Heliopolis is Cairo’s most affluent residential suburb. Development began in the 1800s under Baron Empain, an entrepreneur from Holland, and there are a few historical sites dating to that era. Residents and expatriates have more to do in Heliopolis than tourists do, as there are some excellent shops and international restaurants around.
In most cases, tourists who book hotels in Heliopolis have an early-morning flight out of Cairo International Airport, which is in the northeast sector of the district. A selection of five-star airport hotels offers some of the best facilities in Cairo, and they’re especially well-suited for business travelers. Cairo doesn’t host that many international conferences or trade shows, but those that do come to the region are almost always hosted in Heliopolis.
There are a few sightseeing attractions in Heliopolis. The 19th-century core is called the ‘Korba’, and it has a miniature basilica inspired by the Aya Sofya in Istanbul. Other attractions include the Obelisk of Sensusert I (associated with an ancient, local deity), Baron Empain’s palace and Uruba presidential palace.
The only viable way to get from Heliopolis to central Cairo is by taxi. Rides from the airport can cost twice as much as rides in the other direction. The other option is to ride bus 356 (before midnight) or to arrange an airport pickup through one of the hotels in Heliopolis or Cairo.