This nine-day adventure takes you to some of the best natural landscapes and ancient ruins that Egypt and Jordan have to offer. Spend two days exploring Cairo and the Giza Pyramid Complex before flying to Aswan, where you'll board a three-day cruise up the Nile River. Disembark each day to explore the surrounding temples, then fly to Amman, Jordan's capital. Visit the archaeological site of Petra and end with an exhilarating Jeep tour across Wadi Rum.


  • Set off on a guided tour of Old Cairo's winding streets and bustling bazaars
  • Discover Aswan's iconic landmarks from a traditional sailboat
  • Float above Luxor and the winding Nile River in a hot-air balloon
  • See the UNESCO-listed wonders of Petra at your own pace
  • Climb to the summit of towering dunes amid the landscapes of Wadi Rum

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Half-Day City Tour Cairo
Day 2 Day Tour to the Giza Pyramid Complex, Visit the Egyptian Museum Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Board Nile Cruise, Explore Aswan's Landmarks Aswan
Day 4 Visit Abu Simbel & the Temple of Kom Ombo  Edfu
Day 5 Discover the Temple of Khnum & the Karnak Temple Complex Luxor
Day 6 Disembark, Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Valley of the Kings, Fly to Amman (Jordan) Amman
Day 7 Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Al-Karak & the Dana Biosphere Reserve Petra
Day 8 Self-Guided Tour of Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum Wadi Rum
Day 9 Jeep Tour Across Wadi Rum, Transfer to Amman, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Half-Day City Tour

Wander through the Khan el-Khalili bazaar to look for the perfect souvenirs

Welcome to Egypt's vibrant capital, Cairo! Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel for check-in and some relaxation. Then, venture out on a tour of the city, starting at Al-Muizz li-Din Allah al-Fatimi Street, or Al-Muizz Street for short, located in Old Cairo. 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 before turning onto another historic street, Haret al-Darb al-Asfar—commonly known as the "Street of the Tentmakers."

Watch the artisans take part in the centuries-old tradition of tentmaking, using colorful hand-stitched textiles and intricately embroidered fabrics. End 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. If you're hungry, try koshary, the country's national dish made of lentils, rice, chickpeas, and tomato sauce, covered in crispy onions. After a busy first day in Egypt, return to your hotel for a good night's rest.

Day 2: Day Tour to the Giza Pyramid Complex, Visit the Egyptian Museum

Discover the Giza pyramid complex and the iconic Great Sphinx

No trip to Cairo is complete without a visit to the pyramids, so today's adventure will take you 30 minutes out of the city to Giza to see these ancient landmarks. 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 of the three, the Pyramid of Menkaure, 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 your last stop, 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, before returning to your hotel.

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

Spot Aswan's landmarks 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 outside the airport and transfer to your cruise ship for check-in. After refreshing, take 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.

In the afternoon, board a felucca, a traditional wooden sailboat, for a tranquil spin around the riverside landmarks of Aswan, such as the Aga Khan Mausoleum, framed against the backdrop of the Sahara Desert and Nubian villages. 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 three-night cruise upstream.
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Day 4: Visit Abu Simbel & the Temple of Kom Ombo 

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

Leave the cruise ship behind for the morning and take your breakfast with you as you set off on a three-hour transfer inland to Abu Simbel, a historic site home to two temples commissioned by PharaRamessesses II in the 13th century BCE. Pass the colossal statues of Ramses 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, transfer back to the Nile and reboard your ship as you cruise to the Temple of Kom Ombo, enjoying a nourishing lunch on the way. 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: Discover the Temple of Khnum & the Karnak Temple Complex

Look up in the Temple of Khnum to see the intricate astrological and mythological carvings

Cruise to Esna this morning, where you'll step ashore to visit the Temple of Khnum, another structure dedicated to the elephant god. Step inside the well-preserved Greco-Roman structure to see the focal point, the hypostyle hall, featuring 24 towering columns adorned with intricate carvings of floral motifs and mythological scenes. Don't forget to look up to see the astrological signs decorating the ceiling. Then, wander through the surrounding chambers and courtyards to discover remnants of the ancient rituals and ceremonies that used to take place here. 

Board the cruise ship again for lunch while you continue upstream to Karnak in Luxor, an awe-inspiring temple complex dedicated to the deities of Thebes. Walk down the Avenue of Sphinxes to enter the temple and discover towering obelisks adorned with hieroglyphs. Navigate through the different precincts dedicated to Amon-Re, Mut, and Montu to witness the evolution of the complex over centuries before following the Avenue of Sphinxes to the nearby Luxor Temple, home to graceful colonnades and a colossal statue of Ramesses II. Return to the ship to spend your final evening on board, docked in Luxor.

Day 6: Disembark, Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Valley of the Kings, Fly to Amman (Jordan)

Spend your last few hours in Egypt visiting the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Kings

Enjoy your final breakfast on board before disembarking, then set off on a 40-minute hot-air balloon ride over Luxor for a different perspective of the city. Transfer to the launch site, where you can complete a safety briefing and watch the balloons inflate before jumping into the basket. As you rise above the city and serpentine Nile River, look out at the majestic temples, ancient ruins, and lush fields. When you touch down, join your guide for a tour of the Valley of the Kings, a UNESCO-listed necropolis that you may have just seen from above.

Listen as your guide teaches you about the pharaohs, like Tutankhamun, and noblemen who were buried here while you descend to the meticulously carved tombs. Then, explore Deir el-Bahari, a complex of mortuary temples above the tombs dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut. After a day of discovering Luxor and its surroundings on foot and from the air, grab your bags and head to the airport for a one-hour flight to Cairo. From there, you can catch a 1.5-hour flight to Amman, the capital of Jordan. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel in the city for the night.

Day 7: Transfer to Petra via Madaba, Al-Karak & the Dana Biosphere Reserve

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

After a restful night in Amman, set off on a three-hour transfer to Petra, an archaeological site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Make several stops along the way, starting with Madaba, known as the "City of Mosaics." Head to St George's Greek Orthodox Church, home of the famous Madaba Map, a stunning mosaic depicting Jerusalem during the Byzantine period. There are also plenty of other mosaics adorning the floors and walls to admire 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. Back in the car, your next stop is Al-Karak (sometimes "Kerak), where one of the largest Crusader castles in the Middle East awaits you. Explore the mazelike corridors, vaulted halls, and chambers inside Kerak Castle, built in the 12th century. Hit the road again to visit the Dana Biosphere Reserve, a protected area full of flora, fauna, and traditional Bedouin villages.

Stop in one of these villages to learn more about the daily lives of the local residents before completing the drive to Little Petra, just a short drive away from the main archaeological site. Enter the site through a narrow canyon, where you'll be greeted by well-preserved Nabataean structures when you emerge. Discover the tombs and dwellings carved directly into the red-rose cliffs, all adorned with elaborate frescoes. When you're done exploring, head to your hotel nearby to rest after your road trip. 

Day 8: Self-Guided Tour of Petra, Transfer to Wadi Rum

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

Spend the day discovering Petra at your own pace, often called the "Rose City," as ancient Nabataeans carved their structures directly into rose-red cliffs. Enter the archaeological site through the narrow Siq, a natural rock gorge, until you 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 panoramic views of the ancient city's monuments and surrounding mountains. In the evening, return to the hotel to grab your bags and meet your driver for a two-hour transfer south to your new hotel in Wadi Rum, a Martian-like landscape of vast desert expanses, towering sandstone mountains, and surreal red sand dunes. 

Day 9: Jeep Tour Across Wadi Rum, Transfer to Amman, Depart

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

Your last few hours in Jordan are sure to be an adventure as you head out on a Jeep tour across the desert. Start at the Al Ramal Red Sand Dune, where you can climb to the summit of the towering dune for panoramic views of the arid landscape. 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 out 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 look out at the surrounding mountains. In the afternoon, set off on a four-hour transfer back to Amman to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Highlights of Egypt & Jordan: Cairo, Nile Cruise, Petra & Wadi Rum - 9 Days
Map of Highlights of Egypt & Jordan: Cairo, Nile Cruise, Petra & Wadi Rum - 9 Days