Upon arrival at Cairo airport, we will meet you and assist you with visa formalities and luggage collection, then transfer you to your hotel near the pyramids. Our rep will help you settle in, then the rest of the day is free at your leisure. If your flight lands early, then you could take a first look at the pyramids with an amazing sound and light show, or perhaps head into downtown Cairo for a Nile dinner cruise and show.
Our tour of Egypt begins begins with a visit to the sprawling Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. The museum is home to the famous Tutankhamun exhibit and a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts. One of our experienced local Egyptologist guides will be with you on this tour, and all of your other sightseeing tours. You'll discover our amazing guides have a wealth of knowledge and full are of enthusiasm about Egyptian history, and their country in general.
After the museum we then head out to Giza on the edge of Cairo to visit the enigmatic Sphinx and the three greatest pyramids in Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) along with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the inspiring sight of these huge structures looming out of the desert is an unforgettable site.
You will have a chance to climb inside the pyramids if you wish, but you're on your own, as your guide cannot accompany you (a limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid).
In the evening we transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Aswan, where we are met and transferred to our hotel overlooking the Nile.
We awake this morning to see one of the most beautiful stretches of the Nile in Egypt in front of us. The river here is dotted with islands and felucca sailing boats and Aswan itself is an intriguing mixture of African and Middle Eastern cultures which can be easily seen by strolling through the bustling markets. We allow plenty of free time for you to explore, walk along the Corniche on the banks of the river, or take a trip to the Nubian Museum, which has a collection of artefacts from the Nubian people. We check out of our hotel and onto our Nile Cruise boat for lunch before our organised sightseeing in Aswan starts in the afternoon with a tour to the Temple of Philae. This beautiful island temple is dedicated to Isis and was saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. It can only be reached by a scenic boat ride. We also drive to the massive Aswan Dam. The rest of the day is free.
There is also an early morning optional visit to the UNESCO world heritage site of Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II. This is an amazing site that was completely dismantled and rebuilt when Lake Nasser was flooded.
We spend the day today sailing down the Nile, enjoying our time relaxing on the sun deck and and watching rural Egyptian life pass us by. Our first stop is at the beautifully situated riverside temple at Komombo. We then continue sailing on to Edfu, the home of Sobek, the crocodile God, who was worshipped in pre-dynastic times. We overnight here.
We start this morning with a tour to the ancient remains of a double temple with one side being consecrated to Sobek and the second dedicated to Haroeris - the falcon-headed Sky God Temple. The best preserved temple in the whole of Egypt, it has many inscriptions in the Coptic language and is adorned with paintings. We then sail onwards, passing through the lock on the Nile at Esna, before arriving in Luxor. To the west, across the Nile, lies the City of the Dead, with its mortuary temples and rock carved tombs, and to the east stand the Temples of Luxor and Karnak.
After lunch we'll visit the massive temple complex of Karnak, once the religious heart of Thebes and Upper Egypt. It was linked to the town of Luxor by a long sphinx lined avenue. The entrance is via a smaller sphinx-lined avenue, built by Ramesses II, after which you enter the temple proper through the enormous pylon entrance. Inside the large Courtyard are three temples dedicated to the gods Amun, Khous and Mut. The much photographed Hypostyle Hall has an impressive 134 towering columns, each is carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and hieroglyphic inscriptions cover the walls.
In the evening we'll take a walking tour of the smaller Luxor Temple, which is in the centre of town and is colourfully lit up by night.
Today we cross the River Nile for an early morning tour of Luxor's West Bank. We first visit the Valley of the Kings, whose ancient tombs are still revealing their secrets today and is one of most important archaeological sites in the world. We include a visit to several of these Pharaonic tombs, and then explore the temples of Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu, before stopping at the huge Colossi of Memnon. There is an optional hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile available in the morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises). In the afternoon we leave the Nile Valley behind and drive to the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada where we check into a 4-star resort. Your stay here is on a 'soft all inclusive' basis, with all meals, soft drinks and snacks included but not alcoholic beverages.
Today is free to relax and enjoy your time by the Red Sea. The Hurghada and Makadi Bay area is an excellent place for scuba diving and snorkelling and the varied Red Sea marine life here attracts divers the world over. Other activities available include quad biking, wind surfing, camel rides, kite surfing, sea fishing trips and glass bottomed submarines. Our local rep in Hurghada is always on hand to help arrange any optional excursions. Hurghada also has an interesting marina and old town just waiting to be explored. We can also book extra nights in the resort in Hurghada/Makadi Bay if you wish to extend your stay - please contact us for details and prices.
This morning we fly back to Cairo where you have a choice of either a free day to explore or unwind at your own leisure, or enjoy one of our optional tours. These include a city tour through the narrow winding streets of Coptic Cairo to the impressive Citadel and Mohammed Ali Mosque, as well as the mazy market streets of Khan El Khalili bazaar. There is also an option available to head to the outskirts of Cairo and learn more about the history of pyramid building with a visit to the early pyramids at Saqqara and Dashour, part of the ancient city of Memphis.
Today is free for some more sightseeing or a spot of last minute shopping until we take you back to the airport for your departure flight. If you have an evening flight, then the Cairo City Tour and Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis tours can also be done today. Alternatively if you can add extra nights to your time in Cairo you can take a day trip to the colonial city of Alexandria, which lies on the Mediterranean coast, or a explore the desert outside Cairo to see the little known World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.