Cultural highlights, river cruising, and a beach vacation combine on this unforgettable two-week Egyptian adventure. Starting in Cairo, you'll marvel at the Great Pyramids and explore the city's world-class museums before flying south to Luxor, capital of the ancient pharaohs. Shift gears and board a scenic cruise down the Nile River to Aswan, exploring temples and tombs along the way, then head to the coast to end your journey on the gorgeous Red Sea beaches of Sharm El Sheikh.

Highlights

  • Explore the capital of the ancient world at Memphis
  • Browse the treasures & antiquities of Cairo's world-class museums
  • Walk in the footsteps of the pharaohs at the Valley of the Kings
  • Sit back & enjoy the views on a scenic cruise down the Nile River
  • Soak up some sun on the beaches of Sharm El Sheikh

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairo Cairo
Day 2 Discover the Great Pyramids: Giza & Memphis Cairo
Day 3 Tour the Egyptian Museum, Islamic Cairo & Khan El Khalili Bazaar Cairo
Day 4  Fly to Luxor, Board Nile River Cruise Luxor
Day 5 Explore the Valley of the Kings, Cruise to Esna Esna
Day 6 Cruise to Kom Ombo via the Temple of Edfu Kom Ombo
Day 7 Cruise to Aswan, Visit the Temple of Philae & Aswan Dam Aswan
Day 8 Day Trip to the Temples of Abu Simbel Aswan
Day 9 Fly to Cairo Cairo
Day 10 Explore the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization & Coptic Cairo Cairo
Day 11 Fly to Sharm El Sheikh Sharm El Sheikh
Days 12-13  Relax by the Red Sea in Sharm El Sheikh Sharm El Sheikh
Day 14 Fly to Cairo & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo

Modern meets ancient in the Egyptian capital
Welcome to Egypt! Upon your arrival at Cairo's airport, you'll be met by your guide who will assist you through customs and arrange a transfer to your hotel. Get settled in and rest up for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 2: Discover the Great Pyramids: Giza & Memphis

Stand in the shadow of the Great Pyramids

Meet your Egyptologist guide this morning and set off for a tour of some of Egypt's most iconic sites. Start at the Great Pyramids of Giza, where you'll explore 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 main Giza pyramids, and to Mykerinos, the smallest of the three.

After seeing the magnificent Sphinx up close, it's on to Memphis, the first unified capital of the ancient world. Here you can visit the stepped pyramid of Saqqara, explore its 4,350-year-old tombs, and see the ancient hieroglyphics engraved on its walls. At the end of the day, you'll head back to the city where you can enjoy the rest of the evening in Cairo at your leisure.

Day 3: Tour the Egyptian Museum, Islamic Cairo & Khan El Khalili Bazaar

Stroll through the colorful stalls of Cairo's Khan El Khalili Bazaar

Hit the ground running this morning with a tour of the Egyptian Museum. The finest museum of Egyptian antiquities 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—you'll 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. 

Then it's onto a tour of Islamic Cairo's historic city streets, starting at the massive medieval Salah El-din Citadel and its enclosed Mohamed Ali Mosque, once a stronghold against the Crusaders. The brilliant domed ceilings, suspended lights, and views of the city from this ancient fortress are sure to captivate. Keep going to the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, built during the Mamluk period of the 12th century, and then hunt for treasures in the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, a bustling souk in the historic center where you can find lamps, rugs, jewelry, and more.

Day 4: Fly to Luxor, Board Nile River Cruise

Marvel at the sheer size of Luxor's temples and tombs

After breakfast, it's time for the next phase of your journey as you board a short one-hour flight to Luxor, a small city in the Nile Valley located 420 miles (676 km) south of Cairo. Once the capital of the pharaohs, it's home to the famed Valley of the Kings and Luxor and Karnak Temples. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to the shores of the Nile River to board your cruise ship and get settled into your cabin.

Return to dry land in the afternoon to explore the wonders of Luxor's East Bank. Starting at the Temple of Karnak, you'll stroll through the Avenue of Sphinx to enter the complex, where you can see each legacy left by the various pharaohs as the complex grew even larger. The deeper you go into the complex, the further back in time you will travel, with the oldest ruins dating back over 3,000 years. Walking through the Great Court into the Great Hypostyle Hall, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the 134 columns towering above you like an ancient forest.

Continue to Luxor Temple which was once joined to the Temples of Karnak by the grand Avenue of Sphinx, a portion of which marks the entrance to the temple. Dominated by statues of the great warrior pharaoh Ramses II, Luxor Temple has survived Nile floods, foreign invasion, and thousands of years exposed to the elements. Find out how Alexander the Great wrote himself into Luxor Temple's history, and see one of the original pair of obelisks, the second of which now stands on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

As evening falls, return to the ship to spend a peaceful evening on the river.

Day 5: Explore the Valley of the Kings, Cruise to Esna

Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan-West Bank - Overnight in Esna
Explore the spectacular Valley of the Kings
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Start this morning with a visit to Luxor's West Bank and the famed Valley of the Kings. Discover rock-cut tombs for kings and powerful nobles (including Tutankhamun) used for nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BCE. Then stop at the Colossi of Memnon to admire the magnificent 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. Finally, you'll head to Hatshepsut Temple. The memorial of Queen Hatshepsut is the focal point of Deir el-Bahri, a complex of mortuary temples and tombs.
 
After a morning of exploration, it's time to reboard the ship and cast off, cruising south towards Esna.

Day 6: Cruise to Kom Ombo via the Temple of Edfu

Enjoy stunning Nile views as you cruise downstream
Wake to the sounds of the Nile this morning as you approach Edfu, where you'll disembark to tour the Temple of Horus. Back on board, enjoy lunch as the cruise continues, reaching Kom Ombo in the late afternoon. 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, then return to the boat for dinner with a view.

Day 7: Cruise to Aswan, Visit the Temple of Philae & Aswan Dam

Aswan's beautiful Temple of Philae

This morning you'll cruise into Aswan, an archaeologically rich city on the banks of the Nile. Disembark for a tour of its many highlights, starting at the Temple of Philae, dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis. Continue to Egypt's remarkable engineering achievement of the modern era, the Aswan High Dam, and marvel at the Unfinished Obelisk, still located in the ancient stone quarry where it was carved.

Spend your final evening of the cruise enjoying a spectacular Nile sunset and a celebratory dinner on deck.

Day 8: Day Trip to the Temples of Abu Simbel

The spectacularly carved facade of Abu Simbel

Bid the Nile farewell as you disembark from the cruise and meet your driver for a transfer to Aswan Domestic Airport. Here you'll board a quick, 40-minute flight to explore the magnificent Abu Simbel Temples. Built by the Egyptian king Ramses II who reigned from 1,279 to 1,213 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. It is generally considered the grandest of the temples commissioned during the reign of Ramses II, and one of the most beautiful in Egypt.

After a fascinating tour, you'll be transferred to Abu Simbel Airport to board your flight back to Aswan.

Day 9: Fly to Cairo

Return to Cairo and spend a free afternoon exploring
After breakfast in Aswan, your driver will transfer you to the airport for the flight back to Cairo. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel and have the remainder of the afternoon free.

Day 10: Explore the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization & Coptic Cairo

An ornate sarcophagus in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
Spend this morning discovering the countless treasures contained within Cairo's National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. In early 2021, 22 ancient Egyptian pharaohs and royal mummies moved from the Cairo Museum to their new home in the ancient Islamic capital of Egypt—Al-Fustat. You can see these mummies, along with hundreds of thousands of other artifacts, displayed in the magnificent new museum.
 
Next, you'll join your guide for a fascinating tour of Coptic Cairo, where echoes of the city's Christian past can be seen at historic sites like the Abu Serga Church and the Hanging Church.

Day 11: Fly to Sharm El Sheikh

Sharm El Sheikh
The scenic Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh
Transfer to the airport this morning for a quick flight to the coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Located between the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea, this area is known for its beautiful beaches and offshore coral reefs surrounded by clear water. After getting settled into your hotel, go for a walk on the beach, take a dip in the ocean, or check out Ras Muhammad National Park, a diving destination that's rich with marine life. In the evening, beachfront restaurants and bars are great places to try fresh seafood prepared Egyptian-style, and surround yourself with a local crowd.

Days 12-13: Relax by the Red Sea in Sharm El Sheikh

Day Free at Leisure in Sharm El Sheikh
Visit the oldest working monastery in the world outside Sharm El Sheikh
The next two days are free for you to relax and enjoy Sharm El Sheikh at your own pace. Walk along the pedestrian promenade in laid-back Naama Bay, book a snorkeling trip to Yolanda Reef, or head down to the harbor for a full-day scuba diving excursion. With warm, crystal clear waters, incredible coral formations, and well-preserved wrecks, the Red Sea around Sharm El Sheikh is considered one of the top diving destinations in the country.
 
If you feel like staying on dry land, don't miss a visit to the ancient St. Catherine's Monastery. Located at the foot of Mount Sinai, it's the place where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments.

Day 14: Fly to Cairo & Departure

Bid the Red Sea farewell this morning
After a final leisurely morning on the shores of the Red Sea, your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport to catch the hour's flight back to Cairo and your onward connection. Safe travels!

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