Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Aswan, Island of Agilka, Abu Simbel, Fortress of Babylon, Church of St. Sergius
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Ancient Egypt’s sights are legendary but the experience is not purely visual. From the Great Pyramids to Luxor and Abu Simbel, the icons of the past emanate an ethereal atmosphere. As you travel at a leisurely pace on this handcrafted tour, you will absorb all the details, from the smells of the tombs in the Valley of the to the soft oasis sounds in Aswan. Tailored for senior travelers, this route will include all of Ancient Egypt’s major sites along with a luxury Nile cruise and some unique extras.
Cairo – A Phenomenal View Over the Pyramids
Cairo is a big and bustling city. The suburbs have grown outwards over the centuries but the desert still rules. After your personal guide greets you at the airport, you will be transferred to a hotel in Giza, where the rooftop provides an uninterrupted view over the Great Pyramids. Originally built for visiting heads of state, you will quickly feel at home at this old-world hotel with vistas that seem to come from an ethereal realm. The afternoon and evening will be at your leisure. You can relax by the pool as you watch the nighttime city turn on in the distance and admire how the lights dance off the pyramids while you embrace the serenity that exists when you travel to the desert.
Cairo – Legendary Pyramids of the Old Kingdom: A Relaxed Private Tour
When you explore the pyramids you will be exploring the architectural foundations of the ancient world. Your journey will start at Sakkara, the oldest of Egypt’s 107 pyramids, where the steps have been rounded by the weathering influence of the desert wind. Then, you will wander around Dahshour, a pyramid that appears to be bent and crumbling into dust. Admire how the sun reflects off the Red Pyramid, another curious structure that marks the transition between Saqqara and Giza.
You will stop for lunch with your Egyptologist guide and contemplate these near 5000-year-old structures before you wander through Giza in the afternoon. Now the experience is defined by scale, as there is an enormity to the ancient wonder of the world that will take your breath away, with steps that tower over a line of waiting camels. Descend into one of the pyramids and embrace the scents of yesteryear, before you marvel at the funerary boat of King Cheops. As you walk back past the Sphinx to your hotel there will be a feeling that the Ancient World is as alive as ever.
Luxor – Luxury of the Nile and Exquisite Temples of the East Bank
Luxor is a calming city as the River Nile ripples beneath the sun and a mountain backdrop is defined by vivid colors. You will fly here on a morning flight from Cairo and check into a luxury Nile cruise ship, where your cabin’s huge windows will offer sublime views of the river. Relax on the deck, enjoy lunch on a shaded terrace, and glimpse the icons of history that rise just beyond the banks.
In the afternoon you will visit Luxor’s East Bank. A forest of giant pillars will envelop you in the Great Hypostyle Hall and sculpted sphinxes will watch you with stern eyes as your footsteps echo across the rooms of the pharaohs. While Karnak Temple is bafflingly large, Luxor Temple is majestic in its details with an inherent grace that emanates from the walls and stone sculptures. As you travel between the two, you will notice the movement of time. Christian frescos juxtapose with ancient hieroglyphics, a mosque has been built on temple remains, and the stone road has been polished smooth by 3000 years of footsteps. Upon your return to the boat, you will enjoy a cocktail reception before an evening of traditional entertainment.
Nile River – The Valley of the Kings Including a Mesmerizing Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
The next morning, you will appreciate the sunrise, which is always magical in the desert. The experience will be even more supernatural as you will view it from the air, with the Valley of the Kings down below. Your hot air balloon flight will be more than worth an early start and you will drift across the desert hues, before you for a second breakfast and a memory card packed full of photos. Luxor’s East Bank is where the sun rises and the temples represent life. Sunset indicated the end of life so Luxor’s West Bank was the burial place for kings and pharaohs. It is still relatively early as you set off through the valley, where exquisite tombs are carved into desert rock.
While most were plundered, the tombs remain exceptionally and evocatively decorated. Faded murals cover the walls while iconic scenes are depicted on the ceilings, and colors shine in the gloom. You will explore six tombs, including those of Ramses VI and Tutankhamen. As you stand in the burial chambers of the past the atmosphere will be unflinching, as if ghosts are whispering to you from the walls and silent messages are hanging in the air.
After a morning in the valley you will travel to the Valley of the Queens and the Colossi of Memnon, before you board your cruise ship setting sail up the river. Your private balcony and elegant suite provide views to 5,000 years of history along the banks of the Nile River. The charming staff onboard the ship offer friendly attention and the onboard Egyptologist answers any questions arising from the remarkable history. Enjoy the comforts of modern luxury while the unforgettable marvels of ancient Egypt unfold around you during a morning exploring the past and an afternoon watching the desert slowly roll by.
Nile River – Tranquility of Traveling Along the River Nile
A day on a luxury Nile cruise is an escape from the world. You will wake to the sounds of rippling water and take breakfast on the upper deck as the sun seeps in from the east. When you disembark, your destination this morning will be a fable from the past, the Temple of Esna, which is found beneath the city. Afterward, you will return to the boat and watch the desert scroll by. Villages of mud-brick houses dot the banks while children bathe in the shallows and a small forest of palm trees is surrounded by the infinity of the Sahara. After lunch on board you will disembark at Edfu Temple, another extraordinary piece of history standing untouched along the Nile. Then you will continue upriver, as you relax around the pool or on the terrace while you travel toward Kom Ombo.
Nile Cruise – Legends of History Around Aswan
A new morning will bring you another iconic piece of Ancient Egypt. The Kom Ombo Temple is dedicated to the crocodile god and you can almost sense that the giant mummified reptiles are watching you. Then, you will keep traveling up the Nile waters to arrive in Aswan just after lunch. Tomorrow you will be immersed in the ambiance of the desert oasis. Today you will experience the complicated history that lives on around the town. The Unfinished Obelisk reveals construction methods of the Ancient Egyptians while the Aswan Dam shows 20th-century techniques. All along the banks you will get the sense that Aswan has hardly changed over the centuries. Philae Temple is framed by tropical green, which contrasts with the scorched stone to create one of Egypt’s defining images. Spend your final night on board on the deck to gaze up at the desert stars.
Aswan – Immersed in the Old-World Atmosphere of a Pristine Desert Oasis, Including a Private Felucca Tour
Today you will notice how palm trees rise in thick forests along the water. The markets have been built from yellow desert stone, yet their facades change color with the moving sun. You will mingle with locals who meet over a glass of tea on a dozen small cafe terraces. Everyone walks slowly, as if they are moving backward in time. Aswan is the timeless oasis, a destination that epitomizes the tranquility of the Sahara. You will have most of the day to explore at your leisure. You can join the locals lounging at the cafes and take a slow stroll through a marketplace that still sells the wares of yesteryear. Late in the afternoon you will complete the day with a cruise around the River Nile’s islands in a traditional felucca, a wooden sailboat that feels as old-world as any temple or pyramid.
Cairo - Staggering Rock-Cut Temples and Another Piece of the Nile
Today, six statues of the cow-headed goddess of love will greet you at the Great Temple of Ra-Harakhte. Their eyes seem to follow you as the statues continue their role as gatekeepers. You will enter beneath their gaze and to find elaborate walls of painted scenes, as well as peculiar statues that narrate the gods’ world. Built more than 3000 years ago, the rock-cut Abu Simbel temples are arguably the finest single site from Ancient Egypt. Yet, they also hold a more recent history. The Aswan High Dam threatened to submerge the temples, so they were cut into huge blocks and raised higher up the mountain, one of the world’s greatest acts of preservation In total, the process took two years and today there is an excellent museum that details the project. From Abu Simbel you will fly to Cairo via Aswan, where you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to a modern luxury hotel that stands above the River Nile.
Cairo – Taking a Stroll Through the Wonders of Old Cairo
In the morning, Cairo’s raw and redolent history will tell you a tale of early modern religion. Sixth-century churches stand on winding streets, alongside the crumbling remains of the Fortress of Babylon. Relics and frescos fill the walls, faded but unaltered by time. A synagogue hides within a basilica and a Coptic museum is draped with the trinkets from history. The sounds of soft church bells mingle with the euphonic Call to Prayer that sails across the rooftops. You must walk slowly here because there will be so much nuance and detail to appreciate. From a tiny carved statue to the flamboyance of calligraphy and fruit stalls that spill into the street. You could walk all of ancient Cairo in two hours but if you take your time you will be fully immersed in the rhythm of the past. Pass by the Khan el-Khalilli bazaar, the mosques and fortress of the Citadel, an epic tomb, and a 14th-century watering spot for the camel caravans that once passed through.
Cairo – The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and Departure
With an evening flight out of Cairo you can enjoy a relaxed morning in one of the world’s greatest museums. More than 120,000 objects will narrate 7000 years of history to you at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. However, it is not the statistics that will amaze you, it is the preservation of the pieces. From the gold shimmering in the Royal Mummies Room, to the masks honoring powerful gods, and treasures unearthed from Tutankhamen’s tomb. After you have traveled in the footsteps of the kings and pharaohs, a stop in this museum will be a moving final piece of your Ancient Egyptian experience. You will return to the hotel after lunch and enjoy full use of the facilities before your transfer to the airport.
For more inspiration, read our reviews of Egypt from our travelers and gain more information about this amazing experience.
- Embrace the stunning views of the Nile River from your private balcony and luxury suite aboard the five-star Sonesta Star Nile cruise ship
- Leisurely wander amongst the mesmerizing icons of history and experience the atmosphere at Ancient Egypt’s world-famous sites: including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple
- Savor the serenity of a luxury River Nile cruise by spending three days traveling upriver from Luxor to Aswan
- Discover the remote and untouched temples that stand proudly in the desert, such as Kom Ombo and the Edfu
- Relax into the blissful old-world mood of Aswan, an ancient oasis that is perfect for escaping into another world
- Unique activities offer an alternative viewpoint on Ancient Egypt, including a hot air balloon flight over the Valley of the Kings and sailing the Nile in a traditional felucca
- Explore Cairo and find a city that is very different to the preconceptions, with sixth-century churches and mazy lanes that are home to some of the world’s finest Islamic architecture
- Private tours that allow you to explore at a pace that suits your energy levels and interests
- Handpicked hotels maintain your immersion in the fables of Ancient Egypt, such as a five-star hotel with a terrace overlooking the pyramids
- Uncover more with expert Egyptologists, their knowledge adding a further dimension to sites like Luxor Temple and Saqqara Pyramid
On your journey through Egypt you will feel as if Ancient Egypt is still alive. The monuments have been preserved superbly, which will allow you to appreciate thousands of minute details that make the relics feel even more real. You will be baffled by the scale as many of the monuments continue to be amongst the highest buildings in Africa. Yet the journey is not purely visual, as you will experience a unique feeling when you wander beneath the pyramids or stand amid the columns of Luxor Temple. As you stand still you will start to distinguish smells. Stay silent and the echoing sounds will feel like they come from an ancient era. It will create a surreal experience when you visit one monument. It will become an unforgettable experience when you explore all the major sites of Ancient Egypt. To appreciate the ambiance you must travel slowly. Ancient Egypt is on a scale that cannot be rushed so taking your time will be essential to getting the most from the country.
This Egyptian journey has been handcrafted for senior travelers, as you will move along at a pace that allows the atmosphere of Ancient Egypt to flourish. You will experience all the famous monuments, along with a selection of hidden sites that rise evocatively in the desert. Part of the itinerary is about exploring the old world and another part will allow you to relax amid the fables of history, with luxury hotels that overlook the water and the tranquility of a three-day cruise up the River Nile. Some days will have early starts as you enjoy unique activities like a hot air balloon flight over the Valley of the Kings. Most days will allow for a lot of leisurely time during the middle of the day, so you can sit back and reflect on the icons that have been experienced.
You will begin in Giza, as the Great Pyramids are an unforgettable introduction to Ancient Egypt before you fly to Luxor. You will start by exploring the East Bank, where the temples of Luxor and Karnak cover a baffling scale. Then, enjoy a luxury cruise with short excursions to the temples and tombs of the past. Continue with a day of leisure that allows you to discover the beauty of the great desert oasis – Aswan. Fly to the temples of Abu Simbel in the far south before you fly back north to Cairo for the conclusion of your trip. Other than on the cruise, all the tours will be private and guided by leading Egyptologists. Their knowledge and gentle pace will help immerse you in the legacy of Ancient Egypt.
$2,395 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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