Combine a coastal city with a desert oasis as you venture off the tourist trail on this six-day Egypt adventure. Begin in Alexandria, touring historic sites like the Library of Alexandria and the Citadel of Qaitbay. Then, it's on to the Siwa Oasis, where you'll discover pharaoh's tombs in the Mountain of the Dead and swim in the ancient waters of Cleopatra Bath. Wander the mud-brick alleyways of the Shali Fortress, cruise the sand dunes in a 4WD, and join a Bedouin tribe for dinner under the stars.


  • Get an overview of Egyptian history at the Alexandria National Museum
  • Take in the sea views from Alexandria's ancient stronghold, the Citadel of Qaitbay
  • Swim in the healing oasis spring waters of Cleopatra Bath 
  • Get lost in the ancient mud-brick streets of the Shali Fortress

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, Transfer to Alexandria, Alexandria History Tour Alexandria
Day 2 Tour the Library of Alexandria, the Citadel of Qaitbay & Montaza Gardens Alexandria
Day 3 Transfer to Siwa via El-Alamein & Marsa Matruh Siwa
Day 4 Discover Siwa: Tombs, Springs, Temples, Museums & Islands Siwa
Day 5 Explore the Shali Fortress, Safari Tour & Bedouin Dinner Siwa
Day 6 Transfer to Cairo, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo, Transfer to Alexandria, Alexandria History Tour

Cairo to Alexandria
Upon arrival, your destination is the ancient coastal city of Alexandria

Welcome to Egypt! After you land at Cairo International Airport, meet your driver in the arrivals hall before embarking on the 3.5-hour transfer to Alexandria. Sitting on the Mediterranean coast, this ancient city is just as famous for its historical landmarks as its beautiful beaches, resorts, and cosmopolitan atmosphere. 

After you settle into your hotel, meet a local Egyptologist who will lead you on a tour to experience the iconic history of this ancient city. First, tour the Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa, one of Egypt's largest Roman burial sites. Continue the theme with a visit to the second-century Roman Amphitheater, the only one of its kind in Egypt. End the day at the Alexandria National Museum, which displays more than 1,800 artifacts from Egypt's history in the former palace of businessman Asaad Bassili. 

Day 2: Tour the Library of Alexandria, the Citadel of Qaitbay & Montaza Gardens

Alexandria: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Citadel of Qaitbay, and Montaza Gardens
Explore some of the most impressive sites of Alexandria, such as the Citadel of Qaitbay

Start this morning with a visit to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria), a scholarly institution and major hub for scholars worldwide. This modern structure is a tribute to the original library and Wonder of the Ancient World, which was built in the third century BCE and served as one of the ancient world's premier centers of knowledge and learning. Today's library houses over one million books, manuscripts, and digital resources.

After the library, you'll visit another of Alexandria's most prominent landmarks, the Citadel of Qaitbay, a defensive fortress from the 15th century that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Stop along the way for a traditional Egyptian lunch to sample local specialties like stuffed grape leaves. Finally, you'll visit Montaza Palace, another coastal gem. Dating to the 19th century, it became the summer residence for the Egyptian royal family and features an ornate design mixing Ottoman, Moorish, and Florentine styles. The palace isn't open to the public, but visitors are welcome in the expansive 150-acre (60 ha) gardens.

Plan your trip to Egypt
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 3: Transfer to Siwa via El-Alamein & Marsa Matruh

Stop for a relaxing lunch in Marsa Matruh as you transfer to Siwa

Wake up early and hit the road for a full-day, eight-hour transfer west across Egypt to the vast Sahara Desert and the legendary Siwa Oasis. Located near the border with Libya, Siwa is renowned for its otherworldly landscapes, including vast dunes, salt lakes, and natural springs.

As you cross the desert, you'll stop in El-Alamein, located on the Mediterranean coast a couple of hours from Alexandria and the site of two major World War II battles. While here, you'll visit a war museum and cemetery dedicated to these battles. Continue to the resort town of Marsa Matruh for a lunch break in one of the local restaurants, then finish the journey to Siwa and check into your accommodation, where you'll have the rest of the evening free to relax.

Day 4: Discover Siwa: Tombs, Springs, Temples, Museums & Islands

Siwa's desert landscapes are dotted with natural salt springs

After an early breakfast, meet your driver and hop in a vehicle to explore more of the Siwa Oasis. Your guide will lead you to some of the area's major sites and landmarks, including Gebel el-Mawta (the Mountain of the Dead), which houses tombs dating back to the Saite Dynasty (664 BCE to 525 BCE). Venture through the winding passages of the mountain as your guide regales you with stories of the pharaohs who once rested here.

Your next stop is the famous Cleopatra Bath, an oasis spring acclaimed for its rejuvenating properties. Swim in the naturally warm water, just as Cleopatra herself is reputed to have done. Continue to the impressive Oracle Temple, an ancient religious sanctuary from the sixth century BCE. It's said that Alexander the Great visited this temple seeking affirmation during his quest to conquer Egypt. 

Next, you'll learn more about the rich history and culture of the region at Siwan House, a museum set in a historic house with exhibits on the local inhabitants' traditional crafts, costumes, and daily routines. At sunset, visit Fatnas Island (also known as Fantasy Island), a palm-covered islet on Lake Siwa famous for its sunsets and picturesque views of the salt lakes. Afterward, you'll return to your accommodation in Siwa.

Day 5: Explore the Shali Fortress, Safari Tour & Bedouin Dinner

Step back in time at the ancient Shali Fortress, a mud-brick fortress dating to the 13th century

Your oasis adventure continues this morning with a visit to the Shali Fortress. Also known as the Shali Citadel, the ruins of this mud-brick fortress date to the 13th century. This ancient stronghold once housed hundreds of people and offers awe-inspiring views of the oasis and surrounding desert. 

After exploring the fortress, it's time to refuel with a hearty lunch at a local Siwa lodge. Enjoy the flavors of traditional cuisine, such as reearin (Siwan lentil dip), and authentic Siwan hospitality while resting up for the afternoon's safari adventure. After lunch, you'll zip through the desert in a 4WD vehicle as you navigate the sandy dunes, occasionally stopping to marvel at the sight of petrified forests and fossilized seashells. Stop to take a refreshing dip in one of the pristine lakes or natural springs, then end the day with a classic Bedouin dinner under the starlit desert sky. 

Day 6: Transfer to Cairo, Depart

Catch a final sunrise in Siwa before making the trek back to Cairo
Wake up early to catch a memorable sunrise over Siwa before beginning the long but scenic 11-hour transfer back to the Cairo International Airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure in Egypt: Alexandria & Siwa - 6 Days
Map of Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure in Egypt: Alexandria & Siwa - 6 Days