This 10-day Egyptian adventure is perfect for anyone who likes to spend time on (and in) the water. It kicks off with a multi-day cruise down the legendary Nile River, with stops to tour ancient temples along the way. Finish the trip with a few days of relaxing by the Red Sea in the idyllic coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, with an added visit to Saint Catherine's, the longest-operating monastery in the world.


  • See the great pyramids of Giza and the iconic Sphinx
  • Take a multi-day cruise down the Nile River 
  • Explore the ancient temples of Luxor and Edfu
  • Relax at the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, Optional Activities Cairo
Day 2 Day Trip to the Pyramids of Giza Cairo
Day 3 Visit the Egyptian Museum & Islamic Cairo Cairo
Day 4 Transfer to Aswan, Nile River Cruise (Day 1) Aswan
Day 5 Nile River Cruise (Day 2), Visit the Temples of Edfu & Luxor Luxor
Day 6 Nile River Cruise (Day 3), Tour Luxor's West Bank Luxor
Day 7 Transfer to Sharm el-Sheikh Sharm el-Sheikh
Day 8 Free Day in Sharm el-Sheikh Sharm el-Sheikh
Day 9 Visit Saint Catherine's Monastery Sharm el-Sheikh
Day 10 Optional Activities, Fly to Cairo & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo, Optional Activities

Cairo, which sits on the Nile River, is the capital and largest city in Egypt

Welcome to Egypt! This country is a veritable treasure trove of antiquities spanning a vast historical timeline. It includes the Middle Ages, the Roman period, and the dozens of dynasties that existed thousands of years before even Biblical times. You'll arrive in Cairo, the political and economic heart of the country. Like much of Egypt, this capital city on the Nile River isn't short on culture and awe-inspiring historical landmarks.

Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up at the terminal and transfer you to your hotel in the city. After checking in, you can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and unwinding. If it's early enough, head over to Cairo Tower, which at 613 feet (187 m), is one of the tallest buildings in the city. The revolving restaurant at the top is one of the best sunset views in Cairo, and if your camera has a good enough zoom and the conditions are right, you can see the Pyramids of Giza.

Day 2: Day Trip to the Pyramids of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Khufu is one of the ancient wonders of the world

In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the short ride from Cairo to the famous Giza Pyramids complex, a necropolis for ancient pharaohs. There are three main pyramids here—Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure—and you'll visit all of them on this full-day tour. Though all three pyramids are awe-inspiring monuments, the Great Pyramid of Khufu stands out. It is one of the ancient wonders of the world and even today remains the largest pyramid in Egypt.  

But the pyramids aren't the only ancient landmarks you'll witness. There's also the Great Sphinx. Located near the pyramids, this monumental statue stands 66 feet (20 m) and is 240 feet (73 m) long. Even more impressive is that it was carved from a single limestone block. Both the pyramid complex and the Sphinx were constructed between 2580 and 2500 BCE. After a morning touring the pyramid complex, you'll have lunch at a local restaurant.

Later, if there's time, you can take an optional trip to Saqqara, another ancient archaeological site south of Cairo. During its heyday between the 27th-22nd centuries BCE, it served as a burial ground for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis. The star landmark here is the Pyramid of Djoser, which is considered the earliest large-scale stone construction of its time. At the end of the afternoon, you'll return to Cairo.

Day 3: Visit the Egyptian Museum & Islamic Cairo

The Citadel of Saladin is one of the most impressive landmarks in Egypt

After breakfast, you'll meet a local guide who will lead you on a day tour of Egypt's heritage. First up is the Egyptian Museum, which is a treasure trove of ancient artifacts. Among many highlights you'll see is the tomb of King Tut. The museum also features a collection of well-preserved royal mummies, including those of famous pharaohs such as Ramses II and Hatshepsut.

After the museum, the history tour continues with a visit to the Citadel of Saladin. This impressive landmark was commissioned in the 12th century by Salah ad-Din (Saladin), the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, and served as a military stronghold and royal residence. The incredible panoramic views of Cairo from the citadel aren't merely scenic—the fortress was strategically positioned to defend the city from potential invasions.

Next, visit the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, which dates to the 14th century and is regarded as the finest piece of early Mamluk architecture in Cairo. Finally, hunt for treasures in Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, a souk in the historic center of Islamic Cairo, where you can shop for lamps, rugs, jewelry, and more.

Day 4: Transfer to Aswan, Nile River Cruise (Day 1)

Visit famous landmarks in Awan, like the Temple of Philae (Temple of Isis)

In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport and board a plane for the 1.5-hour flight south to Aswan. This city on the Nile has been a strategic gateway to Egypt for thousands of years. It's filled with historic landmarks like temple complexes and rich culture in the form of Nubian villages and traditional markets. Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city.

You won't waste any time visiting Aswan's highlights because right after checking in, you'll leave to visit some of the city's famous landmarks. First up is the Temple of Philae, which dates to the fourth century BCE and is dedicated to Isis, the goddess of love. You'll also visit the Aswan High Dam. This modern engineering marvel, completed in 1970, spans the Nile River and created Lake Nasser. 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 a boat and commence with the first leg of your Nile adventure. During the cruise, you'll relax on deck and enjoy the passing scenery of the papyrus and palm-lined riverbanks. The day culminates with a golden sunset over the water and views of the famous Aswan Botanical Garden on Kitchener's Island. You'll overnight on the boat.

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Day 5: Nile River Cruise (Day 2), Visit the Temples of Edfu & Luxor

The main entrance to Edfu Temple, also known as the Temple of Horus

After breakfast, continue the boat ride north up the Nile, stopping at two of the most famous temples in the country. The first is the Temple of Horus at Edfu, located on the west bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. One of the best-preserved temples in Egypt, it was constructed between 237 BCE and 57 BCE and is dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus.

Next, you'll visit the Temple of Kom Ombo. Located in the town of the same name and dating to the second century BCE, this unique double temple was dedicated to two deities: the crocodile god (Sobek) and the falcon god (Haroeris). Many of the walls of its courts, halls, sanctuaries, and rooms are still intact, as are wall carvings and statues. 

Day 6: Nile River Cruise (Day 3), Tour Luxor's West Bank

The Valley of the Kings is one of the highlights of Luxor's West Bank

The cruise continues this morning to Luxor. Once the capital of ancient Thebes, this city is considered an open-air museum due to its many well-preserved landmarks. You'll visit some of these famous archaeological sites in Luxor's West Bank region. Here, you'll see Luxor Temple, which dates to 1400 BCE and was dedicated to a triad of Egyptian gods. Then head over to the Valley of the Kings, a necropolis for pharaohs (including Tutankhamun) that was in use from the 16th-11th century BCE.

Next, you'll see two of Luxor's most iconic landmarks: the Colossi of Memnon. These imposing statues guard the entrance of the ancient funerary temple of Amenhotep III. The tour concludes at Hatshepsut Temple, a magnificent mortuary temple dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut, one of the few female pharaohs of ancient Egypt (no offense to Cleopatra). You'll overnight once again on the boat. 

Day 7: Transfer to Sharm el-Sheikh

The idyllic coastline of Sharm el-Sheikh

Disembark in the morning from the boat and transfer to the airport in Luxor. From there, catch a plane for the one-hour flight to Sharm el-Sheikh. Located on the Red Sea coast of the Sinai Peninsula, this is one of Egypt's most popular resort towns, famous for its postcard beaches and fantastic snorkeling/diving spots. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel, thus kicking off a couple of days of relaxing downtime on the Red Sea. 

Once you've checked into your hotel, you can stretch your legs by walking along the waterfront promenade. Or stake out a spot on the beach for some sunbathing and swimming. In the evening, hit the beachfront restaurants and bars to sample the area's famous seafood and mingle with the locals.

Day 8: Free Day in Sharm el-Sheikh

Try one of the many activities on offer at Sharm el-Sheikh, like kite surfing

Today is yours to enjoy Sharm el-Sheikh however you like. If you prefer to laze on the golden sands all day with a good book for company, then so be it. The area is also a fantastic kite-surfing destination due to its strong offshore winds. But above all else, you'd be remiss not to take advantage of the region's excellent snorkeling/diving conditions.

One prime spot is Ras Muhammad, a national park on a peninsula with great offshore reefs. You could also travel up the coast to the Blue Hole. One of Sinai's most famous attractions, the vivid blue waters of this natural sinkhole are home to abundant corals and offer a thrilling diving/snorkeling experience. 

Day 9: Visit Saint Catherine's Monastery

Saint Catherine's, the world's oldest operating monastery

In the morning, you'll transfer about 2.5 hours north to the foot of Mount Sinai and the famous Saint Catherine's Monastery. This Greek-Orthodox religious center, built between 548 and 565 CE, is the oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastery in the world. At any one time, around 20-25 monks live on the premises, plus a small number of staff. Beyond its Christian roots, Saint Catherine's also holds a sacred place in the Jewish and Islamic religions. This monastery was actually built on the site where Moses is said to have encountered God speaking to him from a burning bush.

Day 10: Optional Activities, Fly to Cairo & Depart

Sun setting over palm trees at Sharm el-Sheikh

Your grand Egypt adventure draws to a close today. Depending on your flight time, you could spend your morning on a guided exploration of nearby Dahab, a relaxed resort town located an hour north along the Red Sea coast. Opt for some diving or snorkeling in its clear waters, or spend some time exploring the characterful town. When the time comes, you'll transfer to the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh and take a plane back to Cairo, where you'll catch your connecting flight home. Until next time!

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Map of Nile River Cruise & Red Sea Getaway - 10 Days
Map of Nile River Cruise & Red Sea Getaway - 10 Days