Are you out of money, yet you want to go out to meet with family & friends? Cairenes or people of Cairo love to go out on each and every day of the week, be it a good or a bad habit -personally I think it is really bad-, but it’s a fact that we can’t ignore. Cairo is without doubt an expensive city,specially on weekends. Therefore we thought about offering options that are for free or a relatively minimal fee.
For the love of outdoors
Nothing beats a ride on the Nile specially at sunset, when the sun rays make a breath-taking reflection, and the weather is not too hot -if it’s summer- & not too windy -if it’s winter. You can rent a felucca for half an hour, an hour, or a full day with your family and friends bringing your music or whatever you feel like, you can also spend a bit more if you bring food, and hey you’re good to go. (Photo courtesy: Eddie Crutchley)
Cost: Depending on your negotiation & haggling skills, but it starts from EGP 20.
For a minimal fee you can escape the hustle and bustle of busy loud Cairo. Al-Azhar Park offers the opportunity to spend a day in a lush green surrounding overlooking Cairo Citadel. You can enjoy a light picnic, or attend one of the concerts brought to you by El-Geneina Theatre. Al-Azhar Park is equally enjoyable at day & at night, each time offers a different experience, that you don’t want to miss. If you don’t feel like bringing your own food, you can eat at one of the widespread restaurants, but do not expect them to be cheap. (Photo courtesy: apricotdaze)
Cost: EGP 5
Bonus tip: Your best deal will be roaming at Al-Hussayn area -visiting Al-Hussayn Mosque, Al-Azhar Mosque, and walking around Al-Mu’eiz Street, maybe stop for a cup of tea with fresh mint at one of the cafes- followed by a visit to Al-Azhar Park.
The Aquarium Grotto Garden in Zamalek (Geneinet El-Asmak)
Newly renewed park thanks to the Zamalek Association‘s efforts, located in Zamalek at El-Gabalaya Street. This park has a very interesting history, and was once a main location for filming old Egyptian movies, thanks to its unique setting. It has been through maltreatment for several years until the Zamalek Association stepped up to save it. Geneinet El-Asmak is another option to enjoy greenery, in a relatively calm neighborhood, and now hosts several bazaars & events around the year, specially during important yearly events such as Ramadan & Christmas. (Photo courtesy: zamalekassociation.org)
Cost: Free for children under 4, EGP 5 for Egyptians 4+ & EGP 20 for foreigners.
Wadi Degla Protectorate in Maadi
For a fee of 3 Egyptian pounds you can spend a full day at Wadi Degla Protectorate while walking, hiking, or even staring at the beauty it has to offer. Some people walk their dogs, have an early run, mountain-bike, enjoy a 4×4 ride, or a picnic/a BBQ with family & friends. Avoid Wadi Degla in summer, as the heat can be unbearable, you’re at the midst of the desert. (Photo courtesy: cespost.wordpress.com)
Cost: EGP 3 is the entry fee.
For the Active Ones
Get your running shoes ready, sleep early the night before, and get ready for a lovely super early run around the empty streets of Cairo -yes empty, because they occur on Friday mornings. Cairo Runners now run all over Egypt -mainly in Cairo- they even took it to the next level and offer the opportunity to those who can afford it to run in a Marathon in Beirut.
Cost: Free (unless you’re participating at the Half or Full Marathon 😉 )
You might haven’t cycled since you were a little kid, when you used to rent a bike and cycle at Ma3moura or 3agami, so maybe it’s about time to revive a fun sport that you already forgot how to do. You don’t have to own a bike, because there are so many places offering bike rental. Join one of the cycling groups who regularly cycle the streets of Cairo GBI, Wheelers, and Besceletta are the most active, so keep an eye on their upcoming events. (Photo courtesy: 350 .org)
A hiking and yoga event occurring on bimonthly basis (first and third Saturday of each month) -currently in Wadi Degla, till further notice-, the hike is lead by Omar Samra the famous Egyptian Mountaineer, who is the youngest Arab to climb Mt. Everst and reach its summit back in 2007. The event is a combination of both; hiking & yoga, and a chance to appreciate natural beauty & peace of mind. (Photo courtesy: Wild Guanabana)
Cost: Participation is free of charge. however the entry fee to Wady Degla is EGP 3 & you will be asked to leave your I.D. card or passport at the gates.
For Book Worms
The American University in Cairo (AUC) offers the opportunity to those into reading in English to take part of an AUC Book Club named The Book Alley, who meets on a monthly basis at different venues around Cairo to discuss a pre-chosen book. The type, genre, and theme of book selected will vary from month to month. (Photo courtesy: Brody)
Cost: Free of charge, open to anyone, however you’ll have to pay whatever you eat or drink at the venue where you are meeting.
For Foodies & Cafes Lovers
No no, don’t get too excited, nobody offers food for free, however you can enjoy a fulfilling meal for a minimal fee if only you decide to…
Foul, Ta3meya, Betengan, Shakshoukha, Batates from Gad, El-3omda, Shabrawy or El-Tabei El-Domyati, Koshary from the world famous Abou Tarek -that once had an entertaining website with a song by Sha3ban 3abdel Re7im made for Koshary Abou Tarek-, Shawerma from Semsema, and for dessert Jelaty, Roz Be Laban or Mehalabeya from 3azza -Sogo2 & Kebda are another option for non faint-hearted. (Photo courtesy: Ed Yourdon)
Cost: Starts at EGP 1.5, all depends on how hungry you are :D.
Eat on the go or take away
Also a very good option is take away as you won’t have to pay any service or delivery charges. (Photo courtesy: Kamyar Adl )
Sit in an Ahwa Balady
Unfortunately that one is not really applicable to girls, because those that are cheap are El-Ahawy El-Baladi, not those acting like Ahawy Baladi, however charging inexplicably high prices. (Photo courtesy: Peter Morgan)
Cost: EGP 10 to 15. A Shisha varies from EGP 5 to 13, tea or hot drinks vary from EGP 4 to 6 & a karkade or a cold drink vary from 7 to 13.
For Art Lovers
There are so many art galleries & exhibitions running almost year round, and spread all over Cairo, examples are Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum, Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), Al-Mashrabeya Gallery, Safar Khan Gallery, etc. (Photo courtesy: Elvert Barnes)
Cost: Usually free of charge & open to public
For Music & Live Performances Fans
Just like art galleries and exhibitions, there are so many music concerts and live performances around Cairo, and some of them are pretty cheap. Go to Sakia -Sakiet El-Sawy- in Zamalek, but it’s not as good as it used to be, El-Genaina Theatre in Al-Azhar Park, Darb1718 in Fustat, Makan in Garden City, the Cairo Opera House in Zamalek, the French Cultural Center (CFCC) in Mounira or Heliopolis. (Photo courtesy: Rowan El-Shimi)
Cost: Starts at EGP 10
Christmas Carols & Bazaars
Egypt is a country that embraces every single event by celebrating it, and Christmas time is no exception. A lot of Christmas Carols & Bazaars take place starting from November till end of December, sometimes even till January offering a fun experience for every member of the family. Find out a list of all upcoming Christmas Carols, Bazaars & Parties, and the big surprise is that most of them are free. Note that you don’t have to buy from Christmas Bazaars, you can just go & enjoy the festive mood, and beautiful music that is usually performed or played. (Photo courtesy: Moyan Brenn)
Cost: Most of them are free of charge, except for -most- Christmas Carols.
For Explorers & History Buffs
Old Cairo (Al-Fustat)
This place is known as the Interfaith Complex (Mogama3 Al-Adyan) as it homes Mosques, Churches, and a Synagogue. It is interesting to see how those 3 faiths have survived altogether through the years. Must sees are 3amr Ibn El-3as Mosque, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, The Coptic & Roman Cemeteries, & Ben Ezra Synaguoge. It’s a long street filled with attractions that you cannot really miss. (Coptic Cemetery by Scott D. Haddow)
Cost: Most of them offer free entry.
Bonus Tip: Best way to go is by metro via “Mar Guergues stop”.
Going to this area is like traveling back in time when life was way more simple, and no technology was involved. Go there on an early morning to avoid the crowds, or at night if you do not care about the crowds and enjoy Cairo more at night. Walk at El-Mo3ez Street, visit El-Hussayn Mosque, Al-Azhar Mosque, Khan El-Khalili -no matter how cliche it sounds-, and stop for tea or a karkade at one of the cafes. (Sultan Hassan Mosque by Asim Bharwani)
Cost: Most of them offer free entry.
So now, that you don’t have to worry too much about money, what are your plans for the weekend?
Do you have other suggestions that we could add to our list? Please share them with us in the comments below…