Cairo airport is located about 22 kilometers away from the city center; made up of four terminals, it is a gigantic airport, the second largest in all of Africa and where thousands of tourists land daily on their way to Cairo and other major Egyptian cities. In short, your arrival in Cairo can be overwhelming!
Today I will tell you everything you need to know about transfers from the airport to the city center, with the different transportation options available in the city: direct transport, cabs, bus, shuttle and even the train. My goal is to make your trip as chaotic as possible and to help you avoid in advance the most common mistakes that travelers usually make when they arrive for the first time in this wonderful country.
1. The best option: Private transfer from Cairo airport to your hotel
If there is one city in the world where it is worth hiring an advance airport transfer service, it is Cairo. Avoid the usual inconveniences faced by novice travelers such as: unsafe or unmarked transportation, haggling over cab fares, the discomfort of traveling by public transport with luggage or the remoteness of the train system... By choosing a direct transfer you can focus on enjoying only all the good and fun that Cairo has to offer, which is ultimately what we are looking for in a vacation trip.
Due to the high tourist influx in the city of Cairo you will find several companies, almost always tour operators, that offer this type of service to travelers at a usually reasonable price. Another great advantage is to make your reservations online, so that the driver is waiting for you at the airport the day and time of your arrival. Depending on the service you hire the transfer may or may not be shared with other travelers, when this is the case usually small groups of 8 passengers on average are handled; be sure to clarify this type of details with the company you decide to hire.
Details of interest
- **Duration of the trip: ** Approximately one hour, the time can be extended if your hotel is a little out of the way or if you are traveling during rush hour in Cairo.
- Price: The average price to pay for this service is 25 €; if it is a private transport and several people traveling can be quite economical.
- Recommended yes... I recommend it to all travelers, from those traveling alone to those traveling in groups; and even those traveling on a budget. You can find very economical and equally safe and efficient transfer options.
2. A very safe option: Shuttle bus from the airport to Cairo
A safe and comfortable option to make the journey from the airport to the city center of Cairo is a shared Shuttle bus a service that you can hire after your arrival directly at the airport. It offers cheap rates that vary a few euros depending on your final destination; you must take into account that this option is generally slower than private transport or cab transfer, according to the official website leaves a minibus every 30-40 minutes.
Popular routes price and duration
You can find the prices and fares to the different destinations on the official website of Cairo Airport; generally they are in Egyptian pound, here I share with you a list of the destinations, the duration of the trip and the estimated price in euros for shared transport by minibus.
- Heliopolis: Approximately €3 per passenger, the trip will take about 20 minutes.
- Nasr-City: Approximately €3.5 per passenger, the trip will take about 30 minutes.
- Downtown Cairo: Approximately €4 per passenger, the trip will take about 45 minutes.
- Giza: Approximately €5 per traveler, the trip will take about 60 minutes.
- Mohandesin: Approximately €4.8 per passenger, the trip will take about 45 minutes.
- Zamalek: Approximately €4.8 per traveler, the trip will take about 45 minutes.
- Maadi: Approximately €5 per traveler, the trip will take about 60 minutes.
- Haram: (area of the pyramids): Approximately 6 € per traveler, the trip will take just over an hour.
- **Duration of the trip: ** To the time and distance shared above you must add the waiting time for the departure of the transport; and if you move in heavy traffic time the journey may lengthen.
- Recommended yes... It is an excellent option especially if you are traveling alone and looking to save money; if you are traveling with friends or family the sum of the individual price could easily cover a private transfer alternative (seen in point one).
-Frequency: A bus departs approximately every 40 minutes.
3. The most economical option: public bus transfer from Cairo airport.
From the airport you can also reach the city center by taking the local public transport service operated by the local Egyptian company Mwasalat Misr; from the airport you should take the bus line 111 to the city; there is usually a new bus every 50 to 60 minutes.
Some points against this option that you should take into account are: this service is not really a tourist oriented option so do not expect to find staff that speaks English or Spanish; you will have to pay the price of transportation at the time you get on the bus for which you need low denomination tickets and in local currency; finally, as observed this transportation service can be very late and may experience delays in arrival and operates only until certain hours and will not be available for night flights.
Details of interest
- **Travel time: ** The bus ride from the departure point to the center of Cairo is approximately 1.5 hours; to this you must add the waiting time for the bus.
- Price: The price to be paid may vary, but the equivalent in local currency ranges from 1 € and up.
- Recommended if... You want to save as much as possible on your trip to Egypt; also if you travel to the city backpacking with little luggage otherwise it could be really uncomfortable.
- Frequency: Every 1 hour.
4. Cab transfer from Cairo airport to Cairo airport
If you are taking a cab from the airport in Cairo to your hotel destination keep in mind that this service is usually offered at the exit of the airport where cab drivers and operating companies are waiting for tourists; no matter what time you arrive in Cairo, you will find cab service available.
However, taking cabs in Cairo is not an easy task when you are a tourist; many cab drivers will want to take advantage and charge excessively high fares. The most important advice is to never get into the cab without agreeing on the amount beforehand, if you do so the cab driver will feel entitled to charge you the amount he considers. Some local cab companies in Egypt are: Nile TAXI and Cairo Airport Travel
Details of interest
- **Travel time: ** Taxi ride time from the airport can vary from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on conditions such as the location of your hotel and traffic.
- Price: It will depend on the deal you get with the person in charge of providing the service; approximately 30€ for the trip is a reasonable price.
- Recommended if... you have bargaining skills and can communicate effectively in other languages such as English. Otherwise it can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience.
5. The least convenient option: transfer by metro from Cairo airport.
Although the Cairo Metro is quite functional and punctual, its service has not been extended enough to cover the points around the city, this means that the metro does not reach the airport. If you want to use this transportation option you will have to make your way to the nearest stop, called Cairo Fair, and take line 3 towards Downtown Cairo.
Few, if any, tourists use this transfer option; however, the locals use it very often, due to the cheapness of it. The first part of the tour is usually done by bus, taking line 111 as I explained above, to reach the stop that allows them to board the metro. As with the bus option, try to carry low denomination bills in local currency when taking this means of transportation.
Details of interest
- **Travel time: ** Excluding waiting time for the means of transport, the journey can take about an hour.
- Price: The bus will cost the equivalent in local currency of 1€ and up, the metro will cost the equivalent of 2€ or more.
- Recommended yes... it is not an option that I recommend in any scenario, if you are traveling alone and looking to economize, the Shuttle Bus is the most suitable alternative.
- Frequency: For the public bus every 1 hour approximately.
If you are planning a few days trip to Cairo, take a look at these detailed itineraries that could be very helpful when organizing your next vacation.