This quick six-day trip around Egypt starts and ends in Cairo, exploring plenty of ancient wonders in between. In the capital, see highlights such as the Egyptian Museum and Pyramids of Giza before setting sail on a three-day cruise down the Nile, where Aswan and Luxor's ancient sites await, including the Temple of Kom Ombo and Karnak. Disembark and spend your last few hours in Egypt exploring the Valley of the Kings, a burial site for pharaohs and noblemen.


  • Explore the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only surviving Wonder of the Ancient World
  • Take a sailboat to the islets around Aswan, Jazirat Aswan and El Nabatat
  • Spend three days cruising down the Nile past ancient sites
  • Discover Karnak, one of the largest preserved temples in Egypt

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, Food & Walking Tour of the City Cairo
Day 2 Full-Day Tour of Cairo's Pyramids, Museums & Mosques Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Visit the High Dam & Philae Temple, Board Cruise Aswan
Day 4 Cruise to Edfu, Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo & the Temple of Edfu Edfu
Day 5 Cruise to Luxor, Explore Luxor Temple & Karnak Luxor
Day 6 Disembark Cruise, Visit the Valley of the Kings, Depart Luxor  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo, Food & Walking Tour of the City

Try Egypt's national dish, koshary, on your food and walking tour of Cairo

Welcome to Cairo, Egypt's capital and largest city. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel, where you can refresh in anticipation for today's four-hour food and walking tour. Visit four different spots, catered to your tastes, where you can eat like a local. You may visit bustling markets, like the iconic Khan el-Khalili bazaar, or seek out hidden local gems to sample dishes that define the country's rich culinary identity.

Try traditional dishes like savory falafels, succulent kebabs, or aromatic koshary—Egypt's national dish made of lentils, rice, chickpeas, and tomato sauce, covered in crispy onions. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll love basbousa, a syrup-soaked semolina cake, or kunafa, a traditional Arab dessert made with spun pastry filled with cheese soaked in a sweet syrup. Wash everything down with sugar cane juice, hibiscus tea, or tamarind juice before returning to your hotel to relax and fight off any jet lag.

Day 2: Full-Day Tour of Cairo's Pyramids, Museums & Mosques

Tour the three main pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza

After breakfast, join your guide for a tour of the Giza Plateau, starting at the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Great Pyramid), which is the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built as a tomb, with the shape intended to help the spirit of the dead pharaoh rise to heaven. Continue to the Pyramid of Khafre, the best preserved of the three main pyramids; the top portion still retains the original face of smoothly finished stone, offering an idea of how the pyramids would originally have appeared. Beside the pyramid is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is carved out of natural rock.

Then, stop by the Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three main pyramids. Before you return to the city, visit the Papyrus Institute to learn about the intricate process of transforming the papyrus plant into paper. On your way out, look for souvenirs to commemorate your trip in the papyrus shop. Back in the city, head to the Egyptian Museum, home to an unparalleled collection of artifacts spanning over 5,000 years. Step inside to see the array of relics, including the golden mask of Tutankhamun, colossal statues, and preserved mummies. 

In the evening, dive into Egypt's medieval history at the Cairo Citadel, perched atop the Muqattam Hills. Admire the formidable walls, constructed in the 12th century to fortify against Crusader invasions, then discover the Mosque of Muhammad Ali within. Also known as the Alabaster Mosque, this Ottoman-style structure is full of iconic domes, towering minarets, stained glass windows, and elaborate chandeliers. When you're done exploring the citadel and mosque, transfer back to your hotel to rest after an action-packed day.

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Day 3: Fly to Aswan, Visit the High Dam & Philae Temple, Board Cruise

Take a boat to the Philae Temple to admire the hieroglyphics lining its walls

Say goodbye to Cairo this morning as you head to the airport to catch a 1.5-hour flight to Aswan, your gateway to the Nile River. Meet your driver outside the airport and head straight to the High Dam, an engineering marvel that increased Egypt's cultivable land by 30 percent and doubled its electricity supply. Continue to the Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess of healing and magic, Isis. Board a small boat to get to the temple so you can see its exquisite colonnades and ornate reliefs overlooking the Nile up close.

After admiring the panoramic views of the water, take the boat back to land and transfer to a cruise ship, which will be your base for the next three nights. Check in, enjoy lunch on board, then the rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Stay on board or book a sailboat tour to some of the surrounding islands like Jazirat Aswan, where you can see the ruins of the Temple of Khnum, dedicated to the ram-headed god of the Nile, and El Nabatat, home of the Aswan Botanical Garden. Enjoy views of the Aga Khan Mausoleum from the sailboat, then return to the cruise ship for the night as it starts its journey down the Nile.

Day 4: Cruise to Edfu, Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo & the Temple of Edfu

Horus Temple in Edfu
Explore the Temple of Edfu, dedicated to the god of kingship, healing, protection, the sun, and the sky

Enjoy breakfast on the cruise ship, then board a sailboat to get to the Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile's shore. Dedicated to both Sobek, the crocodile-headed god of fertility, and Horus, the falcon-headed god of the sky, the temple features duplicated halls and sanctuaries for each deity, creating a harmonious layout. Admire the intricately carved reliefs and hieroglyphics that narrate stories of ancient rituals and medical practices, then return to the cruise ship for lunch. While you eat, travel down the river until you get to the Temple of Edfu, which you can visit by sailboat.

Disembark and explore the temple, dedicated to Horus. Built between 237 BCE and 57 BCE, the temple stands as a testament to the Ptolemaic period's architectural prowess. Step through the grand entrance adorned with colossal statues of Horus and discover the hypostyle hall, surrounded by towering columns. Wander through the well-preserved sanctuaries and chapels within the complex, looking out at the hieroglyphics narrating the god's life and struggles. After exploring the temple, return to the cruise ship for the night to enjoy dinner.

Day 5: Cruise to Luxor, Explore Luxor Temple & Karnak

Admire Luxor Temple's towering obelisks

This morning, the cruise ship docks in Luxor, where you'll start your explorations in the Luxor Temple on the east bank of the Nile. Take a sailboat to the shore and disembark to discover the temple, dedicated to the divine triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Stroll down the grand Avenue of Sphinxes to enter the complex and admire the towering obelisks, colossal statues, and intricate hieroglyphics adorning the walls.

Walk along the river to the nearby Karnak next, one of the largest surviving temples in Egypt. Built during the New Kingdom period over 2,000 years, the temple has been dedicated to various deities over the centuries, including the sun God Amun-Ra. After exploring both temples, return to the ship for lunch, then spend the rest of the day relaxing on board. 

Day 6: Disembark Cruise, Visit the Valley of the Kings, Depart Luxor

Spend your last few hours in Egypt exploring the Valley of the Kings

Enjoy one last breakfast on the cruise ship before checking out, then head to the west bank of the river to meet the guide who will take you to the Valley of the Kings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that once served as the final resting place for pharaohs and powerful nobles during the New Kingdom period. Wander through the labyrinth of meticulously carved tombs, each adorned with elaborate paintings and hieroglyphics depicting religious rituals, celestial journeys, and the deceased's path to the afterlife.

Listen as your guide teaches you about the necropolis' residents and ancient Egyptian funeral traditions as you stroll from tomb to tomb, entering the sacred spaces when possible. When it's time, head to the airport in Luxor for a one-hour domestic flight to Cairo, where you can catch a connecting flight home. Safe travels!

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