Cairo

Things to do in Cairo

The grand structure was built in the neo-Islamic style.

Though self-service check-in is less than surprising for U.S. travelers, it’s big news in Egypt. At Cairo Airport’s kiosks, passengers heading on to other Egyptian cities can check in and print boarding passes without waiting in line.

Youngsters looking for fun before takeoff should head to the play areas in every departure terminal. Look for plastic seesaws and playhouses from American toy company Step 2, touch-screen video games in Terminal 3, and a climbing wall outside the food court in Terminal 3.

Located east of downtown, this old quarter of narrow alleys and soaring minarets (which dates to the Fatimid period) is the city’s traditional center of culture and commerce.

Though this small shop sells Segafredo espresso and plenty of small bites, in-the-know travelers come to Coffee Time for Egypt’s local beer, Sakara.

Craving a hot cup of tea and crumpet? Take a seat on the tufted leather couches at the airport’s English Lounge. Are pasta and a glass of Chianti more your thing? You’ll find bliss in the blue-and-white Italian Lounge.

Tucked behind security and customs, the new pubby Heineken Bar has light and local brews on tap, as well as an international menu if you’re looking for a quick pre-flight pick-me-up.

Located at the airport’s front entrance, near Orouba Road, this elaborate outdoor patio is meant to conjure up visions of the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis, or Sun City. Don’t Miss: The desert gardens and deep-blue pools.

Cairo’s most famous bookseller, Al Diwan, will open at Cairo International in late 2009. At the shop you’ll find Egyptian titles including No One Sleeps in Alexandria by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, as well as novels in English by the Cairo-born Nobel Prize–winning author Naguib Mahfouz. 

VIPs who pay $1,000 for your-round access get ultra-special treatment in this sleek space that looks more like an urban loft than an airport lounge.

The gallery is frequented by the older Cairo set of artists.

Many news and book outlets in the airport are operated by Al Shorouk, Egypt’s largest publishing house. Here you’ll find nonfiction and literature in three languages: English, French, and Arabic.