Spend 15 days discovering Egypt and Morocco's highlights, starting in Cairo, where the Giza Pyramid Complex awaits. Move on to Luxor to board a three-day cruise along the Nile River, with stops at iconic temples and tombs along the way. Fly to Casablanca and transfer to Fes, spending two days discovering the bustling medina and picturesque architecture. Camp in the Afagay Desert, then head to your last stop, Marrakesh. Enjoy a hot-air balloon ride, visit the famous Jardin Majorelle, and more.


  • Cruise down the Nile, stopping at landmarks like the Valley of the Kings
  • Spend a few hours at the Visit Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
  • Go on a food and walking tour in the medina in Fes
  • Explore Meknes on your way to the Agafay Desert

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Explore the Capital at Leisure Cairo
Day 2 Visit the Giza Pyramid Complex & Egyptian Museum  Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Luxor, Board Nile Cruise, Tour Luxor Temple & Karnak Luxor
Day 4 Explore the Valley of the Kings, Cruise to Esna Esna
Day 5 Cruise to Edfu, Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo & the Temple of Edfu Kom Ombo
Day 6 Visit the Aswan High Dam, Philae Temple & Botanical Garden Aswan
Day 7 Disembark Cruise, Fly to Cairo, Enjoy a Free Afternoon Cairo
Day 8 Fly to Casablanca (Morocco), Visit Hassan II Mosque, Transfer to Fes Fes
Day 9 Culinary Tour of Fes el-Bali & the City's Souks Fes
Day 10 Full-Day Tour of Fes Fes
Day 11 Transfer to the Agafay Desert via Meknes Agafay
Day 12 Transfer to Marrakesh, Explore at Leisure Marrakesh
Day 13 Full-Day Tour of Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 14 Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Visit Jardin Majorelle  Marrakesh
Day 15 Depart Marrakesh  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Explore the Capital at Leisure

Wander through Coptic Cairo on your own, stopping at landmarks like the Hanging Church

Welcome to Cairo—one of the largest cities in Africa and Egypt's capital. Meet your tour coordinator outside the airport and transfer you to your hotel, where you can stay to relax and fight off jet lag or venture out to explore the area on your own. A good place to start is in Coptic Cairo, where some of the oldest churches and Christian landmarks reside. Wander along the narrow alleys and ancient streets, stopping at Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, better known as the "Hanging Church." Its position atop the ruins of a Roman fortress gives it the illusion of hanging above the street level below. 

Nearby is the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, believed to have been built on the site where the Holy Family sought refuge during their flight into Egypt. You can find Jewish landmarks in this area as well, like the Ben Ezra Synagogue, built in the ninth century, making it one of the oldest synagogues in the city. End the tour at the Coptic Museum, housed in a 19th-century mansion. Step inside to see the extensive collection of Coptic art, artifacts, and manuscripts spanning centuries of Egyptian Christian history before returning to the hotel for the night.

Day 2: Visit the Giza Pyramid Complex & Egyptian Museum 

Visit the Giza Plateau to see the three main pyramids and the Great Sphinx

After breakfast, meet your Egyptologist guide, who will accompany you on your day of exploring the city and its surrounding sites. Head to the Giza Plateau, just 30 minutes outside of Cairo, to visit the iconic pyramids. Start at the Great Pyramid of Giza, 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, as the top portion still retains the original face of smoothly finished stone.

Then, stop by the Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three. Beside the pyramids is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which was carved out of a single limestone block. Admire the colossal stature of a lion with the head of a pharaoh, believed to be King Khafre of the Fourth Dynasty. Then, return to the city to wander through 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. 

Day 3: Fly to Luxor, Board Nile Cruise, Tour Luxor Temple & Karnak

Look up at the 134 towering columns in Karnak

Say goodbye to Cairo for now as you head to the airport to catch a one-hour flight to Luxor. This small city in the Nile Valley is located 420 miles (676 km) south of the capital. Once you arrive, make your way to your cruise ship to check in, get settled into your cabin, and enjoy a delicious lunch overlooking the Nile River. Return to dry land in the afternoon to explore the wonders of the East Bank. Start at Karnak, one of the largest temple complexes in the world. Stroll along the Avenue of Sphinxes to enter the Great Hypostyle Hall, where 134 columns tower above you like an ancient forest.

Continue to Luxor Temple, which was once connected to Karnak by the grand Avenue of Sphinxes, a portion of which still marks the entrance to the temple. Dominated by statues of the great warrior pharaoh Ramesses II, Luxor Temple has survived Nile floods, foreign invasion, and thousands of years exposed to the elements. Find out how Alexander the Great wrote himself into the temple's history, and see one of the original pair of obelisks, the second of which now stands on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. As darkness falls, return to the ship to spend a peaceful evening on the river.

Day 4: Explore the Valley of the Kings, Cruise to Esna

Leave the cruise ship behind for the day to visit the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Kings

Continue your exploration of Luxor today, this time on the West Bank, where the famed Valley of the Kings awaits your visit. Discover rock-cut tombs that pharaohs and powerful nobles used for nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BCE. Descend to the tombs below to see the carved entrances adorned with colorful hieroglyphics and murals depicting scenes from each person's journey to the afterlife. Don't miss the tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramesses VI, where you can see well-preserved treasures and artifacts that accompanied the pharaohs into the afterlife.

Then, head up to Deir el-Bahari, a complex of mortuary temples adjacent to the tombs dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut, one of Egypt's most famous female pharaohs. Admire the elegant interior, with its colonnaded halls, towering statues, and sweeping views of the surrounding cliffs. End the tour 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. After a morning of exploration, it's time to reboard the ship and cast off, cruising south toward Esna

Day 5: Cruise to Edfu, Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo & the Temple of Edfu

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

Enjoy breakfast on board as you cruise to your next stop, 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.

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Day 6: Visit the Aswan High Dam, Philae Temple & Botanical Garden

Explore Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess of healing and magic

Your last stop on the cruise is Aswan, where you can disembark and explore some of the city's landmarks, starting at the Aswan High Dam, an engineering marvel built in 1970 that increased Egypt's cultivable land by 30 percent and doubled its electricity supply. Continue to Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess of healing and magic, Isis. Board a small boat to get to the temple to see its towering colonnades and ornate reliefs up close. Wander through the grand hypostyle hall and marvel at the sacred sanctuaries where priests once performed rituals to honor the divine.

Jump back on the boat and sail to the island of El Nabatat to visit the Aswan Botanical Garden, a lush paradise brimming with exotic flora from around the world. Wander down the winding paths shaded by towering palms and marvel at the array of plant species, including rare tropical palms, colorful orchids, and fragrant herbs. Take a break in the shaded gazebos overlooking the river and the city's bustling waterfront in the distance. In the evening, return to the ship to enjoy your final dinner on board.

Day 7: Disembark Cruise, Fly to Cairo, Enjoy a Free Afternoon

Enjoy panoramic views of the city from Cairo Tower's observation deck

Bid your cruise ship farewell as your driver transfers you to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight back to Cairo. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel. After refreshing, venture out to explore more of the city on your own. You could head to Cairo Tower on Gezira Island for panoramic views of the city. Take the high-speed elevator to the top and look out at the sprawling cityscape and meandering Nile River. If you're hungry, sit down for a meal in the tower's revolving restaurant, where you can savor delicious Egyptian cuisine while taking in the ever-changing scenery below.

If you want to learn more about the country's artistic past, visit the Museum of Islamic Art in the historic neighborhood of Bab al-Khalq. Step inside to discover one of the most extensive collections of Islamic art in the world, spanning over a thousand years of artistic and cultural achievements. Admire the dazzling array of artifacts, including intricately patterned textiles, exquisitely crafted ceramics, delicate metalwork, and ancient manuscripts. In the evening, wander through the historic district and choose from the mix of local and international restaurants for dinner.

Day 8: Fly to Casablanca (Morocco), Visit Hassan II Mosque, Transfer to Fes

Admire the lavish Hassan II Mosque overlooking the sea

Pack your bags and transfer to the airport to catch a 5.5-hour flight to Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. You'll have a little time to explore the city, so head to the Hassan II Mosque, which is located in a picturesque outcrop overlooking the sea. While the exterior and surrounding areas of this mosque are impressive, the lavish interior is designed using wood, marble, carved stone, and gilded ceilings. It's also one of the few mosques in Morocco that's open to non-Muslim visitors. After exploring the mosque, meet your driver and transfer three hours to your hotel in Fes, often called the country's cultural capital. 

Day 9: Culinary Tour of Fes el-Bali & the City's Souks

Wander through the many souks in Fes, sampling artisanal goods and delicious street food

You might want to skip breakfast this morning as you set off on a food and walking tour through Fes. Start in the UNESCO-listed Fes el-Bali, the city's medieval medina, where centuries-old traditions still thrive. Follow your guide down the maze-like streets, weaving through bustling souks and hidden squares, stopping at three different souks that all offer the opportunity to try traditional Moroccan street food, including dried meats, soups, flatbreads, dates, sandwiches, or grilled sardines.

Wash everything down with freshly squeezed juices or Moroccan mint tea to clear your palate. At the honey souk, taste an array of delicious wild honey, discuss their flavors and health-giving properties, and find out why honey is so important in Moroccan cooking and Islamic culture. If you're still craving sweets, try local desserts, such as chebakia, fried dough coated with honey and sesame seeds, or sfenj, Moroccan doughnuts dusted with sugar. 

Day 10: Full-Day Tour of Fes

Start your full-day tour of the city at Bab Boujloud, also known as the "Blue Gate of Fes"

Join your guide for a full-day tour of the city, starting your journey at Bab Boujloud, better known as the "Blue Gate of Fes," as it welcomes travelers into the medina. Visit ancient buildings such as the Bou Inania Madrasa, Al-Attarine Madrasa (two prominent Qur'an schools), and the Mosque and University of Karaouine. While exploring these buildings, you'll notice the harmonious geometrical details typical of Islamic architecture that adorn them.

Continue to the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts to learn about traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation to make tools, carpets, furniture, and musical instruments. Visit the mellah next, the historic Jewish quarter, to see the crumbling synagogues dating back to the 15th century, bustling markets, and ornate doorways. Afterward, venture outside the medina where the Royal Palace lies, and walk through its large plaza lined with palm trees. End the tour with a trip to the Bab Ftough Cemetery, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape below.

Day 11: Transfer to the Agafay Desert via Meknes

Admire the intricate details of the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa

Trade the city for the desert this morning as you transfer six hours to the lunar-like landscape of the Agafay Desert. On the way, stop in Meknes, one of four imperial cities in Morocco. Follow your guide through Bab al-Mansour, an intricately decorated gate, into the UNESCO-listed medina of Meknes, which is smaller and easier to navigate than the medinas in Fes and Marrakesh. Discover iconic landmarks, such as the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, where the sultan lies in eternal rest amid pristine marble and tile work.

You may also want to visit the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa and the Dar Jamai Museum, a beautiful 19th-century palace-turned-museum. Step inside and browse the collection of traditional Moroccan artifacts, textiles, and decorative arts. Back in the car, continue the journey to the Agafay Desert Camp, your lodging for the night. Sit down around the campfire and enjoy a delicious dinner while the sun slowly sets over the rolling hills, rocky outcrops, and expansive plains. When darkness falls, don't forget to look up to see the sky full of stars uninterrupted by city lights.

Day 12: Transfer to Marrakesh, Explore at Leisure

Wander through the bustling Jemaa el-Fna Square and sample local delights

Today, you transfer 50 minutes to your final destination in Morocco, Marrakesh, the second-largest city in the country. The bustling city will undoubtedly shock your senses with its vibrant sights, sounds, and smells. When you arrive, check into your hotel and leave your bags behind so you can explore the city on your own. Spend some time in Jemaa el-Fna Square, which begins to fill in the late afternoon with musicians, storytellers, acrobats, dancers, henna artists, and snake charmers.

As it gets dark, many rows of food stalls will begin to appear, serving anything from full meals to fruit drinks, dried dates, and small snacks. Sample local delights, such as a hearty tajine served with couscous, snail soup, or mechoui, slow-roasted lamb or goat. End the night with a pastilla, a savory-sweet pastry filled with layers of flaky phyllo dough, spiced meat, and almonds, then dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon.

Day 13: Full-Day Tour of Marrakesh

Follow your guide down the winding alleys of the Marrakesh Medina

Start off your full-day exploration of the city at the UNESCO-listed Marrakesh medina, a key political, economic, and cultural center since its founding in 1070. There are several impressive monuments that date from this period, including the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque. Attached to the mosque, the Koutoubia Minaret is just 250 feet tall (76 m) but towers over the medina thanks to a long-standing planning ordinance that forbids new construction from rising above it. Visit the Dar el-Bacha Museum next, housed in a 19th-century palace.

If the calligrapher is there, you may be able to see an artist at work, creating intricate Arab calligraphy. You'll also visit the archaeological masterpiece, the Almoravid Qubba, which is the oldest monument in the city, dating back to the early 12th century. Then, discover the hidden quarters and the historic caravanserai called fondouks. These were once used as hotels for the caravan traders and they're still in use today by artisans who have set their workshops in many of them. Wander through the stalls and enjoy the local crafts where you can buy a souvenir or two. 

Day 14: Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Visit Jardin Majorelle 

Rise above the Moroccan countryside on a hot-air balloon

Get ready for an early wake-up call for a 40-minute transfer out of the city to go on a hot-air balloon ride. You'll be welcomed with coffee, tea, and a big fire as the hot-air balloon is prepared. Then, jump in the basket and depart for a one-hour ride with uninterrupted views over the countryside and Marrakesh in the distance. Depending on your preference, you can arrange to travel with other people on the hot-air balloon, or you can book a private tour. When you touch down, there will be a wonderful breakfast waiting for you before you're transferred back to the city.

Return to the hotel to rest after the early start or explore more of the city on your own. Around 3:00 pm, meet your driver outside the hotel and transfer to the tropical Jardin Majorelle. The 20th-century French painter, Jacques Majorelle, spent four decades creating this enchanting oasis within the city. The garden was also lovingly restored under the patronage of the late fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent after he purchased the garden in 1980. Wander along the shaded pathways and admire the array of plants from around the world, including cactuses, palms, bamboo, and bougainvillea, to end the tour.

Day 15: Depart Marrakesh

Pick up some last-minute souvenirs in the medina before your flight home

After spending 15 days exploring Egypt and Morocco, your journey comes to a close today. If you have some time before your flight, you can return to Marrakesh's medina to wander around the souks, alleys, and markets. Look for last-minute souvenirs to commemorate your trip or sit down for one final Moroccan meal. When it's time, return to the hotel to grab your bags and meet your driver, who will take you to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Egypt Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Egypt? Check out these other Egypt itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of Egypt & Morocco Highlights: Cairo, Nile River, Fes, Marrakech & More - 15 Days
Map of Egypt & Morocco Highlights: Cairo, Nile River, Fes, Marrakech & More - 15 Days