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Shopping in Egypt


Egypt is a shopper's paradise, especially if you're interested in Egyptian-themed souvenirs and kitsch. However, there are also a number of high quality goods for sale, often at bargain prices.

There are vendors who are out to cheat the unsuspecting tourist in Egypt, selling fake goods or charging for bogus services. Their hard sell, particularly around the pyramids at Giza, can be highly intrusive and upsetting: if you take photographs of any man on a camel, for example, expect to pay even if you didn't plan on having the person in the frame.

Shopping hours are generally Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 9 am-7 pm, Monday and Thursday, 9 am-8 pm (winter); during Ramadan, hours vary, with shops often closing on Sunday; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-12:30 pm and 4 pm-8 pm (summer).


The Khan El Khalili bazaar is a giant souk in Islamic Cairo. Jewellery, spices, brass, copper utensils, cotton goods and Coptic clothes are some of the many special items. This is a great place to buy rustic glassware and perfume bottles. Haggling is expected, and usually encouraged – goods do not have a fixed price, but are worth whatever the vendor feels happy selling at in balance with whatever the buyer is happy purchasing for at any given moment in time.

Zamalek has a number of small, but high-end shops, along with shops selling crafts, jewellery and other items. Fair Trade Cairo in Zamalek is a great shop selling high quality crafts made by local artisans. Nefertari, also in Zamalek, has wonderful organic cotton linens, skin care products, and the like. There is also Nomad, that has a small, charming second floor showroom in Zamalek, as well as Nagada, and Khan Misr Taloun.

Midan Talaat Harb and surrounding streets, including Talaat Harb Street, are home to countless shops, selling everything from shoes and books to sweets. Midan Ataba area in downtown Cairo is home to large bookseller markets, where you can find inexpensive books, as well as electronics and clothing markets.

Hurghada has a good selection of clothing boutiques in the small malls along the resort strip, as well as the obligatory abundance of overpriced T-shirts, hookahs, Pharaonic memorabilia, stuffed camels, etc. However, please avoid anyone selling marine curios - stalls in the souk have been known to sell everything from stuffed sharks to lamps made from triggerfish.

Much livelier is the Bedouin market, held at the southern edge of town near the main market; note that it’s signposted in Arabic and in English as the Souk al-Hamis. It’s fascinating to watch as Bedouin come in from the desert in pick-up trucks or occasionally on camels, with the veiled women trading silver, bead work and embroidered dresses, while the men sell camel saddles.

There are also modern shopping centres, particularly near Tahrir Square. Citystars Centre at Sharia Omar Ibn Khattab (Nasr City) is Cairo’s most lavish mall. Slightly older but still a big hit with locals is Green Plaza Mall, out beyond the suburb of Smouha on the Agricultural Road to Cairo with shops plus a noisy funfair, snooker hall, bowling alley, food court, cineplex and a gaudy 'Roman temple' housing a conference and marriage centre. Arkadia Mall (Corniche El Nil) is the biggest mall in central Cairo, with bars and a top-floor arcade. Here you’ll find all the usual international brands, plus a good food court.





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