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Cairo Layover

| January 2, 2015

Stuck on a Cairo layover? The Cairo Airport is 13.5 miles from central Cairo, which makes it a very accessible stop for long layovers, allowing you to get out the airport and see some of the sights. If you’re trying to determine whether you can leave the airport during your Cairo layover, click here for useful tips.

Cairo layover things to doThe Cairo airport also offers plenty to do for the traveler stuck inside the airport on a layover. The airport has a host of services including hotels agents that can book reservations for you, tourism agents, restaurants and cafes, banking, lounges, duty free shopping and medical services. Click here for more information on the services provided.

If you arrive at night or are looking for a place to rest, there are a number of hotels in the area for varying price points. For a comprehensive list of Cairo hotels, click here and for hotels specifically near the airport, click here.

As for transportation, you can use the airport’s Shuttle Bus that can take you to any of the following destinations: Heliopolis, Nasr-City, Downtown Cairo, Giza, Mohandesin, Zamalek, Maadi, and Haram (the Pyramids area). For a full price list, you can call the office at the Cairo Airport company at +2022653937. Buses depart each half hour and charges in Egyptian pounds. You can grab a Cairo International Airport taxi at any time (they are usually black and white, while Alexandria taxis are black and orange). You can catch a taxi outside the terminal. Private transfers can also be arranged.

Always keep in mind that it takes time for immigration, customs, security, as well as miscellaneous tasks such as transferring money. And always make sure you’re back at the airport with plenty of time before a connecting flight.

Layover Guide’s Suggestions Of Things To Do On A Cairo Layover:

Cairo Tours

There are many tours available in Cairo that you can book ahead of time, based on your interest. There are bus and walking tours, private tours to the pyramids, boat rides, day trips, biking tours, cultural, food, wine, and nightlife tours and tons more!

Giza Pyramids and Sphinx

The pyramids and Sphinx are a minimum of 45 minutes to one hour each way from the airport (can often times take much more time in case you run into bad traffic). The pyramids open at 8am, and if you can manage to see them are well worth the visit! For around $20 you gain access to the areas around the pyramids. If you arrive at night, there is a night light show.

Step Pyramids of Djoser at Saggara

One of the most expansive archaeological sites in Cairo, the Saggara Pyramids encompass the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the Pyramid of Unas, the Pyramid of Sekhemket, and the Mastaba of Ti. You can also visit the deep underground Persian Tombs. You can check out pictures and learn more about the history here.

Khan Al-Khalili

A place for shoppers and those who want a feel of the Cairo culture, stop by this open air market. Located in Islamic Cairo, the Khan Al-Khalili is bustling bazaar is a great place to do some shopping and take in the sights. From spices to souvenirs, this is a great place to pick up some exotic keepsakes.

The Egyptian Museum

At the Egyptian Museum you can view the treasures of King Tut’s tomb. The museum has 107 halls which houses statues, jewels, Tutankhamon treasures and mummies. There is also a photography section and a huge library. Price of admission is 20 pounds (10 for students).

The Citadel

This huge stone fortress was built in 12th century and on a clear day provides amazing views of the city and even the pyramids. The Citadel offers walking tours and is only a short walk from the Khan Al-Khalili (described above). For more information on the Citadel, click here.

Have a suggestion for a Cairo layover? Leave a comment below!

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Category: Africa, layover, Layover Guides, things to do

Comments (7)

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  1. Ranjan says:


    I am an Indian citizen and will be flying from India to the US via Cairo on Egyptian airlines. There is a layover of 21 hours which I want to use to do some sightseeing in Egypt.

    What is the possibility of getting a transit visa? Is it possible for an Indian citizen on arrival to obtain one? IF so, what is the cost?

    Any reply will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    • Bokya says:

      Hi Ranjan,

      Did you visit egypt as planned? and were you able to obtain a transit or visitor visa on arrival?

      Any information you could provide based on your experience would help.


  2. L. King says:

    I’m a single traveler have the option of a 12 hour layover arriving in Cairo on Nov 1st as 12:30 PM by Air Sinai, and leaving at 1:15 for Toronto via Egypt Air. There’s no luggage storage at the airport. Any suggestions as to what I can do with my luggage and still see some sights?

  3. Kamlia Wiliam says:

    Giza pyramids , sphinx , Egyptian museum are the best for that day with pick up from airport

  4. Candace Ouerghi says:

    I have a 20hr layover in cairo. I am a Muslim woman. Is it safe for me to go in city

  5. Veronica says:

    I only have a 4:40 layover time. Is it even possible to see anything? A short drive to a market or something?I suppose the Pyramids are too far away but what are my options?