Day 1 – Arrival in Cairo
We’ll meet you at the airport, make sure your visa arrangements (most nationalities can organize a visa quickly at the airport upon arrival) go smoothly, and accompany you to the beautiful Le Riad Hotel, in the Old Cairo, where we’ll stay for the first 2 nights. Depending on your arrival time, we’ll go explore the narrow streets of Old Cairo right away, or if you arrive late, we’ll just relax on the hotel’s rooftop, get acquainted with the sounds of Cairo, while sipping some tea and smoking shisha, just like the Egyptians do.
Day 2 – The sounds and sights of Medieval Cairo
We stay right in the middle of Old or Medieval Cairo, and will take full advantage of it. We’ll wander the narrow streets, people watching and stopping at times for tea and some shopping at Khan el-Khalili, the famous bazaar that’s not far from our hotel. But firs thing in the morning, we’ll pay visit to the world famous Egyptian Museum, home to an incredible amount of ancient artifacts. Our Egyptologist guide will give us a private introduction to the collection, from little-known but important objects to pieces that have amazed the world, like the treasures of Tutankhamun. Afterwards, we’ll visit the Coptic Cairo, the city’s Christian part, and stop for a delicious Egyptian lunch. In the afternoon, we can choose to visit the nearby Gayer- Anderson Museum and the exquisite Ibn Tulun Mosque. After refreshing at the beautiful boutique hotel, we’ll go out for an atmospheric dinner and perhaps hear some live music.
Day 3 – Arrival in Luxor: Stepping on board and visiting Luxor
In the morning, we’ll head to the Cairo Airport and catch a flight to Luxor. We’ll be met at the Luxor airport and taken straight to the Dahabiya sailboat, our group’s private home for the next 5 days. After settling in, we’ll head straight to visit the awe-inspiring complex of Karnak, with its ruined temples, shrines and a sacred lake, which was built over a period of at least 2,000 years, making Karnak the largest temple complex in Egypt, if not the world. We’ll return to the Dahabiya for lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll go for a walking tour into contemporary Luxor, visiting its atmospheric souks and one of the city’s traditional coffeehouses. Before heading back to the boat for dinner, we’ll make sure to stop for an aperitif at the historic Winter Palace Hotel, one of the places where Agatha Christie worked on her novel Death on the Nile.
Day 4 – The West Bank of the Nile
Luxor’s West Bank is the burial ground of the pharaohs, where the numerous tombs and mortuary temples can be found. We’ll for sure visit the famous Valley of the Kings, which will make anyone fantasize about being Indiana Jones, or at least an amateur Egyptologist. We then continue to the Valley of the Nobles, which boasts some of the finest rock-cut tombs in the necropolis, decorated with beautiful and interesting artwork depicting the everyday life of the time. We’ll also visit the mortuary temples of Ramesses III and Haptshepsut, who some call the “first great woman in history.” If we still have energy, we’ll make a brief stop on the return journey at the Colossi of Memnon or do some alabaster souvenir shopping. After lunch, we can opt to either relax on board, lying in a hammock with a book, or continue on to explore the surrounding villages on foot, by bicycle, or by taking horse or camel rides into the countryside. In the evening, we can visit a bar or a coffee shop in town and get to know some locals or some of the many expats, who adore Luxor.
Day 5 – Sailing onwards to Esna, El Kab & Quessia
We’re finally starting our river journey south to Esna, relaxing on the deck, taking in the scenery on the shores of the Nile whilst sailing slowly to El Kab, the ancient town of Nekheb. We have a chance here to visit the remains of its temples and some of the tombs cut into the cliffs and enjoy the quiet after bustling Cairo and Luxor. Afterwards we set sail for a small island, where the boat will moor for the night. We’ll enjoy dinner and a relaxing, quiet evening by the campfire, under the stars.
Day 6 – Sailing further south to Edfu & Wadi el Shat
We’ll sail slowly forward on our sailboat to Edfu and visit the temple of Horus, the best preserved of all the temples in Egypt, enjoying another private tour from our expert guide. Afterwards, we’ll continue sailing for a small island where the boat will moor for the night. We have an option here to make further stops to small villages and a desert. Dinner will be served on board the Dahabiya or around a campfire on the tiny island of Wadi el Shat. Relaxing under the stars, we’ll feel light years away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo.
Day 7 – Sailing to Gebel el Silsila, Kom Ombo & Daraw
We’ll sail onwards up the serene and beautiful Nile to Gebel el Silsila, where the river narrows significantly. We’ll explore the ancient sandstone quarries and the rock-cut shrines. Then the journey up the Nile continues towards the unusual double temple in Kom Ombo. After our daily dose of mind-boggling history, we’ll sail for the island of Maniha (near Daraw), where we’ll moor for the night. Dinner will be served on board the Dahabiya or around a campfire on Maniha island.
Day 8 – Sailing to Daraw and Aswan
Sail to Daraw and take a walking tour to the village to visit the colorful markets of Daraw, once the last stop on the famous 40-day desert road between Sudan and Egypt. We’ll see spectacular views of the Nile, as it keeps changing, as we journey towards Aswan, our final cruise destination. We’ll make a stop at the botanical garden island and in the afternoon, we’ll explore Aswan on a walking tour, stopping at the Nubian Museum and for an afternoon drink at the historic Old Cataract Hotel, another Agatha Christie favorite. Finally, we’ll pay a visit to the beautiful island temple of Isis at Philae before heading to Aswan Airport for our flight to Cairo, where we’ll settle in and relax at the historic Mina House Hotel, with views of the pyramids from the beautiful garden with a swimming pool.
Day 9 – The Pyramids
We’re staying right next to the Giza pyramids, so naturally we’ll go take a closer look at them and the enigmatic Sphinx with our guide, spending our last full day with the most famous of Egyptian sites. We’ll have an opportunity to enter one of the pyramids and wander at its architecture and to visit the oft-overlooked Solar Boat Museum. After a full visit to Giza, and following lunch, we can opt to drive to Saqqara. With its hundreds of underground tombs, as well as a few pyramids, all packed into a small area, Saqqara is one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt. If we still want to learn more about the archaeology and excavation history of Saqqara, we can visit the beautiful Imhotep Museum, named after the architect of the Step Pyramid, or we can opt for a more cultural afternoon and drive to the Umm Kulthum Museum in central Cairo, on an island on the Nile and enjoy sunset drinks at one of the many bars nearby.
Day 10 – End of tour and time for goodbyes
Depending on your flight times, we might drop you off at the airport right after breakfast, or if you have a little time, you might enjoy some time by the pool. Those, who have later flights, can opt to do some more sightseeing in the hectic but fascinating Cairo: trust us, there’s plenty to see!