We spent three nights in Cairo at the InterContinental Cairo Semiramis which left plenty of time for visiting the pyramids of Giza and exploring the city. During our one full day in Cairo, we booked a tour to Coptic Cairo, the Khan El Khalili Bazaars, and the Egyptian Museum. While you can visit all of these on your own, we felt a tour was helpful so we could learn more about what we were actually seeing. Here’s my full guide of what to see with one day in Cairo.
Coptic Cairo is a part of Old Cairo which was the center of Christianity in Egypt before and during the Islamic Era. The area is still predominantly Christian and is home to many important churches.
The Hanging Church
The Hanging Church is the most famous church in Coptic Cairo. It’s named for its location above the Roman fortress referred to as the Babylon Fortress.
The church itself isn’t hanging per se, but rather located at the top of a flight of stairs.
Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga)
The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, also known as Abu Serga, is one of the oldest churches in Coptic Cairo.
Underneath the church is a crypt where it is believed the Holy Family stayed while Jesus was an infant. This was a highlight of our time in Coptic Cairo.
Ben Ezra Synagogue
You might not expect to find a synagogue near Coptic Cairo, but the Ben Ezra Synagogue is worth a visit. Built during the 9th century, the Ben Ezra Synagogue was constructed in an old church from the 4th century. It is said that it was built on the spot where the prophet Jeremiah gathered the Jews after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.
Khan El Khalili Bazaars
After Coptic Cairo, we headed to the Khan El Khalili Bazaars for some shopping. You’ll find the typical tourist souvenirs as well as silver, gold, brassware, copper, perfumes, and leather. If you’re like us, this will be a relatively quick stop since we don’t tend to buy much while traveling.
The last stop of the day was the Egyptian Museum, formally known as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Visiting the Egyptian Museum is a must since most of the artifacts found at the archaeological sites are kept here. I highly recommend having a tour guide at the museum so you know what you are looking at. We also appreciated coming here after visiting the pyramids of Giza since it gave us more context.
A highlight of the Egyptian Museum is the Tutankhamun Collection. We enjoyed seeing King Tut’s tomb at the Valley of the Kings, but this is where most of the artifacts from the tomb are on display.
For an additional charge, you can visit the two Mummy Rooms. Some people are on the fence about paying extra to see the mummies, but I personally thought it was worth it.
Cairo is a large city with lots to see and do. Depending on your interests, if you have one day in Cairo, you may choose to visit Coptic Cairo, the Khan El Khalili Bazaars, and the Egyptian Museum. Of the three stops, the Egyptian Museum is a must-see.