Cairo essentials

Adam Wright
Oct 6
Cairo is very much a love it or hate it kind of place. The city is a pulsing powerhouse of energy and activity. Some say the trick to loving Cairo is not staying too long!
The Windsor Hotel
First off you need somewhere to stay. Cairo has plenty of top quality international hotels - the Intercontinental is well situated and an excellent choice for reliable uniformity. However, there is only one Windsor Hotel. The Hotel, constructed in 1893, is a dusty nod to a golden era gone by. It once served as a British Officers' Club in the second World War and is home to the oldest hand operated elevator in Egypt.
The real prized gem of this hotel is the iconic Barrel Bar. The bar, tables and chairs are made entirely out of old barrels and it feels like you a walking back in time to faded colonial glamour. We honoured the British stereotype and got stuck into some G&Ts - as a hundred years of Brits before us have in that bar!
The Pyramids of Giza
Rise early and beat the crowds, starting at the Great Pyramid, we were instantly blown away by the sheer size and scale. Construction was believed to be finished in 2560BC and built as a tomb for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. For over 3800 years the pyramid remained the tallest man made structure in the world and remains one of few man-made structures visible from space.
Adjacent to the Great Pyramid lies the Pyramid of Khafre. From a far Khafre's pyramid appears larger than Khufu's but this is only due to its elevated position, 10m higher ,and the steeper angled sides. The final pyramid, the Pyramid of Menkaure, is a short walk away. It is the smallest of the three, but no less impressive.

Adjacent to the Great Pyramid lies the Pyramid of Khafre. From a far Khafre's pyramid appears larger than Khufu's but this is only due to its elevated position, 10m higher ,and the steeper angled sides. The final pyramid, the Pyramid of Menkaure, is a short walk away. It is the smallest of the three, but no less impressive.

Before heading over to see the Great Sphinx of Giza we were given the choice of a camel ride to a viewing point to see all of the pyramids. Usually this is the sort of thing that we would avoid like the plague. However, our guide confirmed the amount we should pay and we headed out into the desert.

The final must see of the Giza complex is the Great Sphinx of Giza. This was by far the busiest spot out of the whole place and we could see that by 11am many tourist buses were arriving. Body of a lion, head of a human, the Sphinx is very impressive. The oldest known monumental structure in Egypt it is believed to represent the face of Khafre.

Egyptian Antiquities Museum

From the Pyramids of Giza head straight to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Established in 1835, the museum holds over 120,000 items and is one of the largest museums in the region. There is far too much to take in - we spend time decoding the secrets of the Pharaohs - in particular the legend of the queen whose emerald eyes had fooled her discoverers in to thinking she was glaring hypnotically at them from her tomb, and, of course, the boy king Tutankhamun - everyone's favourite! It would take weeks to fully take in every exhibit, so we recommend planning your visit carefully to ensure you see the things you are most interested in.

All that is left for you now is mousakka, shwarmas and gin in the Windsor Barrel Bar! Of course, there is far more to see and explore in Cairo, but we found this to be the right amount of time to leave with fond memories.