A day spent among the incredible Pyramids of Giza is only the beginning. Your time in Egypt packs an impressive number of ancient highlights without compromising on comfort.. A four-night river cruise is the ideal way to experience the Nile. Rest and relax on the sun deck and in the pool while local riverside life streams by.. Explore the vibrant city of Istanbul, where east blends beautifully with west, and discover hidden gems on a guided walking tour with your expert local leader.. Swim and snorkel in the crystal-blue waters that surround the sunken city of Kekova, then enjoy an afternoon tasting delicious Turkish cuisine.
Combine the highlights of Egypt with the delightful lifestyle of coastal Turkey on this 20-day overland and Adventure Cruising combination tour. Explore the famed and mysterious marvels of ancient Egypt, cruising along the Nile and alighting at temples and tombs. Fly to Istanbul and board a classic Turkish gullet to discover ancient ghost towns, tiny islands and the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Find history around every alleyway corner and riverbend, all while soaking up the best of Nubian and Turkish cuisine and hospitality, on this unforgettable journey into the Middle East.
Breakfast Included: 19 Lunches Included: 10 Dinner Included: 14
Arrive at Cairo International Airport and be 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 remainder of the day is free to explore the city, but an important welcome meeting will be held at 6 pm this evening. Please check the hotel reception for details. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can perhaps 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.
Cairo – overnight train
This morning after breakfast 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. The Egyptian Museum is simply one of the world's great museums, home to a stupendous collection of antiquities and the perfect introduction to your tour, exhibiting many of the region's treasures. You will head there after lunch and your expert guide will take you 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). Afterwards you will return to your hotel, where there is plenty of time to freshen up before you are transferred to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor.
After an early breakfast on board, the train rolls into Luxor. It's a vibrant place with an excellent bazaar, situated close to some of ancient Egypt's most important and extraordinary sights. Travel to Karnak, one of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, built over a period of some 200 years, and some of it dating back to 2055 BC. Your guided tour of the temple reveals its finest sections. Later you will be transferred to your Nile cruise boat, which will be your home for the next four nights. You can relax by the pool on the boat or explore the town. For the rest of the afternoon and evening you will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local tea house.
Valley of the Kings – Luxor – Nile Cruise
Rise early this morning and head into the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. Explore this sprawling and spectacular place where discoveries are still being made. Tutankhamun's final resting place is also located here, and you'll have free time to visit it. Your guide will explain the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. You will visit three royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Your final stop is the Colossi of Memnon – giant statues that were once part of an impressive colonnade. Enjoy lunch upon your return to the boat. There is time to relax on deck or in your cabin before you set sail for Edfu. Generally the journey from Luxor to Edfu is from 1 pm to 11 pm. Departure time may vary, depending on river traffic – please refer to the Essential Trip Information regarding cruise schedules in the 'Other Information' section. You will pass through Esna Lock, which can sometimes be a slow process depending on the number of vessels waiting to get through, and continue your journey upstream.
Morning finds you moored near Edfu, a beautifully preserved temple dedicated to Horus. Please see the special information below regarding visiting the temple.Continue travelling upriver, relaxing 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. This afternoon we will arrive at Kom Ombo temple (about 45 km north of Aswan city) which sits picturesquely ruined on the river's edge and provides an interesting insight into the Greco-Roman period. The temple was built in approximately 181BC and is dedicated to 2 Gods: Horus the protection god and Sobek fertility god linked to the Nile Water . The temple consists of 2 identical northern sections the North and South each dedicated to either god. In the Sobek section recent discoveries have been made of mummified Crocodiles, which are now displayed in the Crocodile museum attached to the temple - don't miss it! Board your boat again at around 6 pm and continue to Aswan, arriving at around 9.30 pm.
Explore Aswan today, Egypt's southernmost city. Its easygoing charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Depending on your arrival time, you may visit the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island (alternatively you will visit it tomorrow). It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – definitely one of the real gems of Upper Egypt. Access to the temple is by small motorboats. The rest of your day will be free to wander, and Aswan is a great place for it. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is recommended by many. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's 'corniche', runs alongside one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. Watch the waterfront come alive at dusk, as families are out strolling, socialising and relaxing along the corniche.
We depart early this morning to visit the iconic Abu Simbel by plane. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. The rest of the day is free for you to make your own discoveries. A popular afternoon option in Aswan is a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Alternatively travel to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned seventh-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. Alternatively, you may prefer to simply relax by the hotel pool or do some shopping in the local bazaar. In the evening you will visit a Nubian village and enjoy the warm hospitality (and cuisine) of these locals. You will also be treated to some Nubian dancing, and may even have the chance to try some moves yourself.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Aswan airport for the short flight back to Cairo (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes) where you will be met and taken to your hotel. Today you will dive into another layer of Egyptian history: medieval Cairo. Head to Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, Cairo's oldest mosque and the Gayer-Anderson Museum. The 'Khan', sprawling around an old area known as Al-Azhar, is a quintessentially Cairo experience – a warren of alleys with stalls serving up a succession of intoxicating scenes. It retains a distinctly medieval feel. You will explore the gold market, 'perfume street' and the spice market, where heady aromas hang in the air like a thick blanket of Damascene cloth (which can be purchased next door in the cloth market). The gorgeous 9th-century Ibn Tulun Mosque is one of the oldest and largest in Egypt, possibly its most beautiful too. Its perfectly proportioned courtyard and distinctive minaret make it a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Nearby stands the Gayer-Anderson Museum, housed in two fine old villas and vaunting a fascinating collection of Arabic artefacts, furniture and memorabilia. Also don't miss the chance to drink Arabic coffee or mint tea from Cairo's oldest cafe, it has a long history and fantastic atmosphere. This evening you will get to share an authentic Egyptian meal with a local family. Visit a family home, chat with the local family members about life in the Middle East, and learn some of your favourite traditional Egyptian dishes while enjoying a delicious dinner.
The first part of your trip comes to an end today and many of your fellow travellers will be departing from Cairo along with your leader. You have the next two days free in Cairo and will be unescorted during this time. There are many optional Urban Adventures tours you could do during this time, or this could be a day to relax with a good book or people watch as you wander through this fascinating city.
Today is another day free for you to do as you wish and you will be unescorted during this time. Perhaps go on an optional Urban Adventures tour to the crowd-pleasing city of Alexandria. See one of the world's largest Roman burial sites, nerd out at the Alexandria Library, and receive a reprieve from the Cairo heat with a fresh dose of Mediterranean sea air. Alternatively, wander the backstreet bazars for a special souvenir to take home or spend the afternoon relaxing in one of the many coffee houses in Cairo.
Cairo - Istanbul
Today you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Istanbul. Please note you will be unescorted during this time.
Merhaba! Welcome to Istanbul, the eclectic city that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all called home. You will be transferred from the airport to your hotel. The rest of the day is free until your welcome meeting at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. After the meeting, you may wish to join your new group and local leader for dinner to get to know each other before your adventure begins.
Istanbul - Fethiye
Hit the streets of Istanbul early to beat the crowds and head to the Hippodrome, known today as Sultanahmet Square. Visit the ruins and monuments in the square, then continue to the Hagia Sophia Museum, a historic building used as both a cathedral and a mosque since it was built in the sixth century. Head back to the hotel to gather your belongings, then transfer to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Dalaman Airport. Upon arrival, board a private vehicle and transfer to Fethiye Port. Climb aboard a traditional gullet, settle in and enjoy dinner on board. Spend the evening at port.