Day 1: Arrive Cairo. Arrive at Cairo International Airport under your own arrangements. You will be met by our representative, then transferred to your hotel. Accommodation: Stay for 4 nights at the Sofitel El Gezirah (Superior Room)/Four Seasons Hotel Cairo At Nile Plaza (Standard Room).
Day 2: Giza, Sphinx, Saqqara, Dashur. An Egyptologist will meet you this morning for a full day privately guided tour of the pyramid complexes outside Cairo. The Stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara will be your first stop. Comprised of 6 massive steps, it once rose to a height of 62 metres. Nearby, at Dashur are the distinctive ‘Bent’ pyramid, and the ‘Red’ pyramid. The latter structure is believed to have been the first successful attempt at constructing a ‘true’ smooth-sided pyramid. In the afternoon tour the pyramid complex at Giza. Visit the Museum of the Solar Boat and see the enigmatic Sphinx - said to portray the image of the 4th dynasty Pharaoh Kafre.
Day 3: Egyptian Museum & Coptic Cairo. After breakfast visit the Egyptian Museum with its incredible collection of antiquities which include the golden treasure of Tutankhamen, and the elaborately wrapped mummified Pharaohs in the Royal Mummy Room. This afternoon visit the ancient fortress of Babylon, now known as Coptic Cairo, and visit the fine churches, Ben Ezra synagogue, and Coptic Museum.
Day 4: Islamic Cairo. Start the day with a heritage walking tour through ‘the city of a thousand minarets’ – Islamic Cairo. The tour will start at Bab Zuwayla, continue along the celebrated Al Muezz Street through the Khan el Khalili Bazaar and ending at Bab Futuh passing by the many fine Mamluk mosques, houses, and Madrassa’s in this area. In the afternoon visit the mosques of Sultan Hassan and Ibn Tulun Mosque and complete the day’s sightseeing at the Museum of Islamic Art.
Day 5: Arrive Alexandria. This morning drive to Alexandria – a city founded by Alexander the Great and once the premier seat of culture and learning in the ancient world. In the afternoon there will be a guided tour of the city’s Roman highlights including: the Catacombs of Kom el-Shuqafa, Pompey’s Pillar, and the odeon at Kom el-Dikka; then finish the day with a visit to Qaitbey’s Fort, built on the site of the famed Pharos, and a drive along Alexandria’s sea-front corniche. Accommodation: Stay for 2 nights at the El Salamlek Palace Hotel & Casino (Standard Room)/Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria At San Stefano (Sea View Room).
Day 6: Alexandria. Today continue your Alexandria sightseeing with visits to the Alexandria Museum with its beautifully presented collection telling the story of the city through the ages, the gardens of the Montazah Palace, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina with its library and museums.
Day 7: Wadi Natrun, Fly to Luxor. Following breakfast, drive to remote Wadi Natrun where you will visit a fortified Coptic monastery of the desert fathers, then continue to Cairo Airport and board an Egypt Air flight to Luxor. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel located right on the banks of the River Nile. Accommodation: Stay for 3 nights at the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa (Standard Room) / Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa (Deluxe Room).
Day 8: Abydos and Dendera. Drive north to Abydos this morning, a site intimately associated with the legend of Osiris. The Temple of Seti I here contains some of the finest reliefs in the whole of Egypt. Next, continue to Dendera where you will see the remarkably complete temple dedicated to Hathor, the cow goddess. One of the temple’s most distinctive features is its unusual hypostyle hall featuring capitals of the goddess in bovine form. Return to Luxor late this afternoon.
Day 9: Luxor Necropolis. This morning there will be a half day guided tour to some of the less visited sites on Luxor’s west bank, starting with the tombs of the Nobles. Next, visit the Ramesseum – the ambitious mortuary temple of Ramses II and site of the shattered colossus that inspired Shelly to write ‘Ozymandias’. Continue to Deir el-Medina to see the village and tombs of the artists who decorated the royal tombs in the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, and conclude the morning’s sightseeing at the well preserved mortuary temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure.
Day 10: Embark Cruise, Luxor Sightseeing. Visit Luxor Museum this morning then transfer to your Nile cruise ship and enjoy lunch onboard. In the afternoon there will be an excursion to the stunning temples of Karnak and Luxor. A belly dance show will be given prior to dinner. Overnight: Luxor. Note: Sightseeing from the cruise is on a shared basis and is accompanied by the ship’s resident Egyptologist. Boarding and disembarking the cruise requires negotiating small gangways, making the cruise potentially unsuitable for passengers who require assistance or have difficulties with mobility. Accommodation: Stay for 4 nights at the Movenpick Royal Lily (Deluxe Cabin)/Sonesta Star Goddess Nile Cruise (Beethoven Suite).
Day 11: Luxor, Sail to Esna/Edfu. Following breakfast, continue your Luxor sightseeing with a visit to the famed tombs in the Valleys of the Kings and Queens with their wonderful painted walls, the rock-cut temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon. Lunch will be served as you cruise slowly south to Edfu (Royal Lily)/Esna (Star Goddess). This evening a welcome cocktail reception will be held prior to dinner.
Day 12: Edfu, Sail to Kom Ombo/Aswan. This morning your Egyptologist will guide you around the temple of the falcon headed god Horus at Edfu, one of the most complete buildings surviving from the age of the Pharaohs. Following your tour, sail on to Kom Ombo to see the temples dedicated to Horus the Elder and the crocodile god Sobek. This evening a traditional Egyptian night and galabeya costume party will be held aboard. Overnight: Aswan (Royal Lily)/Kom Ombo (Star Goddess).
Day 13: Aswan. Aswan is one of the most beautiful spots in Egypt. Here the sands of the Sahara tumble directly into the Nile from high dunes, and the sleek hulls of sailing boats ply the tranquil waters between emerald islands and pink granite boulders. This morning visit the Aswan High Dam, the Quarries of the Pharaohs and the beautiful Temple of Isis on Philae Island. In the afternoon sail on the Nile in a traditional felucca. Lively Nubian entertainment will precede dinner. Overnight: Aswan.
Day 14: Disembark Cruise, Aswan. Disembark from your Nile cruise for the last time this morning and check in at the luxurious Old Cataract Hotel – a grand palatial property designed in the Moorish style and dating back to 1898. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax, enjoy the wonderful view and facilities, and perhaps have tea on the Old Cataract’s famous terrace. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel (Premium Garden View Room, Palace Wing)/Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel (Cataract Nile Facing Suite, Palace Wing).
Day 15: Abu Simbel, Fly to Cairo. This morning fly to Abu Simbel with Egypt Air for a guided visit of the enormous rock-cut temples built by Pharaoh Ramses II over 30 centuries ago. For many Abu Simbel is second only to the Great Pyramid in its impressiveness. Following your visit fly with Egypt Air to Cairo. On arrival transfer to your hotel. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Sofitel El Gezirah (Superior Room)/Four Seasons Hotel Cairo At Nile Plaza (Standard Room).
Day 16: Farewell to Egypt. Transfer to Cairo International Airport and check-in for your onward flight.
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