Most newlyweds look for a honeymoon that’s exotic, romantic and warm. As a centre for ancient history and intrigue, Cairo is our top spot for a winter couples’ retreat.
It’s hard to resist the iconic idea of love on the Nile. With its wealth of historic sights and architectural delights, Cairo is an ideal destination for love birds. These are a few of the most romantic days out, according to the honeymoon experts at our Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis
Be inspired at the Giza Plateau
Book an English guide to show you around this historic spot – probably the most iconic in Cairo – and don’t forget to seek out the oft-missed Sphinx. Standing 66 feet high and over 240 feet long, she’s a magnificent example of ancient craftsmanship, carved out of just one piece of solid limestone. Giza is perfectly located for romantic honeymoon snaps. Out in the desert but close enough to civilisation, sun hits the best angles for photographs around twilight. Stick around for the sound and light show that fills the sky with projections and laser beams after dark.
Lose yourself in the City of the Dead
Though it may sound slightly macabre, Qarafa is a warren of beautiful mausoleums, mosques and tombs just east of Cairo. Visit during the day and wander the streets, looking out for the breathtaking Mamluk architecture of mausoleums built for Sultans Barquq and Qaitbay in the Northern Cemetery. Oddly enough, there’s even a post office within the cemetery – an unusual place to send out those Thank You cards, perhaps – and you can linger over a sweet Egyptian coffee in one of the smaller cafes. Only go without a guide if you’re feeling brave, as the complex is a bit labyrinthine, and make sure to leave before dark.
Catch a home-grown exhibition
If you’re accustomed to visiting Egyptian artefacts at major international museums, you’ll definitely want to see what’s on display in the country’s own collections. Cairo’s enormous Coptic Museum was recently renovated, and behind its neo-Fatimid facade you’ll find a wealth of ancient copper, stone and wooden treasures dating back to the 6th century. This diverse collection of artefacts demonstrates the interaction between Islamic art and the Roman origins of Coptic Christianity throughout the ages. Or visit the central Cairo Museum, where there’s a more modern display of recovered loot from the 2011 uprisings.
A taste of Islamic Cairo
Prized for its bold and ambitious design, the Mohammed Ali Mosque is the crown jewel of the Salah ad-Din citadel. It’s a fine example of the Ottoman style that was popular during the early 19th century and was designed by Mohammed Ali Pasha, who is said to be the founder of modern Egypt. The Khan Kalili (or El Hussein to locals) is the Islamic centre of Cairo and home to a huge bazaar or souk. Cast your eyes upwards, away from the wares of the market sellers, to take in the intricate architecture. Jim Antoniou’s book of hand-drawn sketches offers an excellent guided tour of the area.