Welcome to Egypt! Arrive in Cairo at any time. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our start hotel. As today is an arrival day, no activites are planned until you meet your guide this evening. In the meantime, be sure to get out and explore one of the Middle East's most fascinating cities.
Today, travel to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where you will spend the day visiting the many fascinating sights this ancient city has to offer. Fort Qaitbay considered one of the most important defensive strongholds along the Mediterranean Sea coast. It formulated an important part of the fortification system of Alexandria in the 15th century A.D. Situated at the entrance of the eastern harbour on the eastern point of the Pharos Island, it was erected on the exact site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the 14th century there was a very destructive earthquake and the whole building was completely destroyed and the fortification you see today, built. Your next visit stop is Pompey's Pillar. The name "Pompey's Pillar" is actually a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with Pompey, having been erected in 293 for Emperor Diocletian, possibly in memory of the rebellion of Domitius Domitianus. You'll next head to the Catacomb of Komel-Shokafa. These tombs were tunneled into the bedrock in the age of the Antonine Emperors (2nd Century AD) for a single wealthy family still practicing the ancient religion. They represent the last existing major construction of the old Egyptian religion. The final stop is the new Alexandria Library. The ancient Library of Alexandria, was probably the largest, and certainly the most famous, of the libraries of the ancient world. It flourished during Greek rule and functioned as a major center of scholarship, at least until the time of Rome's conquest of Egypt, and probably for many centuries thereafter. It was destroyed by fire around the first century B.C. The magnificent new library you will visit, opened in 2002 very near the site of the old library. At lunchtime why not head to one of the beachside restaurants to sample some of the fresh seafood for which Alex is famous. In the late afternoon we return to Cairo for the evening. Overnight in Cairo Estimated Travel Time: Cairo to Alexandria return, approximately 6 hours
A full day of sightseeing awaits. Begin day four with one of the real highlights of any visit to Egypt, a visit to the three pyramids of Giza. While once located in remote desert, they now touch the suburbs of modern Cairo. No matter how many photos or documentaries you have seen, your first glimpse of these marvels of the ancient world will take your breath away. As a qualified Egyptologist, your tour leader is able to expertly explain the facts and myths behind these three mammoth works of art. You will also visit the mysterious Sphinx, the owner of a lion’s body and a man’s face. Depending on time, there may be the chance to see inside one of the two smaller pyramids, take a ride around the pyramids on camel back or visit the fascinating Solar Boat Museum which displays on of the pharaoh’s funerary barges and it may just be the oldest boat in existence! (extra entrance fees apply to all of these sites/activities) There is time to grab a quick lunch before our afternoon visit to the Egyptian Museum. With over 10,000 pieces from every period of Egyptian history, including the treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the display can be a bit daunting. Your guide will direct you to the most important and magnificent items. There is also plenty of free time for you to explore on your own, including a chance to visit the famed Mummy Room where you can view the ancient remains of some of Egypt’s most important rulers. (extra entrance charges apply) In the evening catch an overnight sleeper train to Aswan. The sleeper train is comfortable with two persons sharing a cabin. Beds are bunk style and fold up into seats when not in use. The cabins are air conditioned, with a lockable door and all bedding is provided. There is a small wash basin in the cabin but toilets are down the corridor. Dinner is provided but most people prefer to eat before boarding. Drinks are available to purchase and there is a bar car for socialising. A simple continental breakfast is served in your cabin the following morning. Approximate boarding time is 8.30pm and we expect to arrive in Aswan around 8.30am. Always be prepared for "Egyptian time" with any journey though! Overnight on overnight train. Estimated Travel Time: Cairo to Aswan, approximately 12 hours by overnight train.
Early morning arrival into Aswan checking in to the Nile cruise ship ,your home for the next three nights. Our cruise boat is modern and comes with everything you need for an enjoyable few nights on the Nile. The cabins are twin share and comfortably appointed with air conditioning and full ensuite bathroom. There is a dining room, and a very small gym. The entire top deck of the boat is for relaxing, swimming in the rooftop pool or just relaxing and watching life on the Nile go by. The ship actually covers remarkably little distance as all ships must, by law, dock each evening. It is more in line with a "floating hotel" than a traditional cruise. Venture to the beautiful Temple of Philae, which is located on one of the Nile Islands and must be reached by boat. Next, learn more about the High Dam - built in the 1970's to control the Nile's water flow,and a massive engineering feat at the time. In the afternoon sail to Elephantine Island by Felucca . Early on the morning of Day 5, we travel by plane, in the morning, to the magnificent temple of Abu Simbel. It is hard to believe that this magnificent temple, built by Ramses II between 1274 and 1244BC, would now be under Lake Nasser if modern engineering had not gotten involved. These are perhaps Egypt's most splendid temples! In the afternoon, you will return to Aswan and your cruise boat. Continue your cruise with visits to the temple of Kom Ombo, a temple dedicated to Sobek the Crocodile god which still contains an ancient mummified crocodile! After returning to the cruise ship we take our lunch and continue sailing. In the afternoon, we take another excursion in Edfu, travelling by horse drawn buggy to visit the well preserved Temple of Horus. Our boat will overnight just outside of Luxor, arriving in the city on the afternoon of day 6. Overnight for three nights on Nile cruise boat.
After checking out of your cruise boat, the day starts with a visit to the exciting ancient sites located on Luxor's West Bank. We begin the day viewing the two mammoth statues of Amenophis II at the Colossi of Memnon. These statues used to stand at the front of a temple which is no longer in existance. They were famous from Greek times as they used to make a unique "singing" noise. You can even see ancient graffiti discussing this on the statues, from travelers of old! Next stop is the famous Valley of the Kings. While the treasure has now all gone, the tombs contain the most incredible paintings of the life of their encumbent and stories from the Book of the Dead. There is alsothe option to visit the the Tomb of Tutankhamun, whose treasures you saw at the Egyptian Museum. We finish our day with the spectacular temple of Queen Hatshepsut- a reminder of the power women held in the Old Kingdom. The remainder of the afternoon is free to experience some of the many activities on offer in Luxor. The most important and perhaps impressive of all is Karnak temple. Located a couple of kilometres outside of modern Luxor, this temple was without doubt the most important in all of ancient Egypt. Don't miss the small but beautiful Luxor Museum or the interesting Mummification Museum, teaching you everything you ever wanted to know about this ancient art and including a great collection of animal mummies. Stroll long the Nile cornich and shop for a bargain in Luxor's bazaar. Haggle hard though, as Luxor locals are famous for their business skills! In the evening board the sleeper train, traveling back to Cairo. Overnight on sleeper train. Estimated Travel Time: Luxor to Cairo, approximately 9.5 hours
Our tour finishes at the train station on arrival in Cairo. We recommend that you not book an international flight leaving before 12:00 (noon). We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation if you wish to extend your stay for a few more days. Please ask at the time of booking.