Even thousands of years after the time of Pharaohs, Cairo continues to dazzle millions of visitors every year with its rich display of remains from ancient Egypt, to the Romans, Greeks, and Arabs. When you're starting off on your adventure through Egypt, there's really no better way to do it than booking cheap flights to Cairo.
Take a moment to acclimatize to the crowds and chaos, and you will soon find yourself enjoying the constant buzz of activity, crowded tea stalls and cafes, fragrant sheesha-bars, and endless markets where you can buy loads of cheap trinkets and gifts. From the treasure-filled Egyptian Museum, to the Pyramids at Giza, to the secretive Sphinx, to the (slightly) more modern Islamic Cairo area, the city gives you a tantalizing hint of what you can expect on your journey through the rest of the country.
Cairo International Airport (CAI) is located about 20 km away from downtown Cairo and is the city's only airport. Airlines with flights to Cairo include EgyptAir, Lufthansa, KLM, United, and Alitalia. Air Canada also offers services from Canada with its codeshare partners - BMI, EgyptAir, British Airways, and Swiss. Direct flights from North America are hard to come by and most airlines connect to Cairo via Amsterdam, New York, Paris, or London.
Cairo has a typical desert climate so if you're not used to the extreme heat, its best to avoid a summer visit to the city. Cairo flights sell out quickly between November and March, which is when most tourists make their way to Egypt. The weather is pleasant, but nighttime temperatures can drop to single digits, so remember to pack a sweater or two for the evenings.
The shoulder season for travel to Cairo falls between March and May, when flights and hotels are cheaper than in the winter. However, the weather can still be quite warm so bring along a hat, sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen.
Most flights to Cairo International Airport (CAI) arrive at Terminal 1, while Terminal 3 deals with air traffic from Egyptair and a few other airlines. Terminal 2 exists, but is closed for a short while due to renovation work. For further details on any of the transport options listed below, check the airport's website.
Public Transit: Several Cairo Transit Authority (CTA) City Buses depart from the parking lot in front of Terminal 1 to destinations across Cairo. One-way tickets cost less than $1 CAD.
Airport Shuttle: A one-way trip on the airport-provided shuttle bus costs about $5 CAD per passenger to Heliopolis, and about $20 CAD to the Helwan District. If you're travelling in a group, it is cheaper to book an entire shuttle bus for your party (up to seven people) as you would pay only $25 CAD for the entire vehicle for a trip to Helwan. You can book in advance via telephone or email or just walk up to the Cairo Airport Shuttle Bus desk and ask for the next available service.
Taxi: Taking a cab from Cairo's airport is not as straightforward as you would like. You will have to choose between the old black-and-white taxis which operate without meters, the newer white taxis which are metered but may be more expensive than negotiating a price, and metered City Cabs, if they are around after dropping someone else off. Fares from the airport to downtown Cairo are approximately $14-$17 CAD while a trip to the Pyramids in Giza could cost as much as $33-$35 CAD.
Chauffeured Car Service: You can start off your trip to Egypt on a regal note by booking a luxury car or limousine service from the airport. A Mercedes Benz trip to downtown Cairo costs about $26 CAD. If you're looking for something cheaper, book a mid-size vehicle for about $13 CAD, or a mini-bus for your family for about $17 CAD.
Car Rental: Driving in Cairo is not for the faint of heart but if you're brave enough to take on the Cairenes and their traffic, you can choose from several rental car companies such as Avis, Sixt, Budget, and Hertz. There are counters at each terminal and you can either book in advance or at the counter after your Cairo flights arrive.