This short but exciting cruise down the Nile River offers travelers a fantastic introduction to the wonders of ancient Egypt. After a day exploring Luxor, board a boat for several days of sightseeing along the waterway. You'll explore the awe-inspiring temples of Abu Simbel, wander around the Valley of the Kings, discover the antiquities of Edfu in a horsedrawn carriage, and ride to the archeological ruins of Elephantine Island in a traditional wooden sailing vessel.

Highlights

  • Cruise down the Nile River, stopping to sightsee along the way
  • Tour Luxor Temple & the Valley of the Kings 
  • Explore the temple complex of Edfu in a horsedrawn carriage
  • See the majestic Abu Simbel Temples up close
  • Boat to the archeological ruins of Elephantine Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Luxor & Sightsee Luxor
Day 2 Cruise to the Valley of the Kings & Deir el-Bahri Edfu
Day 3 Explore Edfu & Continue to Aswan Aswan
Day 4 See the Abu Simbel Temples & Boat to Elephantine Island Aswan
Day 5 Visit the Philae Temple & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Luxor & Sightsee

A hot air balloon over Luxor

Welcome to Egypt! You'll spend your first day exploring Luxor. On a guided tour, you'll tour Karnak Temple, one of Egypt’s largest surviving temples, and the famed Luxor Temple, founded around 1400 BCE. Check into your hotel and get some rest. You'll spend the night in Luxor before the cruise begins the following day.

Day 2: Cruise to the Valley of the Kings & Deir el-Bahri

Colossi Memnon west bank luxor
The Colossi of Memnon

This morning you'll board a boat for the cruise down the Nile River. You'll stop to visit the Valley of the Kings and see rock-cut tombs for kings and powerful nobles (including Tutankhamun) from the 16th to 11th century BCE. Then continue to the Colossi of Memnon to see the ruins of Amenhotep’s memorial temple. What remains are two imposing statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that were erected to guard the temple's entrance.

Head next to Hatshepsut Temple. The memorial of Queen Hatshepsut is the focal point of Deir el-Bahri, a complex of mortuary temples and tombs. Enjoy dinner on the boat as the cruise continues toward Edfu.

Plan your trip to Egypt
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 3: Explore Edfu & Continue to Aswan

Relief sculptures at Horus Temple in Edfu

The next stop on your Nile cruise will be to see the temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo. Your guide will explain the significance of these temples in further detail on a horsedrawn carriage tour. The Temple of Horus at Edfu was constructed between 237 BCE and 57 BCE. It is one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt, and inside you can still make out many of its inscriptions.

The Temple of Sobek and Haroeris at Kom Ombo was dedicated to the crocodile god (Sobek) and falcon god (Haroeris). Many of the walls of its courts, halls, sanctuaries, and rooms are still intact, along with wall carvings and statues. You'll cruise onward to Aswan in the evening.

Day 4: See the Abu Simbel Temples & Boat to Elephantine Island 

AbuSimble Temple
The Abu Simbel Temples

Today you'll visit the magnificent Abu Simbel Temples, a pair of temples built by the Egyptian king Ramses II, who reigned 1279–1213 BCE. These massive rock-cut temples are truly incredible to see in person: despite their relatively remote location, they're one of the most popular sites in the country.

Then you'll head back to Aswan and enjoy an afternoon trip to Elephantine Island, traveling to the famous archeological site on a traditional wooden sailing vessel. Return to Aswan in the later afternoon, check into a hotel in town, and enjoy one last Egyptian dinner before flying out the next day.

Day 5: Visit the Philae Temple & Depart 

The grand Philae Temple

There's still a bit of time for sightseeing before the trip comes to a close. Visit the Aswan High Dam, built in the 1960s and completed in 1970. It was an engineering marvel at the time, as it increased Egypt's cultivable land by 30 percent and doubled its electricity supply. Alternatively, visit Philae Temple, where construction began in 690 BCE. Then you'll head to the airport to catch your flight out. Safe travels!

More Great Egypt Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Egypt? Check out these other 5-day Egypt itineraries, with Nile River cruises, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.