With a perfect blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation, this 13-day Egyptian itinerary has something for everyone. Discover the ancient sites and antiquities of Cairo, cruise up the Nile from Aswan to Luxor, lounge on white-sand beaches at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, and end your journey camping under the stars among the breathtaking dunes of the White Desert.

Please note that there have previously been travel advisories issued for the Black and White Deserts. Please check the latest recommendations of your government. Your local specialist will be happy to advise, and potentially work with you on an alternative plan.


  • Stand in the shadow of the Great Pyramids 
  • Board a luxury cruise up the Nile from Aswan to Luxor
  • Sunbathe, swim & snorkel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada
  • Discover the history & flavors of Cairo on a food tour
  • Sleep under the stars on a camping excursion to the White Desert

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Cairo! Cairo
Day 2 Discover the Great Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Board Nile River Cruise Aswan
Day 4 Cruise to Kom Ombo, Edfu & Luxor Luxor
Day 5 Valley of the Kings, Luxor & Karnak Temples Luxor
Day 6 Transfer to Hurghada & the Red Sea Hurghada
Day 7 Explore Hurghada & Desert Safari Hurghada
Day 8 Hurghada Beach Day Hurghada
Day 9 Transfer to Cairo, Giza Sound & Light Show Cairo
Day 10 Tour the Salah el-Din Citadel & Cairo Food Tour Cairo
Day 11 Transfer to Bahariya, Desert Camping Excursion Bahariya
Day 12 Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo Cairo
Day 13 Depart Cairo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Cairo!

Ancient meets modern in Cairo

Welcome to Egypt! Upon your 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: Discover the Great Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum

Visit the Great Pyramids of Giza

Hit the ground running this morning with a tour of the Egyptian Museum. The finest museum of Egyptian antiques 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 the pyramid of Chephren to see the best preserved of the three 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, Board Nile River Cruise

Aswan's 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 meet 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.

From here you'll transfer to the shores of the Nile River to set sail on your scenic cruise, which serves as your accommodation for the next three nights. After lunch on board, take a ride on a felucca (a traditional river sailboat) for panoramic views of the Botanical Gardens, Elephantine Island, and Agha Khan Mausoleum

In the evening, you'll have free time to browse the Aswan Old Market for souvenirs before returning to the boat for dinner.

Day 4: Cruise to Kom Ombo, Edfu & Luxor

Admire spectacular Nile views as you cruise towards Luxor

This morning, your Nile journey starts with a visit to the Temple of Kom Ombo. Built during the Ptolemaic era, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the crocodile god (Sobek) and falcon god (Haroeris). Admire its many intact courts and halls, along with wall carvings and statues, then return to the boat and enjoy lunch as you cruise towards Edfu. Here you'll disembark for a horse-drawn carriage tour through Edfu to reach the Temple of Horus, considered one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt.

Back on board, you'll continue the journey upriver towards Luxor, and enjoy a festive Galabiya party to celebrate your final night on the Nile.

Day 5: Valley of the Kings, Luxor & Karnak Temples

Hot Air Balloon over the temples in Luxor
Watch the sunrise over the temples of Luxor

After breakfast, you'll transfer to the west bank of Luxor for a tour of the famed Valley of the Kings. Discover the exteriors of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, the beautiful Temple of Der el Bahari (dedicated to the funerary cult of Queen Hatshepsut), and the Statues of Memnon

Transfer to the east bank to explore the famed Luxor Temple Complex, built during the New Kingdom around 1400 BCE, and continue to the Karnak Temple, once a key religious center and one of Egypt's largest surviving temples. 

After an unforgettable day of sightseeing, you'll be transferred to your hotel in Luxor for the evening. 

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Day 6: Transfer to Hurghada & the Red Sea

Diving with dolphins near Hurghada

Early risers can begin today with an optional sunrise hot air balloon excursion over the Valley of the Kings, marveling at the Tomb of Tutankhamun and the Temple of Der el Bahari from above.

Then 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: Transfer to Cairo, Giza Sound & Light Show

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 10: Tour the Salah el-Din Citadel & Cairo Food Tour

The minarets and domes of Cairo's Citadel

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.

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 11: 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 12: 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 13: Depart Cairo

A transfer takes you to the airport to catch your departing flight

After breakfast, you'll bid Egypt farewell and transfer to Cairo's airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More 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. 

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