Follow the ancient Nile down through Egypt to sail to some of the ancient world's most dramatic structures. Spots such as Karnak, Luxor, and Abu Simbel evoke the complex structures of ancient Egyptian life and architecture, while a city tour of Cairo and trip to the Aswan Dam will help bring you into Egypt's present.

Highlights

  • Stand in the shadows of the Pyramids
  • See the temples of Karnak and Luxor
  • Stroll through the Valley of the Kings
  • Sail down the ancient Nile

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo Cairo
Day 2 Pyramids & The Sphinx Cairo
Day 3 Cairo to Luxor Luxor
Day 4 Luxor to Edfu Edfu
Day 5 Edfu to Aswan Aswan
Day 6 Aswan & Nile Sail Aswan
Day 7 Aswan to Cairo Cairo
Day 8 Depart Cairo Cairo

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo

Cairo
The Nile through Cairo

Welcome to Egypt! You'll meet your guide at Cairo airport, with the rest of the day free to settle into your lodgings and explore the capital city.

Day 2: Pyramids & The Sphinx

PYRAMIDS & SPHINX
Under the Pyramids

Start with a classic as you visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, individually known as the pyramids of Cheops, Khafre, and Menkaure. These wonders of the ancient world are one of the first images that come to mind when you think of Egypt, and you'll experience them for yourself, along with the enigmatic Sphinx.

You'll also visit the necropolis of Saqqara, home to the oldest known pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, and its accompanying mastaba tombs. These flat-roofed rectangular structures were the predecessors of pyramids and the basis for the step pyramid structure. Visit the pyramid of Teti as well, a smooth-sided pyramid and the second of its kind known to contain pyramid texts.

Day 3: Cairo to Luxor

LUXOR TEMPLE
Temple at Karnak

Transfer to Cairo International Airport to fly to Luxor, where you'll meet your guide and travel to the Temple of Luxor. This temple on the Nile's eastern bank was dedicated to the worship of the god Amun, and where the ancient pharaohs may have been crowned. You'll also visit the Abu El-Hagag mosque, sitting amid the columns of the Luxor Temple. 

Continue to Karnak, a vast complex that contains temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings and one of the main places of Egyptian worship during the 18th dynasty. This expansive site is one of Egypt's most-visited attractions, partially due to the length of time that the architecture covers. Nearly 30 pharaohs contributed to the construction and development of the complex, giving today's visitors a survey of Egyptian deities and construction styles.

After you've finished your explorations, board the cruise boat that will be your lodging for the next few nights.

Day 4: Luxor to Edfu

Nobles tomb west bank
Tomb in the Valley of the Kings

After breakfast on board, transfer overland to visit the classic attractions at the Valley of the Kings. This ancient valley on the Nile's west bank was the burial ground of pharaohs and nobles from the 16th through 11th century BCE, including the famous tomb of Tutankhamun.

You'll then visit the nearby multi-story Temple of Hatshepsut (also known as the Djeser-Djeseru, "holiest of holies"), the burial site of the second historically confirmed female pharaoh. Make one more stop to see the Colossi of Memnon, two 60-foot (18 m) statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Get back on board and sail to Edfu as you enjoy lunch and afternoon tea on the sundeck, including a trip through the Esna Lock. End the night with dinner and a chance to try traditional Egyptian clothing onboard as you dock overnight in Edfu.

Day 5: Edfu to Aswan

Nile Cruise
View from on deck

In the morning you'll go ashore after breakfast to travel to the Temple of Horus. The temple to the falcon god was once covered by silt during the flooding of the Nile, but it has since been restored to sit as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved temples of the Ptolemaic era.

Sail to Kom Ombo next, where you'll disembark once more to visit the double temples of Sobek and Haroeris, known for their distinctive symmetrical structure. Though devoted to two separate deities, the temples share one complex and are perfectly balanced along their central axis. Then get back on board to sail to Aswan, where you'll anchor for the night.

Day 6: Aswan & Nile Sail

PHILAE TEMPLE ASWAN
Temple of Philae

Today's land attraction is more modern, as you'll visit the Aswan High Dam, one of the largest in the world. Then go back to the past with a trip to the Temple of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis and seated on an island within the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam.

You'll return to the boat in the afternoon, where you'll spend time on river adventures as you ride smaller felucca sailboats down the Nile. Pass the oxymoronically petite Elephantine Island (which may have earned its name due to its resemblance to an elephant tusk shape, or the shape of the rocks on the shore) and the recently built Agha Khan mausoleum.

Day 7: Aswan to Cairo

Sonesta St George Nile Cruise
Egyptian Museum

Head to the Aswan airport after breakfast to take a flight back to Cairo.

Your first stop back in the city is the Egyptian Museum, the richest museum of Egyptian antiquities in the world. See pharaonic treasures more than 5,000 years old, including colossal statues of Ramses II and gold and alabaster trappings and rare jewelry from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

After the museum, take a tour of the city streets, starting at the massive medieval Salah El-Din Citadel and its enclosed Mohamed Ali alabaster mosque, once a stronghold against the Crusaders. The brilliant domed ceilings, suspended lights, and views of the city from this ancient fortress are sure to captivate. Keep going to the churches of Old Cairo and the Khan El Khalili old market to browse before you retire for the night.

Day 8: Depart Cairo

Cairo Down Town
Aerial views over Cairo

Enjoy one more Egyptian breakfast before your transfer to the airport.