If the thought of dark cold winters is putting a chill down your spine, while your crave for flea market shopping is still high, then what could be better than getting lost in Cairo’s amazing bright vibrant streets with hidden souks and twisting alley ways, perfect for an adventure.
Egypt holds one of the 7 wonders of the world; In addition to visiting Khufu’s Great Pyramid and the tomb of Tutankhamen, a trip to Cairo with holiday companies like First Choice, opens up a world of possibilities for any tourist.
But while excursions down the Nile and to the Red Sea are bound to be on most people’s itineraries, shopping lovers will be keen to seek out a bargain or two. Thankfully, Cairo has a fair few flea markets to choose from, all of which are bursting at the seams with souvenirs and keepsakes.
For all those of you who think that Cairo is all about pyramids and sightseeing, here is a wakeup call. Shopping in Cairo can be great fun. There are plenty of bazaars and malls that make the shopping spree a pleasant experience. The fashion scene of Cairo is vibrant and there are numerous local brands that have attained the status of international brands.
Where to shop
- Zamalek: Also known as ‘El Gezira’ the Zamalek neighborhood is located in western Cairo on the northern part of Gezira Island in the Nile River. Though the name derives from the Kurdish word meaning ‘straw hut’ it has become an upscale neighborhood full of foreign dignitaries (it contains more foreign embassies than any other area of Cairo). Here you can find a variety of charming antique stores, bookstores, restaurants, cafes, shops, and hotels, representing the best that cosmopolitan Egypt has to offer. Zamalek is where the smart locals head for stylish fashions and top jewelry.
- Shopping Malls: Even though Malls are not a huge part of Cairo’s shopping experience, there are some decent malls to visit to relish top international brands. The First Mall houses nearly 60 designer boutiques such as Prada, Dior and YSL.
What to Buy
- Gowns or scarves – While bedouin head scarves and silky pashminas are available from numerous merchants, try and seek out a more unique jallabaya, which is a long gown worn by men.
- Jewelry –Available to buy second hand or from the creator itself, Egypt produces some spellbinding jewelry. One of the most sought-after items is a cartouche necklace, which can be personalised with hieroglyphics.
Local brands to pick
Cairo is known for the best quality of cotton. Here are few brands to shop while in this city.
- Concrete: Best for casual menswear as well as a kids’ collection, Concrete is one of Egypt’s most successful local brands. With prices at the higher end, a shopping excursion to Concrete won’t save you money but could net you some enviable wardrobe staples that will last for years. Kids’ clothes are adorable with bright colours, fun patterns and comfortable cuts.
- Dalydress: Despite the dowdy name, Dalydress actually offers the stylish shopper a respectable range of sweaters, tops, oxford-style shirts and accessories. The classic sweaters come in a variety of colours and necklines, and the oxford shirts are simple enough to jazz up with accessories. Some very nice scarves, casual jewelry and surprisingly stylish handbags are also on offer.
- Mix and Match: Mix and Match is a women’s brand with branches around Cairo, offering great seasonal collections designed by brand owner Madame Shahira. The shop targets mature women with a slightly hippy edge, with sizes ranging all the way up to plus-size options. The shop’s designs feature pieces in wool, silk and luxurious Egyptian cotton with subtle Oriental detailing. Mix and Match clothes are well-made in great materials, some of which are reasonably priced
- Mobaco: Mobaco is popular for its Camel icon polo shirts.
Indeed, this local brand is ace when it comes to branding and image. They offer excellent sweaters and an excellent selection of dark-wash jeans.
Monastiraki is the anti-Ermou Street. The Monastiraki Flea Market, sprawled out before Monastiraki Square is one of the more colourful districts in Athens. Much of the flea market’s attraction comes from the eccentric characters hawking their wares. You can purchase nearly anything imaginable in the market, however it’s particularly notable as a great place to buy music and movies. Sunday is the flea market’s busiest day, but even on a mid-week afternoon you can have a fascinating shopping adventure around and through a variety of idiosyncratic little bazaar-style shops carrying designer fashion, local crafts or just downright junk, with all sorts of odd bits and pieces in between.