This 7 day tour, starts and ends in Cairo, Egypt. In Cairo we have a full day tour of the Pyramids, Sphinx & Cairo Museum and then 2 nights in Luxor with a full day tour of the Valley of the Kings and another tour of Luxor and Karnak temple amongst many other ancient Pharaonic sites.
Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel close to the Pyramids for the start of your trip. They will help you settle in, introduce you to the local area, and explain tomorrow's arrangements. The rest of the day is free.
If you arrive early you may like to take an evening dinner cruise on the Nile, or enjoy a spectacular sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).
Our tour of Egypt begins with a trip to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. Home to the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibit the museum hosts a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts. One of our local Egyptologist guides will be accompanying you on this and all of your other sightseeing tours, and you'll find them a wealth of knowledge and full of enthusiasm about Egyptian history, and their country in general. Following on from the museum we then head to Giza on the outskirts of Cairo to visit the Sphinx and the three great pyramids of Egypt. The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), an awesome man-made structure constructed of giant stone blocks, together with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the majestic sight of these enormous structures rising out of the desert is a breathtaking spectacle. You will have the opportunity to climb down right inside the pyramids if you wish, though your guide cannot accompany you (a limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid).
This evening we transfer to the station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor (approx. 9 hours). You'll enjoy dinner on board in your private twin-berth compartments before the steward sets your beds up for the night.
We arrive into Luxor early this morning and cross the Nile to begin our tour of Luxor's West Bank, home to the Valley of the Kings, the dusty tombs in this ancient burial site are still revealing their secrets today and so it remains one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Our tour includes several of these Pharaonic tombs, as well as the temple of Queen Hatchepsut, Deir el-Medina (the Valley of the Craftsmen), and the huge Colossi of Memnon. Your afternoon is then free to relax and enjoy the facilities of your 5-star hotel on the banks of the Nile.
This evening we visit Luxor temple, which is located right in the middle of town and beautifully lit up at night.
Your morning is free today and you can enjoy a welcome lie in after several early starts. After lunch we'll tour the huge temple complex at Karnak, once the religious centre of Thebes and Upper Egypt. It was linked to Luxor by an extensive avenue, lined with sphinxes, and the whole complex was in turn linked to the Nile via a canal through which moved the sacred boats of the god Amun. Entering through a smaller sphinx-lined avenue, built by Ramesses II, you come to the immense pylon entrance. Inside the huge Courtyard are three chapels dedicated to the gods Amun, Khous and Mut. The remarkable Hypostyle Hall has 134 towering columns, each carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and hieroglyphic inscriptions adorn the walls.
A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is available this morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).
Your day is free today to relax in the hotel or take an additional optional tour if you'd like an even more in depth exploration of Egyptian history. For example, the Rammesseum, Medinat Habu and Valley of the Queens on the west bank of the Nile are all worth a visit, as is the Luxor Museum. You can also explore Luxor further, do some shopping or browsing in the market, visit the mummification museum or enjoy a felucca trip to nearby Banana Island. Your tour guide will be happy to arrange any extra visits for you or you can book the sightseeing tours in advance.
In the evening we head back to the station to catch the overnight sleeper train back to Cairo. Flight upgrades are available on request.
We arrive back into Cairo this morning and transfer to our hotel. Most of the day is then free to explore Cairo as you choose or you may take an optional tour.
These include a city tour in Cairo which visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, or a half day tour to Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis to learn more about the history and evolution of pyramid building. Other full day options further afield include a visit to the colonial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan (you'll miss the bazaar walk if you take these full day options). In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We'll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt's unofficial national dish, Kushari.
Your time is free in Cairo today for some final sightseeing or shopping until we pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport to catch your departure flight. A range of day trip options are available (subject to your flight time) and extra nights in Cairo may also be added if you would like to take advantage of these.