Cairo Egypt (CAI)
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Getting There By Air
Cairo International Airport (+202 2265 5000 / +202 2265 2222/ http://www.cairo-airport.com
) is the busiest in the Middle East, and plans and development of new terminals are assuring its capability of handling air traffic from all over the world. Major carriers
Air Canada (+1 888 247 2262/ http://www.aircanada.com
Air France (+1 800 237 2747/ http://www.airfrance.com
British Airways ( +1 800 247 9297/ http://www.british-airways.com
Iberia (+902 400 500/ http://www.iberia.com
Japanese Airlines ( +1 800 525 3663/ http://www.ar.jal.com/en/
Swiss (+1 877 359 7947/ http://www.swiss.com/web/EN/Pages/index.aspx
United Airlines (+1 800 241 6522/ http://www.ual.com
There are currently two international terminals
in the airport, and a third for internal flights. A shuttle bus goes around the airport linking the terminals, but is not always reliable. There are plans to build a new "Automated People Mover." There are plenty of taxis that can ferry you around.
To get into town, you can pre-book a place on the air-conditioned Cairo Airport Shuttle Bus
, or pick up a rickety local bus
from Terminal 1. There are plans to extend the Metro line all the way to the airport.
For most people, the easiest way to get to Cairo from the airport is to take a cab
. You can pick up a fixed price service from inside the terminals, or take your chances with the cabs hanging around outside. A fair price to get to the centre of town is around 40 - 60 LE, depending on time of day and where exactly you want to go.
companies are located right outside the airport and include:
Avis (+1 800 831 2847/ http://www.avis.com
Budget ( +1 800 527 0700/ http://www.budget.com
Europcar ( +33 0825 825 490/ http://www.europcar.com
Hertz ( +1 800 654 3131/ http://www.hertz.com
Thrifty ( http://www.thrifty.com
online reservations only )
Short-term car parking
is available for about 1,000 cars and is located within walking distance of the terminal buildings.
Getting There Overland
It's possible to cross into Egypt overland from Israel
, and there are some buses
that run directly between Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Cairo - see http://www.mazada.co.il
You can also come from Jordan
on the Aqaba-Nuweiba ferry
, though it's a time consuming and chaotic procedure.
Once in Egypt
, there is an extensive local bus network
that links to Cairo, though be prepared for long, rather uncomfortable rides.
Transport Around Cairo
Driving around Cairo is a nightmare, and it's not recommended you hire a car unless you are used to driving on such crowded, chaotic and unpredictable streets.
The easiest way to get around is by cab. They are all over the place at all times, and it's perfectly safe to flag one down anywhere, at any time of day or night. The black cabs don't have a meter, so it's best to agree a fare with the driver before you even get in. Many of them are rapacious vultures, so if you don't get a fair quote, just wait two seconds for the next cab to come along.
Some of the cars seem to be older than the Pyramids, held together only by bits of wire and the will of God. Others are brand spanking new white cabs, which are air-conditioned, and even have functioning meters! There are also a few yellow cabs, designed specifically for tourists. They also have air-conditioning and meters, and can be booked in advance on 02 2792 1761.
Either way, be prepared for the ride of your life: the only thing crazier than Cairo traffic, is Cairo driving!
Note that your hotel will always be able to sort you out with a cab, but it will usually cost you a lot more than if you flag a car down on the street.
Cairo also has a modern, efficient and very cheap Metro system of underground trains. They are well signposted in English, and run regularly, but unfortunately don't cover that much of the city yet. (There are plans...!) Some useful stops include Sadat, for Downtown and the Egyptian Museum; Ataba, which is a short walk from Islamic Cairo; Giza, to get you that little bit closer to the Pyramids; and Mar Girgis, for Old Cairo.
There are also public buses and service taxis running various routes throughout Cairo, for if you are feeling adventurous. The routes are numbered, so you need to know which number you need, although the service taxis will call out their destination as they drive along.
There are also a few ferries that cross the Nile at certain points of the river, such as from the north tip of Zamalek to Imbaba.
Distance to Cairo from other cities