Combine cultural sights with a Nile River cruise and a desert adventure on this 9-day jaunt through Egypt. Start in Cairo to discover the antiquities of the Egyptian Museum and the Great Pyramids, then board a luxurious river cruise to journey up the Nile from Aswan to Luxor. Visit the ancient wonders of Abu Simbel, Edfu, and the Valley of the Kings along the way—then change gears and venture into the breathtaking White Desert for a camping trip under the stars.

Highlights

  • See ancient history come alive at the Pyramids of Giza & Egyptian Museum
  • Explore the citadel & catacombs of Alexandria
  • Journey from Aswan to Luxor on a Nile River Cruise
  • Walk in the footsteps of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings
  • Camp under the stars in the White Desert 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, Egyptian Museum & Great Pyramids Tour Cairo
Day 2 Alexandria Day Trip, Catacombs & Citadel Tour Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Aswan, Board Nile River Cruise Aswan
Day 4 Tour Abu Simbel, Cruise to Kom Ombo & Edfu Edfu
Day 5 Cruise to Luxor, Tour the Karnak & Luxor Temples Luxor
Day 6 Discover the Valley of the Kings, Fly to Cairo Cairo
Day 7 Transfer to Bahariya, White Desert Camping Excursion Bahariya
Day 8 Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo Cairo
Day 9 Depart Cairo Cairo

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo, Egyptian Museum & Great Pyramids Tour

Stand in the shadows of the Great Pyramids

Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival at the airport in Cairo, you'll be welcomed by your guide and hit the ground running with a tour of the Egyptian Museum. The finest museum of Egyptian antiques in the world, it contains pharaohs' treasures dating back more than 5,000 years. The building is rectangular with a large rotunda on the ground floor containing massive exhibits, including colossal statues of Ramses II — get the best views by looking down from the upper galleries. The gold and alabaster trappings from the tomb of Tutankhamun (Tut) always draw crowds, too. Many of the Tutankhamun tomb treasures have been on display in museums around the world — including the golden mask — yet this one exhibit has always remained in Cairo. 

Next, it's on to the Great Pyramids of Giza. Start by visiting the pyramid of Cheops, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built as a tomb, its shape was intended to help the spirit of the dead pharaoh rise to heaven. Continue to the pyramid of Chephren to see the best preserved of the three main Giza pyramids, and visit the iconic great Sphinx nearby. After a stop at Mykerinos, the smallest of the three pyramids, you'll be transferred back to the city, where you can get settled into your hotel and enjoy the evening in Cairo at your leisure.

Day 2: Alexandria Day Trip, Catacombs & Citadel Tour

The Citadel of Qaitbey in Alexandria

After breakfast this morning, you'll meet your knowledgeable Egyptologist guide and drive three hours to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria

Embark on a whirlwind tour of Alexandria's highlights, starting with the Catacombs of Kom El Shoukafa. Descend underground to discover a world of ornate carvings and paintings and a mixture of Roman and Egyptian designs. Dating from the second century CE, it is the largest Roman funerary complex in Egypt and includes a warren of tombs on three levels.

Continue to the harbor to see the Citadel of Qaitbey, a defensive fort that stands on the original site of the Pharos, Alexandria’s ancient lighthouse. Built in 279 CE, the legendary wonder of the ancient world stood guard over the harbor of Alexandria for over 1600 years and was topped with a towering statue of Poseidon. Although Pharos was restored at various times, it had finally crumbled by the time the original fort was built here in the 15th century CE. 

In the afternoon you'll return to Cairo and have the evening free.

Day 3: Fly to Aswan, Board Nile River Cruise

PHILAE TEMPLE ASWAN
The beautiful Temple of Philae in Aswan

Today you will catch a quick flight and journey south to Aswan, an archaeologically rich city on the banks of the Nile River. Here you'll meet your guide and embark on a tour of the beautiful Temple of Philae, dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis. Afterward, visit Egypt's remarkable engineering achievement of the modern era, the Aswan High Dam.

Afterward, you'll transfer to the shores of the Nile to set sail on your scenic river cruise, which will serve as your accommodation for the next three nights. 

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

Day 4: Tour Abu Simbel, Cruise to Kom Ombo & Edfu

The carved facade of Abu Simbel

This morning you'll disembark and transfer to the magnificent Abu Simbel Temples. Built by the Egyptian king Ramses II who reigned 1279–1213 BCE, the massive rock-cut facades are truly incredible to see in person: despite their relatively remote location, they're one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

After returning to Aswan, you'll re-board the cruise and continue your journey upriver to the temple of Kom Ombo. Built during the Ptolemaic era, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the crocodile god (Sobek) and falcon god (Haroeris). Admire its many intact courts and halls, along with wall carvings and statues. 

Back onboard the boat, you'll enjoy dinner as you cruise towards Edfu.

Day 5: Cruise to Luxor, Tour the Karnak & Luxor Temples

Enjoy stunning Nile views as you cruise towards Luxor

This morning you'll take a horse-drawn carriage tour through Edfu to reach the Temple of Horus, considered one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt. 

Afterward, you'll continue cruising toward Luxor, enjoying a leisurely lunch on board. Upon arrival in Luxor, you'll transfer to the Nile's east bank to visit the amazing Karnak and Luxor temples. Start at the famed Luxor Temple Complex, built during the New Kingdom around 1400 BCE, then continue to the Karnak Temple, once a key religious center and one of Egypt's largest surviving temples.

Return to the cruise to enjoy your final night on board, with a celebratory dinner and a spectacular Nile sunset.

Day 6: Discover the Valley of the Kings, Fly to Cairo

See incredible carvings and hieroglyphs in the Valley of the Kings

This morning you'll say your goodbyes to the Nile as you disembark from the cruise and transfer to the west bank of Luxor for a tour of the Valley of the Kings. Discover the exteriors of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, the beautiful Temple of Der el Bahari (dedicated to the funerary cult of Queen Hatshepsut), and the Statues of Memnon.

In the afternoon, you'll be transferred to the Luxor airport to catch a flight back to Cairo.

Day 7: Transfer to Bahariya, White Desert Camping Excursion

Set off from the oasis of Bahariya and explore the desert

Today you'll embark on a breathtaking excursion into the desert, as your driver takes you on a 217 mile (350 km) journey to the lush desert oasis of Bahariya. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll continue through more rugged desert landscapes, visiting the Black Desert and the natural hot springs of the Valley of El Haiz. Continue to the sparkling quartz of Crystal Mountain, and on to the otherworldly rock formations in the Valley of Agabat.

As the sun sets in spectacular fashion over the White Desert, your guide will set up camp, preparing your tents and starting a fire to grill dinner. Under the clear desert sky, you can stargaze as you enjoy a delicious Bedouin-style dinner and tea.

Day 8: Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo

Watch the sunrise over the otherworldly monoliths of the White Desert

Awaken to the silence of the desert this morning, as you enjoy a light breakfast after sunrise. Then it's back into the Jeep to cross the sand dunes of the Black Desert to reach El Zogag Mountain and enjoy the sweeping views from its summit.

After a return journey to Cairo, you'll get settled in at your hotel and have the evening free to relax or enjoy dinner out on the town.

Day 9: Depart Cairo

Goodbye, Cairo!

After breakfast, you'll bid Egypt farewell and transfer to Cairo's airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Egypt Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Egypt? Check out these other Egypt itineraries, with outdoor adventures, 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.