A single girl’s guide to Cairo

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Cairo is a hotbed of culture, romance and history. Today on the Radisson Blu blog, we’re exploring the city’s highlights for women travelling solo. 

These days, it’s easy for women to navigate Cairo independently. The city’s clean, efficient Metro system even ensures at least two female-only carriages per train. If you’re planning a solo trip to Cairo, make sure your itinerary includes these top picks.

Visit a coffee house

Start your day by visiting a traditional coffee house – called anahwa – where locals sit down to debate the meaning of life over a game of dominoes or backgammon. As long as you’re modestly attired (knees and shoulders covered) you’ll feel welcome among the lively crowds. Sample the city’s diverse cafe cultures: Cafe Groppi has a distinctively European flavour, while Al-Bustan is more traditionally Arabic. Sit down with a sadda (bitter coffee) and sheesh (flavoured tobacco pipe) and watch the world go by before embarking on your day.

Haggle at a souk

Skip the tourist magnet Khan al-Khallili in favour of bustling Midan al-’Ataba, where you’ll find a tapestry of shop fronts and street stalls selling everything from chandeliers and carpets to gold jewellery and first edition books. If you see something you like, you’ll be expected to haggle over the price – it’s part of the process, so be confident and never be afraid to say no (La!‘) if you’re given any trouble. Don’t miss the Paper Market on al-Geish Street, where you can pick up a leather-bound notebook or some genuine papyrus to record the highlights of your trip.

Get a culture fix at the El Sawy Culture Wheel

This converted homeless shelter beneath 15th of May Bridge champions Cairo’s contemporary arts scene. It’s the place to see rock, opera and classical concerts, and Cairo’s annual theatre festival is held here every December. Spend a few hours perusing the various art exhibitions, or listen to a piano recital as you mingle with the local literati.

Indulge in some pampering, Cairo style

You might think of Cairo’s bathhouses as traditionally male domain, but the city is dotted with women-only hammams. Lie back at Hammam El-Arba, a centuries-old public bath, for a traditional massage, steam bath and body scrub, or visit La Rose Spa for a more contemporary, bespoke service.

Wine and dine beside a Pyramids sunset

No visit to Cairo is complete without saying hello to Egypt’s most iconic monuments, but for your own security, it’s best to avoid the usual daytime mayhem unless you’ve booked a chaperone or personal female guide. Instead, ask the concierge at our Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis to book you a table at Barry’s Oriental Restaurant in Giza. Featured in the James Bond classic The Spy Who Loved Me, the restaurant is set over three warm, softly-lit floors and features a traditional menu. Go early in the evening, and be sure to request a table on the rooftop terrace to watch the sunset – and the nightly Pyramids sound & light show - away from the crowds.

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