Uncover the mysteries and histories of ethereal Egypt

Travel with Intrepid and Lonely Planet to experience the ancient stories and pharaonic cultures that are the quintessential image of Egypt. For 15 days, adventure to bustling Cairo, cruise along the Nile in a traditional felucca and explore Luxor, Alexandria and coastal Hurghada. Gaze at the grandeur of the pyramids, step back in time at magnificent tombs and relax on deck while you watch rural Egyptian life pass you by along the Nile. Acclaimed sights, tucked-away treasures, Nubian hospitality and everything in between – let your mind wander as you discover the true face of Egypt.


Start
Cairo, Egypt
Finish
Cairo, Egypt
Destination
Egypt
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
XERA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cairo is a place like no other; a rambling metropolis of sand-beaten colours and ancient wonder. You'll have plenty of time to explore the acclaimed sites and lose yourself in bustle of this fascinating city.

  • Bask in the unique atmosphere of Aswan and experience not only the warmth and charm of Nubian hospitality, but also some delicious traditional cuisine on a local homestay.

  • Set sail on one of the world’s most iconic rivers with an included felucca trip down the Nile. Relax and soak up the landscapes, as scenes of everyday Egyptian life pass you by.

  • Unwind in the vibrant beach resort of Hurghada, perhaps exploring the extraordinary ecosystem and coral reefs off Giftun Island deep in the dazzling Red Sea.

  • Uncover one of the greatest cities in antiquity, Alexandria, reborn as Egypt’s alternative capital, and pay your respects at El Alamein – an important World War II battle site.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Before booking this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section of the Essential Trip Information regarding special safety considerations for Egypt trips.

  • The Nile felucca cruise is an amazing experience, but it's not for everyone. You will be sharing a sleeping area with your fellow group members for the night and using a shared bathroom facility on board.

  • The walkways around ruins can be uneven, dusty and rocky, so be sure to bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. At major sites such as the pyramids, you can expect to be exposed to the elements at length, so be prepared with a hat, sunscreen and plenty of fluids.

  • Some hotels in Egypt may not have lifts, so on occasion you may need to climb stairs with your luggage to reach your room.

  • The temperatures in Egypt can be extreme, from very hot to very cold (it even snows in some places). Be sure to bring a varied wardrobe so you can layer up.

Itinerary

Welcome to Cairo – Egypt's chaotic capital. Your Lonely Planet Experience begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Cairo is one of the great ancient cities and its history can be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. If you have time, why not jump on a quick felucca ride or head out to explore the markets. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, the Christian Coptic sector is well worth a visit.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cairo - The Citadel - Entry Fee - EGP180
  • Cairo - Coptic Museum -Entry Fee - EGP100
  • Cairo - Islamic Art Museum -Entry Fee - EGP140
  • Cairo - Sufi Dance Khan al-Khalili -Entry Fee - EGP85
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
After breakfast, set out to see some of Egypt’s most renowned sights. Visit Giza’s pyramids and Sphinx – instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4500 years, and you may even be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu for an additional charge. Afterwards, perhaps make your way to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and check out the optional Mummies Hall for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. Later in the evening, meet your leader and travel to Giza train station, where you will board a sleeper train to Aswan (approximately 13 hours).
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cairo - Pyramids and Sphinx
Optional Activities
  • Cairo - The Great Pyramid of Cheops - Entry Fee - EGP400
  • Cairo - The 2nd Pyramid of Khafre - Entry Fee - EGP100
  • Cairo -The Royal Mummy Room- Entry Fee - EGP180
  • Cairo - Solar Boat Museum - Entry Fee - EGP100
  • Cairo - The Egyptian Museum Guided Visit - EGP400
  • Cairo- Saqqara and Memphis Afternoon Tour (Min 2 customers) - Transfers/Entry/Guiding-p/p - EGP1100
  • Cairo - Egyptian Museum - Entry Fee - EGP120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The Great Pyramid of Khufu is occasionally closed to visitors. The complex can be very hot in the summer months, so be prepared for little available shade and pack appropriate clothing, sun protection and water, and be ready to walk. There is an additional 50 EGP fee to take photos in the Egyptian Museum.

Charges for the optional activities listed are for entry only. Your leader may suggest group activities to visit some of the local sights, which include transport and guiding. If you prefer to do your own thing, taxis are available and your leader can assist in organising.

The overnight train is air-conditioned and bedding is provided. There are toilets are in each carriage but consider bringing additional toilet paper. General cleanliness of the train may vary. An included dinner and breakfast are served on board; however, you may want to stock up beforehand, particularly if you have dietary requirements. In rare circumstances you may be paired with a traveller of another gender, depending on the con
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city. Today is a free day so take the opportunity to see such Aswan sites as the unfinished obelisk or the High Dam. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is top of many visitors’ lists. Highly recommended is the beautiful Temple of Isis (goddess of health, marriage and wisdom), which was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated to Philae Island. It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – definitely one of the real gems of Upper Egypt. The waterfront promenade, or corniche, runs alongside one of the Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. Watch the waterfront come alive at dusk, with families out strolling, socialising and relaxing along the corniche.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Aswan - Sound & Light Show at Philae Temple -Entry Fee - EGP300
  • Aswan - Nubian Museum -Entry Fee - EGP140
  • Aswan - Tomb of the Nobles -Entry Fee - EGP60
  • Aswan - Philae Temple -Entry Fee - EGP180
  • Aswan - Monastery of St. Simeon -Entry Fee - EGP60
  • Aswan - Philae Temple Tour (Min 2 customers) -Transfers/Entry/Guiding-p/p - EGP600
  • Aswan - High Dam and Unfinished Obelisk Tour (Min 2 customers) Transfers/Entry/Guiding-p/p - EGP700
  • Aswan - Philae Temple Sound & Light Show (Entry) - EGP150
  • Aswan -Philae Temple, High Dam and Unfinished Obelisk Tour (Min 2 customers) Transfers/Entry/Guiding-p/p - EGP1000
  • Aswan - Camel Ride (Min 4 customers) -p/p - EGP220
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Charges for the optional activities listed are for entry only. Your leader may suggest group activities to visit some of the local sights, which include transport and guiding. If you prefer to do your own thing, taxis are available and your leader can assist in organising.
This morning is your best chance to head out of Aswan and visit stunning Abu Simbel, if you choose to. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. Otherwise, the day is free for you to make your own discoveries. A popular afternoon option in Aswan is a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Alternatively, you could take a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned seventh-century fortress located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your local leader will be on hand to help you get the most out of your day. You may prefer to just relax and take in the beauty of the Nile, or do some shopping in the vibrant bazaar.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Aswan - Abu Simbel Tour -Transfers/Entrance/Guiding( Min 4 customers) -price p/p from - USD110
  • Aswan - Nubian Village Visit and Dinner (Min 4 customers) - p/p - EGP225
  • Aswan - Abu Simbel by Air -subject to availability -price p/p from - USD320
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your group leader will offer to organise the optional excursion to Abu Simbel for your group. This excursion will be limited to your group members only. If you would like to fly to Abu Simbel or join another excursion, please discuss options with your leader.

Please note the Abu Simbel optional activity has a very early start – departure will be between 5 am and 6 am. You can get there by flying, or by the cheaper option of renting a minivan with a group and leaving very early (flights do not operate daily). The journey by land is 3 hours each way. It's best to visit at sunrise to avoid the heat. Speak to your group leader earlier in the trip for more information.
This morning, jump on a traditional Egyptian sailboat – or felucca – for a morning sail until lunch. After lunch on board the felucca, arrive at a Nubian homestay on the west bank of the Nile. Here, you’ll learn about the local way of life with a walk through the surrounding countryside and agriculture fields to reach the homestay. The house is in traditional Nubian style, with a sandy courtyard in the middle where the family gathers for meals, and bedrooms to the side – this is where you’ll be staying for the night. Get into the swing of Egyptian life by lending a hand in the kitchen to help cook dinner, or maybe kick around a football in the courtyard with the kids. There are few better ways to understand a country and its people than with a local homestay, and you’ll have the chance tonight to soak it all up.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Board another felucca today and enjoy a day out on the river, seeing rural Egyptian daily life play out on the banks before spending a night under the stars. Your sailing crew will provide all of your onboard meals, which are hearty and delicious. The felucca is a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, offering some shade and protection from the elements, but there is no cabin or enclosed section – watching the sun setting over the Nile in the evening from an open deck is an experience you won't forget.
Accommodation
  • Nile Felucca (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nile - Felucca overnight sailing trip
Optional Activities
  • Aswan - Kom Ombo Temple -Entry Fee - EGP140
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After farewelling the felucca crew, take a private van to Luxor (approximately 3.5 hours). Today you will explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient pharoahs' monumental works. One of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of some 200 years. Your guided tour of this vast temple of impressive pylons, obelisks and chapels will reveal its finest sections, such as the Avenue of Sphinxes and the Great Temple of Amun. The rest of the day will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local teahouse.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luxor - Karnak Temple
Optional Activities
  • Luxor - Luxor Temple -Entry Fee - EGP160
  • Luxor - Luxor Museum -Entry Fee - EGP140
  • Luxor - Sound and Light Show Karnak Tour (Min 2 customers)-Transfers/Entry/Guiding-p/p - EGP800
  • Luxor - Mummification Museum -Entry Fee - EGP100
  • Luxor - Sound and Light Show at Karnak -Entry Fee - EGP300
  • Edfu - Edfu Temple -Entry Fee - EGP180
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Charges for the optional activities listed are for entry only. Your leader may suggest group activities to visit some of the local sights, which include transport and guiding. If you prefer to do your own thing, taxis are available and your leader can assist in organising.
Rise early this morning and head into the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. With your leader, explore this sprawling and spectacular place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, their funerary rites, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics, still well-preserved in the deepest tombs. Visit three of the most interesting royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut – a stunning colonnaded building set against high cliffs that create a spectacular natural amphitheatre. The legendary Hatshepsut had this mortuary temple built to signify her importance and honour her ancestors.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luxor - Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
  • Luxor - Hatshepsut Temple -Entry Fee
Optional Activities
  • Luxor - Tomb of Tutankhamun -Entry Fee - EGP300
  • Luxor - Dinner Local Family (Min 4 customers)-p/p - EGP225
  • Hot Air Balloon - Valley of the Kings - USD120
  • Luxor - Medinat Habu Temple -Entry Fee - EGP100
  • Luxor - Valley of the Queens -Tomb of Queen Nefertari -Entry Fee - EGP1200
  • Luxor - Valley of the Queens -Entry Fee - EGP100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
You can purchase a camera ticket that will entitle you to take photos in any of the three tombs that you visit as part of your tour. The cost of the ticket is around EGP 300.

Charges for the optional activities mentioned today are for entry only OR for organised tour programmes facilitated by your group leader. In the past we have found that this suits most of our travellers. If you prefer to do your own thing, transport to sites is available and your leader can assist with organising this.

It’s possible to take a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and the temples on the west bank, subject to weather conditions. There is an additional charge for this activity and your leader will be able to help book this for you. Pick-up will be from your hotel between 4.30 and 5 am. Balloon capacity is 16–25, and cameras are prohibited in the basket (cellphones are allowed).
This morning, farewell the Nile to drive east to the beachside town of Hurghada (approximately 5 hours). The green Nile valley is soon left behind as you head out into the Eastern Desert. As you pass by rocky hills, the glittering waters of the Red Sea come into view and the rugged bulk of the Sinai Peninsula looms through the haze on the opposite shore. A vibrant beach resort, Hurghada is by no means a typical adventure destination. After checking in to your hotel, take a leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings and to scope out some of the local restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Transfer to the Hurghada Marina and climb aboard your boat for a trip out to Giftun Island – part of the Red Sea Marine Parks – where you’ll spend a relaxing day on the stunning white beach of Mahmya. While here, you have the opportunity to take a snorkelling excursion by boat to one of the most magnificent reefs in the Red Sea – fine reef walls, lovely fan corals and colourful fish all await. Your snorkelling gear is provided. After a buffet lunch in one of Mahmya’s open-air restaurants overlooking the ocean, there are plenty of activities to choose from, such as volleyball, soccer, or simply lazing on the beach. Head back to Hurghada in the late afternoon and transfer to your hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hurghada - Mahmya Beach Cruise ( Day trip )
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Check out of your hotel this morning and make the 6-hour journey back to Cairo by private vehicle. On your return, visit the Islamic parts of the city and the frenetic backstreets of the local Khan el-Khalili bazaar with your group leader. The ‘Khan’ is one of the biggest and oldest markets in the world, sprawling around an old area known as Al-Azhar, a warren of alleys with stalls serving up a succession of intoxicating scenes and a quintessentially Cairo experience. You might explore the gold market, ‘Perfume Street’ and the spice market, where heady aromas hang in the air like a thick blanket of Damascene cloth (which can be purchased next door in the cloth market!).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cairo - Khan al-Khalili bazaar visit
Optional Activities
  • Cairo - Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids Tour (Min 2 customers)-Transfers/Entry-p/p - EGP700
  • Cairo - Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids -Entry Fee - EGP300
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Jump in a private van today and follow the ‘desert road’ to the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria (approximately 3 hours). Egypt's second largest city and main port, locals call this vibrant city the Bride of the Mediterranean Sea. On arrival, take an orientation walking tour with your leader. The Greek architect Dinocrates built Alexandria in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis. Take some time to stroll along the corniche and take in some fresh Mediterranean air. Alexandria at night is not to be missed, with the whole city lighting up.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Alexandria - Qaitbay fortress -Entry Fee - EGP60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, head back to a more recent period in Egyptian history with a visit to El Alamein and the war museum located there. El Alamein sits on the Mediterranean Sea, 106 kilometres west of Alexandria, and it played an important role in significant World War II battles. The area was a turning point in the North African campaign, where the Allies held out against, and eventually pushed back and defeated, the Afrika Korps of Rommel. The area contains a number of memorials from the countries who lost soldiers here – Greece, South Africa, Australia, Italy – as well as a war cemetery that’s home to the graves and names of the thousands who lost their lives. In the museum, discover the story of the events that unfolded here, and then return to Alexandria. Alexandria is well known for its seafood, so don't forget to feast on some fresh fish while you're in town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • El Alamein - War Museum
Optional Activities
  • Alexandria - Commonwealth cemetery - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning, head underground and delve into the mysteries of the Kom Ash Shuqqafa catacombs. This Roman burial site is the largest of its kind in Egypt and was discovered, quite accidentally, by a hapless donkey. The crypts are 20 metres below street level, and what probably began as a small family tomb grew into a labyrinth of chambers that could accommodate more than 300 bodies. Stop by the strikingly modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, inspired by the original great library of Alexandria and built to hold over 8 million books. Afterwards, head to El Morsi Abu El Abbas Mosque, the largest in the city. During your free time, perhaps take the opportunity to see the Citadel of Qaitbay, a fortress overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, where the famous lighthouse once stood. You’ll then leave Alexandria and return to Cairo (approximately 5 hours), arriving around 4 pm. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please, and at night, why not gather together your travel crew for a celebratory kebab, kofta, or sheesha.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Alexandria - Catacombs of Kom Ash-Suqqafa
  • Alexandria - Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • Alexandria - Morsi Abu El Abbas Mosque
Optional Activities
  • Alexandria - Alexandria National Museum-Entry Fee - EGP100
  • Alexandria - Roman Amphitheatre- Entry Fee - EGP80
  • Alexandria - Al Montazah Palace & Gardens -Entry Fee - EGP50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Lonely Planet Experience finishes today after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day, and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time following check-out.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Felucca, Overnight sleeper train, Private mini bus

Accommodation

Felucca (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Cairo - Pyramids and Sphinx
  • Nile - Felucca overnight sailing trip
  • Luxor - Karnak Temple
  • Luxor - Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
  • Luxor - Hatshepsut Temple -Entry Fee
  • Hurghada - Mahmya Beach Cruise ( Day trip )
  • Cairo - Khan al-Khalili bazaar visit
  • El Alamein - War Museum
  • Alexandria - Catacombs of Kom Ash-Suqqafa
  • Alexandria - Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • Alexandria - Morsi Abu El Abbas Mosque

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 5 (Nile Felucca) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

ENTRANCE FEES
Some entrance fees are not included. If you wish to take part in these activities, you pay these fees as you go along.  Your Leader may suggest group activities inclusive of transport, entry and guiding services, in the past we have found this works well for our customers.  If you prefer to do your own thing you can simply take a taxi or local transport and pay your own entrance fees, it's all up to you.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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