(1) People usually rush through Cairo as there is a wide variety of sightseeing to do. There is a lot to see and it is often jam-packed in rushed itineraries, missing a lot of depth and breadth. Travel broadens the mind. Cairo has a lot of hidden gems that often go undetected by the average traveler.
(2) Here are the top must-see hidden gems in Cairo:
El Sawy Culture Wheel
A private cultural centre, the El Sawy Culture Wheel offers a wide variety of events including seminars, talks and performances across the arts, from dance, music and puppetry. Established in 2003 by Mohamed El-Sawy as a token of appreciation of his father, the legendary writer Abdel Moneim El-Sawy. He was a famed figure in his local community and once even the Ministry of Culture in Egypt. Today, the culture wheel celebrates his legacy by highlighting Egypt and the world’s performers and intellectuals. Be sure to give their website a look to see what they have planned on their schedule.
Al Azhar Park, Darb al-Ahmar
Sprawling with endless green space, neighrboring Islamic Cairo, Azhar Park attracts locals and tourists alike with its verdant green hills, water fountains and idyllic garden. It was built upon a mountains of ruins actually but you could never tell by its abundant greenery, palm trees and lakes. You can even bask in amazing view of Islamic Cairo and the soaring minarets from the designated observation point. Stretching along the side of the park is a restored Ayyibis wall built over 800 years ago by Salah El Din.
If you get hungry, there’s a smattering of restaurants and snack stands scattered through the park. For a blissful meal head to the Lakeside Café for some peaceful water-side dining. Also, Studio Masr is a gorgeous restaurants decorated with classic Egyptian flair flaunting unimpeded views of the famous Mohamed Ali Citadel in the distance.
Cairo Opera House small hall, Zamalek
His small hall is a wonderful alternative to its larger counterpart which offers grand ballets and massive opera performance. This hall has inexpensive tickets, beautiful wood-paneled walls and even a small 500-person capacity, giving it an intimate feel.
The schedule usually includes cultural evening with local music, piano recitals and of course, chamber music. It’s atmospheric, cozy and barely ever packed.
(3) Khan el Khalili Bazaar
The famous souk is an immersive experience in the world of Medieval Cairo. You’ll be invited in with tempting smells of exotic spices and shiny antiques glimmering with vibrant colors, intricate designs and usually expensive price tags. This colorful market was once the birual fround of the Fatimid caliphs. The street is lined with gorgeous Islamic architecture and intriguing treasurs. Local vendors sell a cornucopia of goods from clothing and shoes to hookahs and unique souvenirs. This is hands down the best place to purchase some souvenirs to bring back home to friends and family.
(4) Gayer-Anderson Museum
Tucked away in the bustiling local neighborhood of Sayeda Zainab, this famous museum was once built using the exterior wall of the iconic Mosque of Ibn Tulun. The Britisy Major Gayer-Anderson lives in the hybrid double house during the mid-20th century and is considered one of the best-preserved monuments of 17th century domestic design native to Cairo. The museum houses a large collection of furniture, antiques and carpets.
Al Manial Palace
This gorgeous castle is located in the Al Manial neighborhood of Cairo. Built beween 1899 and 1929, this dazzling palace was established by the uncle of King Farouk, Prince Mohamed Tewfuk. The gem reflects the fusion of Ottoman, Person and Islamic architecture—a microcosm of Egypt’s varied history.
The Andalusian Garden Park
One of Cairo’s true hidden gems, Cairenes pass by the gates of this park without even noticing it. It is located across from the Sofitel Hotel in Zamalek in the heart of Cairo. It was built by Zulfaqar Basha in 1935 and was initially designed to be a part of Khedive Ismail’s royal palace. It is considered one of the most unique and underrepresented attractions in Cairo, especially due to its well-preserved Andalusian-architectural style.