Events in Cairo
International Book Fair (January)
Cairo is graced with the biggest and oldest book fair in the Arab world every year, in the last week of January. Considered to be the most important publishing event in the Arab world, this festivals attracts the literary elite to town.
Arab Music Festival (May)
The city's opera house hosts the finest oud or guitar players as well as vocal virtuosos. If you want to immerse yourself in the sound and atmosphere of Egyptian tradition, the program of concerts will be ideal.
Pharaoh's Rally (October)
The conclusion of the event, a 3,000 km race across the Sahara desert.
International Film Festival (November)
Held since 1976, the event is the Arab world's only internationally recognised film festival, and sees leading talent from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and beyond showing off their newest creations.
There are also religious festivals that bring the whole population onto the streets in celebration:
- Coptic Christmas takes place in the first week of January, and the city erupts into a symphony of bells.
- Or you could book a flight to coincide with Eid, when everyone marks the breaking of the Ramadan fast and head out onto the streets to exchange sweets and enjoy firework displays.
- There are also festivals that cross religious divides, such as Sham al-Naseem when Egyptians head for boat trips on the Nile and enjoy communal picnics. There's no better time to get to know the locals or sample Egyptian street food.
Whenever you visit, this is a city that is ready to welcome and entertain you. If all you want is to learn about ancient Egypt or Islamic history, that's no problem. But if you want to experience the food, music, art and people of a different culture, there are few safer and more rewarding places to do so.