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Home > Egypt > Itineraries > Cairo And The Nile

Cairo and the Nile - Egypt Itinerary

Departures

October to April

Duration

12 Days

Locations

Cairo, Abu Simbel, Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Esna, Luxor

Overview

Visiting the ancient sites of Cairo, and the outlying Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, explorers on this Egyptian journey take a spellbinding walk through time.

This expedition brings you to Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor, where you sail down the Nile River on a four-day luxury river cruise.

Itinerary in Detail

    Day 1 - Cairo

    Upon your arrival at Cairo International Airport, you will be met by a representative, then privately transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza.

    This stylish hotel is located in the leafy quarter of Garden City, a modern retreat in an historic part of Cairo. With the Egyptian Museum close by, the Four Seasons is an excellent base to explore this ancient city. Many rooms offer views of the Nile or Citadel, and are dressed in French Empire-style fabrics. Intimate lounges feature low seating and soft lighting, providing tranquil spaces to unwind and watch the sun set over the Nile. Three pools on the fifth floor allow for an escape from the Cairo heat. The hotel is also home to one of Cairo's largest spas, offering a wide range of holistic therapies including its signature treatment, The Nile Journey.

    The remainder of the day is at leisure.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

    The Nile at Cairo

    Cairo panorama

    Day 2 - Cairo

    Morning

    The Grand Egyptian Museum complex is a cultural hub that includes one of the largest museums in the world, displaying the diverse heritage of a single civilization. It contains more than 100,000 artifacts, reflecting Egypt’s past from prehistory up to the Greek and Roman periods. One of the most impressive exhibits showcases more than 5,000 artifacts recovered from the tomb of the boy-King Tutankhamun, including his gold mask. As you enter the museum, you can’t miss the colossal statue of King Ramses II, nor the 87 royal artifacts exhibited at the grand stairs that lead up to an impressive 90-foot glass façade overlooking the pyramids of Giza.

    Afternoon

    After some free time, this unique cultural tour takes you from one end of the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar to the other – recalling a time when the area was the heart of the old walled city of Cairo. This ancient thoroughfare – leading you along some of the most traditional parts of the bazaar where life has hardly changed for centuries – runs from the massive fortified Fotouh Gate to the beautifully designed Zuweila gate. This stretch contains more listed buildings per meter than any other street in the world. In this part of the bazaar, where Egyptians themselves go to bargain for everyday items, your guide will enthrall you with explanations of licorice-tea sellers, spice markets with obscure roots, and magical powders, black-clothed women, and brightly painted donkey carts overflowing with watermelons and mangos.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

    Entrance of the Grand Egypt Museum

    Tutankhamun's casket

    The Souk Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Cairo

    Colossus of The Great Temple of Ramesses II

    Day 3 - Cairo

    Morning

    The Great Pyramids of Giza are the only present-day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built more than 4,500 years ago as giant tombs for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure – who were father, son, and grandson, respectively. The pyramids are monumental in scale, with the largest – Khufu’s – constructed from more than two million blocks. Contrary to popular belief, the pyramids were not built by slaves, but by Egyptian peasants, whose labor in building the pyramids paid their taxes to the Pharaoh. Entry to Cheops Pyramid is included in your tour.

    Nearby sits the enigmatic Great Sphinx with the body of a lion and the face of a man wearing a royal head cloth – which workers may have based on King Khafre. It sits as if to guard his enormous funerary monument. About a thousand years after the Sphinx was built, it was covered in sand until a young prince had a dream in which the Sphinx told him that if he cleared the sand away, he would become Pharaoh. This story is told on the Dream Stela that was placed between the Sphinx’s paws by King Tuthmose IV. Tully Luxury Travel is pleased to offer you insider access to the Paws of the Sphinx.

    Afternoon

    After an informal lunch with views of the pyramids, we move to Sakkara, the former necropolis for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, and the first place pyramids were built as tombs for kings. Instead of the smooth sides featured on other pyramids, those here feature six steps to the top, representing the pharaoh’s ladder to heaven. Discover the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the first pyramid ever built and the world's oldest freestanding stone structure. You can also admire the beautiful tomb art at Sakkara, which gives great insight into the lives of the ancient Egyptians.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

    The step pyramid of King Netjeryhet Djoser Zoser.

    The iconic Great Sphinx of Giza

    View of the Great Pyramids from the Giza Plateau

    Day 4 - Cairo

    Morning

    Experience the times of Roman rule in Egypt with a visit to the ruins of the Fortress of Babylon in Old Cairo. It was originally built in 100 AD to defend the frontiers of the realm of Emperor Trajan.

    Tradition has it that the church of St. Sergius was built over a location in which Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus rested on their journey in Egypt. Located inside the Roman fortress in Old Cairo, it is believed to have been built by Roman soldiers in the 3rd or 4th centuries and later turned into a Coptic church by the Egyptians. Dedicated to two soldier saints, Sergius and Bacchus, the church has been rebuilt and restored since medieval times, though still considered to be a model of early Coptic churches.

    Afternoon

    Next, you visit the newly refurbished Coptic Museum, first completed in 1908. It displays a wonderful collection of sculptures dating from pre-Christian times up to the 5th century, as well as bone carvings, frescoes, icons, relics, colorful textiles, and more.

    The Hanging Church is named so because it sits “suspended” on top of the Fortress of Babylon that the Romans built when they came to Egypt. Thought to originate in the 7th century, this church in the basilica style was once the seat of the Coptic Patriarchate.

    The newly inaugurated National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is located on the archaeological site of El-Fustat in Old Cairo, overlooking the Ain El-Seera Lake. It showcases Egyptian civilization from prehistoric times to the present day. The collections are displayed in a core permanent exhibition of the principal achievements of Egyptian civilization, with six thematic galleries covering the Dawn of Civilization, The Nile, Writing, State and Society, Material Culture, Beliefs and Thinking, and the Gallery of Royal Mummies.

    Dinner tonight is at the iconic Le Pacha 1901, one of Cairo's landmark dining and entertainment venues.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

    Christian Coptic Hanging Church

    The enormous Coptic Museum

    Ruins of Babylon Fortress

    Day 5 - Cairo – Abu Simbel – Aswan

    Morning

    Today, you will be escorted to Cairo Domestic Airport for your Egypt-Air flight to Aswan. From there, you will take a 40-minute flight to Abu Simbel.

    The two temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel are each fronted by colossal statues up to 65 feet high and are famed as the most impressive monuments remaining of Ancient Egypt in modern times. Recently they were threatened by the waters of Lake Nasser, and with the help of a UNESCO campaign, they were cut into blocks, raised piece by piece, and reassembled in a new position higher up the hillside.

    Afternoon

    After a return flight to Aswan, you will check into the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

    Newly redesigned by French interior designer Sybille de Margerie, the Sofitel Legend has fortified its iconic heritage with a contemporary design. Dive into the magnificent pool, which links the two wings of the hotel. Kick back at the luxurious spa before indulging at the 1902 restaurant or relaxing at the terrace bar perched above the peaceful waters of the Nile.

    Hotel: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

    The Great Temple of Rameses II

    The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

    UNESCO World Heritage site Lake Nasser

    Day 6 - Aswan

    Morning

    This morning, you will check into the five-star Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, known for the distinctive touches that set it apart from traditional river cruise ships. The high levels of comfort are elevated by details that include rich teak flooring, Egyptian marble, and etched metalwork. On the upper sun deck, you’re promised iconic tableaus, craft cocktails, and cool shade, plus a river-view pool.

    Afternoon

    After lunch on board, we take a ride on a felucca – a typical Egyptian sailboat –around Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener's Botanical Garden, and the Agha Khan Mausoleum.

    In the evening, your Boat Manager will formally welcome you on board and review the cruise program for the days ahead. Enjoy Egyptian wine with a selection of canapés, followed by a gourmet dinner, a folkloric presentation, and a Whirling Dervish ceremony.

    Hotel: Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

    Botanical Garden in Aswan

    Feluccas in front of Elephantine Island

    The Mausoleum of Aga Khan

    Day 7 - Kom Ombo – Edfu

    Morning

    After breakfast, guests take a short motorboat ride to visit the romantic and majestic Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika. Next, it's on to the Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in the pyramids and temples. Here, you will also see the Unfinished Obelisk, located in the northern region of the stone quarries.

    Afternoon

    Later, an Egyptian cooking lesson is presented on board, followed by a cruise to Kom Ombo and a visit to the magnificent Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek. Afternoon tea will be served while you cruise to Edfu.

    Tonight's dinner on board has an Egyptian theme, with a chance to dress in traditional Egyptian galabeya. Dinner will be a lavish buffet of Egyptian specialties, followed by music and dancing.

    Hotel: Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

    Philea Temple in Southern Egypt

    Ancient ruins around the Unfinished Obelisk

    Day 8 - Esna – Luxor

    Morning

    In the morning, you will explore the extraordinary Temple of Horus at Edfu. Despite being built by the Greeks, this impressive structure is the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic temple in Egypt. Your cruise then carries on to Esna while you enjoy lunch.

    Afternoon

    In the afternoon, an Egyptologist guides you around the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum at Esna. The beautifully preserved Great Hypostle Hall was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius. It was excavated from the silt that had accumulated through centuries of annual Nile floods and is about 30 feet lower than present-day street level.

    Afternoon tea is served as you sail to Luxor, followed later by a sumptuous dinner.

    Hotel: Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

    The temple of Esna, dedicated to the god Khnum

    Horus Temple, Edfu

    Cruise dock in Esna

    Day 9 - Luxor

    Morning

    This morning, your Egyptologist guides you around the graceful Temple of Luxor dedicated to the god Amun, and then on to the Temple of Karnak.

    The ancient Egyptians stopped building pyramids as royal tombs after thieves stole all the treasures inside and instead started burying their royalty in secret tombs at Thebes, today's West Bank of Luxor. Here, you can explore the Valley of the Kings, where New Kingdom pharaohs were buried in hidden tombs along with their earthly treasures, for use in the afterlife.

    At the Valley of the Kings, retrace the steps of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, and enter the small tomb of the famed boy-king Tutankhamun. Here, scenes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead are depicted on the walls of his burial chamber. For centuries, the entrance was hidden by debris, hindering its discovery until 1922. Although Tutankhamun was not an important pharaoh, the unprecedented treasures found inside ensured his place in history.

    At 450 feet long, and decorated with some of ancient Egypt's finest art, the Tomb of the Pharaoh Seti I is one of the more impressive artifacts. Discovered in 1817, it is undoubtedly the most well-preserved tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

    One of the highlights at the Valley of the Queens is your visit to the beautiful tomb of Queen Nefertari, Ramses II’s beloved wife. It is said to be the finest tomb in Egypt, with vividly colored artwork and a ceiling painted with stars.

    Next, rising out of the desert plain in a series of brilliant white terraces, the mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut merges with the limestone cliffs that surround it, forming a natural rock amphitheater. The temple was an important religious and funerary site.

    Tonight's farewell dinner is a gala event, with white-gloved servers presenting a gourmet meal.

    Hotel: Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

    Karnak Temple, Luxor

    Luxor Temple at Night

    Temple of the Queen Hatshepsut

    Valley of the Queens in Luxor

    Day 10 - Luxor – Cairo

    After saying farewell to the Nile cruise team, we take our return flight to Cairo and reconverge at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

    View from the Four Seasons in Cairo

    Day 11 – Cairo

    More incredible history awaits you today at the Egyptian Museum, where you will have special access to a morning tour. The museum houses the largest collection of ancient Egyptian art in the world, covering 7,000 years of history. Key features include the treasures of the boy-king Tutankhamun, including his gold mask, gold sarcophagus, and beautiful throne.

    With its grand architecture and rich decoration, the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, completed in 1363, is one of the finest in Egypt, also serving as a mausoleum for Sultan Hassan's sons. We then take a short walk to the Refaie Mosque, completed in 1912. Those interred in tombs here include a Muslim saint, a companion of the Prophet Mohamed, Egypt's last royal family, and the last Shah of Iran.

    The fascinating Khan El-Khalili Bazaar is reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Originally founded as a watering stop for caravans in the 14th century, the bazaar has grown to vast proportions. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets to find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things, from woodwork and glassware to leather goods and perfume.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

    The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan

    Arabic bazaar in El Moez Street

    Al Rifai Mosque in Cairo

    Day 12 – Cairo

    You will be escorted to the airport today for your return home.

Speak to our Travel Designers about combining this itinerary with a pre or post-luxury cruise.

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