Cleopatra’s Palaces


Country Information

Egypt

Cleopatra's Palaces Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Egypt


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways

,

Adventure Travel


(Tour Length)

13 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Take advantage of an extraordinary visual feast fit for
    a pharaoh as Luxor unfolds beneath you during a sunrise hot air balloon trip
  • Tour the Pyramids of Giza, the enigmatic Sphinx, the magnificent temples of Karnak and Luxor, Abu Simbel’s famous Temples of Ramses II and Queen Nefertiti, and so much more
  • Take an insider’s tour of the small but fascinating Luxor Museum, which prides itself on the quality of the pieces, including striking items from the tomb of Tutankhamun, and a collection of 26 exceptionally well preserved New Kingdom statues found in a cache in the Luxor Temple
  • Experience the Nile on a four-night cruise aboard the Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser, awarded the title “Best Cruiser on the Nile” for five consecutive years
  • Rekindle the glamour and prestige of San Stefano, Egypt’s legendary Mediterranean resort during a two-night stay at the new Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano

 

 

Day 1:  Arrive Cairo, Egypt
Welcome to Egypt!  You are escorted to your hotel and assisted with check-in.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Day 2:  Cairo
A splendid introduction to the glories of ancient Egypt begins at Memphis, the site of Egypt's first capital where the remnants of colossal statues and temples are the only visible relics of the city's golden age 5,000 years ago.  Nearby is Saqqara, home of the world's oldest stone structure, the famed Step Pyramid of King Zoser.  You will then drive through lush date palm groves to the Pyramids of Giza.  Guarded by the mighty Sphinx and listed among the Seven Wonders of the World, these soaring structures remain an enigma to modern scholars.  You will also visit the fascinating Solar Boat Museum and take a camel ride from the Giza Plateau to the base of the Pyramid of Menkaure.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (B,L,D)

Day 3:  Cairo / Luxor
Fly to Luxor, the ancient city of Thebes, dating back to the 27th century B.C.  Settle into your sumptuous hotel on the riverfront.  Built in 1886, the hotel’s bulletin board was the means Howard Carter chose to first notify the world about his historic discovery of the King Tutankhamun’s tomb.  Continue on to the East Bank’s vast temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor, a thousand years in the making.  Marvel at the massive Hypostyle Hall with its 134 columns.  This evening you will enjoy a special Sound & Light Show at Karnak Temple.  Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor (B,L,D)

Day 4:  Luxor / Nile River Cruise
For an extraordinary start to your day, soar peacefully above the terrain in a hot air balloon ride at sunrise (weather conditions permitting).  No pharaoh ever had this vantage point!  Glide above the majestic temples and burial grounds. Later, board the award-winning Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser.  Built on the lines of an Edwardian paddle steamer, the ship boasts sweeping wooden staircases, Edwardian paneling, fine linen and tableware.  Deck chairs and parasols invite you to sit by the blue-tiled pool between excursions.  Investigate two architectural achievements – the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, and the Avenue of Sphinxes that once connected them.  Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Nile River Cruise - Luxor / Esna
Travel to theWest Bank and the legendary Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, the Colossi of Memnon, and Queen Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple.  In the Theban Necropolis of the City of the Dead, at least 900 tombs are carved into the rock.  Many Egyptologists think the mortuary temple is the finest building in Egypt.  In a great amphitheater, it honors Hatshepsut, the first female Egyptian ruler.  Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Nile River Cruise - Esna / Edfu / Kom Ombo
Your agenda includes Esna Temple, a short walk through the narrow, busy souk (market) street.  Descend a staircase to reach Hypostyle Hall, 33 feet below street level.  The temple of Horus at Edfu is the second largest in the country, and the best preserved.  It remained almost completely buried in the sand until the 1860s. Set sail to Kom Ombo.  The most spectacular approach is from the river in late afternoon when the sun turns the sandstone deep golden.  Tonight, enjoy an Egyptian dinner buffet followed by a traditional Galabeya costume party.  Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Nile River Cruise - Kom Ombo / Aswan
Kom Ombo’s strategic location gave it control over routes from Nubia to the Nile Valley, making it a prosperous center during the construction of the temple in the Ptolemaic Era (180 BC).  It is dedicated to two gods: crocodile-headed god Sobek, and Horus the Elder or Haruris.  Sail to Aswan, Egypt’s southernmost town.  The river is beautiful here as it flows around granite boulders and palm-studded islands of the First Cataract.  Aswan feels more African than Egyptian.  Traditionally, this was where Egypt ended and Nubia began.  It was an important market for caravans passing with gold, slaves, incense and ivory.  This afternoon, a boat ride takes you to the Botanical Gardens and Agha Khan Mausoleum.  Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Nile River Cruise / Aswan
After disembarkation this morning, travel by vehicle to Aswan High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Philae.  The British built the first Aswan Dam between 1899 and 1902.  On completion, it was the largest dam in the world.  A boat takes you to the Island of Philae, where the Temple of Isis was built over more than 700 years.  It is a perfect blend of Egyptian and Greco-Roman architecture.  In Roman times, this was the most important pilgrimage center in Egypt.  Movenpick Resort Aswan (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Aswan / Abu Simbel / Cairo
Transfer to the Aswan Airport for a flight to Abu Simbel.  In the 1950s, a monumental feat of engineering was undertaken to relocate Ramses II’s Great Temples of Abu Simbel to higher ground so that this treasure would not be lost to the rising waters of Lake Nasser.  The temples were sawed into 1,050 blocks, and rebuilt, block by block, on an artificial hill 680 feet from and 200 feet higher than the original site.  Four famous colossal statues of Ramses II guard the entrance, each 65 feet high, with smaller statues of the King’s mother, Queen Tuya, wife Nefertari and some of the children.  Fly to Cairo, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (B,L,D)

Day 10:  Cairo / Alexandria
Take in the scenery of the Nile delta as you ride north to the port of Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city.  “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” Alexandria radiates southern Mediterranean ambiance.  Alexander the Great founded the city in 331 BC. It became the capital of Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty until the last of the line, Cleopatra.  The causeway that linked the city to the island of Pharos created two harbors and made Alexandria a major port.  It was the home of the famous Library and the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  The city was the site of Caesareum, a temple begun by Cleopatra for her lover, Anthony.  Four Seasons Alexandria at San Stefano (B)

Day 11:  Alexandria
Few cities in the world lean so heavily upon legend as Alexandria.  It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, and was where his embalmed body was laid to rest eight years later after his conquest of Asia.  It subsequently became the capital of Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty until the last of the line Cleopatra, who ended her life and the city was taken over by the Romans.  Today, Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city.  Spend the day exploring remnants of the city's glorious past, including the National Museum, Pompey's Pillar towering 93 feet over the site of the ancient Serapeum, the 2nd century Roman Amphitheater with its elegant marble terraces, and Al Montazah Palace, residence of the former royal family.  Also step into the eerie tomb chambers of the 2000-year-old Kom el-Shugafa Catacombs, the last major construction in the Ptolemaic tradition.  You will also see the Library of Alexandria.  Four Seasons Alexandria at San Stefano (B,L)

Day 12:  Alexandria / Cairo
Today, you will return to Cairo.  A spectacular, full day exploration of Cairo begins at the world-acclaimed Museum of Antiquities.  The 300 year reign of the pharaohs is vividly brought to life in the wealth of art and artifacts here, including the Tutankhamen Collection of golden tomb artifacts; and exhibits of small, lifelike statuary from the early dynasties.  You will also explore the fascinating Mummy Room.  Continue your tour in old Coptic Cairo visiting the Church of St. Sergius and Ben Ezra Synagogue; built on a site where legend holds the baby Moses was found in the bulrushes.  Take in the hilltop Citadel with its grand city views and ethereal Mohammed Ali Mosque.  Then stroll with your guide through the Khan El Khalili, a bustling warren of shops where you can bargain for rugs, copper and leather crafts, perfumes, and other goods both exotic and familiar.  Tonight, take in the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids of Giza, followed by dinner.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (B,D)

Day 13:  Cairo / Depart
You depart Egypt and arrive home with a deeper understanding of human history and with wonderful stories to share.  (B)

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