Discover ancient ruins and natural landscapes across Egypt and Jordan on this 13-day adventure. Begin by experiencing Cairo's rich culture with a traditional folk performance and historic district tour before flying to Aswan to board a four-night Nile cruise. Visit iconic temples and tombs along the river, then fly to Jordan and hop on a Jeep to climb red dunes and rock formations at Wadi Rum. Finally, uncover the ancient "Rose City" of Petra and bustling Amman before blissfully floating in the Dead Sea.


  • Visit the Egyptian Museum and Coptic Cairo on a full-day tour
  • Sail down the Nile on a traditional wooden sailboat called a "felucca"
  • Camp under the desert stars on the red sands of the Wadi Rum Protected Area
  • Explore the large medieval Kerak Castle, a Crusader stronghold in Al-Karak
  • Roam the Archaeological Site of Jerash to marvel at its Roman ruins

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Cultural Performance at Wekalet el-Ghoury Cairo
Day 2 Visit the Egyptian Museum, Guided Tour of Old Cairo Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Board Nile Cruise, Explore Aswan's Landmarks Aswan
Day 4 Visit Abu Simbel & the Temple of Kom Ombo  Kom Ombo
Day 5 Visit the Temple of Edfu, Cruise to Luxor Luxor
Day 6 Explore the West & East Bank of Luxor Luxor
Day 7 Fly to Cairo, Guided Tour of Islamic Cairo's Landmarks Cairo
Day 8 Fly to Amman (Jordan), Transfer to Wadi Rum Wadi Rum
Day 9 Transfer to Petra, Explore the Archaeological Site at Your Own Pace Petra
Day 10 Transfer to Amman via the King's Highway Amman
Day 11 Day Trip to Jerash, Ajloun Castle & Umm Qais  Amman
Day 12 Guided City Tour, Transfer to the Dead Sea, Afternoon at Leisure The Dead Sea
Day 13 Relaxed Morning in the Dead Sea, Transfer to Amman, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Cultural Performance at Wekalet el-Ghoury

Watch the talented dancers twirl gracefully as they perform tanoura

Welcome to Egypt's vibrant capital, Cairo! Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel in the city, where you can relax until this evening's dinner and cultural performance. When it's time, head to Wekalet el-Ghoury, a 16th-century caravanserai (roadside inn along major trade routes) that is now the backdrop for traditional Egyptian music and dance performances. Step inside the vast courtyard, where you'll immediately be surrounded by live music played on traditional folk instruments.

Sit down for an authentic Egyptian dinner while you watch a troupe of skilled dancers perform tanoura, a folk dance characterized by its swirling skirts and hypnotic movements. Watch the dancers twirl gracefully on stage as their colorful skirts billow and swirl around them, accompanied by mesmerizing music and chanting. Each dance conveys spiritual and philosophical concepts through the enchanting dance moves, so pay close attention. After the performance, return to your hotel to rest. 

Day 2: Visit the Egyptian Museum, Guided Tour of Old Cairo

Admire the facade of the 14th-century Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan

Set off on a full-day tour of the capital, starting at the Egyptian Museum, home to over 120,000 artifacts spanning more than 5,000 years. Wander through the vast halls housing statues, jewelry, mummies, and the mask of the renowned pharaoh, Tutankhamun. After spending two hours in the museum, continue to Coptic Cairo, a small district within Old Cairo that's home to some of the country's oldest churches and religious sites. Pass landmarks like Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, the Fortress of Babylon, the Coptic Museum, and St. George's Church.

Stop at the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, believed to have provided refuge to the Holy Family during their flight into Egypt. End the tour at the Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, built in the 14th century during the Mamluk era. All visitors are welcome to admire the towering minarets and intricate stone carvings before entering to discover the vast courtyard, towering prayer hall, and adjoining madrasa (Islamic school). After exploring the mosque, wander the historic district's streets to sample street food or sit down for an authentic Egyptian dinner.

Day 3: Fly to Aswan, Board Nile Cruise, Explore Aswan's Landmarks

Spot Aswan's landmarks from aboard a felucca, a traditional wooden sailboat

Say goodbye to Cairo this morning as you head to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Aswan, your gateway to the Nile River. When you land, meet your driver at the airport and head to the pier to board a small boat to Agilkia Island, where Philae Temple awaits your discovery. 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 before continuing to the cruise ship for lunch and check-in.

In the afternoon, trade the cruise ship for a felucca, a traditional wooden sailboat, for a spin around the city's riverside landmarks, such as the Aga Khan Mausoleum, framed against the backdrop of the Sahara Desert. Stop at Elephantine Island, where you can stroll through the ruins of ancient temples, including the Temple of Khnum, dedicated to the island's namesake deity—the elephant god Khnum. End the tour at Aswan Botanical Gardens to see the variety of exotic plants, trees, and flowers before returning to the cruise ship for dinner as you cast off on your four-night cruise down the Nile.

Day 4: Visit Abu Simbel & the Temple of Kom Ombo 

Admire the smaller of the two Abu Simbel temples, dedicated to Queen Nefertari

Leave the cruise ship early this morning and enjoy a breakfast box during your 3.5-hour transfer inland to the historic site of Abu Simbel, home to two 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 twin temples, return to your ship for a cruise to the Temple of Kom Ombo, enjoying a nourishing lunch on board. Dedicated to both Sobek, the crocodile-headed god of fertility, and Horus, the falcon-headed god of the sky, the complex features duplicated halls, courtyards, and sanctuaries. Explore both temples, adorned with hieroglyphs that provide insight into the rituals and ceremonies that once unfolded within this sacred space. In the evening, return to the cruise ship to relax.

Day 5: Visit the Temple of Edfu, Cruise to Luxor

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

Enjoy breakfast on board while you follow the river to Edfu, where you'll disembark to explore the Temple of Edfu, also 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 the deity, then trace the footsteps of ancient pilgrims along the sacred processional route. After exploring the temple, return to the ship for lunch while you cruise to Luxor and dock for the evening.

Day 6: Explore the West & East Bank of Luxor

Visit the tombs and temples within the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Kings

Spend a full day exploring Luxor's east and west banks, starting in the west at the Valley of the Kings, a UNESCO-listed necropolis just 30 minutes outside Luxor. Descend to the meticulously carved tombs and listen as your guide highlights the noblemen and pharaohs, like Tutankhamun, buried here during the New Kingdom period. Look closely at the vivid murals and intricate hieroglyphs depicting each person's journey to the afterlife in the tombs you enter.

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Then, continue to Deir el-Bahari, a complex of mortuary temples adjacent to the tombs dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut. Ascend the three terraces and explore the highly decorated corridors, grand halls, and tranquil chapels. Transfer to the east bank next to visit Luxor Temple, which dates back to the New Kingdom period when it was used for religious worship and royal ceremonies. Admire the imposing facade before entering to see the sanctuaries, chapels, and shrines.

Back outside, follow what's left of the Avenue of Sphinxes to Karnak, an awe-inspiring temple complex dedicated to the deities of Thebes. Look up at 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: Fly to Cairo, Guided Tour of Islamic Cairo's Landmarks

Wander through Khan el-Khalili to find handmade souvenirs or sample delicious street food

Bid farewell to the Nile as you head to the airport for a one-hour flight back to Cairo. Meet your driver at the airport and transfer to your hotel, where you can refresh before venturing out on a tour of Islamic Cairo. Start at the Cairo Citadel, a 12th-century fortress built 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. Visit the Prince Mohamed Ali Palace next, a 19th-century structure used as a summer residence by the prince and his family. Wander through the extensive complex housing several buildings, gardens, a museum, and a mosque. End the tour at Khan el-Khalili, a bustling 14th-century bazaar, where you'll find a treasure trove of items for sale, from handmade carpets to delicate jewelry and Egyptian street food. Grab a bite to eat, then return to your hotel for the night.

Day 8: Fly to Amman (Jordan), Transfer to Wadi Rum

Visit Wadi Rum's dunes, rock formations, canyons, and springs on a three-hour Jeep tour

Trade Egypt's capital city for Jordan's as you head to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Amman. Meet your driver and transfer 3.5 hours to the Wadi Rum Protected Area, a Martian-like landscape of vast desert expanses, towering sandstone mountains, and surreal red dunes. When you arrive, jump in a Jeep for a two-hour tour across the desert. Start at the Al-Ramal Red Sand Dune, where you'll climb to the dune's summit for panoramic views of the landscape. Then, continue to Raqabat al-Wadak, better known as the "Little Bridge," a sandstone arch that spans a narrow chasm.

Although you can't walk across the bridge, you can clamber up the rock for another perspective of the surrounding landscape. Back in the Jeep, venture into Khazali Canyon, a narrow gorge renowned for its ancient rock carvings. Look at the inscriptions and petroglyphs adorning the rocks that tell tales of the Nabataean and Bedouin cultures that once thrived in the region. End the tour at Lawrence's Spring, a natural oasis in the middle of the arid desert. Dip your toes in the crystal-clear water while you take in the surrounding mountains before heading to your campsite for dinner.

Day 9: Transfer to Petra, Explore the Archaeological Site at Your Own Pace

Spend the day discovering Petra, a UNESCO-listed archaeological site

Wake up in the desert, enjoy breakfast at camp, then set off on a 1.5-hour transfer to Petra, often called the "Rose City," as ancient Nabataeans carved their structures directly into rose-red cliffs. Explore the UNESCO-listed archaeological site on your own, starting with a walk through the narrow Siq, a natural rock gorge. At the end, you'll get your first look at the Treasury, a towering mausoleum with an elaborately carved entrance. Beyond the Treasury, the site opens to a vast expanse of monuments, temples, and dwellings.

Walk along the Street of Facades, showcasing impressive Nabataean tombs, until you reach the Theater, where you can imagine the echoes of ancient performances. Deeper into the archaeological site, you'll find the Royal Tombs, which stand as a testament to the city's regal history. End your self-guided tour in the Monastery and climb to the top, which takes 45 minutes to an hour, to enjoy far-reaching views of the ancient city's monuments and surrounding mountains. In the evening, transfer to your nearby hotel to rest your feet after your self-guided tour.

Day 10: Transfer to Amman via the King's Highway

Explore the 12th-century Kerak Castle on your way to Amman

Today, you head to your final destination in Jordan, Amman, the city you landed in two days ago. Break up the three-hour drive along the King's Highway by visiting Shobak Castle, a military fortress built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. Explore the ancient halls and ramparts, then enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding desert plains. Back in the car, continue to the Ottoman village of Dana in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Follow the narrow streets lined with stone houses and look out across the Great Rift Valley.

After admiring the view, head to Al-Karak, where one of the largest Crusader castles in the Middle East awaits your visit. Explore the mazelike corridors, vaulted halls, and chambers of Kerak Castle, built in the 12th century, before making your way to Madaba, known as the "City of Mosaics." Head to St. George's Greek Orthodox Church, home of the famous Madaba Map, an ancient detailed mosaic depicting Jerusalem during the Byzantine period. Admire more mosaics adorning the floors and walls while you're here.

Continue to the Madaba Archaeological Park to see the remnants of grand structures from the Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, and Crusader periods. Wander through ancient chapels, houses, halls, and arches, looking for mosaics depicting mythological scenes. Your final stop is Mount Nebo, believed to be where Moses died, overlooking the Holy Land. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the Dead Sea and the vast Jordan Valley. On a clear day, you can even catch glimpses of Jerusalem in the distance. Complete the drive to your hotel in Amman, where you can relax after your action-packed road trip.

Day 11: Day Trip to Jerash, Ajloun Castle & Umm Qais 

Stand in the well-preserved Roman amphitheater in the Archaeological Site of Jerash

On your first day in the capital, you'll leave the city for a 50-minute transfer to the Archaeological Site of Jerash, known to have some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Step through the imposing Hadrian's Arch and follow the colonnaded streets through the once-thriving city to see the ruins of temples, theaters, plazas, and a hippodrome. Then, continue 30 minutes to Ajloun Castle, perched atop a hill overlooking the city of Ajloun. Admire the ancient stone walls and fortified gates dating back to the era of Crusaders and Salah ad-Din, the legendary Muslim general.

End the tour at Umm Qais, an hour away at the country's northernmost tip. Enjoy wide-ranging views of the fertile Yarmouk Valley from town, then discover the ancient ruins of Gadara, a Greco-Roman city nearby. Wander through the well-preserved streets, stopping at the site's centerpiece, a beautifully preserved Roman amphitheater. Be sure to visit the on-site archaeological museum to browse the artifacts unearthed from the site. Following your exploration of Umm Qais, it's time for the two-hour journey back to Amman. 

Day 12: Guided City Tour, Transfer to the Dead Sea, Afternoon at Leisure

Wander among the ruins of ancient temples, palaces, and homes at the Amman Citadel

Begin the day with a two-hour guided exploration of the historically rich capital, Amman, starting at the Amman Citadel, perched on the city's highest hill, Jebel Al Qala'a. Roam the ruins of palaces, temples, and homes dating back to the Bronze Age. After exploring the archaeological site, head down to the traditional markets in the city's heart. Browse the stalls of handmade goods, aromatic spices, fresh produce, and local delicacies before ending the city tour at the Roman Theater of Amman, built in the second century CE to honor Emperor Hadrian.

Stand in the well-preserved theater and imagine the grand performances, such as plays and concerts, that once took place here. This afternoon, you'll transfer one hour to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. When you arrive, check into your hotel, change into your bathing suit, and enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the salty waters, treating yourself to a mud mask. Since the water has such a high salt concentration, you'll easily float on the surface. In the evening, watch as the sun slowly sets over the surrounding mountains before heading to your hotel nearby.

Day 13: Relaxed Morning in the Dead Sea, Transfer to Amman, Depart

Enjoy a relaxing morning floating in the Dead Sea before your flight home

After spending just under two weeks exploring the highlights of Egypt and Jordan, your journey comes to a close today. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then spend your last few hours in Jordan in the Dead Sea. Go for one final float in the salty water and apply another mud mask to purify your pores before your flight. When it's time, transfer one hour to the airport in Amman for your flight home. Safe travels! 

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Map of Highlights of Egypt & Jordan: Cairo, Nile Cruise, Wadi Rum, Petra, Amman & the Dead Sea - 13 Days
Map of Highlights of Egypt & Jordan: Cairo, Nile Cruise, Wadi Rum, Petra, Amman & the Dead Sea - 13 Days