Here is a 7-day Egypt itinerary with options for a Nile cruise or overland travel between Luxor and Aswan.

It also includes an extension in Hurghada, should be be able to afford a 10-day Egypt vacation instead of one-week.

Even though I consider 12 days to be a proper duration of a trip to Egypt, I know most people can only afford a 10 days or even a 7 days itinerary.

How Would the Ideal 12 Days Egypt Itinerary Look Like?

My Egypt itinerary took 12 days.

It included 3 nights in Cairo, 5 nights on the Nile cruise, 3 nights in Hurghada, and one last night in Cairo before the flight back home.

We commuted by bus between Cairo and Luxor, and then between Aswan and Hurghada. For the last commute, from Hurghada to Cairo we used a local flight.

For the 7-day Egypt itinerary variant, keep reading.

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo

Arrive in Cairo and check-into your hotel (e.g. Le Meridien, Room with Pyramids View).

Giza pyraminds and the great Sphinx

Giza pyramids and the great Sphinx, a must-see during your 7 days Egypt tour

Visit the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

You can use the Cairo Metro to get to Giza.

I preferred to use private transportation, as I visited Egypt as part of a bigger group.

The visit to Giza Pyramids area requires at least three hours.

During peak season, you may have to queue to enter the pyramids.

In January the line to enter the Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu) was huge.

I opted for another one, either Khafre or Menkaure. Seeing that I didn’t have to climb to the entrance, I believe it was the pyramid of Khafre I visited.

The Sphinx area is also very busy in high-season. Expect some crowds, but don’t let this spoil your experience. Ancient Egypt’s monuments are truly majestic.

Egipt - busy narrow passage to TheSphynx

Visiting the Sphinx is challenging for agoraphobia sufferers: here’s what you need to go through to get there

egyptian museum cairo artifact

Egyptian Museum Cairo – thousands of artifacts, amazing culture trip

Explore the Egyptian Museum to see King Tut’s treasures

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is huge. It showcases thousands of artifacts such as statues, mummies, Egyptian everyday utensils, and artworks.

Depending on your interest in Ancient Egypt history, you may spend several hours exploring the Egyptian Museum. I think three hours is a good average to consider when planning your Egypt itinerary.

Spend this first night of your trip in Cairo.

Day 2: More of Cairo

Cairo deserves more than a few hours. However, most travelers only afford one or two days here, as Egypt is a big country and ancient sites aren’t all close to each other.

Coptic Church in Cairo

The interior courtyard of a Coptic Christian Church in Cairo

See Cairo’s top Coptic Christian and Islamic sites

The Coptic Christian neighborhood of Cairo is one of the highlights of my Egypt itinerary.

To save time, go to the Coptic Christian neighborhood by taxi. Fares are cheap.

If you want to know more about Coptic Christians, their history, their churches, and their customs, take a guided tour.

Take a guided tour of Old Cairo

Old Cairo is wonderful. Make the most out of your visit by taking a guided tour with a local historian.

Shop at the famed Khan el-Khalili bazaar

Shopping doesn’t need any other words than haggling. Take your negotiation skills to the next level by trying to persuade sellers to offer you huge discounts.

It is possible to make purchases at 30% the initial price. Egyptian merchants expect you to haggle, so don’t refrain from doing it freely.

This will be your second night in Cairo.

Luxor - giant pillars

Huge pillars in Luxor and little Violeta standing next to them for comparison.

Day 3: Fly to Luxor & Karnak Temple

Take a morning flight to Luxor.

Options for getting to Luxor from Cairo include flights, buses and trains.

I did the bus and hated every minute of it. Buses from Cairo to Luxor belong to Blue Bus Company and they take almost 8 hours to travel the 314 miles (505 km) between Cairo and Luxor.

On a 7 days Egypt itinerary I’d choose flying, in order to save time.

Check into your Luxor hotel (e.g. Jolie Ville) and have lunch.

Tour the Karnak Temple complex, dating back over 4,000 years

Option to visit Luxor Museum.

Overnight in Luxor.

Temple of Hatshepsut

That’s me in front on the Temple of Hatshepsut, one of my favorite landmarks in Egypt

Day 4: Luxor West Bank Tour

Take a full-day tour of Luxor West Bank.

Cross over to see the massive statues at Colossi of Memnon.

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings

Visit the Valley of the Kings to explore the tombs of Egypt’s pharaohs and nobles. The entrance ticket entitles you to visits to three tombs of your choice.

Temple of Hatshepsut

Temple of Hatshepsut

See Queen Hatshepsut’s temple and the Ramesseum of Pharaoh Ramses II.

Overnight in Luxor.

Edfu Temple Egypt

The Egypt itinerary with cruise has the advantage of taking you to see some temples by night

Day 5: Cruise the Nile from Luxor to Aswan OR Sail to Edfu & Kom Ombo

Option 1 with Cruise:

Board your multi-day Nile cruise to Aswan. Sail to Esna and pass through the Esna Lock.

Overnight on cruise ship.

Option 2 Overland:

Check out and drive overland to Edfu.

Tour the remarkably preserved Edfu Temple.

Continue south to Kom Ombo and visit Kom Ombo Temple, dramatically positioned on the Nile.

Overnight in Aswan (e.g. Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel).

Day 6: Nile Cruise OR Abu Simbel Day Trip

Cruise Option:

See temples along the Nile on your cruise from Edfu to Aswan. Admire scenic desert views from the sundeck.

Overnight docked in Aswan.

Overland Option:

Early morning road trip to the impressive Sun Temple of Abu Simbel, re-located during the Aswan High Dam building project.

See the evening light show at Philae Temple after you return.

Overnight Aswan.

Felucca rides on the Nile are fun

Felucca rides on the Nile are fun

Day 7: Nile Cruise Disembarks OR St. Simeon’s & Nile Felucca Sail

Cruise Option:

Disembark your Nile cruise ship after breakfast in Aswan.

Take a morning Nile felucca sailboat ride, if available.

Fly back to Cairo.

Overnight Cairo hotel.

Overland Option:

Visit St. Simeon’s Monastery by camel. Take an afternoon Nile felucca sailboat ride.

Overnight Aswan or fly to Cairo to catch your flight back home.

Hurghada, Egypt - All inclusive resort - pool view

This all-inclusive resort was pretty much like any other such resort in other countries.

Days 8 & 9: Relax in Hurghada on the Red Sea

Take a short flight to the beach town of Hurghada to relax and enjoy the sun and sea.

Snorkel or scuba dive Egypt’s amazing Red Sea reefs.

Overnight Hurghada (e.g. Marriott Hurghada Beach Resort).

Cairo crowds

Cairo crowds boarding a public bus

Day 10: Return to Cairo

Catch a flight back to Cairo for your final night in Egypt.

Explore more of Cairo’s cuisine, nightlife and culture. Do some last-minute shopping and sightseeing.

Celebrate the end of an epic Egyptian adventure!

Violeta Matei
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