The antique land of all antique lands, Egypt has held travelers in its thrall for at least 2,500 years when Herodotus, the "Father of History," detailed its already-ancient glories. Not only did Egypt give birth to one of the world's oldest and most enduring civilizations, it's also had a profound impact on the development of Greek, Roman, Christian, and Islamic cultures. When you're traveling in Egypt, every day yields discovery upon breathtaking discovery in the form of pyramids, temples, tombs, churches, mosques, or any other numerous vestiges of the wealth of pharaohs, caesars, and sultans. There are few other places on earth where a sense of the past is so palpably present, so it's no surprise that Egypt is always high on people's lists of must-see destinations. Make it high on your list, too.
The following sample itinerary is for a classic 14-day excursion, including a Nile cruise, through Egypt's multiple layers of history and culture stretching back 5,000 years and beyond.
❊ - indicates a UNESCO World Heritage Site
DAY 1 - Arrive at Cairo International Airport
-Our representative will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel.
-Rest of the day free to rest and acclimate.
DAY 2 - Cairo
Note: Every morning your guide and driver will meet you after breakfast.
-Visit the Dahshour Pyramids*, site of the first smooth-sided pyramid in history, the Red Pyramid (2551 BCE), and the Bent Pyramid (2600 BCE), built at two distinct angles.
-Continue to the vast necropolis of Saqqara*, location of the Funerary Temple and Step Pyramid of Djoser (2650 BCE).
-Experience the immortal Pyramids of Giza* (26th century BCE) and venture inside one of them. Your visit will also include a tour of the Solar Boat museum, the Valley Temple of Khafre, and, of course, the inscrutable Sphinx*.
DAY 3 - Cairo
-Start your day with a tour of the Egyptian Museum, the world’s greatest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, including King Tut's treasures.
-After lunch your guide will take you through the recently opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, covering all of Egypt’s diverse civilizations. The NMEC is now home to the 22 Royal Mummies once housed in the Egyptian Museum.
-You’ll also visit the nearby historic Ben Ezra Synagogue (882-1892 CE) and the Hanging Church, an early Coptic sanctuary (3rd century CE).
DAY 4 - Luxor
-Fly to Luxor where your guide will greet you and transfer your luggage to your hotel.
-Have a relaxing lunch along the Nile before your guided tour of the the wonders of Luxor, beginning with Karnak*, the largest religious complex in the world (60 acres) built by generations of pharaohs. The most important temple there was dedicated to Amon-Ra and was in use for over 2,000 years, longer than any other religious structure in history.
-Karnak was connected to your next site, Luxor Temple*, by a two-mile avenue lined with sphinxes. Built in 1400 BCE, Luxor Temple is a stunning example of New Kingdom architecture.
DAY 5 - Luxor
-Today you’ll explore the world-renowned Valleys of the Kings & Queens* with its impressive tombs, including those of Rameses VI (with the Book of the Dead still legible on its walls), the tomb of King Tutankhamen (discovered by Howard Carter in 1922), and the vividly painted tomb of Queen Nefertari.
-After a brief lunch you’ll visit Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple* (ca. 1450s BCE) built against a dramatic cliffside for Egypt’s most powerful female pharaoh.
-Next, you'll stop and behold the Colossi of Memnon*—two giant, seated statues of Amenhotep III (1350 BCE)—and then wander the passageways and columned courtyards of Rameses III’s nearby temple at Medinet Habu*, an under-visited gem among gems.
DAY 6 - Nile Cruise
-Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then your guide and driver will take you to your dhahabiyya (a traditional Nile yacht).
-Today you’ll begin a relaxing four-day journey up the Nile to Aswan with Egypt’s timeless scenery gliding past you.
DAY 7 - Nile Cruise
-This morning your guide will take you to El Kab (16th century BCE) with its beautifully painted tombs for nobles and army generals hewn out of a cliff face. Inaccessible to larger Nile cruise ships, El Kab is an off-the-beaten-path delight.
-Continue cruising the Nile.
DAY 8 - Nile Cruise
-Arrive at Edfu where your guide will take you via horse and carriage to tour the extraordinary Temple of Horus (230-57 BCE).
-After lunch you'll land at Gabel El Silsilah, for millennia Ancient Egypt's main sandstone quarry.
DAY 9 - Nile Cruise
-Today you'll visit the Temple of Kom Ombo (180-47 BCE) dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and to Horus the Elder. Next door is the Crocodile Museum where a number of mummified crocodiles are on display.
-Lunch aboard ship. Cruise on to Aswan while your chef prepares a farewell dinner.
DAY 10 - Aswan
-Disembark from your dhahabiyya for your hotel in Aswan.
-Visit the incredibly picturesque Temple of Philae*, located on the Island of Agilkia. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the temple was active from the 7th century BCE to the 6th century CE.
-You’ll next explore Aswan's ancient Granite Quarry, site of the famous Unfinished Obelisk.
-Following a refreshing lunch, your guide will walk you through the impressive collection of ethnocultural artifacts at Aswan’s Nubian Museum.
-Dinner in Aswan with an opportunity to explore the city’s thriving evening marketplace.
DAY 11 - Aswan
-Visit to Elephantine Island's ancient Nilometer.
-Sail on a traditional Nile boat (felucca) to a Nubian village for lunch where you’ll appreciate local culture and hospitality firsthand.
DAY 12 - Abu Simbel
-Fly with your guide to Abu Simbel* on Lake Nasser. Built by Rameses the Great (ca. 1264 BCE), the rock-carved temples here are the most iconic Egyptian structures after the Pyramids and the Sphinx.
-Fly on to Cairo via Luxor. Transfer provided to hotel.
DAY 13 - Cairo
-Today your guide will share Cairo’s rich Islamic history with you with a tour through Cairo's Historic District* with the largest concentration of classical Islamic monuments in the world. You’ll begin by visiting Cairo's imposing Citadel built by the Crusader-era hero, Saladin (11th century CE), and then tour the soaring 14th-century Mosque of Sultan Hasan, a Mamluk-era masterpiece. Next is the Mosque of Ibn Tulun (879 CE), Africa’s oldest mosque still retaining its original form.
-Following a lunch in al-Azhar Park, you’ll explore Cairo's famous Khan El-Khalili bazaar (14th century CE), one of the largest in the Middle East.
-Enjoy a farewell dinner on the last night of your trip.
DAY 14 - Depart for Home
-We will transfer you to Cairo International Airport for your flight home.
INCLUDED WITH ANTIQUE LANDS' CUSTOM JOURNEYS: