats are typically grilled, and one of our favorite dishes is shawarma. Juicy slices of meat carved from a slowly revolving skewer, and added to a bread pocket with salad and sauce.  Amazing!

Carrying bread baskets in Cairo

Aish Baladi is an ancient Egyptian Flatbread similar to pita bread, made with 100% Whole Wheat flour and is Vegan.  It looks a lot like pita bread but it’s unique to Egypt, and found everywhere.

Aish Baladi bread in cairo egypt

Pigeons are a delicacy in Egypt, traditionally served in a rice dish.  Our rule is we must sample the local delicacies, and it was actually delicious. I hate to sound corny… but it tasted like chicken! 😉

6.  Khan El Khalili Flea Market

Khan El Khalili is the oldest flea market in Cairo dating back to 1382, and is located deep in the Islamic area next to a beautiful mosque.

mosque in cairo, viewed from Khan El Khalili Flea Market

Julian wanted to shop for souvenirs, so we took a taxi to this old market and were dropped outside the beautiful mosque. Hearing the call to prayer in that environment was incredible, and we wandered around the huge market shopping and exploring.

Khan El Khalili markets and mosque in cairo Great balance! Khan El Khalili markets in cairo

We attracted quite a bit of attention since we were not in a typical tourist section of Cairo, but we felt completely safe as we bartered for our treasures.

7.  Driving in Cairo

Driving in Cairo is crazy!  There is no other way to put it. We thought driving in India was a big nuts, but instead of just a lot of vehicles, you’re going full speed with a lot of vehicles, and lanes are very optional. There are no traffic lanes (or people don’t use them), no crosswalks, no speed limits, and only a handful of traffic lights.

Over 19 million people live in this dusty city, so you can imagine the roads. The number of cars felt comparable to Delhi. Honking is a way of life on the roads of Cairo. Driving is almost comical. Hope for a skilled taxi driver, and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

traffic in cairo is crazy

Because there are no crosswalks in Cairo, it’s quite precarious when you need to cross the road.  The four of us linked arms and slowly shuffled across the hectic roads as cars swerved around us. Fortunately drivers are used to people crossing and will stop if they have to. Cairo traffic is not for the faint of heart at all.

driving in cairo egypt - a typical road

 

In conclusion, visiting Cairo was one of the most memorable cities we have ever visited and we are trying to find time in our schedule to go back and explore more of Egypt. We LOVED it and recommend you move Egypt to the top of your travel bucket list now!

10 Tips for Visiting Cairo with Kids

  1. Purchase family travel insurance, just in case.
  2. Carry hats, sunscreen and water at all times – it’s very hot.
  3. Negotiate for camel and taxi rides before you touch the animals or agree to ride.
  4. Don’t ask the price of something unless you are genuinely interested in purchasing it.
  5. Friendly bartering is part of the buying experience, it’s expected so give it your best shot!
  6. Driving in Cairo is crazy!! I’d advise only driving with a Cairo local or in a taxi.
  7. Carry hand sanitizer and tissues. Cairo is extremely dusty and many bathrooms do not have toilet paper.
  8. Respect the culture and dress appropriately. If you wander around in skimpy shorts and a t-shirt, you WILL attract unwanted attention. Women who wear a hijab will attract less attention.
  9. Expect to see many teenagers carrying semi-automatic weapons.  There is security at every hotel, embassy and tourist attraction.  Follow their directions and you won’t have a problem.
  10. Egyptians are friendly and might look different to Americans, but if you smile at them in the markets and on the streets, I promise you’ll be greeted with a warm, authentic hello! or marḥaban!

Air conditioners, loosely attached to a building

Is Cairo Safe?

Yes, we can definitely say traveling to Cairo with kids is safe. Safety in Cairo, like any major city, requires planning, awareness, and common sense. Walking through the city won’t be relaxing, but it’s so worth it to experience some incredible sights, sounds and smells.

Cairo with Kids: Safety Tips

Traveling to Cairo with kids can be a memorable and enriching experience with the right preparation and awareness. These tips will help you navigate Cairo with your children:

  1. Keeping your kids close by in crowded areas like markets. It’s easy to get lost, wander off, or just stay too long looking at souvenirs. It’s a bustling city, so keep an eye on your belongings and make sure your kids aren’t carrying anything valuable.
  2. When it comes to transportation, be wary of taxi scams. You must agree on a fare before getting into a cab, as meters aren’t always used and sometimes they are just there for show. Make sure you point to where you’re going on your phone or on the driver’s phone or GPS map.
  3. Dressing appropriately is crucial both for respecting local customs and for comfort in Egypt’s heat. Light, breathable clothing is recommended, and while you don’t need to cover up entirely, avoiding short and low-cut clothing can prevent unwanted attention​​​. Kids can wear shorts, just like kids everywhere.
  4. You might want to pre-book guided tours when visiting prominent sites like the pyramids. Tours can offer an extra layer of security and help you avoid getting lost. Plus, they often come with a knowledgeable Egyptologist who can enhance your experience with rich historical insights​​, and you won’t have to negotiate for your own camels.
  5. It’s best to avoid local tap water and ensure you have access to bottled water with you when you’re out. You might also want to carry essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer as they may not always be available in public restrooms. (Having some  anti-diarrhea medication on hand is always a good precaution​)

pyramids of giza on camels in cairo - let's all jump in the air!

What was your favorite part of your visit to Cairo with kids?

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About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

1 COMMENT

  1. eypt | 10th Oct 23

    Securing travel insurance for my recent trip to Egypt turned out to be one of the wisest decisions I made. I opted for Egypt travel insurance
    Egypt travel insurance, and it provided me with peace of mind throughout my journey.

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