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Where to Stay in Cairo in 2023 | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Cairo in 2023 | Best Areas & Hotels

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 Parts of 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:

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The Best Areas & Hotels in Cairo

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.

1. Downtown

A person can be seen crossing a street in a city with low-rise structures.

Cairo, Egypt, November 24 ,2017 : Traffic, downtown Cairo./SRStudio/Shutterstock

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.  

Things to Do

  • The first thing you should do in this area — after you’ve strolled the magnificent boulevards — is to visit the unforgettable Egyptian Museum. It’s easily the most popular and most visited establishment in the center, with more than 120,000 artifacts in its collection. It’s located on Tahrir Square, and you’ll immediately recognize it for its huge size and salmon-pink color.
  • There’s no better thing to do in Cairo than to walk around and explore the known and unknown jewels of the city center. First, take a look at the huge and abandoned The Said Halim Palace (also known as Champion Palace); then, take a stroll through the Paris-inspired shopping arcade called Baehler Passage, built in the Art Deco Style; lastly, take a look at the marvelous Yacoubian Building.
  • The modern and European-styled downtown is located right next to the Islamic and historic center of Cairo. Due to the close proximity and the historical importance, it’s definitely a place you should visit as well. It offers a completely different perspective on the city, completely opposite from the wide boulevards and Art Deco buildings of the western part of the center. We especially recommend the Cairo Citadel.
  • Thera are a couple of historic restaurants and cafes that offer an unforgettable taste of Cairo, as well as insight into the urban and everyday life of the city. For a cold beer, visit the Al Horreya Cafe; Cafe Riche has been going strong since 1917; lastly, the Nile Ritz-Carlton is a great spot for upscale lunch or dinner.

Where to Eat

  • Felfela is a traditional Egyptian restaurant and one of the best spots for authentic Egyptian dishes, like the taameya and the fuul. With a rich tradition going back to 1959, you’ll have exemplary service. However, do note that it’s especially crowded during the weekends. Their beer options are quite nice, too.
  • Koshary Abou Tarek is the best place in the center of Cairo if you’re looking for a quick and cheap lunch or dinner. Don’t expect anything romantic or fancy (the neon lights are especially unappealing), but it still offers the tastiest koshary in town, and the constant lines are a clear witness to that.  
  • Oldish (Restaurant & Cafe) is the right place for you if you prefer some peace and quiet amidst the din of Egypt’s capital. They offer both Egyptian and European dishes, but they’re mostly famous for their comfort food, no matter the tradition.

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.  

See All Hotels in Cairo

2. Zamalek

A tall cylindrical structure built near a riverbank with trees.


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.

Things to Do

  • As we mentioned earlier, Zamalek is both safe and fun, and it’s the area where you’ll find the most exciting nightlife locales in Cairo. There are numerous places that you can visit for a drink or three, but we recommend the following ones: Buddha Bar, Purple Lounge & Bar, and BLUE NILE BOAT.
  • Zamalek is a very cultured place, with a lot of bookstores and antique shops that look like they’ve traveled in time from one of the tales of One Thousand and One Nights. Diwan Bookstore, for example, is the go-to spot for literature on Egyptology. Nostalgia Art Gallery and Noubi are the best antique shops in the area, packed with old books, artifacts, porcelain, paintings, and old photographs.
  • If you want to feel like royalty and spend an afternoon in a beautiful garden in the middle of a modern metropolis, visit The Aquarium Grotto Garden. Located in the southern part of the city, near the German Embassy, it was built in 1867, and it was a popular area for aristocrats for a long time. It was also a place of inspiration for many filmmakers and the backdrop for a romantic rendezvous in motion pictures.
  • Finally, we recommend visiting the lovely Aisha Fahmy Palace located on the shores of the Nile. Built for a mighty Egyptian aristocrat in 1907 by Antonio Lasciac, who built most of Cairo’s iconic buildings, the interior is filled with paintings by European masters (like Delacroix, Gauguin, and Renoir) and plenty of Japanese art.

Where to Eat

  • O’s Pasta is one of the best and most charming restaurants in Zamalek if you’re looking for sumptuous pasta. Located near the Marriott Hotel on 26th July Street, it offers more than 20 types of pasta, a lot of seafood, and a couple of great soups, but no alcohol.
  • Makino is a very convenient choice for lovers of Sushi. It’s an unjustly little-known place located in Zamalek’s Marriott, and it’s mostly visited by Japanese people living in Cairo. The food is prepared by Japanese chefs, who also combine and create interesting Japanese/Egyptian fusion dishes.  
  • Sabai Sabai is a gorgeous Thai restaurant located in Metro Market in Zamalek. The only problem with this place is the parking — everything else, including the premises, the food, and the staff, is more than great. The place offers all the authentic Thai recipes, some tasty Chinese dishes, and it also serves alcohol.

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.  

See All Hotels in Cairo

3. Garden City

A sunset can be seen hovering over a tall structure built beside a river with a sailboat.

CAIRO, EGYPT – APRIL 26, 2022: View from the Nile river with Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Water Taxi Garden City Station in front and others important skyscraper in the vicinity./Florin Cnejevici/Shutterstock

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.

Things to Do

  • Garden City is extremely walkable and very safe. One of the best strolls in the area is by the Corniche. It offers, as we said earlier, one of the best and most relaxing views of the city. Usually, especially when the sun starts to set, the area is filled with both tourists and locals. We recommend you follow the Corniche until you reach the recognizable lions of the Qasr el-Nil Bridge — they’re truly a sight to see.
  • Garden City may not be famous for its museums, but it has a couple of interesting establishments to offer nonetheless. We already mentioned the Beit El-Sennari house, built by a Sudanese occultist in the 18th century, but we also recommend the Ethnological Museum, a rather unfairly forgotten place.
  • As the Nille is right next to you, there’s no better thing to do while staying in Garden City than to have a long boat tour. Feluccas (traditional Egyptian ships) are always waiting behind the Four Seasons Hotel. There’s no need to reserve, but be prepared to bargain about the price.  
  • Finally, as you’re going to stroll the streets of Garden City anyway, we may as well recommend some beautiful buildings for you to visit. Start with the charming English Embassy, then continue to the Dobara Palace on Bolivar Square, and finish at the ultra-modern Belmont Building skyscraper.

Where to Eat

  • Osmanly Restaurant is the right choice for you if you like to feel — at least for one day — as a sultan or a sultana. A traditional Turkish restaurant with a strong accent on historic Ottoman cuisine, it has some of the best beef and lamb in the city, and they’re mostly famous for the Hünkar Beğendi.
  • Taboula is one of the first casual Middle Eastern or, more specifically, Lebanese restaurants in this part of the city. Taboula’s offering is simple — hearty and tasty meals at very reasonable prices. The place also offers takeaway and delivery.
  • Beymen Cafe is an international restaurant and cafe located in the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Garden City. The interior of the restaurant and the hotel are simply gorgeous, while the food is expensive but gourmet. It’s mostly suitable for anniversaries and special occasions.  

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.

See All Hotels in Cairo

4. Giza

The ever famous pyramid and sphinx in the Egyptian desert, and a man with his camel can be seen walking towards them.


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.

Things to Do

  • The four landmarks are not the only structures that are worth visiting in Giza — far from it. After you’ve finished with the main attraction, check out the so-called Pyramids of Dahshur. There are plenty of other pyramids near the small village, but two of them, again, stick out: Senefru’s Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both of them quite unconventional and very well preserved.
  • For many years, the Egyptian Museum in the center of Cairo was the best and most visited museum in Egypt, but not anymore. The Great Egyptian Museum is supposed to have started working at the beginning of 2024, and it’s to be one of the greatest and largest museums in the world. A lot of artifacts from the Egyptian museums (along with the sarcophagi) were already transferred here.
  • There are two other museums that are located in the area of Giza that are worth your time. Ahmed Shawki Museum (Karmat Ibn Hani’) is dedicated to the famous poet laureate and boasts plenty of manuscripts, artifacts, and paintings. Taha Hussein Museum, located in his former house, is a lasting monument to one of Egypt’s most important modern writers.

Where to Eat

  • Nile Pharaohs Cruising Restaurant is a gorgeous restaurant on a cruising boat that offers an unforgettable experience on the Nile River. It’s perfect for special occasions, birthdays, and anniversaries, and it offers a wide variety of Greek and Mediterranean dishes.
  • Yogi Restaurant & Club is an interesting and dynamic fusion restaurant that offers an unexpected combination of Japanese and Peruvian dishes. Located on the shores of the Nile, it’s great for every meal of the day, and it’s especially popular for a relaxed brunch.
  • La Gourmandise is a gorgeous French and Italian restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel in Giza. It’s simply one of the best and most luxurious restaurants in the region, offering many classic dishes prepared in unexpected ways and served with much taste and elegance.

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.

See All Hotels in Cairo

So, Where Should You Stay in Cairo?

🏆 Best for First TimersDowntown
🎉 Best for NightlifeZamalek
👪 Best for FamiliesGarden City
🏰 Most HistoricGiza

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:

  • The European-styled downtown, located next to the historic and Islamic part of the city, is the best and the most reliable option for every first-time visitor to Cairo.
  • Zamalek is a manmade island in the middle of the Nile, to the west of downtown, and it offers the most vibrant and lively nightlife options in Cairo.
  • Garden City, located to the south of Downtown, is an affluent, relaxed, and safe area, packed with embassies from all over the world, and it’s the most family-friendly part of the city.
  • Finally, Giza, the third largest town in Egypt, and it’s located just a couple of miles from the center of Cairo. It’s the place if you want see the pyramids and learn more about Ancient Egypt.

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!