You’ve seen the documentaries and read the history books at school, now it’s time to see legendary Egypt for yourself. Over ten days you’ll witness a lot of iconic sights, but it’s the time spent away from the crowds with your local leader that will stay with you long after you arrive home.
Day 1 - Cairo
On arrival at Cairo International Airport, you are met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Cairo at any time. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings, but normally a Welcome Meeting is held in the evening where you meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
Day 2 - Cairo
The Egyptian Museum is simply one of the world's great museums, home to a stupendous collection of antiquities and the perfect introduction to our tour, exhibiting many of the region's treasures. We head there after breakfast and our expert guide takes us through Egypt's rich and fascinating dynastic history. You will then have some free time to explore on your own; you may wish to visit the Royal Mummy Room (optional and at extra cost). We then drive out to Giza, home to perhaps the greatest iconic structures ever created by man - the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is captivating. For an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), although occasionally it may be closed to visitors.
Oasis Hotel or similar
Day 3 - Cairo
Having experienced the highlights of Pharaonic Egypt, today is our opportunity to experience another period of Egypt's history. Islamic (medieval) Cairo is a fascinating part of the metropolis and we see its best highlights. We immerse ourselves in the colour and chaos of the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, which sprawls around an old area of Cairo known as Al Azhar. The tortuous streets and alleyways - and attendant hawkers - look like a scene from 1001 Nights as our tour leader takes us into the heart of the bazaar. We explore the gold market, 'perfume street' and the spice market – where the scent of cumin, coriander and cardamom hangs in the air like a thick blanket of Damascene cloth (which can be purchased next door in the cloth market!). We continue to explore the atmospheric, narrow streets of Islamic Cairo before we visit Al-Azhar Mosque, one of Egypt's best. It claims to be the oldest educational institution on earth and has a harmonious and aesthetic blend of architectural styles, as it has been modified over the centuries. Afterwards we return to our hotel, where there is plenty of time to freshen up and pack before we are transferred to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor. Sleeping berths (beds and linen) are provided in private cabins and an airline-style dinner is served. It is worth bringing additional snacks and your tour leader can help you to arrange this. A toilet is located at the end of each carriage.
Oasis Hotel or similar
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 4 - Aswan
We arrive in Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city, and are transferred from the station to our hotel. This friendly place has an easygoing charm that is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. We take a tour by boat to the beautiful Temple of Isis, rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. It is fantastic temple, and one of the highlights of Upper Egypt. The balance of the day is at leisure and we have time for a variety of optional activities including a visit to the Nubian bazaar, or to the excellent Nubian Museum. A popular option is a relaxing sailboat ride around the islands, in a traditional 'felucca'. You can stop off at the botanical gardens on Lord Kitchener's Island, and also take a fun camel ride to the Monastery of St. Simeon, located on the west bank of the river. Alternatively you may prefer to relax by the hotel pool.
Hotel Basma or similar
Day 5 - Aswan-Cruise Boat
Those who booked the optional excursion to Abu Simbel will rise early and visit this awesome edifice. The early start is rewarded by few crowds and fantastic light for photographers. Others can sleep in and enjoy a last amble around Aswan. In the afternoon, we board our Nile Cruise boat after which there is free-time for some of your own discoveries.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 6-7 - Nile Cruise
Our boat sets sail today. Cruising along the Nile is an experience people have enjoyed for the last few millennia. We do it in comfort. Sitting high on the on the sundeck, watching felucca sailboats drift along, back dropped by timeless rural scenes, is a great way to relax. We stop at Komombo to visit the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed God), a Greco-Roman temple that overlooks the river. At Edfu we explore the impressive Temple of Horus (the falcon-headed god). There is lots of time to catch up on reading, or just watch the scenery. Passing through the Esna loch we continue to Luxor where we take horse-drawn carriages to the massive complex at Karnak, built over a period of some 2000 years, and one of the greatest temples ever constructed.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 8 - Luxor
Rising early, we cross the Nile and explore the famous 'west bank' of the Nile. The first stop is the Valley of the Kings, where a specialist local guide explains the funerary rites of the Ancient Egyptians. We visit three of the best Royal tombs (depending on which ones are open) and your guide will explain the significance of the hieroglyphics and tomb paintings. The experience is simply awe-inspiring. The famous temple of Queen Hatshepsut, carved into a natural amphitheatre, is the next stop, followed by the impressive Colossi of Memnon. We then head back to the east bank of Luxor, and afternoon is free. There is plenty to keep you occupied…or you can simply relax by the pool.
El Luxor Hotel or similar
Day 9 - Cairo
After breakfast, we fly from Luxor to Cairo, upon arrival, we are transferred to our hotel where we have time to freshen up. We delve further into Egypt's history, beginning with the Greco-Roman period, as we explore the quiet cobblestone streets of Coptic Cairo, reminiscent of Jerusalem's old city. The Coptic Museum houses artefacts from Greco-Roman times, and the Hanging Church, which is still in use, was built between the 7th and 9th centuries and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. We then visit the beautiful Ibn Tulun Mosque, considered one of the finest examples of 9th century architecture, before walking across to the Gayer-Anderson Museum, housed in two fine old villas (16th and 17th century) that overlook Ibn Tulun. Once owned by an English army officer, the two houses contain a fascinating collection of Arabic artefacts, furniture and memorabilia, giving us a great insight into Cairene life during the Ottoman period.
Oasis Hotel or similar
Day 10 - Cairo
Your trip ends today, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12.00 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Cairo.