Port Said (Cairo), Egypt
This large port city at the north end of the Suez Canal is the hopping-off point for excursions to Cairo and the pyramids. Port Said is also popular as a beach resort with the locals. The central district is a draw with historic balconied buildings and a beautiful Islamic-style Suez Canal Authority administration building capped with triple domes.
What We Love
Access to Cairo: Most visitors will take the three-hour drive to Cairo. The city’s traffic is horrendous, so simply go with the crowds and take in the atmosphere of this hugely important metropolis.
Local Sights: For those who've done Cairo and the pyramids, there's plenty to do in Port Said. Explore the old city, watch the ships in the canal, and take the ferry across to Port Fuad, which is technically in Asia.
Best Known For
The Pyramids: Excursions out of Port Said include the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and just to the south, the step pyramid at Saqqara. Seeing these incredible monuments is more than worth the long day trip.
National Museum: If you're staying in Port Said, be sure to go to the centrally located museum to study the vast collection of Egyptian antiquities, including the treasures of Tutankhamun.
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Who It's Best For
Ancient History Aficionados: We all learned about this ancient civilization; hence, the major attractions will be familiar. But nothing can exceed actually standing next to them and taking time to study their design and function.
Religious History Buffs: The city’s inhabitants are mostly Muslims, but there are large numbers (about 10%) who are Coptic Christians (Orthodox) living in their own districts, and a small Jewish population.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It’s a Long Day: The early start from Port Said and the late return (plus all the sightseeing, crowds, noise, and dust) will exhaust even the hardiest of travelers. Plan on taking it easy on other days.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.