Tick off all the iconic sites of ancient Egypt with an experienced local leader on-hand to bring pharaonic Egypt back to life and included flights.. Enjoy three nights on board a Nile River Cruise Boat, relax on deck with a cool drink in hand as you watch the life of Upper Egypt unfold in front of you.. Discover the intricately designed tombs at the fascinating Valley of the Kings, where many of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs are buried.. Take an optional tour to the iconic temples of Abu Simbel, choose to fly or travel by road – you decide.
Capture the best of Egypt on this eight-day express adventure through the fascinating cities of Cairo, Aswan and Luxor. Get up close to the mighty pyramids of Giza, share a delicious local meal in a Nubian village, discover the fascinating tombs of ancient pharaohs and watch daily life flow by as you cruise in style along the River Nile. Let an experienced guide bring the captivating stories of this time gone by to life as you immerse yourself in the history, grandeur and culture of ancient Egypt, without foregoing modern comforts.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 4
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt. You'll be met on arrival at Cairo airport and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. In free time perhaps get out and explore the busy streets of this city of contrasts, where you can see donkey carts and expensive cars, medieval slums and modern shopping malls. If you have time, perhaps travel along the river by felucca (a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails) or head out to explore the markets.
This morning after breakfast you’ll see some of the world’s most iconic sights – the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is amazing. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4,500 years, and for an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, (although occasionally it may be closed to visitors).
The inside thoroughfares of the Pyramids are very small and very warm, so for those suffering from claustrophobia it is not recommended. Please note that you'll be required to walk around the Pyramids complex. It can be very hot in the summer months, so be prepared for little shade and pack appropriate clothing, sun protection, and carry lots of water.
Afterwards, our adventures continue to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and make sure to check out the Mummies Hall (optional) for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. The masses of gleaming artefacts recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun are an impressive sight to behold. From gold jewellery to the famous golden death mask and his gilded sarcophagi, this pharaoh was certainly prepared for the afterlife.
This morning, take an included flight to Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. The city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town, so take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars. When you arrive, you’ll explore the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom), which was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – one of the real gems of Upper Egypt.
In the afternoon, board a felucca and set sail along the Nile as you watch rural Egyptian daily life play out on the banks. Stop for a guided walk around Elephantine Island, the original border town between Egypt and the Nubian lands to the south, which in ancient times was a strategic position for the defence of the border and the trading route. This evening you’ll experience modern Nubian culture first-hand with a visit to a nearby village. You’ll join a local Nubian family for dinner and get an unforgettable insight into the daily life of the local people. This is a rare and memorable experience, giving you the chance to become fully immersed in the local culture.
Today perhaps head out of Aswan and visit stunning Abu Simbel this morning. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. Please note this optional activity has a very early start (but it’s worthwhile). You can get there by a 40-minute flight, or by the cheaper option of renting a minivan with a group and leaving very early. The journey by land is 3 hours each way, with an early departure from Aswan between 5 am and 6 am.
Alternatively, you could take a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Or perhaps opt for a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned 7th-century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your tour leader will be on hand to help you arrange any excursions. You may also wish to consider taking a relaxing day and take in the beauty of the Nile or do some shopping in the friendly bazaar. For the next three nights you’ll sleep aboard your comfortable cruise ship as you embark on adventure along the Nile.
Take a leisurely cruise down the Nile, today’s stop is Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan. Built on a high dune overlooking the Nile, the complex sits picturesquely ruined on the river's edge and dates back to the early 2nd century BC. The complex is unique because it has a mirror-image design, divided down the middle, with either side dedicated to a different set of Gods. One half is known as the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god of fertility), and it includes details on the Ancient Egyptian's relationship with crocodiles, whom they revered and feared in equal measure. The other half is dedicated to Haroeris (also known as Horus the falcon god), and the whole temple is full of fascinating reliefs.
Return to the cruise boat where you’ll continue travelling upriver, with free time to relax on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land.
Today finds you moored near Edfu, a beautifully preserved temple also dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god. Disembark to discover the lively streets of Edfu and get acquainted the bustling town centre and the bazaar, it’s also possible to visit the Temple of Edfu today, however you may want to read our notes below before you decide. Back on board, continue towards Luxor passing through the Esna Locks. It is not uncommon to have to queue to proceed through the locks, however this is a great opportunity to check out the process from deck with a cool drink in hand, and listen to the shouts of the many captains as they navigate their way through the various small boats of merchants selling their wares to a captive audience. Settle back into the comforts of your cruise ship and make the most of the incredible views across one of the world’s greatest rivers and your last night onboard.
Your Nile cruise comes to an end in the open-air museum of Luxor – from the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
After disembarking, you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover some the many wonders of ancient Thebes. Your first stop is the Colossi of Memnon, two 17 metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks, they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were once part of an impressive colonnade.
Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. With your leader, explore this sprawling and spectacular place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, their funerary rites, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics that are still well preserved in the deepest tombs. You will visit three of the most interesting royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a stunning colonnaded building set against high cliffs that create a spectacular natural amphitheatre. One of Egypt’s greatest queens, she built this temple to prove her importance among the ancestors.
Take a short break before checking out Karnak Temple with your guide and then enjoy your last Egyptian evening strolling the Corniche, or perhaps stay for the Sound and Light Show at Karnak.
Take a flight back to Cairo this morning your trip ends on arrival at Cairo Airport.