Day 1, Fri: Cairo, Egypt
Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival in Cairo, you are met by your Big Five representative and assisted with customs and immigration formalities. You are then transferred to your hotel. Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza – Nile view room
Day 2, Sat: Cairo
After breakfast, you will meet your Egyptologist guide in the hotel lobby. Begin by exploring the desert antiquities dating back to the beginning of a civilization that arose over 5,000 years ago. You will venture through the desert to visit some of Egypt's oldest sites. First, go to the Pyramids of Giza. Nothing evokes the long and intriguing history of Egypt as powerfully as the pyramids. Rising from the desert, Khufu (Cheops), Khafra and Menkaura symbolize the enigmatic tug of Egypt in our imaginations. The Great Pyramid of Cheops immortalizes the son of Sneferu and Hetepheres. Though little is known about this pharaoh, his pyramid is the largest of the three and is comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. You will enter the Great Pyramid and visit the King's Chamber. Next, you will visit the Solar Boat Museum, with its famous, ancient Egyptian cedar wood boat dating back 4,500 years. You will also see the colossal statue of the Great Sphinx, which as stood guard over the pyramids for millennia . Carved from an outcrop of rock, the Sphinx remains the ultimate symbol of Ancient Egypt with its lion's body and human head.
After your exploration of the pyramids, drive to Memphis and Sakkara. The necropolis at Sakkara is where King Zoser's Step Pyramid was built. This vast site in the heart of the desert plateau is the largest necropolis in Egypt. Extending for almost five miles, the complex forms a collection of pyramids, temples and tombs that is fundamental to understanding the history of ancient Egypt. Memphis is where the remnants of the city's first capital, once the most cosmopolitan city in Egypt, are scattered in the desert. You will also see the carved limestone colossus of Ramses II.
This evening you will be joined by Farah Abouseif, who formerly worked for the United Nations in Cairo fighting for gender equality. She will take you to visit cafes and shops and give you an insider's view of the events that unfolded in Tahrir Square and other political, economic and social aspects of Egypt. Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza – Nile View Room (B,L)
Day 3, Sun: Cairo / Luxor
Today you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight to Luxor, where you are welcomed and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon visit the Dendera Temple Complex, one of the best preserved temple complexes in Egypt. It covers some 40,000 square meters/430,556 square feet and encompasses chapels and shrines. Then, you will continue to Abydos, one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, and is known for its temple of Seti I buried beneath the modern buildings. Sofitel Old Winter Palace – Nile view room (B)
Day 4, Mon: Luxor / Nile Cruise
The morning is at leisure to use as you please. You can simply relax or continue to explore Luxor with your private guide, who will be at your disposal. Later this morning, you will be transferred to the river to begin your Nile cruise adventure. After check-in, enjoy lunch on board. This afternoon, you visit the East Bank with its fabled Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. The temple of Luxor is close to the Nile and parallel with the riverbank. King Amenhotep III, who reigned 1390-53 BCE, built this beautiful temple and dedicated it to Amon-Re, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons. This temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship up to the present day. It was completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb and added to by Ramses II. Towards the rear is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great.
The temple of Karnak is the largest temple in the world! The complex contains the great temple of Amon Ra, the temple of Khonso, the temple of Ipt, the temple of Ptah, the temple of Montho and the temple of the God Osiris. A 20-meter/66-foot high, mud brick enclosure wall, surrounded all of these buildings. The Amon Ra Temple was known during the Middle Kingdom period as Ipt-Swt, which means the Selected Spot. It was also called Pr-Imn, or the House of Amon. The name Al-Karnak in Arabic was derived from Karnak, which means fortified village. Sonesta Star Goddess – Beethoven Cabin with Private Balcony (B,L,D)
Day 5, Tue: Nile River Cruise
Today you will discover the legendary Valley of the Kings that encompasses the East Valley, home to the tombs of the New Kingdom Pharaohs, and the West Valley, which has only one tomb open to the public - the tomb of Ay, who succeeded Tutankhamun to the Egyptian throne. The temple of Queen Hatshepsut of Dynasty XVIII was built just north of the Middle Kingdom temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre in the bay of cliffs known as Deir el-Bahri. In ancient times the temple was called Djeser-djeseru, meaning the ’sacred of sacreds’. It was undoubtedly influenced by the style of the earlier temple at Deir el-Bahri, which Hatshepsut chose as the site her temple in a valley sacred to the Theban Goddess of the West. More importantly, it was on a direct axis with Karnak Temple. Two huge ruined statues, the Colossi of Memnon, are around 17 meters/56 feet tall and once stood at the entrance gate of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, though very little of the temple behind them remains today. They were cut from two massive granite blocks, brought from quarries near Cairo, and carved to represent the pharaoh Amenhotep III of Dynasty XVIII.
The Valley of the Queens is near the better known Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes (modern Luxor). This barren area in the western hills was chosen due to its relative isolation and proximity to the capital. The pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty chose to be buried in rock-cut tombs instead of the traditional building of pyramids as burial chambers (perhaps because of their vulnerability to tomb robbers). Sonesta Star Goddess – Beethoven Cabin with Private Balcony (B,L,D)
Day 6, Wed: Nile River Cruise
Take in the Horus Temple in Edfu. The site of Edfu Tell was known as Wetjeset-hor, the place where the god Horus was worshipped and where, ancient mythology says, the battle between Horus and his traditional enemy Seth took place. The temple of Horus is the most well-preserved and the only one we know to have been completed. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller, earlier temple, oriented east to west. The temple of Kom Ombo stands on the East Bank right next to the river, about 4 kilometers/2.5 miles from town. It was dedicated to two gods, Horus and Sobek, but primarily to Sobek, the crocodile God, together with his wife, who was in another form the Goddess Hathor. The temple is a Greco-Roman structure, dating back to the year 119 BCE, when Ptolemy VI, began its construction with limestone. Sonesta Star Goddess – Beethoven Cabin with Private Balcony (B,L,D)
Day 7, Thu: Nile River Cruise
Today, you see the temple of Isis on the island of Philae, the center for worship of the goddess Isis. It attracted pilgrims from all over the ancient world. One of the great temples of Egypt, it occupies about a quarter of the island and is the main temple on the island, with its huge, complete pylons and beautiful scenes. The temple is built in the same style as the temples of the New Kingdom. It also incorporates other elements, which appeared in the Greco-Roman period, such as the Mamisi (the House of the divine birth of Horus), and a Nilomete. The temple was submerged after the first Aswan Dam was built in 1906. The Unfinished Obelisk lies, in its original location, in a granite quarry in Aswan. It is 42 meters/138 feet in length and was most probably abandoned when some cracks appeared in the rock, during its construction. Had this obelisk been completed, it would have been the heaviest obelisk ever cut in Ancient Egypt, weighing nearly 1100 tons! It is believed that it was constructed and abandoned during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty.
Afterwards, return to Aswan to visit the High Dam of Aswan, considered one of the most important achievements of the in the last century in Egypt. For many years, it was a symbol of the New Era of the Revolution of 1952. It provides Egypt with water and electricity and reduced the potential risk of the destructive inundation of the River Nile. Sonesta Star Goddess – Beethoven Cabin with Private Balcony (B,L,D)
Day 8, Fri: Nile Cruise / Abu Simbel / Cairo / Alexandria
This morning, disembark your cruise ship for an early transfer to the airport to fly to Abu Simbel. The temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting Pharaonic temples. Located close to the southern border with the Sudan, it is 280 kilometers/174 miles south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290- 1223 BCE). Unfortunately these unique temples suffered from the raising waters of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built. Return to Cairo, where you will be met and transferred to Alexandria. Four Seasons Hotel San Stefanu – Sea view room (B)
Day 9, Sat: Alexandria / Cairo
Today, you explore Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE. This is where his embalmed body was laid to rest eight years later after his conquest of Asia. The city subsequently became the capital of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty until the last of the line, Queen Cleopatra, who ended her life when the city was taken over by the Romans. Today, Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city. Discover the Alexandria National Museum (ANM), which contains about 1,800 artifacts that narrate the story of Alexandria and Egypt. You then visit Pompeii's Pillar, one of the best known ancient monuments still standing in Alexandria today. It is located on Alexandria's ancient acropolis and was originally part of a temple colonnade. Enjoy lunch at the Fish Market before going on to the Roman Amphitheater, located in the modern area of Kom El Dikaa near the center of the city. Dating from the second century CE, it has a large auditorium. You will also visit the Catacombs in the district of Karmouz, east of Alexandria. The area is called Kom El Shogafa (a pile of shards). This cemetery dates back to the first century CE and was used until the fourth century CE. It was discovered by pure chance in 1900 when a donkey drawn cart fell into a pit, which lead to the discovery. Finally, you will visit the Bibliotheca Alexandria, a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the city. Then, you will return to Cairo. Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza – Nile view room (B,L)
Day 10, Sun: Cairo
After breakfast, you will meet your guide at the lobby. Begin your introduction to Cairo at the famous Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. The museum houses the greatest collection of Egyptian royal treasures in the world. Your expert guide will take you through the highlights, including the famous Tutankhamen Collection of golden treasures and the fascinating Mummies' Room. You will continue to Coptic Cairo to visit the famous Suspended Church (Hanging Church), dating to the late fourth and early fifth century. This basilica was named Al Mu'allaqah because it was built atop the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. You will continue to the Church of St. Sergius, a fifth-century Coptic church. This basilica is built on the cave in which the holy family stayed and is regarded by visitors as a source of blessing. You will also come to the recently restored Ben Ezra Synagogue, which marks the place where Moses was saved by the water girl of the pharaoh. This is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Egypt, built in 882 CE. You will then visit the Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali, the largest structure built during the first half of the 19th century. Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza – Nile view room (B,L)
Day 11: Cairo / Fayoum
Today you will be transferred to Fayoum during a drive, less than an hour from Cairo. Fayoum is a fascinating oasis and the oldest city in Egypt, founded 4000 years BCE, making it also one of the most ancient cities in all of Africa. The pharaohs used Fayoum as a reservoir, where excess water from the Nile River floods was reserved and used to irrigate lands. Thus, it was the most fertile land in Egypt and is now famous for its lush agricultural lands, numerous water wheels and canals. It was called “Venice of Egypt”. This enchanting city, with its moderate climate all year round, fresh air and clean environment, offers an incredible range of shimmering sand flats, pristine desert, rich archaeological sites and plenteous fossil remains. Desert safari excursions in the dunes, the wildlife and ancient fossils of Wadi El Rayan, sand boarding, bird watching, felucca sailing on Qaroun Lake and horseback riding make this a delightful desert excursion. Whether embarking on a discovery of the magnificent Fayoum or simply escaping from the bustling Cairo, Lazib Inn Resort & Spa is the perfect base from which you can truly experience Egyptian adventures. with its own unique ambiance and eclectic décor from all over the globe, combining style, charm and exquisite attention to details. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to relax. Lazib Inn Resort (B,D)
Day 12: Fayoum
Today visit the Dahshour royal necropolis, known chiefly for the Red and Bent Pyramids, which were built before the Pyramids of Giza. They were important in laying the learning foundation for the later Giza pyramids. You will also have a chance to experience a desert safari, where you can hike and enjoy the Fayoum desert. You return to your hotel for overnight. Lazib Inn Resort (B,D)
Day 13: Fayoum / Cairo / Depart
Today you will be transferred to the airport to take your international homebound flight
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$750 per person per day.