In just nine days, you'll see some of Egypt's most iconic landmarks and natural wonders—from the historic streets of Cairo to the coastal Red Sea city of Hurghada. In between, spend three days cruising down the Nile, stopping at ancient temples like Edfu and Karnak along the way. Other highlights include a food and walking tour in the capital, a day trip to the Giza pyramid complex, a boat trip to the Giftun Islands, and a Jeep tour across the desert.


  • Explore the Cairo Citadel and iconic Mohamed Ali Mosque within
  • Visit the Grand Egyptian Museum, home to the colossal statue of Ramesses II
  • Tour the UNESCO-listed Abu Simbel Temples before boarding your Nile cruise
  • Go on a submarine tour from Hurghada to see colorful Red Sea coral and fish

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, Food & Walking Tour of the City Cairo
Day 2 Day Tour to the Giza Plateau, Visit the Egyptian Museum & Cairo Citadel Cairo
Day 3 Tour the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), Transfer to Aswan Cairo
Day 4 Visit Abu Simbel, Aswan High Dam & Philae Temple, Board Cruise Aswan
Day 5 Cruise to the Temple of Edfu via the Temple of Kom Ombo Edfu
Day 6 Cruise to Luxor via the Valley of the Kings, Karnak & Luxor Temple Luxor
Day 7 Disembark Cruise, Fly to Hurghada, Enjoy a Free Afternoon Hurghada
Day 8 Boat Trip to the Giftun Islands, Jeep Tour Through the Desert Hurghada
Day 9 Submarine Tour, Depart Hurghada  

Detailed Itinerary

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

Set off on a food and walking tour of Cairo to try local delights like Egypt's national dish, koshary

Welcome to Egypt's vibrant capital, Cairo! Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel in the city. After refreshing, set off on a food and walking tour to eat like a local. Follow your guide down the bustling streets lined with colorful markets and ancient landmarks, stopping to try local delights like savory falafels, succulent kebabs, or Egypt's national dish, koshary, made with lentils, rice, chickpeas, macaroni, and tomato sauce, then covered with crispy onions.

While you eat, learn about the city's rich history, customs, and traditions. When you're done with the savory dishes, move on to dessert, like om ali, a rich bread pudding infused with nuts, raisins, and aromatic spices, or mahalabiya, a creamy milk pudding flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water. At each of the four stops you make, wash your food down with a traditional drink, such as tamarind juice, hibiscus tea, or sugar cane juice. After four hours of eating and drinking, return to the hotel to relax and fight off your jet lag.

Day 2: Day Tour to the Giza Plateau, Visit the Egyptian Museum & Cairo Citadel

Discover the Giza pyramid complex and its protector, the Great Sphinx

Leave the city behind for the day as you transfer 30 minutes to the Giza Plateau, home to three of the most iconic pyramids in Egypt. Start at the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest of the three main pyramids and the only survivor of the Seven Great Wonders of the Ancient World. Continue to the Pyramid of Khafre, the best-preserved pyramid, to see the original, smoothly finished stone at the tip. The final pyramid is the smallest, the Pyramid of Mycerinus, offering a more intimate look at ancient Egyptian funeral practices. 

Step inside the dimly lit passageways to discover the sacred chambers that once cradled Egypt's rulers and marvel at the engineering prowess of ancient Egyptians. Adjacent to the pyramids, the Great Sphinx guards the Giza Plateau. Admire the colossal limestone statue depicting a lion's body with a pharaoh's head, then return to the city for lunch and a visit to the Egyptian Museum, home to a collection of over 120,000 artifacts spanning over 5,000 years. Wander through the vast halls housing statues, jewelry, mummies, and the mask of the renowned pharaoh, Tutankhamun.

Continue to the Cairo Citadel, a 12th-century fortress built atop the Muqattam Hills to protect against Crusader invasions. Step through the formidable gates and admire the towering bastions, intricate carvings adorning the walls, and age-old ramparts. Head to the Mohamed Ali Mosque within, also known as the "Alabaster Mosque," because of the pristine marble paneling lining the interior and exterior walls. Enter the serene space to look at the ornate domes, elaborate chandeliers, and stained-glass windows. Then, end the night at a local restaurant for dinner before returning to the hotel to rest.

Day 3: Tour the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), Transfer to Aswan

Look for souvenirs or try local delights at the Khan el-Khalili bazaar

Learn more about Egypt's rich history today at the Grand Egyptian Museum near the Giza pyramid complex, home to the world's largest antiquities collection belonging to a single culture's heritage. Browse the array of artifacts, from towering statues, intricate jewelry, and relics from Tutankhamun's collection. Don't miss the Grand Hall, where a colossal statue of Ramesses II is proudly displayed. After exploring the museum, return to the city to wander down Al-Muizz li-Din Allah al-Fatimi Street, or Al-Muizz Street for short, in the heart of Old Cairo.

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Follow your guide down the pedestrian street lined with medieval Islamic architecture and art, creating an open-air museum. Listen as your guide teaches you about the historic mosques, mausoleums, and palaces while you walk before ending the tour at Khan el-Khalili, a bustling 14th-century bazaar, where you can find a treasure trove of souvenirs, from handmade carpets to delicate jewelry and Egyptian street food. Grab a bite to eat, then head back to the hotel to grab your bags and meet your driver for a transfer to the airport, where you can catch a 1.5-hour flight to Aswan, a city nestled on the Nile River.

Day 4: Visit Abu Simbel, Aswan High Dam & Philae Temple, Board Cruise

Visit Abu Simbel's twin temples, dedicated to Pharaoh Ramesses II and his wife, Nefertari

Wake up early for a 3.5-hour transfer to the UNESCO-listed Abu Simbel Temples, two massive rock-cut temples commissioned by Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BCE. Pass the colossal statues of Ramesses II and his beloved wife Nefertari to enter the temple's main hypostyle hall, where more statues of the pharaoh and walls adorned with hieroglyphs greet you. Explore the inner chambers dedicated to different deities and admire the seamless integration of art, architecture, and religious symbolism. After exploring the temples, return to the city, stopping at the Aswan High Dam on the way.

Admire the modern engineering feat built to tame the Nile and harness its power for irrigation and electricity. Then, trade your land transfer for a boat to get to Philae Temple on Agilkia Island. Disembark and explore the temple complex dedicated to the goddess Isis, who embodies love, magic, and motherhood in Egyptian mythology. Admire the well-preserved colonnades, intricately carved reliefs, and hieroglyphics adorning the walls. After exploring Aswan and its surroundings, head to the port to board a cruise ship, your accommodation and transport for the next three nights as you set off up the Nile.

Day 5: Cruise to the Temple of Edfu via the Temple of Kom Ombo

Explore the Temple of Edfu, dedicated to the falcon-headed god of the sky, Horus

Enjoy breakfast on the ship while you cruise to Kom Ombo, home to the iconic Temple of Kom Ombo. Disembark and explore the temple, dedicated to both Sobek, the crocodile-headed god of fertility, and Horus, the falcon-headed god of the sky. Explore both temples' duplicated halls, courtyards, and sanctuaries adorned with hieroglyphs that provide insight into the rituals and ceremonies that once unfolded within this sacred space. After exploring the twin temples, board the ship to enjoy lunch while you cruise up the river to the Temple of Edfu.

Disembark again to discover another iconic temple dedicated to Horus. Approach the temple's entrance, flanked by colossal statues of the falcon-headed god, and step inside the vast courtyard adorned with towering columns and intricate hieroglyphs. Discover the inner chambers and sanctuaries, housing shrines and statues of Horus, then trace the footsteps of ancient pilgrims along the sacred processional route. In the evening, return to the ship to sit down for dinner while watching the sun slowly set over the Nile.

Day 6: Cruise to Luxor via the Valley of the Kings, Karnak & Luxor Temple

Walk down the Avenue of Sphinxes to explore Luxor Temple and Karnak

After breakfast on the ship, spend a full day exploring Luxor's landmarks, starting at the Valley of the Kings, a UNESCO-listed necropolis just 30 minutes outside the city. Descend to the meticulously carved tombs and listen as your guide teaches you about the pharaohs, like Tutankhamun, and noblemen who were buried here during the New Kingdom period. Get a close look at the vivid murals and intricate hieroglyphs depicting each person's journey to the afterlife before continuing to Deir el-Bahari, a complex of mortuary temples above the tombs dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut.

Ascend the three terraces and explore the decorated corridors, grand halls, and tranquil chapels. After wandering the tombs and temples, head back to the city to discover the East Bank, stopping at the Colossi of Memnon, twin statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, on the way. Back in the city, visit Luxor Temple, dating back to the New Kingdom period, when it was used for religious worship and royal ceremonies. Admire the imposing facade before stepping inside to see the sanctuaries, chapels, and shrines within.

Then, follow what's left of the Avenue of Sphinxes to Karnak, an awe-inspiring temple complex dedicated to the deities of Thebes. Admire the towering obelisks adorned with hieroglyphs and soaring great halls lined with statues and vibrant reliefs depicting the exploits of pharaohs and gods. Navigate through the different precincts dedicated to Amun-Re, Mut, and Montu to witness the evolution of the complex over centuries. Following a full day of sightseeing, return to the ship for dinner and a drink to commemorate your final night on the Nile.

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

Relax on the golden sands of one of Hurghada's many beaches

Say goodbye to the cruise ship this morning as you head to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Hurghada, a coastal city overlooking the Red Sea. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel, where you can enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Stay in and enjoy the hotel's amenities, like its pool or on-site bar, or head to one of the many beaches, like Sahl Hasheesh Beach, an upscale beach lined with resorts and palm-fringed promenades.

Relax on the golden sands, go for a dip in the azure water, and soak up the sun. If you want a little adventure, you can take part in watersports like windsurfing, parasailing, or jet skiing. When you get hungry, head to one of the many restaurants on the promenade or return to the city to visit the historic district of Dahar. Here, you can find plenty of authentic Egyptian restaurants serving local specialties made with fresh seafood straight from the waves. 

Day 8: Boat Trip to the Giftun Islands, Jeep Tour Through the Desert

Drive across the desert surrounding Hurghada on a quad bike

Trade the land for the sea this morning as you head to the marina to board a boat cruise to the nearby Giftun Islands. When you arrive, don your snorkeling or diving gear and jump into the water to discover the colorful coral and marine life below the surface. Look out for tropical fish, like butterflyfish, angelfish, and clownfish, among the reefs, and if you're lucky, you may spot larger marine creatures, such as reef sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. Relax on one of the two Giftun Islands before returning to shore to dry off and change at the hotel in anticipation of your next adventure—a Jeep safari through the desert.

Jump in the 4WD vehicle and set off for a Bedouin village in the desert to learn about their traditional way of life and how they harness the desert's bounty for sustenance and survival. Then, trade the Jeep for a camel or quad bike to explore the area in adventurous style. Navigate the sandy dunes and rocky trails to take in panoramic views of the vast desert and its ever-shifting sands. After the thrilling ride, sit down to watch the sunset while enjoying a barbecue dinner. When darkness falls, look up at the sky full of stars uninterrupted by city lights, then return to your hotel for the night.

Day 9: Submarine Tour, Depart Hurghada

Look out at the tropical fish and colorful coral from the submarine

Although it's your final day in Egypt, the adventure doesn't stop, as you spend your last few hours exploring the Red Sea by submarine. Board the vessel and descend into the azure waters to marvel at the colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life through the large viewing windows. Watch as schools of tropical fish glide past the submarine as you delve deeper into the underwater realm. After two hours on board, return to the surface and transfer back to the hotel to grab your bags and meet the driver, who will take you to the airport in time for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Egyptian Highlights From Cairo to the Red Sea - 9 Days
Map of Egyptian Highlights From Cairo to the Red Sea - 9 Days