Khan El-Khalili#8 in Best Things To Do in Cairo
Price & Hours
For the best taste of Cairo's vibrant, chaotic personality, make a beeline to Khan El-Khalili. Overflowing into the narrow streets of Islamic Cairo, this bustling market serves as the go-to place for authentic Egyptian souvenirs. Its labyrinth of alleyways houses a treasure trove of Egyptian jewelry, hookah pipes and spices.
A visit to Khan El-Khalili will certainly test your bargaining skills: Prepare for vendors to bombard you, and always assume that prices are marked up. Aim to knock the starting price down by at least 20%, and if you're facing a stubborn opponent, don't hesitate to walk away. Also, it's easy to lose track of young children at this market, so it's best to come without kids. And if you're on a tight schedule or aren't the best with directions, consider visiting Khan El-Khalili via a bus tour. Tours start at $60 and are available through companies like Egypt Tailor Made Tours and Emo Tours Egypt.
Getting to the Khan El-Khalili bazaar, which is free to visit, can be a bit tricky: The nearest Cairo Metro stop – Bab El-Shaaria – is about a mile northwest of the market, and it's very easy to get lost on Islamic Cairo's side streets. Consider hailing a taxi or taking a bus tour to the region instead. Most stalls open around 9:30 a.m. and close at sunset every day.
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#1 Islamic Cairo
This sprawling neighborhood in eastern Cairo encompasses a labyrinth of twisting alleyways and a spattering of awe-inspiring architecture. The atmosphere here will take some getting used to: The streets are crowded, noisy and littered with animal droppings. But if you take the time to adjust to Islamic Cairo's chaotic environment, you won't regret making the trek.
You'll find a number of top attractions here, including Khan El-Khalili's bazaar and the Salah El-Din Citadel. According to past visitors, no matter where you wander in the area, you'll stumble upon archeological treasures and architectural gems. To see Islamic Cairo's sights, get out and walk or tag along on an organized bus tour. Bus tours – like those offered by Memphis Tours and Egypt Tailor Made Tours – include local guides, so if you want to learn more about the neighborhood's history, this is the best way to get around.
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