About a decade ago, entertainment options in Egypt, especially outside Cairo, were rather limited. However, today tourist cities like Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam offer a wide range of entertainment means for travelers of all ages.
Away from the common bars, restaurants, discos, and cafès that tourists can find almost everywhere around the Nile, especially in larger cities, are some other entertainment options that would interest tourists visiting Egypt from all regions of the world.
Information about Entertainment in Egypt
It is never hard to find information about the different entertainment means in Egypt. Every month, a number of magazines and guides are published to provide information about various events, festivals, and new adventures.
There is Egypt Today, one of the most famous Egyptian magazines which is published in English, and it provides coverage of the cultural and artistic events taking place in the whole country. Other examples would include Al Ahram Weekly, The Middle East Times, the Cairo Times, and more.
On the other hand, many websites and Facebook pages provide rich information about different events and various entertainment means in Egypt in a large scope of languages as well.
For fans of Arabic Music and different types of oriental tunes, the Cairo Opera House and the Sayed Dervish Theatre in Alexandria are the best places to attend a live Arabic music concert.
In Islamic Cairo, especially on public holidays and during the holy month of Ramadan, there are usually music evenings and theatre productions in Beit Zeinab Khatoun; a historical house located behind the famous Azhar Mosque, and Beit El Haraway, another famous house constructed in the 17th century in Islamic Cairo.
The Whirling Dervishes Tanoora Dance Show
Whirling dervishes, or Tanoora dancing, performances absolutely encapsulate all that Egyptian culture is.
Many Nile Cruise ships that travel from Luxor to Aswan, and vice versa, offer a Tanoora dance show as part of their entertainment program. The same goes for a dinner cruise sailing down the Nile in Cairo.
The most famous place to watch the best-whirling dervishes show would be the Wikala of El Ghoury, located in the Azhar area, in front of the entrance to the Khan El Khalili tourist market.
The Wikala offers a Tanoora dance show every Saturday and Wednesday at 9 p.m. The performance lasts for about an hour and a half and it is totally free of charge.
Belly Dancing Performances
Although the origins of belly dancing in Egypt dates back to the Pharaonic period, most of today's performances depend primarily on the blending of folk, gypsy, and Ottoman patterns of movements.
Many Nile Cruise ships in Egypt; in Luxor, Aswan, and Cairo offers their guests a short belly dance performance. Moreover, nightclubs in many cities around the country, especially in larger hotels, have a permanent belly dance performance every night.
The Sound and Light Shows in Egypt
Almost every major historical site in Egypt provides a sound and light show with certain schedules and a number of languages.
These sites include the Pyramids of Giza, the Karnak Temple, the Temple of Philae, and many other monuments.
These performances begin as soon as the sun goes down and involve the historical site being illuminated by different colors and shades while a recorded voice tells the audience about the history and the mythology of the monument.
Western Classical Music
The main venue to listen to good Western classical music would be the Cairo Opera House. Its main hall hosts regular performances of visiting international artists from all over the globe.
In Alexandria, the theatre of Sayed Darwish and the Alexandria Conference Hall hosts some Western musical concerts which are usually organized by the French, Italian, or German consulates. Many cultural centers around Cairo organize a number of concerts for performing Western music.
Some of the major hotels in Cairo, Hurghada, and Sharm El Sheikh sometimes organize live classical Western music to be performed during dinner in the main restaurant or in nightclubs and bars to entertain their guests.
Bars and Discos in Egypt
Although Egypt is considered to be an Islamic country, there are many bars around the country, other than these located inside five stars hotels, where the prices are far cheaper but never less enjoyable.
Alexandria features a large number of bars, due to the fact that the city was host to a large number of foreigners in the 19th and 20th centuries. There is the beautiful Cap d'Or Bar that will make you feel like you are in a real Mediterranean taverna that belongs to the good old days.
In Cairo, there are several bars, especially in the areas of the Island of Zamalek and Mohadneseen. Examples of bars in these neighborhoods would include Deals, L' Aubergine, Tabasco, and Bull's Eyes which are usually attended by the wealthy youth of the city.
Downtown Cairo also hosts a large number of bars that are usually crowded with foreigners and tourists who stay in the hotels located in the center of Cairo. There is the famous After Eight Bar which usually organizes live music played by a number of youth bands in Egypt.
Touristic cities in Sinai and the Red Sea region are also packed full of bars and discos. For the best information about these places, it is always recommended to check magazines like Sinai Today or Red Sea Today.
The Rock and Jazz Performance in Egypt
A few concerts for Jazz, Rock, and Pop are organized in Egypt, like the famous Jean Michael Jarre performance in the Pyramids during the celebration of the millennium. However, these events are quite rare. The only dedicated venue for the performance of live modern Western music is the Cairo Jazz Club which is located in Agouza, near the Island of Zamalek in Cairo. There is usually a live band playing most nights.
Casinos in Egypt
Many of the five stars hotels in Egypt, especially in Sharm El Sheikh and Cairo, have a casino that is open for non-Egyptians only. The games of these casinos are usually operated in US dollars or Euros.
Examples of hotels with casinos in Egypt would include; Semiramis Intercontinental and Marriott in Cairo, El Salamlek Hotel in Alexandria, and a large number of hotels and resorts in Sharm El Sheikh and Sinai.