Zamalek is the cosmopolitan hub of Cairo. Floating on the Nile, the upscale neighbourhood that sits at the northern end of Gezira Island is a grand, charming and leafy enclave.
With architectural marvels and rich colonial history, today, Zamalek quietly bustles with an eclectic artistic, culinary and boutique shopping scene.
Take a day out of a holiday to Cairo to explore the delights of Zamalek and lose yourself in this mid-city island. Work your way from south to north with an itinerary brimming with delights. Along the way, be sure to take in the antique stores, bookshops, open-air markets, cafes and restaurants.
The Cairo Tower
Located in the southern part of the island, the Cairo Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Egypt.
Designed by the Egyptian architect, Naoum Shebib, it was built from 1954 to 1961 with an open-latticed framework to evoke the lotus plant; Egypt’s iconic flower. It is the fourth-tallest tower in the world and has a revolving restaurant at the top.
Safar Khan Gallery
There are at least a dozen art galleries on Gezira Island and the Safar Khan Gallery is a great place to start. Opened in 1968, the collection of contemporary Egyptian art also sells pieces to the public. It’s a lovely cosy space that occupies two stories of peaceful contemplation.
El Sawy Culturewheel
Occupying the site of a former rubbish tip, the El Sawy Culturewheel is an open-air performance space sat beneath the 15th May Bridge. The centre hosts everything from puppet shows and concerts to lectures and live music. It’s a pure slice of modern Egyptian culture.
Aisha Famy Palace
Originally built in 1907 by King Fuad I, Ali Fahm for his daughter Aisha, this classic European style palace was designed by Italian architect, Antonio Lasciac. In the two-story building on the banks of the Nile, you will find a Japanese room donated by the embassy and the princess’s bedroom decorated in gold leaf.
The Cairo Opera House
Opened in 1988, Cairo Opera House is the premier performing arts venue in Cairo.
The seven-story structure has three separate theatres (including an open-air venue). A towering modernist update on Islamic architectural traditions, the Opera House has an extensive programme of opera, ballet, theatre and contemporary music performances.
So much more to do and see
Zamalek offers a true taste of the historic capital of Egypt with a modern vibe and is essential to add to your Cairo holiday checklist. To find out more about NCL Travel’s flight and accommodation offers, connect with us on social media.