Shopping hours
Saturday to Thursday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm or later, often much, much later.
Some shops are closed between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm on Fridays for prayer time or operate at reduced hours on Fridays. However in the biggest malls Friday is a busy day as locals take advantage of their day off to shop, go to the movies or eat out.

Cairo offers a wide range of shopping opportunities from the very up-market City Stars Mall with its designer label stores, to bazaars and souqs in Old Cairo. There are also thousands of “local” stores and you will find something to suit your every need or desire if you go for a walk along any of the main streets, or Downtown.

Papyrus shop

Papyrus shop where you will also see a demonstration of how paper is made from papyrus

You may also be taken on your day tours to carpet shops, perfume shops, cotton shops or papyrus shops, all specialties of Egypt. Here you might find a unique souvenir to take home. Also watch out for good silver and gold jewellery stores, there’s a wide variety. Most of the gold is 22K, you will find little 9K on offer. But prices are reasonable and the designs interesting.

City Stars Mall

City Stars Mall

When you are shopping, especially in tourist areas, remember that it is expected that you will bargain and there is no problem even in a larger (or more western) store asking for a best price. When you a bargaining be prepared to walk away (it’s always better to be an opportunistic shopper – you’ll take it if the price is right) but also remember that the end result should be acceptable to both parties. It’s a much better experience if everyone finishes up happy, so don’t be too hard.

Nasr City has a large concentration of shopping malls (Genena Mall, Tiba Mall, City Center, Serag Mall, as well as City Stars). There are eight shopping malls in the area, most of which were opened in the late 1990s. One of the main reasons for the success of these commercial centers is the simple grid environment of Nasr City. The district has no town/city center and consists of long, wide streets, with roundabouts, and perpendicular streets. This allows residents and visitors to move around the area easily and conveniently.

Nasr City is renowned for its huge variety of shops and leisure spaces including restaurants, coffee shops, and cinemas. The malls attract a lot of shoppers and visitors, and are usually very crowded during holidays and summer nights, while the fast-food restaurants and coffee shops remain open and busy until late at night. The cinemas and children’s arcades are also very popular, especially on the weekends. Late night shopping is popular in Cairo, especially in summer, and thus the malls do not open until around 11am, and peak hours begin around 10pm.

Maadi is another area that has interesting shopping – many expatriates in Cairo live in either Maadi or Nasr City. Services in Maadi are geared to a great extent to serve the town’s expat population. In addition to numerous western restaurants, there are many churches. The most popular places for westerners to shop at “local” stores is along Road 9.

There is also a large new mall called the Mall of Arabia in 6 October City and there is always the Dandy Mall with Carrefours and many specialty shops on the Alex Desert Road near the toll gates.

As well as all these bright new modern malls there are still lots of local markets or souqs (in every town) and many historic souqs in Cairo such as the Khan il Khalili, Wekala el Ghouri or Wekalet el Balah. If it’s a tourist spot don’t forget to bargain well.

Narrow street in the Khan il Khalili

The Khan il Khalili is the oldest souq in the Middle East and well worth a wonder through its narrow streets.

Really, if you want to buy it – you can find it in Egypt!


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