Located on the shores of the eternal Nile River, Cairo is your best choice to indulge in luxury, experience Egypt’s lively nightlife, and see the mysterious Sphinx.
In fact, the metropolis is likely your best option to see ancient sites while also enjoying the perks of an urban city — not only in Egypt but in the whole of the Middle East.
Now, if you want to find out where to stay in Cairo based on your preferences and priorities, check out this guide that we’ve prepared for you; let us show you the way!
The 4 Best Places to Stay in Cairo
Although Cairo is one of the 15 largest cities in the world, the most tourist-friendly areas in the city are located near the west and the east parts of the Nile River.
With the exception of Giza — which is a slightly smaller town located extremely close to Cairo — all of the areas in our guide are basically part of the city center.
That’s where you’ll find the museums, restaurants, landmarks, and, most importantly, numerous hotels in every price range.
To recap, the best areas include:
- Downtown: The European-like center, located right next to the historical, Islamic part of the city, is the best and most obvious choice for first-time visitors to Cairo.
- Zamalek: An artificial island in the middle of the River Nile, it’s an affluent and safe part of the city, full of nightclubs, bars, and cafes, which offer the most vibrant nightlife experience in Cairo.
- Garden City: Built according to the English principles of the Garden City, it’s probably the safest and calmest part of Cairo, packed with embassies and villas, and definitely the most family-friendly area in the capital of Egypt.
- Giza: The third largest city in Egypt, located very close to Cairo, is the definitive home base for exploring the pyramids and the mysteries of Ancient Egypt.
Where to Stay in Cairo: Best Areas & Hotels
Cairo is a major tourist destination and probably the safest and most developed city in all of Africa. The accommodation options are both numerous and welcoming, with some of the most important European and American chains of hotels having establishments in the capital of Egypt.
Your best all-around option as a tourist is the central area. Downtown Cairo is practically packed with hotels of all types and price ranges, from budget options to super luxurious hotels like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.
Zamalek and Garden City are also tourist-friendly and safe, but Garden City’s draw is the unusually family-friendly atmosphere.
If, on the other hand, you’re mostly here for the pyramids and other Ancient Egyptian landmarks, the city of Giza is a great alternative, which also has tons of accommodation options.
The story of Cairo’s downtown is really unusual. In the middle to late 19th century, Egypt was ruled by Isma’il Pasha of Egypt, a man of great ideas and even greater resolution and energy.
Fascinated by the grand boulevards, the palaces, and candelabras of Belle Époque Paris, he wanted the same thing done in Cairo.
Isma’il didn’t waste time: he immediately hired a French architect and simply willed into existence — as he willed the Suez Canal — Cairo’s new harmonious and geometrical center, right next to the historic, medieval part of the city.
As Paris is mostly famous for its glorious and wide boulevards, that’s also the first thing you’ll notice in the western-inspired center of Cairo.
There are basically two streets that you have to stroll to experience this specific side of the city: Qasr El Nil Street and Talaat Harb Street. Along the way, you’ll see a lot of beautiful buildings and important landmarks.
Qasr El Nil Street, for example, starts at the Abdeen Palace (also built by Isma’il), a magnificent building that serves as one of the presidential palaces.
It passes through Tahrir Square — where the 2011 Egyptian Revolution happened — and reaches Gezira Island (Zamalek), after crossing the Qasr El Nil Bridge over the Nile.
This is probably the most beautiful and popular viewpoint in the city (together with the Cairo Tower) since it gives a glorious view of the most famous river in the world.
The whole area is packed with museums and cultural establishments, and it’s also the financial and economic center of the city. It’s quite urban, too, with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Finally, in terms of accommodation, it’s probably the most versatile area in the whole of Cairo. When you combine all these things together, you get the most suitable area for first-time visitors in the city.
Downtown Budget Hotels
- Arabesque Hotel is an unbelievably cheap two-star hotel located in the utmost center of Cairo, close to both the Nile and the Cairo Museum. The hotel offers a fantastic city view, family rooms with all the amenities, on-site parking, a terrace, and a restaurant on the premises.
- Downtown Inn is another extremely cheap two-star hotel with a great location, close to almost every landmark in the center of Cairo, like the Cairo Tower, the Cairo Museum, and the Al-Azhar Mosque. Aside from the free Wi-Fi and private parking, the hotel also serves great breakfast.
Downtown Mid-Range Hotels
- Miramar Talaat Harb is a decent and really cheap three-star hotel located around 600 meters from the famous Tahrir Square. In the morning, you can choose between a continental and halal breakfast in the morning that you can enjoy on the beautiful terrace with views of the city. The rooms are large, have flat-screen TVs, and offer excellent views of the city center.
- Hostgram Hotel is another great three-star accommodation located in the heart of the capital of Egypt. It offers a free airport shuttle and a car rental service, as well as a shared kitchen on the premises, free Wi-Fi, and private parking. You can also choose between continental, vegan, or vegetarian breakfast in the morning. Every room has a terrace with a view, a flat-screen TV, a working desk, and a wardrobe.
Downtown Luxury Hotels
- The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo is by far the most beautiful and most luxurious hotel in Cairo. Located in the heart of the city, it’s close both to the Nile River and the Cairo Museum. Simply put, the Nile Ritz-Carlton is as much a landmark as it is a hotel. Apart from the splendid restaurant, it also offers an outdoor swimming pool and a famous casino on the premises.
- InterContinental Cairo Semiramis, an IHG Hotel is one of the best upscale accommodation options in Cairo and a place particularly suitable for couples. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness center, a restaurant and bar on the premises, and professional room service.
Once you cross the Nile River and take a long, thoughtful stroll amongst the beautiful bronze lions on the Qasr El Nil Bridge, you’ll slowly enter the area known as Zamalek.
It’s an artificial island in the middle of a very wide part of the Nile, and it’s known as an affluent and very safe part of Cairo. The manmade island is not new, though: it was created in the middle of the 19th century.
Zamalek is roughly divided into three parts, and the northern part is a fun and lively area full of nightclubs, cafes, and clubs. The southern parts, on the other hand, are packed with parks, green spaces, and a lot of sports facilities.
The northern part of Zamalek — the part in which you’re most likely to find a hotel — is quite similar to the western-oriented style and atmosphere of Cairo’s downtown.
It’s also home to the embassies and residences of foreign ambassadors, as well as plenty of high-end mansions from the early 20th century, most of them constructed in a flamboyant and extravagant Art Deco style.
That said, there are many more landmarks, beautiful buildings, and establishments that are worth visiting.
There’s the Cairo Opera House, the main musical and performance establishment in the city; the neo-Ottoman and neo-Islamic Prince Amr Ibrahim Palace, which houses the Museum of Islamic Ceramics; and the All Saints’ Cathedral, the main Episcopal and Anglican diocese in North Africa.
But probably the most important and most visited landmark in Zamalek is the unforgettable 187-meter-tall Cairo Tower.
For around 37 years, it was the tallest structure in the whole of Egypt before being surpassed by the Suez Canal overhead powerline crossing in 1988. In the eyes of the Egyptians, it’s as famous and well-known as the Pyramid of Giza.
Zamalek Budget Hotels
- New Star Zamalek Hotel is a very cheap two-star hotel in the Zamalek area with a great restaurant on the premises. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout the premises (but no parking), everyday room service, and a very tasty breakfast in the morning.
- Horus House Hotel Zamalek is another three-star budget hotel near the center of Cairo. Every room in the hotel has a private bathroom, satellite TV, and a work desk. There’s also a restaurant on the premises, hot breakfast is served in the buffet, and nourishing drinks are savored on the terrace.
Zamalek Mid-Range Hotels
- New President Hotel Zamalek is a neat and slightly more expensive three-star hotel located in the heart of Zamalek. There is a bar and restaurant on the premises, as well as very quick and professional room service. Particularly suitable for families, the premises of the hotel are non-smoking.
- President Hotel is a gorgeous three-star hotel conveniently located around a mile from the famous Cairo Tower. The hotel offers beautiful modern rooms equipped with all the amenities, three restaurants, a bar, a fitness center, and a concierge service.
Zamalek Luxury Hotels
- Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino is a gorgeous five-star hotel with rooms that have excellent views either of the Nile River or the gardens on the premises of the hotel. The restaurant in the hotel serves Italian, Middle Eastern, and Japanese dishes, there are cafes and bars on the premises, and the outdoor swimming pool is simply gorgeous.
- Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences is a luxurious four-star hotel, part of the famous Hilton chain of hotels, located amidst the waters of the Nile. The restaurant on the premises offers international cuisine, and the bar serves hot and cold beverages on the terrace.
3. Garden City
Garden City, the area located just to the south of downtown, is an eloquent witness of the life-giving power of the River Nile. At the beginning of the 19th century, the river shifted a little bit and left a huge, swampy area behind it.
The then ruler of the country, Muhammad Ali Pasha — the so-called “creator” of Modern Egypt — seized the chance and quickly started filling the marshes and transforming the bog into fertile ground for trees and greenery.
After a few decades, the area was blooming and filled with gorgeous palaces. Today, Garden City is one of the safest and calmest areas in Cairo.
Loosely built around the English-inspired Garden City movement (hence the name of the area), it’s a well-balanced and harmonious neighborhood with plenty of beautiful architecture and a lot of green spaces.
It’s probably one of the most family-friendly areas in the whole of Cairo. Garden City is not particularly packed with landmarks, museums, or important historical places like downtown, Old Cairo, or even Zamalek.
Some of the central establishments in the area are the English, the American, and the Italian embassies. But, on the other hand, Garden City is fairly close to both the center and Zamalek, and it offers one of the best views of the Nile in all of Cairo.
Formerly the home of the creme de la creme of Egypt’s aristocracy, today Garden City still lives under the aura of its former glory. The streets are broad and clean, and there are plenty of old and interesting buildings that are worth visiting.
Check out Beit El-Sennari, for example, a house built in the 18th century and today a center for applied arts.
The accommodation options in Garden City are not as versatile and great as in downtown and Zamalek, but they’re still pretty decent. There are a couple of cheap budget options and one of the best hotels in Cairo, the Four Seasons.
Garden City Budget Hotels
- Garden Season Hotel is a very cheap two-star hotel located close to many of the most famous landmarks in the wider center of Cairo. The hotel is very versatile and offers plenty of different services, like an ATM, a barber shop, a tour desk, an airport shuttle, and room service.
- Garden City Plaza Hotel is another relatively cheap and centrally located two-star hotel. Particularly suitable for couples, it offers, first of all, a nice continental breakfast in the morning. But there’s also free Wi-Fi, a parking lot, and a restaurant on the premises, where you can have a romantic dinner or a lunch.
Garden City Mid-Range Hotels
- The New Garden Palace Hotel is a decent three-star hotel located less than a mile from Tahir Square in Cairo’s downtown. The hotel offers a halal or continental breakfast in the morning, a free airport shuttle, soundproof rooms, a concierge service, and room service.
- Nile view apartment is a three-star apartment in the middle of Cairo’s Garden City with a beautiful view of the Nile. The apartment has one bedroom and one kitchen, and it offers free Wi-Fi, free parking, a nice garden on the premises, and a beautiful terrace.
Garden City Luxury Hotels
- Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza is definitely — together with Ritz Carlton — one of the best and most luxurious hotels in Cairo. Although the panoramic view of the Nile and its luxurious rooms are a given, it also offers a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, and a very chic bar on the premises.
- Relaxing Gem in Downtown is a four-star accommodation that’s perfect for everyone and values privacy above all. A huge air-conditioned apartment in the heart of Garden City, it offers gorgeous family rooms, a kitchen, and a cozy balcony.
You can’t say you’ve really been to Egypt unless you’ve visited its most famous landmarks — the Pyramids of Giza.
The ancient Egyptian civilization was as sublime as it was mysterious, and one of the main reasons why people visit Cairo is to check out the remains of the old-gone culture in nearby Giza.
Simply put, it’s the best place to visit the pyramids and the other landmarks of Egyptian civilization. Giza, located on the western bank of the Nile, is very close to the western part of the center of Cairo, and it’s basically a city unto itself, the third largest in Egypt.
It has great luxurious hotels, amazing restaurants, and bustling shops, but its highlight is the Giza Plateau. The Giza Plateau is a large limestone-laden space and the home of the Fourth Dynasty Giza pyramid complex.
In other words, it’s one of the most important historical locations in the world. There are plenty of things to see here, but four of them stick out:
- The Great Pyramid of Giza (or of Khufu) is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the only one that remains practically intact. It was the tallest manmade structure for more than 3,800 years.
- The Pyramid of Khafre (or of Chephren) is the second tallest in the group and located in the middle.
- The Pyramid of Menkaure, which is the third and the smallest of the three, is no less sublime and famous.
- Lastly, there’s the Great Sphinx of Giza, a 73-meter-long and 20-meter-high mythical creature with the head of a man and the body of a lion. It’s probably the oldest and most mysterious structure in all of Egypt.
Giza Budget Hotels
- Pyramids and sphinx hotel is a very cheap three-star hotel that nonetheless offers an excellent view of the pyramids. Located around 600 meters from the Sphynx, it offers a bunch of services connected to the pyramids, like a tour desk, horse riding, and an airport shuttle.
- Shadow Pyramids View INN is another decent and cheap three-star hotel located within walking distance from the Sphinx. The hotel serves an American, Italian, and continental breakfast in the morning and provides organized horse riding tours to the historical monuments.
Giza Mid-Range Hotels
- ELITE REGENCY Great PYRAMIDS is a more expensive but great two-star hotel located less than a mile from the pyramids. This luxurious yet mid-range hotel offers an excellent view of the countryside, a spa and wellness center on the premises, and tasty breakfast in the morning.
- Comfort Inn Sphinx is a gorgeous three-star hotel located very close to the famous Sphinx. Every room in the hotel is furnished with a comfortable sitting area. Moreover, there’s a restaurant, a bar, and concierge service on the premises, as well as a lot of services connected with the touring of the local landmarks.
Giza Luxury Hotels
- Marriott Mena House, Cairo is a gorgeous five-star hotel overlooking the pyramids of Giza. There are around 40 acres of greenery on the premises, a swimming pool, a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, and handcrafted decorated rooms. The pyramids of Giza are located very close to the hotel.
- Four Seasons Cairo At The First Residence is another Four Seasons hotel in Cairo, and again, very close (around 100 meters) to the Nile. Every room is furnished with a stylish Colonial decor and equipped with all the modern amenities. There’s also a swimming pool, a restaurant, a bar and a casino on the premises.
So, Where Should You Stay in Cairo?
Now that we’ve left the pyramids, the museums, the mosques, and the boulevards of Cairo behind, let’s do a quick recap of the four best areas in Cairo and finish our interesting adventure through the capital of Egypt.
Yours is yet to begin, and here’s a reminder regarding your options:
|🏆 Best for First Timers
|🎉 Best for Nightlife
|👪 Best for Families
|🏰 Most Historic
So, with so much to see and do and plenty of wonderful areas in which to stay, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Cairo has to offer. Happy travels!