Cairo

Cairo has always been a great place to shop for traditional items because of its spectacular medieval marketplace, the Khan al-Khalili, where browsing and bargaining are half the fun. There is no tried-and-true bargaining strategy; just shop around, decide how much something is worth to you, and start bargaining lower than that in order to end up at that point. In the Khan, the opening price is never the final price.

In the last decade Cairo has embraced the shopping mall. These enclosed, air-conditioned spaces stacked with international brands have revolutionized shopping for residents. Most malls also have shops selling a range of the same kinds of souvenirs that you'd find in the Khan al-Khalili, though at higher, nonnegotiable prices.

Wealthy and upwardly mobile Cairenes not only have the wherewithal to fund their lifestyles, but they also have great taste, so you'll find a wide selection of art galleries, designer shops, and fashion boutiques to indulge your need for retail therapy.

Although most of what you see in tourist shops are reproductions of varying quality, there is a long local tradition in Egypt of connoisseurship in collectibles, which means that there is always the possibility of finding a real gem. Be prepared, however, for local tastes that favor ornate French-style furniture and antiques, not the Middle Eastern pieces you might be longing for. There are several nameless antiques shops in Downtown Cairo along Shar'a Hoda Sharaawi that are worth looking into. Lots are shown for several days in advance of a two-day auction, which usually operates on a cash-only basis. Check the Egyptian Gazette for the latest auction schedules.

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  • 1. Abd El-Zaher Bookstore

    Islamic Cairo North | Books/Stationery

    This is the last working bookbinding company in Cairo. It's been open since 1936, and no political assassination, upheaval, or revolution can...Read More

  • 2. Khan al-Khalili

    Islamic Cairo North | Market

    Cairo shopping starts at this great medieval souk, which is chaotic and crowded but a thoroughly authentic Cairo experience. Although it has...Read More

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  • 3. L'Orientaliste Books

    Downtown | Books/Stationery

    Bibliophile Hassan Kamy stocks his shop with the city's best selection of books, antique maps, prints, and lithographs, plus wonderful antique...Read More

  • 4. Mashrabia Gallery

    Downtown | Art Galleries

    This gallery is on the tree-lined Shar'a Champollion (the street named after the Frenchman who broke the hieroglyphic code), and it's one of...Read More

  • 5. Anglo-Egyptian Bookshop

    Downtown | Books/Stationery

    Dating back to 1928, this shop has excellent selection of books, especially nonfiction offerings, and is one of the best sources in Cairo for...Read More

  • 6. Arkadia Mall

    Downtown | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This mall has more than 500 shops plus an arcade with games to keep the kids happy. It suffered serious damage during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution...Read More

  • 7. Azza Fahmy

    Giza | Jewelry & Watches

    Egypt's leading jewelry designer has become an international brand in recent years with her traditional motif-inspired pieces. A purchase here...Read More

  • 8. Catsaros

    Downtown | Auctions

    One of the best auction houses in town is in an unmarked alley off Shar'a Qasr al-Nil. ...Read More

  • 9. City Centre Ma'adi

    Ma'adi | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This mall is a resource for the many families in this residential district; there are few designer names but lots of mainstream brands like...Read More

  • 10. City Stars

    Heliopolis | Shopping Centers/Malls

    Cairo's megamall is huge, with more than 650 stores. There are also three hotels, a variety of restaurants and cafés, and two food courts. ...Read More

  • 11. Fair Trade Egypt

    Zamalek | Crafts

    This shop sells an interesting selection of handmade items from the 2,300 artisans working in 40-odd cooperatives around Egypt. Look for handmade...Read More

  • 12. Mit Rehan

    Zamalek | Household Items/Furniture

    This is the best source for modern Egyptian furniture—which means Islamic or pharaonic motifs applied to traditional pieces, like mashrabiyya...Read More

  • 13. Nile City Towers Mall

    Bulaq | Shopping Centers/Malls

    Underpinning two vast office blocks (plus the Fairmont Nile City hotel), this mall caters to upwardly mobile executives and office workers....Read More

  • 14. Nomad

    Zamalek | Crafts

    Vaguely Bedouin-style jewelry, clothing, home goods, and a handful of souvenir-type items are among the goods here. You'll also find some interesting...Read More

  • 15. The First Mall Cairo

    Giza | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This series of 200-odd upscale boutiques sell jewelry, designer clothing, and elegant housewares in galleries around an open atrium. There is...Read More

  • 16. Virgin Megastore

    Heliopolis | Books/Stationery

    This vast emporium offers a good choice of English-language reading from magazines to hardcover books, as well as music, films, and games. ...Read More

  • 17. Al Khatoun

    Old Cairo | Crafts

    This renovated yet still run-down workshop is an outlet for varied local artists and artisans including weavers, potters, and woodworkers. Styles...Read More

  • 18. Galleria

    Rodah Island | Shopping Centers/Malls

    The shopping center attached to the Grand Hyatt, has a small selection of individual boutiques, but it's anchored by a 12-screen cinema complex. ...Read More

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