Saqqara picture
Ferenc Wagner/EyeEM/Getty Images

Key Info

Saqqara

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2

scorecard

  • 3.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Sandwiched between Giza and Dahshur in southern Cairo and surrounded by palm trees, this archaeological site houses the Step Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt's oldest stone pyramid. The Step Pyramid dates back to the Third Dynasty (2649 to 2575 B.C.) and was constructed for the pharaoh Djoser by the now infamous architect Imhotep. Originally built as a tomb, the Step Pyramid has drawn tourists for millennia, as evidenced by the graffiti adorning its walls.

While the Step Pyramid is a definite must-see, Saqqara is home to several other worthwhile sites, including a number of tombs and a few crumbling pyramids. Recent visitors recommended wearing sneakers since the area is sandy. And if you want to enjoy comfortable temperatures while exploring the site, avoid visiting during the summer.

To reach Saqqara, you can take a taxi from central Cairo or book a bus tour that includes a visit to Saqqara. (Bus tour prices to Saqqara average around $100.) The site welcomes visitors every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until 3 p.m. during Ramadan). Admission to Saqqara – which includes entry to the Step Pyramid of Djoser and the on-site Imhotep Museum – costs 80 Egyptian pounds ($9) for adults and 40 Egyptian pounds (less than $5) for students. Restrooms are available by the parking lot, and vendors sell water and souvenirs near the site's entrance.

See all Hotels in Cairo »

More Best Things To Do in Cairo

Coptic Cairo (Old City)1 of 10
Islamic Cairo2 of 10
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Coptic Cairo (Old City)

This neighborhood in southern Cairo is the oldest part of the city, with twisting alleyways and ancient churches that are several centuries older than the ornate mosques of Islamic Cairo. According to legend, it was St. Mark who introduced Christianity to Egypt, and it was here that Africa's first Christian church – the Coptic Church of Egypt – thrived. To learn more about Coptic Cairo's rich history, check out neighborhood attractions like the Coptic Museum and the ninth-century Hanging Church, which are housed within an ancient Babylonian fortress. You'll also find significant Jewish and Islamic locales here, including the Mosque of Amr Ibn al-Aas – the oldest mosque in Africa – and Ben Ezra Synagogue – the alleged site where the pharaoh's daugher found Moses floating in his basket.

Past visitors said visiting Coptic Cairo is a must, even if you're not religious. History lovers will appreciate the area's abundance of historic sights, while architecture buffs will enjoy gazing at the neighborhood's beautiful mosaics and woodwork. Plus, Coptic Cairo's narrow alleys are lined with street vendors selling a variety of goods.

Read more
JakezC/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Cairo »

Explore More of Cairo

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

Holly JohnsonJanuary 16, 2020

50 Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

From relaxing weekend getaways to epic adventures, these honeymoon trips will help couples create memories to last a lifetime.

Kyle McCarthyJanuary 8, 2020

The Cheapest Days to Fly: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Times to Travel

Use these tips and tricks to get the best deal on your next flight.

Lyn MettlerDecember 23, 2019

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019