Discover the Pyramids of Giza, Valley of the Kings, Kom Ombo Temple, Philae Island, Karnak Temple complex, the ancient city of Alexandria, battle site of El Alamein and the many sides of Cairo.. Travel with a local Egyptologist leader, learn about Nubian life during an evening at a family home, stop in for a traditional dinner with a local family in Cairo and take in a snapshot of local life at a buzzing cafe in Cairo.. Take your time exploring Abu Simbel with an overnight stay, discovering this magnificent monument carved out of the mountainside with less crowds, followed by an incredible sound and light show.. Relax with four nights on a premium Nile riverboat, allowing you to cruise up the river in comfort, past ancient temples, watching local life unfolding on the riverbank as you get to the heart of each destination.
Discover the contrasts of modern and ancient Egypt on a 15-day Premium adventure. Beginning and ending in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, gaze up at the magnificent Pyramids of Giza, take a four-day cruise down the legendary Nile and explore the grand temples of Abu Simbel. Uncover the secrets of the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple and the city of Alexandria. Visit the tombs of ancient pharaohs, share meals with local families and stand in awe of gigantic, rock-cut statues. Accompanied by a local Egyptologist leader, learn about the mystery and beauty of these ancient lands.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 5 Dinner Included: 8
Welcome to Egypt! Your adventure begins in Cairo – a city just as captivating as it is chaotic. You will be met on arrival at Cairo International Airport and transferred to your hotel. An important welcome meeting will take place here at 6pm with your local leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive with time to spare, you can take in an incredible first glimpse of the pyramids from your hotel’s pool and bar area. After your welcome meeting, get your first taste of Egyptian cuisine during a welcome dinner with your leader and small group. Head to a fantastic local restaurant and try out some classic dishes like fatta, a dish made with rice, bread and meat in a garlic and vinegar sauce, and kushari, a delicious mix of pasta, rice, lentils and fried onions.
This morning after breakfast, travel to arguably the most recognisable structures in the world – the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Your leader is a trained Egyptologist and will share the fascinating history of these incredible feats of engineering. For an additional charge, you may be able to step inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops). After spending some time here, continue to the Grand Egyptian Museum, the largest archaeological museum in the world. Home to an unseen collection of Tutankhamen’s antiquities and almost 100,000 artefacts, there’s no better place to uncover the country’s rich history. Gain special insight by touring with a guide and enjoy time to explore independently. Spend an evening at leisure – you may like to take a taxi into town to explore Cairo further, or for something special, book in for a dinner cruise on the Nile.
Take to the road for your journey to Alexandria after breakfast, stopping in Wadi El Natron along the way. Your leader will explain how this area became a sanctuary for Christians after Saint Macarius the Great retreated here in AD360. There were once some 60-odd monasteries in the Wadi, though now only four remain. One of these is Anba Bishoy Monastery, named for Saint Bishoi who came to the site to live in solitude. Take a wander around the gardens and observe the resident monks as they go about their daily lives, then visit the church for expansive views over the desert. Continue this afternoon to the city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great and often referred to as the Pearl of the Mediterranean.
Enjoy a full day uncovering the secrets of Alexandria with the guidance of your knowledgeable leader. Visit Pompey’s Pillar and the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, a Roman burial site dating back to the second century that wasn’t discovered until 1900. The fascinating tombs were created during a transitional period in Alexandria’s history and interestingly feature Greek, Egyptian and Roman elements. Continue to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (once the Great Library of Alexandra), which is found where the Library of Ptolemies once stood some 1700 years ago. Finish up with a stop at the Montazah Palace and Royal Gardens, a complex featuring beautifully maintained gardens and two royal palaces built during the 19th and 20th centuries. Spend the evening by the water wandering along the corniche or relax back at your hotel.
Today, travel south of Alexandria for a more sombre experience at the historic battle site of El Alamein. It was here that British and Commonwealth soldiers fought a decisive Allied victory against the German Afrika Korps that defined the North African campaign. Both sides suffered heavy losses and the memorial commemorates nearly 12,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Western Desert campaigns during the Second World War. Stop to enjoy your lunch, brought with you from Alexandria; a delicious feteer meshaltet. This layered pastry is an iconic Egyptian dish and can be filled with a range of sweet or savoury ingredients. Return to Cairo in the afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Nile Cruise - Luxor
Transfer to Cairo Airport after breakfast and board a short flight to Luxor. Luxor was the pharaohs' capital during the height of their power and is now perhaps the world’s greatest open-air museum. Upon arriving in Luxor, transfer to your feature stay Nile riverboat where you’ll unpack and settle in for the next four nights. There’s no better way to soak in the ancient history of the Nile and the incredible sights along its banks. Enjoy all the comforts of a world-class hotel, including a swimming pool, sundeck, restaurant and cabins with panoramic windows to watch riverside life stream by. Travelling by riverboat allows you to get to the heart of each destination while ensuring the journeys in between are every bit as interesting. This afternoon, visit Karnak – one of the world’s most celebrated temple complexes built over a period of approximately 200 years. Some parts date back to 2055 BC and your guided tour will take you to its finest sections. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to relax, take a shopping trip through the bazaar or perhaps kick back in a local teahouse.
Nile Cruise - Edfu
Rise early this morning to journey into the Valley of the Kings. There are over 60 pharaoh tombs buried under the hills here, many of which are richly decorated, and your guide will take you through this spectacular place where discoveries are still being made. Learn about the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and the significance of the paintings and hieroglyphics, and visit the final resting place of Tutankhamun. The discovery of the young Pharaoh’s tomb is undoubtedly one of the greatest archaeologic finds of all time, and here you will have the opportunity to enter it yourself, exploring the painted chamber and admiring his famous gold sarcophagus. Visit another three royal tombs and continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, which is set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Your final stop is the Colossi of Memnon – giant statues that once formed part of an impressive colonnade – before returning to the boat for a leisurely lunch. Enjoy some time relaxing either on deck or in your cabin before setting sail upstream to Edfu, where you’ll arrive in the evening.
Nile Cruise - Aswan
This morning, you will be moored near Edfu and may have the option to venture independently into town to see the nearby temple. Continue along the river, relaxing in the sun on deck and taking in the desert hills forming a backdrop over the lush riverbanks. This afternoon, arrive at Kom Ombo Temple, sitting spectacularly on the river’s edge. Learn from your leader how this temple was built in approximately 181 BC and is dedicated to two gods – Horus (god of protection) and Sobek (god of fertility, linked to the Nile’s water). Each god has a dedicated section – north or south – and there have been recent discoveries of mummified crocodiles in the Sobek section. Afterwards, board your boat and continue to Aswan, arriving in the late evening.
Nile Cruise - Aswan
Spend the morning visiting the temple complex of Philae, including the stunning Temple of Isis, located on Agilkia Island. The temple was reassembled in this location after being saved from rising waters and is a true architectural gem featuring some of Egypt’s finest carvings. Some Egyptologists believe that Philae was the last active site of the ancient Egyptian religion and where the last Egyptian hieroglyph was written. Afterwards, get to know the city of Aswan by foot during a walking tour with your leader. Explore the Sharia el Souk, a sprawling and bustling marketplace. Your leader will guide you through a colourful array of stalls selling everything from baked goods to Nubian crafts. Return to the boat for another evening being rocked to sleep by the calm Nile waters.
Travel by road this morning to Abu Simbel. Your accommodation is located right by Lake Nasser and features lush grounds, two swimming pools and fantastic views over the lake. Spending the night here allows the group a chance to visit the Abu Simbel temples at a more leisurely pace as opposed to a jam-packed half-day trip. Built during the reign of Ramesses II, these mammoth temples took 20 years to complete and feature rock-cut statues of the pharaoh and the queen, some of which are 20 metres in height. Tour the complex with your leader who will provide historical context on these grand structures. This evening, head back to the temples for an impressive sound and light show.
Return to Aswan, arriving in time for lunch. Enjoy some downtime to relax at your hotel or explore more of the city, then regroup with your fellow travellers later in the afternoon. Take a step back in time during a visit to the Old Cataract Hotel for afternoon tea. Built in 1899 by Thomas Cook, the hotel has played host to an illustrious roster of guests, including Princess Diana, Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, who lived here while writing her novel Death on the Nile. Soak up old-world glamour while enjoying tiered trays of finger food and a delightful selection of tea. The setting is up there with the best of them, with gorgeous grounds overlooking the Nile. Make the most of a free evening to find a local gem for dinner – your leader can help with recommendations.
This morning, visit a modern example of Egyptian engineering – the Aswan High Dam. Located 13 kilometres south of Aswan, its controversial history that required the relocation of many ancient temples and statues has, in the end, had a mostly positive impact on the region. Afterwards, head to the Unfinished Obelisk – an abandoned structure that would’ve been the largest obelisk ever erected in ancient Egypt, had it been finished. Return to Aswan for some time to relax, then meet your leader in the late afternoon to board a traditional felucca and sail to the settlement of Elephantine Island. This island was once thought to be the home of Khnum – the god who guarded and controlled the Nile’s waters. This evening, enjoy stunning sunset drinks on the river on board your felucca sailing boat. Disembark at a village and join a local family for a traditional Nubian feast. Here you will have the chance to see a different side of Egyptian life, try out some wonderful Nubian dishes and swap stories with your welcoming hosts.