The Best Areas to Stay in Cairo

Cairo at night
Cairo at night | © Faris knight / WikiCommons
Photo of Yosra Shohayeb
24 April 2018

Choosing where to stay when travelling defines a big chunk of your trip. However, it really depends on the purpose of your stay, how long you’re there for and the places you’d love to be near. Luckily, Cairo is home to various types of areas, made to suit all tastes. Whether it’s a business trip, a touristic one or a family vacation, there is plenty of room for everyone visiting the capital.


Considered an affluent area, Zamalek is a district on Gezira Island that is mostly home to expats and the wealthy due to its prestigious reputation. Hence, the island boasts many embassies, boutiques, shops, bookstores, hotels, restaurants and cafes. Even though Zamalek is a quiet area, it is to be avoided on weekends due to the heavy crowds it welcomes. Nevertheless, Zamalek offers travellers five-star hotels, such as the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino and budget-friendly hotels as well, such as The President Hotel and of course, there are plenty of rentals to suit every budget. The island is also home to some of Egypt’s best attractions including the Cairo Tower, which offers the best panoramic views of the capital due to its height, as well as the longest river in the world, the one and only Nile River. A stroll in Zamalek’s district surrounded by greenery and the Nile can put a smile on anyone’s face.

View of Zamalek Island, Cairo | © Jorge Láscar / WikiCommons


This charming calm district in Cairo offers beautiful greenery and impressive sceneries. The area that is famous for its promenade, known as Maadi Corniche, provides stunning views of the Nile. The best felucca rides are also taken from here due to its beautiful landscapes. Also home to embassies and expats, the area has become a foodie district due to the remarkable restaurants that have flooded Maadi, especially on Street 9, where different cuisines line the street and offer various kinds of tasty food. The old area of Maadi is home to some of the oldest villas and low rise buildings and is more affluent than Maadi’s new area.

Maadi area, Cairo | © Kelisi / WikiCommons


Once an elite area, the Downtown area was built by French architects during the 19th century at the time of Khedive Ismail’s ruling. The area’s buildings give the district a nostalgic feel coupled with a modern twist. Although it’s not fancy as Zamalek and Maadi, Downtown has the largest selection of budget accommodations and cheap places to eat. Not only that, it is also a two-minute drive from The Egyptian Museum and Tahrir Square, a 10-minute drive from Khan El-Khalili, Cairo’s oldest bazaar market and a 15-minute drive from Islamic and Coptic Cairo, adding a touristic flavour to your stay.

Downtown area, Cairo | © ASaber91 / Flickr


If you’re yearning for an ancient view of the pyramids, then the Pyramids area, known as Haram, is the perfect place for you to stay. The Pyramids area is located in Giza – Cairo conurbation, where it features both luxurious hotels, such as the prominent Marriott Mena House Hotel for unforgettable pyramid views from your room, as well as budget-friendly hotels that can be found anywhere near the Giza Plateau. The Pyramids district is the nearest for trips to Saqqara, Memphis and Dahshur in order to visit ancient Egyptian remains, monuments and antiques.

Pyramids view from Marriott Mena House Hotel, Egypt | © Honza Soukup / Flickr

New Cairo

Known as both the Fifth Settlement and New Cairo, this area is one of the newest districts built in the capital in order to alleviate the congestion in Downtown Cairo. Many companies have moved their headquarters to this area, making it the most suitable spot for a business trip. It also has some of the best restaurants due to the occurrence of several malls, such as Cairo Festival City, which extends over a land area of about three million square metres and contains a fashion mall, a food court, a business district and apartments. Other famous malls that can also be found in New Cairo are Point 90 and Downtown Mall, which feature some of the best eateries and atmospheres in Cairo. The area is also home to one of the best universities in town, the American University in Cairo, which is the reason why many AUC students reside in the Fifth Settlement.

AUC library on campus in fifth settlement area, Cairo | © Ahmad El-Nemr / WikiCommons

6th of October

Another area built for the same reason of reducing the congestion residing in Downtown Cairo is 6th of October. This district is more of a city as it contains many residential compounds, universities, schools, hypermarkets, hospitals, hotels and so forth. Since it is home to several universities, Egyptian and foreign students live in this area. The zone is also home to company headquarters, where it boasts one of the biggest business gated compounds in Cairo, Smart Village, which comprises huge company names. It also has some of the best restaurants and cafes, which people flee to from different areas in Cairo. For many residents, this place is a favourite for weekend gatherings among friends and family.

Smart Village, Egypt | © Smart Village / WikiCommons

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