Enjoy culture, adventure, and relaxation on this unforgettable 20-day tour of Egypt and Jordan. See the iconic pyramids, temples, and tombs of the ancient world, explore otherworldly deserts and Red Sea beaches, and board a traditional dahabiya sailboat to cruise the Nile River in style. After discovering Egypt's many highlights and hidden gems, it's time to hop over to Jordan to camp among the red dunes of Wadi Rum and experience the "Lost City' of Petra by candlelight.

Highlights

  • See the pyramids, citadels & markets of historic Cairo
  • Cruise the Nile from Aswan to Luxor on a luxurious dahabiya sailboat
  • Marvel at the ancient temples of Karnak, Abu Simbel, Luxor & Kom Ombo
  • Relax on the white sand beaches of the Red Sea in Hurghada
  • Camp under the stars & discover lush oases in the White Desert
  • See the "Lost City" of Petra by candlelight
  • Explore the canyons & petroglyphs of Wadi Rum

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Cairo! Cairo
Day 2 Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum Tour Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Nile River Birdwatching Tour Aswan
Day 4 Visit Abu Simbel, Board Sailing Cruise to Kom Ombo & Gebel el Silsila Kom Ombo
Day 5 Sail to Edfu & El Fawaza Edfu
Day 6 Sail to El Kab & Esna Esna
Day 7 Transfer to Luxor, Tour Luxor & Karnak Temples Luxor
Day 8 Explore the Valley of the Kings Luxor
Day 9 Transfer to Hurghada & the Red Sea Hurghada
Day 10 Explore Hurghada & Desert Safari Hurghada
Day 11 Hurghada Beach Day Hurghada
Day 12 Fly to Cairo Cairo
Day 13 Tour the Salah el-Din Citadel & Cairo Food Tour Cairo
Day 14 Transfer to Bahariya, White Desert Camping Excursion Bahariya
Day 15 Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo Cairo
Day 16 Day Trip to Alexandria Cairo
Day 17 Day Trip to Fayoum, Birdwatching at Quarun Lake Cairo
Day 18 Fly to Amman, Wadi Rum Desert Camping Excursion Wadi Rum
Day 19 Full-Day Tour of Petra Petra
Day 20 Depart Amman  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Cairo!

Ancient meets modern in Cairo

Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival at Cairo's airport, you'll be met by your guide who will assist you through customs and arrange a transfer to your hotel. Get settled in and rest up for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 2: Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum Tour

Visit the Great Pyramids of Giza

Hit the ground running this morning with a tour of the Egyptian Museum. The finest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world, it contains pharaohs' treasures dating back more than 5,000 years. The building is rectangular with a large rotunda on the ground floor containing massive exhibits, including colossal statues of Ramses II — get the best views by looking down from the upper galleries. The gold and alabaster trappings from the tomb of Tutankhamun (Tut) always draw crowds, too. Many of the Tutankhamun tomb treasures have been on display in museums around the world — including the golden mask — yet this one exhibit has always remained in Cairo. 

Next, it's on to the Great Pyramids of Giza. Start by visiting the pyramid of Cheops, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built as a tomb, its shape was intended to help the spirit of the dead pharaoh rise to heaven. Continue to Chephren to see the best preserved of the main Giza pyramids, and visit the iconic great Sphinx nearby. After a stop by Mykerinos, the smallest of the three pyramids, you'll be transferred back to the city, where you can enjoy the evening in Cairo at your leisure.

Day 3: Fly to Aswan, Nile River Birdwatching Tour

Aswan's beautiful Temple of Philae

This morning you will catch a quick flight south to Aswan, an archaeologically rich city on the banks of the Nile. Here you'll be met by your guide and embark on a tour of the beautiful Temple of Philae, dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis. Afterward, visit Egypt's remarkable engineering achievement of the modern era, the Aswan High Dam.

Continue to your hotel to get checked in and relax, before heading out again for a scenic birdwatching tour of the Nile. After meeting your birding guide, you'll transfer to the riverbank and board a traditional felucca sailboat at the dockside in Aswan. As you set sail across the Nile towards Lord Kitchener’s Island, your guide will start pointing out the rich birdlife along the banks, ranging from egrets to parakeets. Enjoy the beautiful flora on display, with hibiscus, lantana, bougainvillea, poinciana, acacia trees, and mimosa all blooming in radiant colors. Sailing upriver towards the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, you'll be met with the sight of many more bird species wading in the waters of the Cataract Islands—such as kingfishers, malachite kingfishers, striated herons, little bitten herons, night herons, green bee-eaters, and Nile Valley sunbirds. After a truly memorable afternoon for nature lovers, you'll return to the dock in Aswan and be transferred back to the hotel.

Day 4: Visit Abu Simbel, Board Sailing Cruise to Kom Ombo & Gebel el Silsila

The carved facade of Abu Simbel

This morning starts with a transfer to the magnificent Abu Simbel Temples. Built by the Egyptian king Ramses II who reigned 1279–1213 BCE, the massive rock-cut facades are truly incredible to see in person: despite their relatively remote location, they're one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

After returning to Aswan, it's time to head to the banks of the Nile and embark on your dahabiya (a traditional flat-bottomed sailboat) for a three-day cruise between Aswan and Esna. The first day’s sailing takes you to a small Nile island for a peaceful walk in the countryside. After lunch, you'll continue sailing towards Kom Ombo to visit the double temple of Sobek and Haroeris. Built during the Ptolemaic era, these temples were dedicated to the crocodile and falcon gods. Admire the many intact courts and halls, along with wall carvings and statues.

Back on the river, you'll cruise towards Gebel el-Silsila and spend your first night on board. 

Day 5: Sail to Edfu & El Fawaza

Admire ancient hieroglyphs in the Temple of Horus

After breakfast, you'll visit the rock-cut chapels of Horemheb, Seti I, Ramses II, and Merenptah, and explore the sandstone quarries at Gebel el-Silsila. Continue sailing to Edfu, where you can visit the Temple of Horus, considered one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt. In the evening you'll moor at a small island for the night, where you can have dinner on board the dahabiya or around a campfire on the tranquil banks of the Nile. 

Day 6: Sail to El Kab & Esna

The Temple of Khnum in Esna

Today takes you to El Kab, the site of the ancient town of Nekheb and one of the oldest and most significant archaeological sites on the Nile. Visit the remains of its temples and some of the magnificent tombs cut into the cliffs. After returning to the boat, you'll set sail for Esna, relaxing on deck and enjoying lunch against a backdrop of spectacular Nile views.

Stroll Esna's many souks, twisting streets, and alleyways, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight, or a new gift to buy. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills, or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea in a local tea house. Finish the day with a traditional Egyptian dinner before returning to the dahabiya for the evening.      

Day 7: Transfer to Luxor, Tour Luxor & Karnak Temples

Stroll the Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor

Your dahabiya journey ends this morning in Esna, where you can enjoy a final Nile-side breakfast before disembarking and transferring south to Luxor. A small city in the Nile Valley, Luxor was once the capital of the pharaohs and is home to some of ancient Egypt's most magnificent temples and tombs.

Today you'll focus on the city's east bank, exploring the famed Luxor Temple Complex built during the New Kingdom around 1400 BCE. Continue to the Karnak Temple, once a key religious center and one of Egypt's largest surviving temples. Walking down the Avenue of the Sphinxes, which once connected Luxor Temple with Karnak, is an impressive experience, as you follow an avenue guarded by the giant statues of Ramses II.       

Afterward, you'll transfer to your hotel to get settled in and enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.         

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Day 8: Explore the Valley of the Kings

Hot Air Balloon over the temples in Luxor
Hot air balloons over the Valley of the Kings

Early risers can begin today with an optional sunrise hot air balloon excursion over the Valley of the Kings to see the breathtaking ancient site from above.

After breakfast, you'll transfer to the west bank of Luxor by car to discover the Valley of the Kings on foot. See rock-cut tombs for kings and powerful nobles (including Tutankhamun), used for nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BCE. Then stop at the Colossi of Memnon to admire the magnificent ruins of Amenhotep’s memorial temple. What remains are two imposing statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that were erected to guard the temple's entrance. Finally, you'll head to Hatshepsut Temple, the memorial of Queen Hatshepsut that serves as the focal point of Deir el-Bahri, a complex of mortuary temples and tombs.

Day 9: Transfer to Hurghada & the Red Sea

Diving with dolphins near Hurghada

Today you'll switch gears from ancient Egyptian history to the great outdoors, transferring to Hurghada by car. This resort town on the coast of the Red Sea is known for its long sandy beach and an old town, El Dahar, where you can dine on traditional Egyptian cuisine and shop in colorful souks. The region is also a hot spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. One popular place for diving is the SS Thistlegorm Wreck, a famous shipwreck dive site with lionfish, stonefish, and sea turtles swimming alongside the ruins of the sea vessel. The afternoon is free for exploring and relaxing by the sea.

Day 10: Explore Hurghada & Desert Safari

Camels await their passengers in the desert near Hurghada

After a leisurely breakfast, you're free to choose from a range of activities. If you want to see more of the desert, opt for a safari adventure in the afternoon, choosing between a 4x4 vehicle, ATV, or camel. Whichever option you choose, you'll enjoy getting a lift as you explore Bedouin villages and enjoy sweeping mountain and desert views. For a more laidback pace, join a scenic boat tour or visit the nearby Hurghada Aquarium.

Day 11: Hurghada Beach Day

Relax on Hurghada's Red Sea beaches

Today is yours to spend completely at your leisure, relaxing on Hurghada's white-sand beaches and swimming in the warm waters of the Red Sea.

Day 12: Fly to Cairo

Return to the Great Pyramids at night

After a free morning in Hurghada, a five-hour transfer takes you back to Cairo. Get settled into your hotel and relax for the evening, or head back out to Giza after dark to witness the world-famous Sound and Light Show—a colorful nighttime spectacular set against a backdrop of the ancient pyramids.

Day 13: Tour the Salah el-Din Citadel & Cairo Food Tour

The minarets and domes of Cairo's Citadel of Salah el-Din

Meet your guide this morning to start your day with a tour of Cairo's magnificent Mohamed Ali Mosque. Built between 1830 and 1848 by the architect Yousef Bushnak, the mosque's towering dome and minarets crown the Citadel of Salah el-Din. Wander the peaceful interiors and marvel at the creamy sheen of alabaster that coats its floors and walls, then continue to Old Cairo to discover its many Coptic churches.

In the afternoon, you'll join a gastronomic tour of Cairo. As rich in history and culture as it is in calories, this experience takes you on a walk through the city's most characterful streets, stopping at four different locations for a sampling of food, drinks, and sweets. Eat like a local as you learn about the recipes and ingredients of Cairo's traditional dishes.

Day 14: Transfer to Bahariya, White Desert Camping Excursion

Set off from the oasis of Bahariya to explore the White Desert

Today you'll embark on a breathtaking excursion into the White Desert, as your driver takes you on a 226 mile (365 km) journey to the lush desert oasis of Bahariya. From here you'll spend the day exploring more desert landscapes, discovering the area's dramatic mushroom-shaped monoliths and formations. 

As the sun sets in spectacular fashion over the sands, your guide will set up camp, preparing your tents and starting a fire to grill dinner. Under the clear desert sky, you can stargaze as you enjoy a delicious Bedouin-style dinner and tea.      

Day 15: Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo

Sunrise over the rock formations of the White Desert

Awaken to the silence of the desert this morning, as you enjoy a light breakfast after sunrise. Then it's back into the Jeep to cross the sand dunes of the Black Desert to reach El Zogag Mountain and enjoy the sweeping views from its summit. After a visit to the sparkling quartz of Crystal Mountain, it's time to return to Cairo, where you'll get settled in at your hotel and have the evening free to relax or enjoy dinner out on the town.

Day 16: Day Trip to Alexandria

Alexandria's imposing Citadel of Qaitbey

Today you'll meet your knowledgeable Egyptologist guide and drive three hours to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria

Embark on a whirlwind tour of Alexandria's highlights, starting with the Catacombs of Kom El Shoukafa. Descend underground to discover a world of ornate carvings and paintings and a mixture of Roman and Egyptian designs. Dating from the second century CE, it is the largest Roman funerary complex in Egypt and includes a warren of tombs on three levels.

Continue to the harbor to see the Citadel of Qaitbey, a defensive fort that stands on the original site of the Pharos, Alexandria’s ancient lighthouse. Built in 279 CE, the legendary wonder of the ancient world stood guard over the harbor of Alexandria for over 1600 years and was topped with a towering statue of Poseidon. Although Pharos was restored at various times, it had finally crumbled by the time the original fort was built here in the 15th century CE. 

After lunch, there's time for more sightseeing before returning to Cairo in the afternoon.

Day 17: Day Trip to Fayoum, Birdwatching at Quarun Lake

The waterfalls of Wadi El Rayan

Today takes you two-hours southwest of Cairo to the lush and biodiverse oasis of Fayoum. Here you'll go birdwatching on the shores of Quarun Lake, visit the rushing Wadi El Rayan waterfalls within a protected national park, and discover the famous Pottery School nearby. An afternoon transfer takes you back to Cairo in time for dinner

Day 19: Fly to Amman, Wadi Rum Desert Camping Excursion

Set out on a Jeep tour of the vast Wadi Rum

This morning you'll bid Egypt farewell and catch a flight to the Jordanian capital of Amman. The nation's largest city, Amman has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and is full of important cultural and archaeological sites.

Upon arrival at Queen Alia Airport, you'll be met by your guide and transferred into the wilderness of Wadi Rum, an expanse of desert dubbed the "Valley of the Moon" by Lawrence of Arabia. Here you'll meet your Bedouin hosts to begin a Jeep excursion into this UNESCO-protected site. You'll travel through valleys, rock canyons, dunes, and deserts, stopping to check out rock inscriptions and petroglyphs as well as majestic views. Spend a little time at each stop to hike and scramble and explore at your own pace, taking in a desert sunset before returning to your Bedouin camp for an evening of dinner by the campfire under a twinkling night sky.

Day 20: Full-Day Tour of Petra

Experience Petra's Treasury by candlelight

 This morning takes you to Petra, one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World. Dubbed the "Lost City" as it was relatively recently re-discovered, you'll spend the day experiencing impressive sandstone carvings of this ancient Nabataean world. Stroll through the Siq, the three-quarter-mile narrow gorge (1.2 km) that opens up to the magnificent Treasury, the entrance guarding the old city. Then explore the Street of Facades, a row of monumental Nabataean tombs, as you work your way through the archaeological site discovering the amphitheater and caves.

Break for lunch, before climbing your way up the 800 steps to the Monastery, Petra's largest and lesser-visited monument. For a stunning view overlooking the Treasury and jagged mountains beyond, hike your way up the steep stone-carved staircase to the top of Jabal al-Khubtha. After a full day, you'll check into your accommodation nearby to rest up and cool down before venturing out again for a unique Petra by Night candlelit tour of the Siq and Treasury.

Day 21: Depart Amman

Discover the Temple of Hercules on the Amman Citadel

After breakfast, you'll return to the capital of Amman for some last-minute sightseeing. Head to the historic Old City to tour the Citadel and the Roman Theater, two of the most popular archaeological sites in the city. Then it's time to bid Jordan farewell as you transfer to the Queen Alia Airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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