Combine Cairo, the Nile River, and the Red Sea on this whirlwind eight-day tour that ticks off some of Egypt's greatest wonders. Wander the streets of the capital on a food tour, then learn the secrets of the pharaohs from an Egyptologist at the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum. Take a three-night cruise up the Nile, visiting riverside temples and tombs, then transfer to the beach town of Hurghada for a desert safari through the Sahara and snorkeling in the colorful coral reefs of the Red Sea.


  • Stand in the shadow of the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx
  • Hop between ancient temples on a three-night Nile River cruise
  • Walk among Luxor's giant statues and marvel at the Valley of the Kings
  • Snorkel around pristine reefs and swim with dolphins in the Red Sea

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, Walking Food Tour Cairo
Day 2 Discover Cairo: Pyramids, Museums, Citadels & Mosques Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Board Nile River Cruise, Sightseeing by Sailboat Aswan
Day 4 Cruise to the Temples of Kom Ombo & Edfu Edfu
Day 5 Cruise to Luxor, Tour Karnak & Luxor Temples Luxor
Day 6 Disembark Nile River Cruise, See the Valley of the Kings, Transfer to Hurghada Hurghada
Day 7 Swim in the Red Sea, Sahara Desert Safari Hurghada
Day 8 Snorkeling Trip to Giftun Island, Depart Hurghada  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo, Walking Food Tour

Taste test your way through the ancient, lively streets of Cairo

Welcome to Egypt! Few countries have captured the world's imagination like this North African nation bordering the Middle East, which has preserved much of its ancient history through landmarks, archaeological sites, and antiquities, all accessible to the public. Once you arrive in Cairo, the capital and largest city, you'll be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel to relax and settle in.

Later in the day, head out for a guided food tour, where you'll learn to eat like an Egyptian. Spend four hours sampling Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush (eggplant dip), and baklava, as well as more local specialties including duqqa (nut and herb dip) or kushari (the national dish of Egypt made from lentils, chickpeas, macaroni, and tomato sauce). As you explore the streets and delight in the flavors, you'll also discover the history, daily life, customs, and traditions of the locals.

Day 2: Discover Cairo: Pyramids, Museums, Citadels & Mosques

Tour the famous Pyramids of Giza today with an Egyptologist guide

Hit the ground running today, meeting your Egyptologist guide and taking a tour of some of Egypt's most iconic sites. Begin at the ancient pyramids of Dahshour, then continue to the iconic Pyramids of Giza to visit the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built as a tomb, its shape was intended to help the dead pharaoh's spirit rise to heaven.

Nearby, you'll find Khafre, the best-preserved of the main Giza pyramids, and Menkaure, the smallest of the three. Then, see the Great Sphinx up close, which has been guarding the city of the dead for 5,000 years. It's a marvelous sight carved out of a natural rocky outcrop.

Your next stop is the Egyptian Museum, which has the most extensive collection of Egyptian antiques in the world, including Pharaonic treasures dating back more than 5,000 years and the famous artifacts from King Tut's tomb. Continue to the Citadel of Saladin to see the Mosque of Mohamed Ali, known as the Alabaster Mosque. The brilliant domed ceilings, suspended lights, and city views from this former stronghold against the Crusaders are unparalleled. 
Plan your trip to Egypt
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Day 3: Fly to Aswan, Board Nile River Cruise, Sightseeing by Sailboat

In Aswan, take a quick spin around the sites in a felucca before boarding your cruise and setting off downstream

This morning, catch a quick flight south to Aswan, an archaeologically rich city on the banks of the Nile River. You'll meet your guide here and embark on a tour of the beautiful Temple of Philae from the fourth century BCE, dedicated to Isis, the goddess of love. Next, visit Egypt's remarkable engineering achievement of the modern era, the Aswan High Dam. Besides offering insight into Egypt's modern infrastructure, the dam also features panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Later in the afternoon, you'll board your cruise ship and get comfortable in your cabin as you prepare for a three-night scenic Nile cruise. After settling in, take a ride on a felucca (a traditional river sailboat) for panoramic sunset views of the Botanical Gardens, Elephantine Island, and Agha Khan Mausoleum. Head back to the ship in time to cast off, then relax as you enjoy the passing scenery of the papyrus and palm-lined riverbanks and fall asleep to the gentle rhythms of the river. 

Day 4: Cruise to the Temples of Kom Ombo & Edfu

Kom Ombo - Edfu
Visit the narrow, decorated passageways of the Edfu Temple

After a leisurely breakfast onboard, continue your Nile journey toward the Temple of Kom Ombo. Built during the Ptolemaic era, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the crocodile god (Sobek) and falcon god (Horus). You'll go ashore to admire its many intact courts, halls, wall carvings, and statues.

Then, return to the boat and cruise to Edfu, where you can take a horse-drawn carriage to reach the Temple of Horus, considered one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt. Constructed between 237 BCE and 57 BCE, you can still make out many intricate inscriptions. Return to the ship for dinner and a spectacular Nile sunset as you continue the journey upstream.

Day 5: Cruise to Luxor, Tour Karnak & Luxor Temples

Visit Karnak Temple and Luxor temple
Wander through immense statues and pillars at the jaw-dropping Luxor Temple

This morning, you'll cruise into Luxor, crossing to the Nile's East Bank to disembark and explore Egypt's most spectacular temples. Start at the Karnak Temple complex, the second-largest ancient religious site in the world and once the most significant religious complex in ancient Egypt. Founded in the Middle Kingdom, it's now one of Egypt's largest surviving temples. From its massive decorated pillars to the obelisks, statues, and kiosks, the complex, which took around 2,000 years to finish, will astound you.

Then, continue to the famed Luxor Temple complex, built during the New Kingdom around 1400 BCE and dedicated to Amun Ra, the God of the Kings and the King of the Gods. Walk down The Avenue of the Sphinxes, which once connected Luxor with Karnak and is guarded by the giant statues of Ramesses II. After a busy day of sightseeing, you'll return to the cruise to enjoy your final night on board, with a celebratory dinner and another colorful Nile sunset.

Day 6: Disembark Nile River Cruise, See the Valley of the Kings, Transfer to Hurghada

Visit The west Bank and transfer to Hurghada
End your Nile Cruise at the famous Valley of the Kings

Enjoy one last breakfast onboard the cruise ship before disembarking. Join your guide on the West Bank of the Nile for a tour of the famed Valley of the Kings, known for its rock-cut tombs for kings and pharaohs, buried between the 16th and 11th centuries BCE. Discover the exteriors of the Tomb of Tutankhamun and the beautiful Temple of Deir el-Bahari, a complex of mortuary temples and tombs. Stop at the Colossi of Memnon to see the imposing statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that guard the entrance of his memorial temple.

In the afternoon, switch gears from ancient Egyptian history to the great outdoors as you transfer to Hurghada by car. This resort town, around four hours away, lies on the coast of the Red Sea and is known for its long sandy beaches and historic Old Town of El Dahar, where you can dine on traditional Egyptian cuisine and shop in colorful souks. The region is also a hotspot for scuba diving and snorkeling. 

Day 7: Swim in the Red Sea, Sahara Desert Safari

Desert Safari at Hurghada
Swim in the Red Sea at the beaches of Hurghada

You'll have free time this morning to enjoy the swimming pools and beaches of the Red Sea at your own pace. Or, fill your morning with a dive—the Red Sea is famous for its stellar diving opportunities. The most popular site is the SS Thistlegorm Wreck, which teems with lionfish, stonefish, and sea turtles, all swimming alongside the ruins of the sea vessel. 

After a leisurely seaside lunch, join an afternoon tour to discover the vastness of the nearby Sahara Desert. For your desert safari, choose between a 4WD vehicle, ATV, dune buggy, or camel. Whichever option you choose, you'll enjoy getting a lift as you explore Bedouin villages and marvel at sweeping mountain and desert views.

Day 8: Snorkeling Trip to Giftun Island, Depart Hurghada

Snorkeling Trip to Giftun Island
Go diving among the reefs off Giftun Island in the Red Sea

Make the most of your final morning in Egypt with a snorkeling trip to an island in the Red Sea. Your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Hurghada before heading out on a boat to the beautiful national park of Giftun Island. The boat will take you to several snorkeling spots full of colorful corals and fish, and you'll have a chance to relax on the island, see dolphins, and swim on the beach.

Eat lunch onboard during the cruise back to Hurghada, where your driver will be waiting to take you to Hurghada International Airport for your flight back to Cairo or destinations beyond. Safe travels! 

More Great Egypt Itineraries

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Map of Egyptian Highlights From Cairo to the Red Sea - 8 Days
Map of Egyptian Highlights From Cairo to the Red Sea - 8 Days