This journey covers the many treasures and wonders of ancient Egypt. From exploring the vibrant capital of Cairo to the iconic pyramids of Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur, as well as the many beautiful temples of Luxor and the tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. With four nights cruising along the Nile River on our comfortable river boat, we undertake regular shore excursions to the fascinating temples on the riverside and a day trip to the impressive and remote Abu Simbel.
- Discover the many treasures in the renowned Egyptian Museum
- Marvel at the ancient pyramids of Giza and Saqqara
- Cruise along the Nile River from Luxor and Edfu to Aswan
- Experience the wonders of the magnificent temple of Abu Simbel
- Explore the tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut
- Take a pilgrimage to the Monastery of Saint Anthony
Day 1 Join Cairo
Today is an arrival day. You will be met at the airport (if arriving on Day 1 only) and transferred to the group hotel for overnight accommodation. A group briefing will be held in the afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight hotel in Cairo.
Day 2 Visit the Great Pyramids
Before appreciating the best preserved pyramids at Giza, this morning we visit the Step Pyramid at Saqqara which shows the style of construction used to build them. The Step Pyramid was built by the Pharaoh’s chief architect, Imhotep, in 27BC and was at that time the largest stone construction ever built. Following our visit to Saqqara, we travel to the nearby old capital of Memphis. Little remains of the once grand and thriving metropolis, except a small museum and garden. The Great Pyramids of Egypt set on a plateau in the Arabian Desert, are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the reason for which becomes evident as we first set our eyes on these awesome monuments. We spend the morning exploring the main sites. We will enter the Kings Chamber and marvel at the sophisticated construction of this ancient site. We include a visit to the Solar Barque Museum, where the remains of a wooden boat, perhaps used in the funeral procession for a Pharaoh, can be seen. Time is spent appreciating the majestic Sphinx and wondering at the mystery that surrounds this enormous structure. Overnight hotel in Cairo.
Day 3 In Cairo, sightseeing
Cairo is a city of more than 18 million people – a bustling, dusty and boisterous metropolis with an abundance of character and history. Our time here is limited although we have included the highlights and focused our itinerary on the archaeological importance of the city and its surrounds. This morning we have a city tour including visits to the Citadel, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar and Al-Muizz Street. A full afternoon is spent at the Egyptian Museum, providing you with an excellent insight into Egyptian history from the Old Kingdom right through to the Roman Empire. The highlight of the museum is the Tutankhamen exhibit, which houses the treasure from the tomb discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. Although he was an insignificant Pharaoh, Tutankhamen’s tomb contained a stunning array of gold, including pure gold sandals. It is astounding to imagine what treasures a significant Pharaoh may have taken into their next life, had their tombs not been ransacked. We return to the hotel in the late afternoon for a rest before dinner (NB – dinner is not included in the tour cost; at your own additional expense).
Day 4 Drive to Hurghada, enroute visit Monastery of St Anthony
Early morning drive to Hurghada on the Red Sea Coast, and enroute we will visit the Monastery of Saint Anthony. This Coptic Orthodox monastery was established around the 4th Century AD by the followers of Saint Anthony, one of the first Christian monks. It is the world’s oldest and one of the most prominent monasteries in Egypt, and has now become a popular pilgrimage site on par with Saint Catherine’s Monastery. The restored monastery is a self-contained village with several churches, gardens, a mill, a bakery and a library; in addition to Coptic wall paintings and ancient monastic cells. Time permitting and dependent on fitness levels, it is also possible to visit the natural mountain cave where St Anthony dwelt for 43 years (the cave is located about 2 km south-east of the Monastery; 1-hour hike each way). Overnight hotel in Hurghada. Approx 8-9 hours drive.
Day 5 Drive to Luxor, sightseeing, board Nile River boat
Early morning drive to Luxor, one of the most magnificent cities in all of Egypt. The city is located on the banks of the Nile, and is built on the site of the former capital of Egypt, Thebes which dates back 4000 years. In the centre of the town is the Luxor Temple and to the north, Karnak and the Temple of Amun. We visit these impressive temples which are well preserved and contain numerous columns, obelisks and in the temple of Karnak, an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes. The imprint of the various Pharaohs, including Tuthmosis III, Hatshepsut, Tutankhamun and Ramses II is evident. During our visit we will be in the company of a local site guide with specific knowledge of these temples. Then we board our comfortable 4 star Nile River cruise boat for overnight. (Please note: we will be accommodated in first class cabins. The boat is not exclusive for our group and is a public cruise vessel).
Day 6 Visit Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut, commence Nile River cruise to Edfu
Today we cross over to the west bank of the Nile visiting the Valley of the Kings, the necropolis for the ancient city of Thebes. The rock-hewn tombs are found in an arid valley and from the exterior it is hard to imagine the riches which once lay within. Ironically the most recent discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922 by Howard Carter, the contents of which are now in the Cairo Museum, is the least decorated. The tombs of Ramses I, III, IV, IX, Seti II and Tuthmosis III and IV are all richly decorated with paintings of goddesses and the stories from the Book of Day and Night. We will have the opportunity to visit a few of these tombs depending which ones are open to the public. The tombs are reached through a series of ornately painted underground corridors and ante chambers until these open out to the burial chamber where the sarcophagus is found. There will also be time to visit the Temple of Hatshepsut, the first woman to reign as a king. In paintings and reliefs she was depicted as a man. Return to our Nile River boat for overnight and commence our cruise towards Edfu.
Day 7 Visit Edfu and Kom Ombo, cruise to Aswan
The days spent sailing on the Nile allow us to relax and take in the view, experiencing first hand rural life on this life-giving river. Our relaxation time is interspersed with visits to the various fascinating temples on the riverside. Early this morning we will visit the temple of Horus at Edfu, which is one of the largest and best preserved in Egypt. Then return to our boat to cruise to Kom Ombo Temple. Afterwards we re-board our boat for overnight and cruise towards Aswan.
Day 8 Arrive Aswan, sightseeing
We arrive today in the bustling town of Aswan. Set primarily on the East Bank of the Nile, it is the most southern city in Egypt and is said to be the gateway to Africa. Ancient trade routes once crossed over in this town and the Sharia as-Souq today retains all of the activity and colour of the great trading days. We visit the High Dam, which at the time it was completed (1902) was the largest of its kind in the world. This afternoon we will visit the unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Philae. We return to our boat in the evening for dinner and our last night on board.
Day 9 Visit Abu Simbel Temple, overnight sleeper train to Cairo
The Great Temple of Ramses II was carved from a mountain between 1290 and 1224 BC and was dedicated to the gods Ra-Harakhty, Amun and Ptah. Threatened by the rising waters of Lake Nasser, UNESCO organised a rescue of the temple in the 1960’s. The rescue involved carving the temple into more than 2000 blocks weighing up to 40 tonnes each and transferring them 210 metres away to a man made mountain, and reconstructing the temple façade which stands 30 metres high and 35 metres wide. From the outside it is hard to imagine that the temple is not original, and only by entering the mountain constructed in steel and concrete, is it possible to appreciate the enormous feat achieved by the archaeological teams. A very early morning wake-up call as we start our overland trip at 4.00am to visit this magnificent temple. Following a tour around the temple, we return to Aswan. Transfer this evening to the railway station to board the train for the overnight journey back to Cairo. Overnight sleeper train. NOTE – Instead of the overnight sleeper train, it is possible to pay a flight upgrade supplement to take a domestic flight from Aswan to Cairo (after the Abu Simbel visit) and overnight hotel in Cairo. For this option, there is no dinner included in Cairo. Please ask us for costs.
Day 10 In Cairo, trip concludes
Upon arrival in Cairo, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward travel. If you would like additional nights in Cairo or an airport transfer on any other day, please ask your Reservations Consultant for details. Additional costs apply.
- 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 5 dinners
- 4 nights in 4 star hotels on a twin share basis
- 4 nights on a Nile River 4 star boat on a twin share basis
- 1 night in overnight sleeper train on a twin share (bunk) basis
- airport transfers (day 1 and 10 only)
- private transport
- English speaking local guide
- entrance fees and sightseeing as listed in itinerary
Images courtesy of World Expeditions
WEX – EYE