Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, has the busiest metropolitan area. More than 21 million residents use multiple means of public transport daily. Furthermore, Cairo is the largest metropolitan agglomeration in Africa. The old city, located south of the center, is a very interesting historic district in the region.
You can imagine how congested the roads are during rush hour. Consider several prevalent means of transport and some tips on how to save money and energy to find an efficient method of transportation. Read our guide with tips, and it will undoubtedly help you determine all the nuances about the different sorts of transport.
The capital has heavy traffic, which does not affect the subway. Metro is not only the quickest means of transport but also the cleanest. The prices are affordable.
The majority of people use the metro. During rush hour, it may feel crowded, but you probably won't be underground for long.
3,6 million people use the subway daily in one of Africa's biggest cities. Three lines are already operational; one is under construction; and the fifth line will open soon.
If you're wondering how much your journey will cost, do not worry—it is easy to calculate the fares. The cost depends on the number of stations you will pass through. You can travel to fewer than ten stations for only 3 Egyptian pounds, or LE. It will cost LE 5 to pass through 10–16 stations. Longer distance journeys will cost you LE 7.
It may be hard to calculate how much to pay. We recommend purchasing the Metro Cash Wallet. The card itself costs £25.00. Don’t forget to check if you have money on the balance.
This contactless card has no expiry date, and you can easily purchase it after getting to any metro station.
If you prefer to travel this way, you must understand the routes and select the most appropriate vehicle.
There are three types of buses on the road: fleets, public buses, and private buses.
We recommend that you use a fleet bus. You can distinguish it by its large size and the Cairo Transit Authority, or CTA, logotype. One tricky thing about this bus is that it is numbered in Arabic and does not have a map aboard.
Our recommendation would be to always arrange your route beforehand so you know exactly which bus to take and where to get off. The average cost of the trip starts at 2 LE.
Before going on a trip, download the map or top-up your balance to have a stable internet connection.
If you miss your fleet bus, you can go for an orange minibus operated by the government. A ride will cost you around 1-2 LE. One of the most common tips would be to keep an eye on your personal belongings throughout the journey. There is always the risk of becoming a victim of local pickpockets, so better be focused on your safety even when you read or, for example, listen to music.
The last option, the microbus, is the most affordable transport. A ride will cost you between 0.50 and 1 LE. However, it has numerous disadvantages. People suggest you learn some hand signals to communicate with a driver. Another well-known fact is that you will be sharing space with other passengers, which may be uncomfortable in a small, congested microbus. If you have other options, we recommend avoiding microbuses.
Sticking with some tourist buses, accompanied by a guide, is one of the best ways to learn the most about this lovely place.
monorail train, photo by Tamer Adel Soliman
Traveling by train was always one of the best ways to appreciate the natural beauty of the area. This transport is perfect for those who want to travel elsewhere: when visiting Egypt, you can not only stop in Cairo but also visit other cities. Luxor and Alexandria are just a few cities you can go to.
There are two popular categories of local trains to travel by. We suggest taking an express train, which will provide you with a reserved seat, air conditioning, and refreshments.
The Egyptian railways service has a user-friendly official website. After registering on the website, you will see the schedule. Choose the time and date you need to catch the train and fill in all the necessary personal information.
If you don't want to make an online reservation, you can check with the ticket office. There are several kiosks. Self-service ticketing is also available here.
Your final destination determines the price. For example, a trip to Alexandria, which is 132 miles from Cairo, will take 4-5 hours and cost you around 75-113 LE (4-6 USD). A voyage to Luxor would last for 10 hours and would cost up to 756 LE (40 USD).
Car rental and taxi
If you plan to visit the outskirts or distant sites, renting a car to get around may be helpful. However, it is not always entirely optional. The majority of your fellow drivers are not the best people to deal with; aside from being disrespectful sometimes, they frequently cause accidents. We do not think that renting a car within the city boundaries is a good move. However, if you have solid reasons or want to see the countryside or any other destination, use a reliable rental service.
Using a car here does not imply that you must drive it. You can relax in the backseat without constantly worrying about the situation on the road. Drivers here spend hours stuck in traffic, so plan on spending some time on the road.
The cheapest option would be to stick with an old taxi. The typical colors of these cars are black and white. Before the ride, you can negotiate a fixed price with the taxi driver.
A yellow taxi is another method of getting around. In this case, you should pay for each meter that is passed by the driver. Starting fares range between 3.5 and 5L, with additional meters costing around 2-3L. Use the following tips to avoid overpaying for the taxi ride. First, make sure the meter does not already show too much to pay when you get inside the car. Second, keep some cash on hand at all times; drivers may charge for extra services such as air conditioning. It is better to order an independent transfer.
If you don't want to travel by vehicle, hitchhiking is the option you are looking for. A popular method of traveling around the world, this is an incredible opportunity to see Cairo and the nearby areas.
Here are some common hitchhiking recommendations. Some popular places to visit for hitchhiking are Sinai and Taba in the east; Alexandria and the deserts in the north; and Luxor and Minya in the south.
Outside Cairo, you can go hiking in the Sinai Peninsula and the Siwa Oasis. Locals are usually friendly and can help you to find the right direction if you get lost.
One thing to keep in mind is that locals mainly speak Arabic. There is no guarantee that you will meet an English-speaking person, and communication may be problematic sometimes. Using a phone translator may be helpful, but you should be careful when choosing a hitchhiking route so you don't get lost if your internet connection goes down. You can learn some helpful phrases in Arabic.
Before getting into someone's car, ask the driver if they expect you to pay for the ride. Make sure you have the required funds and do not overpay for the ride.
We previously mentioned that the Giza pyramids are one of the popular destinations for hitchhikers. However, you may be exhausted by the time you arrive. We recommend going there purposefully and with a professional guide who can tell you about the history of the Giza pyramids, Sphinx, and Temple of the Valley, where mummies were preserved. You may only get one chance in life to see one of the world's seven wonders, and our guides will help you make the best memories of your visit to the Pyramids.
Motorbikes and bicycles
In Cairo, traffic congestion is a significant issue. City government promoted alternative modes of transportation to relieve traffic congestion. According to the plan, a huge network of bike stations throughout the city will allow people to borrow bikes at a fixed rate for an hour (1LE). In Cairo, 500 bicycles will be rented out beginning in November. The government's decision to save money from the budget and get a safe, friendly transportation system for everyone should ease traffic congestion.
Numerous rental services already function in Cairo. You can use bicycles not only to get around but also to entertain yourself. We previously mentioned the Giza pyramids, and here you will learn that many tourists sign up for desert safaris and sand surfing. A quad bike safari allows you to see the natural beauty and wonders of Giza and have an exciting extreme experience in the dunes.
photo by frantic00
In this country, marine transportation is very developed. Riding a ferry is a better and cheaper option than waging traffic. You can get to another region of the country in record time. Boats and ships are popular here because Cairo is located south of the Mediterranean Sea, along the Nile.
A ferry ride is more than just a way to cross the Nile; it is also a short marine trip with a beautiful view of the south.
Clear, fresh air brought by northern winds is just what you need to feel relaxed on the board. The Nile's waters are wild and dangerous, and riding a ferry is the safest way to explore the longest river in northeastern Africa. 75% of ferries owned by the government of Egypt serve as public transport.
Traveling from Luxor to Aswan, or vice versa is one of Egypt's popular routes between two stunning locations.
In Egypt, there are multiple kinds of boats to choose from. You can spend a few days on a cruise ship or take a large Dahabiyah to the different regions of the country. To join a night cruise in Aswan, use feluccas with no top coverage. You will enjoy the view of the starry sky and the calming sound of the waves. A boat cruise is more than just a way to get around Cairo; it is also a unique way to spend an evening on the water. There are many boats to rent - you can read about the perfect yachts and make your choice.
Evening and night cruises are some of the special things to do in Egypt. Enjoy a cruise down the legendary Nile, enjoy a delicious dinner and have a romantic evening with your partner.
Besides, you get to appreciate traditional music and entertainment when you take the dinner cruise!
We wish you to fall in love with Cairo! Read more of our articles and see the various world destinations!