A Taste of the Nile
This ten day trip through Egypt takes in some of the very best the country has to offer; from exploring the Pyramids near Cairo, to cruising down the fertile banks of the Nile on the Steam Ship Sudan and shopping in Aswan's bustling markets. Enjoy exploring and learning about the fascinating relics of Ancient Egypt while making sure to also factor in plenty of relaxation.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Wander around the Pyramids and gaze up on the mysterious figure of the Sphinx.
- Spend a wonderfully romantic few days sailing down the Nile on the 19th century Steam Ship Sudan.
- Relax on the banks of the Nile in your final destination, the beautiful Aswan.
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Day 1: Arrive
This morning board an international flight to Cairo and find yourself on Egyptian soil in less than five hours. Upon arrival, meet your driver at the airport and head straight to your hotel to freshen up and enjoy a leisurely dinner.
Day 2: Exploring Cairo
Get up bright and early for breakfast this morning before being met by one of our expert guides and taken to explore Cairo's must-see sight - the Pyramids of Giza.
These massive tombs were constructed on the orders of the Pharaohs some 4000 years ago and they certainly live up to the hype as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. You'll easily spend all morning roaming around the site - though you might not want to venture inside if you suffer from claustrophobia - and your guide will make sure you stop at the view point for a photo with Cairo sprawled in the background. As well as teaching you the fascinating history behind the Pyramids, your guide will direct you to the iconic Sphinx for another great photo opportunity.
Saying goodbye to the Pyramids, stop for a quick lunch before heading to explore the heart of Cairo with your guide. An afternoon tour of some of the city's main Islamic treasures will include The Mosque of Al-Azhar, various fine Ottoman era houses and The Mosque-Madrassa.
Day 3: To Luxor
This morning we highly recommend a visit to the Egyptian Museum. This gargantuan museum is delightfully chaotic and has such a huge selection of displays that it's nigh on impossible to see all of them. To save you some time wandering aimlessly, our favourite stopping points are the section on Tutankhamun's tomb (which includes his Death Mask), the Fayum mummy portraits display, and the Head of Nefertiti. Your expert guide will be able to advise on the most relevant exhibits, based upon your interests.
With your fill of Ancient Egyptian history, it's time to leave Cairo this afternoon. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport in time for a domestic flight to Luxor. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the heart of the city.
Day 4: All aboard the Steam Ship Sudan
Board the Steam Ship Sudan this morning to begin an idyllic adventure along the Nile river.
Steam Ship Sudan is an authentic 19th century steamer decorated in a Belle Époque style which was once a writing retreat for Agatha Christie. A stay aboard offers a hugely romantic return to the heyday of traditional luxury travel. Settle into your original Edwardian cabin or suite while a gourmet lunch is prepared and served on board.
By the time lunch is over you'll have sailed as far as your first stop, one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites in Egypt, the Temple of Karnak. Under the command of the great Pharaohs, this awe inspiring ancient city was built over approximately 2000 years. Walking through this vast open air museum with a guide you will be struck by the almost perfect illustrations that honour the Pharaohs and their Gods.
Back on board, sailing continues as far as Luxor Temple, where you'll pay an evening visit; this is the best time of day to visit as the evening light emphasises the dramatic and perfectly preserved columns. Afterwards dinner will be served on board and you'll spend your first night at the Port of Luxor.
Day 5: Abydos
You'll set sail for the holy city of Abydos on your first full day on the Steam Ship.
When the ship has moored up, hop off to look around the Temple of Seti with your guide and take in its fine, colourful bas-reliefs which mark the birth of Ramesside art.
On your way back to the boat visit the Temple of Dendera. Secluded at the border of cultivated land and desert, with its richly decorated chapels, its Hathor-headed columns and its obscure corridors and stairs, the ancient city of Dendera is one of the most famous and best preserved monuments in Egypt and offers a fantastic view of the Egyptian countryside from its roof.
Lunch is served back on board the Steam Ship and you can then enjoy a relaxing afternoon sailing to Luxor for dinner and an overnight in the port.
Day 6: To Edfu
The ship departs early for a day of discovery, starting with the Valley of the Kings.
Situated on the west bank of the Nile, this limestone valley houses the burial chambers of the great Pharaohs and dynasties of the 18th-21st centuries. There are 63 magnificent temples of eternal life lining the valley, including Tutankhamen's Tomb which was famously discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. As you explore with your guide, the unexpectedly vibrant colours of the well-preserved hieroglyphics lining the tombs will stand out.
After a gourmet lunch on deck the Steam Ship Sudan will set sail again, this time navigating towards Esna, which is 40 miles south of Luxor. After passing through the lock at Esna, night begins to fall as the ship cruises under the star-filled sky towards Edfu, a further 30 miles downstream and your base for the night. As you travel, make sure you spend plenty of time on deck enjoying the views along the river banks, ideally with a cool drink in hand.
Day 7: To Kom Ombo
It's another early start today as you get up for a morning exploration of the Temple of Edfu.
This sanctuary is considered to be one of the best preserved temples in Egypt, likely because it lay buried under a protective layer of sand until it was excavated by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette in the 1860s. The Temple of Edfu was built in honour of the falcon-headed sky god, Horus, was abandoned by the Roman Empire in 391 AD.
Re-join Steam Ship Sudan to enjoy another delicious lunch while you sail onward to Kom Ombo, 90 miles south. Kom Ombo temple dates back to 180BC, during the Ptolemaic era, and was dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god. After exploring the site with your guide, get back on board and gaze up at the pillars from the Steam Ship Sudan's deck and watch as the sun sets slowly behind them. Dinner and drinks will be served as night falls and the ship will remain docked here for the night.
Day 8: To Aswan
Today is your last full day aboard the Steam Ship Sudan, so make sure you enjoy plenty of deck viewing time as you make the final 30 mile journey to reach Aswan, at the end of the fertile Nile Valley.
When you arrive you'll be getting off board to explore the Temple of Philae which is the domain of the Goddess Isis - the universal mother who reigned over life, death and resurrection. Philae was one of the most important shrines of ancient Egypt until 550AD when the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian, ordered its closing after 4000 years of worship. Much later, during the 1960's, when the construction of Aswan's High Dam was underway, the temple was actually dismantled, moved and rebuilt on its current site at Agilika Island - quite a feat we think you'll find even more impressive when you see the temple for yourself!
With your fill of temple exploration, you will have time to meander through the bustling, colourful markets of Aswan before getting back on board the Steam Ship Sudan for dinner. To make your last night aboard a little special, there is an option for evening entertainment at the 'Sound and Light' show which illuminates the Temple of Philae.
Day 9: Enjoy Aswan
This morning you'll leave the teak decks of the Steam Ship Sudan behind in favour of a luxurious land based hotel in Aswan.
Today is yours to spend as you like, but we suggest you might want to make the most of your last day in Egypt by heading back onto the water and taking a boat out to some of the pretty Nubian villages nearby. There are also an array of secluded swimming spots to be discovered, or after all the excitement of the last week, you might just want to relax by your hotel's pool and enjoy the beautifully juxtaposing desert and river views.
As dusk starts to fall we recommend heading into Aswan town, where you'll find a thriving market - perfect for picking up some last minute gifts or trinkets - and some really atmospheric restaurants to enjoy the last dinner of your holiday.
Day 10: Home time
Sadly the time has come to head back home and after breakfast your driver will be waiting to take you to Aswan airport. From here you'll take a domestic flight to Cairo and then connect onto an international flight to the UK.
Amelia, Matt and Charlotte C are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.