Ultimate Egypt Itinerary for 7 Days, 10 Days or 2 Weeks

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Planning the perfect Egypt itinerary is never an easy task, because this is one of the largest countries in North Africa, and there’s a lot to try and fit in. 

Any first time Egypt itinerary needs to include all the best things that the country is known for, and that means you’ll be delving into ancient history, and exploring tombs and pyramids.

You’ll also be cruising along the Nile River and then saving some time to relax on the beaches of Hurghada, at Egypt’s Red Sea resorts. 

There’s a lot to fit in, and we promise to use all of the knowledge and experience we have gained from our 7 weeks of travel in Egypt to help you plan the perfect trip.

To inspire your North African adventure, here’s our guide to crafting the perfect Egypt Itinerary. 

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Egypt (Travel Guide)


Putting Together the Ultimate Egypt Itinerary 


The Best Time to Visit 

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog exploring Egypt

Egypt enjoys hot weather all year round, with a Mediterranean climate on the coast and a more desert-like climate in the interior. 

The most popular time to visit is in winter and spring, between November and April when the weather is much cooler but still beautiful. This is peak season though so expect larger crowds and higher prices. 

From May through to August the weather is blisteringly hot, but you’ll beat the crowds, while fall can be a lovely time to visit. 

Read more Best Time to Visit Egypt: Month by Month Breakdown

Getting Around in Egypt 

How to get around in Egypt

When planning your Egypt Itinerary you’ll need to consider the best way to travel around. It’s a big country so to save on time you’ll want to fly between the north and the south or take overnight trains. 

You can take a flight or sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor for instance, or Cairo to Hurghada. The best way to get from Luxor to Aswan is the scenic route, along the Nile River. 

You can visit Egypt independently or you can have your tour organized in advance.

If you want to save time and hassle then having everything arranged or being part of a group tour makes traveling to Egypt so much easier, especially if it’s your first time in the country.

We recommend having at least 2 weeks for a well-rounded Egypt itinerary, giving you enough time to see the highlights and to enjoy a few more relaxed days during the trip. 

However, we will also layout itineraries for both 7 day and 10 day options in this guide too.

Costs & Budget

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog with the Key of Life.

By most standards, Egypt is an inexpensive country to travel around. You can comfortably stay in private accommodation and hotels and eat out each night and you can still keep your costs below 50 USD per person per day.

Budget travelers can easily spend much less than that too, by taking local transport and eating at the really local places. 

Safety in Egypt

How safe is Egypt

Egypt can be a chaotic and confusing place to visit for first-time travelers, and in terms of travel, it can be both a challenge and an experience.

Part of the challenge can be the safety aspects, and while the country is safe to visit you do need to be careful of petty theft and unfortunately, harassment too. 

Look after your belongings and watch your pockets in crowded markets and public transport. Also keep on top of the news and political events, as this can be an unstable part of the world to be in. 


7 Days in Egypt Itinerary 


Camels at The Pyramids of Giza

Egypt is a big country, and you don’t want to underestimate the distances between the cities when you’re planning how to get around and planning how long you’ve got to explore. 

This said, 7 days is the absolute least amount of time you can give yourself to see the very high-level sites of Egypt. You will miss stuff, but we can definitely work with a one week Egypt itinerary.

7 Day Egypt Itinerary Overview:

7 Days in Egypt Itinerary Map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Cairo
  • Day 2: Cairo – Tour the Pyramids of Giza & Egyptian Museum
  • Day 3: Fly to Luxor – Tour temples and join Nile River Cruise
  • Day 4: Nile Cruise – Luxor West Bank & sailing
  • Day 5: Nile Cruise – Edfu, Kom Ombo & sailing
  • Day 6: Nile Cruise – Aswan & Abu Simbel option
  • Day 7: Aswan – Philae Temple, High Dam & Fly to Cairo
  • Day 8: Depart Cairo

I will not lie, this is going to be a rushed and shallow overview of what Egypt has to offer. However, you will get a good taste and see many of the places that Egypt is famous for.

As you can see, I have suggested the addition of a Nile River Cruise because with only one week in Egypt, you will want to maximize your time. You can do this by having the bulk of your sightseeing as part of your tranportation.

We have traveled Egypt both independently, on a tour and by cruise. If you choose to forego the cruise, know that you will not be able to see Edfu and Kom Ombo.

You will also not have the time to visit Abu Simbel because you will need to give up a day to transportation logistics. In my opinion, it is simply not worth it and highly recommend the cruise option.


Cairo: 1 to 2 Days


David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog at The Pyramids of Giza

Cairo is Egypt’s capital, the largest city in the country and for many travelers, it’s usually the starting point for any Egypt itinerary. 

Yes, Cairo is big. It’s chaotic and it’s sprawling, but it’s also exciting and enthralling in equal measure.

You won’t need more than a few days, but with great museums, bustling bazaars and the iconic Pyramids of Giza to see, there’s a lot to pack in. 

How much time you spend in Cairo will depend entirely on how many days you have for your Egypt itinerary. On a 7 day itinerary, you will have time to only tour the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum.

Both of which are must not miss sites in Egypt. However, with longer itineraries, you will have more time to explore Cairo and it is worth it.

Popular Things to See in Cairo

THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog at The Pyramids of Giza

While Cairo itself doesn’t date back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians, just outside the city you can find the Pyramids of Giza. Dating back thousands of years, these iconic structures are a must-see. 

Experience ancient Egypt first-hand on a private tour from Cairo or Giza to the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx, and Saqqara. Walk alongside your guide as you visit a trio of pyramids and the Valley Temple, then visit the ancient and mysterious sphinx.  

THE MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog at the Egyptian Museum.

This epic museum is easily the best in Egypt, with a huge collection of artifacts that will take you back to the ancient world. 

Discover the Egyptian Museum, one of the most incredible museums for Egyptian antiquities in the world with a certified Egyptologist guide during this half-day trip to Cairo. Step back in time 5,000 years as you explore the museum’s collection of more than 160,000 jaw-dropping ancient objects.

KHAN EL-KHALILI BAZAAR

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog at Khan el-Khalili Bazaar in Egypt

A sprawling market place where you can buy almost anything. Haggle and joke with the vendors as you delve into the local culture. 

Read more 21 Amazing Things to Do in Cairo


Luxor: 2 to 4 Days


Luxor at night

Luxor is found in the south of Egypt, along the beautiful, green banks of the Nile River.

This is one of the best stops on any Egypt Itinerary if you’re into your Ancient Egyptian history.

Luxor was known to antiquity as Thebes and it was an important capital for the Egyptian Pharaohs, many of whom are buried in the valleys around the city. 

Popular Things to See in Luxor

VALLEY OF THE KINGS

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt

The Valley of the Kings is the single most important archeological site in Egypt. This is where many Pharaohs had their tombs and monuments built, including the infamous boy-king, Tutankhamun. 

See the highlights of Luxor on this full-day tour of the East and West Bank of the Nile. Explore the city’s magnificent temples, tombs, and monuments in the company of an Egyptologist guide.

Includes visits to the Valley of the Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and Karnak Temple.

KARNAK TEMPLE

Lina and David Stock (Americas Adventure Couple) exploring in Luxor Egypt

This huge temple complex is located in the city itself and is one of the main reasons why Luxor is often called the largest open-air museum in the world. 

Book this great combo admission ticket and private transport service to see the Karnak Light and Sound Show at Luxor hassle-free. Watch the history of Egypt’s pharaohs unfold while you walk around the ancient temple complex. Getting there is easy with an included round-trip transfer.

HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHTS

Hot air balloon ride from Luxor

One of the best ways to see Luxor is from above, and hot air balloon rides are an increasingly popular activity in the city. 

Take in aerial views of Luxor and its iconic landmarks on this private 45-minute hot air balloon flight. Your guide will be dedicated to just you and your private party.

You’ll be able to ask questions and listen to commentary tailored to your interests. All transportation to and from the launch site is included for a door-to-door experience.

Read more 15 Epic Things to Do in Luxor, Egypt


Nile River Cruise: 5 to 7 Days


Nile Rive Cruise

No Egypt Itinerary is ever complete without a cruise along the famous Nile River.

At well over 4000 miles in length, this is the longest river in the world, and it’s famously green and verdant in comparison to the surrounding desert sands of Egypt. 

The best part of the river to cruise is the section heading south from Luxor to Aswan. This is virtually the only way to visit the temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo.

You can join multi-day excursions where you sleep on the boat and call in at temples and tombs during the day. The length of the Nile River Cruise can vary but you’ll want at least 4 days to really make the most of it. 

To visit these historic places comfortably, and easily, savvy travelers consider this inclusive, multi-day cruise down the Nile River. Enjoy several stops along the way, and hop off the ship to see ancient tombs, temples, and monuments.


Aswan: 2 to 3 Days


Sailboat in Aswan at Sunset

Aswan is another wonderful stop on any Egyptian Itinerary because like its neighbor Luxor, along the river to the north, this is a place that’s overflowing with history. 

In Aswan, you can marvel at temples and enjoy the serenity of the Nile River, as you delve into ancient history. The city is also the gateway to the stunning Abu Simbel, located near the border of Sudan.

Aswan is a special place in that is unlike any other place you will visit in Egypt. It has a completely different vibe and culture, so it’s worth spending a few more days here uncovering that.

Popular Things to See in Aswan 

NUBIAN MUSEUM

Nubian mask in Aswan Egypt

Learn all about ancient Nubian culture and history at the excellent Nubian Museum. 

Explore the Nubia Museum with an Egyptologist on a private 1.5-hour tour, and discover Aswan’s most stunning artifacts.

ELEPHANTINE ISLAND

Elephantine Island in Aswan Egypt

Found in the middle of the Nile River, Elephantine Island was the original site of Aswan when it was a trading post and frontier town on the edge of the Egyptian empire.

Visit ruins and temples and enjoy well preserved Archeological sites. 

Read more 15 Things to Do in Aswan, Egypt (For First Time Visitors!)


Abu Simbel: 1 Day


Abu Simbel Egypt

Carry on south towards the Sudanese border from Aswan, and you’ll reach the incredible temple complex at Abu Simbel.

You only need one day to visit, but you’ll be impressed by the engineering and artistry of the ancient Egyptians who constructed this epic temple. 

Dedicated to the Gods of old, the temple was commissioned by Pharaoh Ramesses II thousands of years ago.

The temples were literally carved from the cliff face where you still find it today, having stood the test of time in the deserts of North Africa. 

See the ancient marvel of Abu Simbel on a private day trip from Aswan. Journey southward by private, air-conditioned vehicle as your personal guide shares tales of the 3,400-year-old complex, a masterwork of ancient Egyptian engineering beside Lake Nasser.


Ideal 10 Days in Egypt Itinerary


While the above 7 day Egypt itinerary is a possibility for someone with limited time, I would recommend that 10 days be the absolute minimum if you can swing it.

Adding an additional 3 days to your itinerary will give you time to see more in and around Cairo. This includes both the City of Saladin and Coptic Cairo, both of which have very rich history.

You’ll also be able to see the incredible sites of Saqqara, Dashur and Memphis, where pyramids pre-date the Pyramids of Giza. All of which are essential in understanding the evolution of ancient Egypt.

10 Day Egypt Itinerary Overview:

10 Days in Egypt Itinerary Map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Cairo
  • Day 2: Cairo – Tour the Pyramids of Giza & Egyptian Museum
  • Day 3: Fly to Luxor – Tour temples and join Nile River Cruise
  • Day 4: Nile Cruise – Luxor West Bank & sailing
  • Day 5: Nile Cruise – Edfu, Kom Ombo & sailing
  • Day 6: Nile Cruise – Aswan & Abu Simbel option
  • Day 7: Aswan – Philae Temple, High Dam & Fly to Cairo
  • Day 8: Cairo – Take a city tour to Coptic Cairo & the City of Saladin
  • Day 9: Cairo – Take a day trip to Saqqara, Dashur & Memphis
  • Day 10: Depart Cairo

This 10 day Egypt itinerary includes all of the stops mentioned above, with Cairo in greater detail as I already mentioned.

The biggest addition is the day spent exploring the Saqqara complex, Dashur, ancient city of Memphis and Imhotep Museum. The highlights of this can be found below. Trust me when I say you don’t want to miss it.


Saqqara, Dashur & Memphis : 1 Day


Bent Pyramid at Saqqara - Egypt itinerary

Located 30km from central Cairo, the Saqqara Complex and surrounding sites are some of the most spectacular, yet under-visited attractions in Egypt.

The Step Pyramid of Djoser is a spectacular, and recently restored, example of the first pyramids in Egypt. Surrounding this pyramid is a massive complex full of tombs with well-preserved wall art too.

We have shown photos to people of these tombs and everyone immediately assumes they are from the Valley of the Kings. Wrong! These are impressive things to be seen in Saqqara.

Nearby and sitting in the middle of the desert landscape are the Dashur and Red Pyramids. The two structures that link the Bent Pyramid to the most famous architecture of pyramids that we know today.

Pair this with the opportunity to visit the second largest Sphinx in Egypt, see a massive statue that was unearthed of Ramses II, a chance to gaze upon the oldest mummy ever found and this makes for a spectacular day of uncovering ancient Egypt.

Popular Stops on this Day Trip

SAQQARA TOMBS & STEP PYRAMID OF DJOSER

Saqqara Tombs in Egpyt

As I’ve already mentioned, there are some spectacular tombs to explore around the Saqqara Complex. Unlike the Valley of the Kings, where all the tombs are meters underground, the tombs of Saqqara on ground level and easy to access.

Many of them are free to enter and inside you’ll find intricate hieroglyphs depicting daily life in ancient Egypt. You’ll also find detailed cartouche etchings that tell the story of the tomb’s occupant.

BENT PYRAMID OF DASHUR

Dashur Bent Pyramid in Egypt

One of my favorite things about the Bent Pyramid of Dashur is that you can climb inside to the burial chambers for free. This is not for the faint of heart of claustraphobic.

The shaft is long, narrow and decends deep into the pyramid. Once inside, you climb up and down stairs, including another smaller shaft before entering the final chamber.

On the exterior, you can compare the design flaws that led to it’s shape as the Egyptians transitioned from step pyramids to the iconic design we know today.

RED PYRAMID

Red Pyramid near Cairo, Egypt

While this pyramid doesn’t look much different from the Giza Pyramids, it is actually very important. This was the very first construction of the classic pyramid shape that we know today.

The Red Pyramid was built after the failed completion of the Bent Pyramid. The Egyptians, using the knowledge that they had gained about mathematics and geometry, made the angles less steep.

It is possible to go inside of this pyramid now and it is also free of charge. If tomb raiding is your thing, I’d recommend you come here versus paying the high prices to enter the Giza Pyramids. Truthfully, they all look the same inside!

IMHOTEP MUSEUM

Imhotep Museum at Saqqara Complex in Egypt

This museum sees few people but that is unwarranted. It houses a wonderful collection of ancient artifacts that have been exumed from Saqqara.

There are plenty of pristine examples of pottery, jewelry, hieroglyphics and art to see here. You can also observe a beautifully preserved mummy, which happens to be the oldest known one in all of Egypt.

MEMPHIS OPEN AIR MUSEUM

Rameses II Statue at Memphis in Egypt

In Ancient Egypt, it was Memphis that housed the capital of civilization. Today, not much exists of the city but, in my opinion, it is still worth visiting.

Located in an open-air museum (pictured above) you can closely view a massive statue of Ramses II that was uncovered on the site.

Outside, you’ll find the second-largest Sphinx in the country along with several exhumed pillars and statues from the city.


Ideal 2 Weeks in Egypt Itinerary


A 2 week Egypt itinerary is the absolute sweet spot. This will get you into all the good spots and also give you time to relax on the Red Sea.

It also sends you all the way to the North to explore the city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you’ll find a strong overlap of Roman and Egyptian history.

2 Weeks in Egypt Itinerary Overview:

2 weeks in Egypt Itinerary Map
  • Day 1: Arrive in Cairo
  • Day 2: Cairo – Tour the Pyramids of Giza & Egyptian Museum
  • Day 3: Cairo – Take a day trip to Saqqara, Dashur & Memphis
  • Day 3: Fly to Luxor – Tour Luxor & Karnak Temples
  • Day 4: Luxor – Day trip to Dendera & Abydos, join Nile Cruise
  • Day 5: Nile Cruise – Luxor West Bank & sailing
  • Day 6: Nile Cruise – Edfu, Kom Ombo & sailing
  • Day 7: Nile Cruise – Aswan & Abu Simbel option
  • Day 8: Aswan – Philae Temple, High Dam & Fly to Hurghada
  • Day 9: Hurghada – Relax on the Red Sea
  • Day 10: Hurghada – Relax on the Red Sea
  • Day 11: Morning on the beach then fly to Cairo
  • Day 12: Cairo – Take a city tour to Coptic Cairo & the City of Saladin
  • Day 13: Cairo – Take a day trip to Alexandria
  • Day 14: Depart Cairo

While I have sent you to Hurghada, mainly due to logistics, it is also realistic that you could exchange this for either Sharm el Sheikh or Dahab instead.

Personally, I prefer Dahab, as it is more laid back and the diving up there is spectacular. The resorts are also very affordable and simple compared to both Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.

Logistically though, reaching Dahab is going to require more effort than the other two options. For me, Hurghada becomes the second choice over Sharm el Sheikh, simply due to how commercial it is structured.

That said, you cannot go wrong with any of the towns on the Red Sea. You will find some stunning coral, loads of fish, shipwrecks and plenty of companies willing to take you out diving or snorkeling for the day.


Alexandria: 1 Day


Alexandria Egypt

Alexandria is Egypt’s second city, and one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a bustling metropolis that dates back thousands of years to the time of Alexander the Great, who founded the city as he conquered the known world.

Today, it’s the perfect addition to any Egypt Itinerary, being just a 3-hour train ride from Cairo and offering layer upon layer of history to peel back, from the ancient Egyptians and Romans through to the Islamic era. 

Popular Things to See in Alexandria 

BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA

Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt

In the Ancient World, Alexandria was a famed place of learning, known for its exceptional library.

The library was lost though, burnt down by the Romans, but in recent years the Egyptians opened up the Bibliotheca Alexandrina as a tribute to the city’s past.

It’s a library and a cultural center and you can visit four museums on-site to learn more. 

Join this luxurious tour at the legendary city founded by Alexander the Great. You can see there many thousands of books.

The library has shelf space for eight million books, with the main reading room covering 20,000 square meters on eleven cascading levels.

You will also visit abbo el Abbas mosque which was redesigned and was influenced by Egypt’s Old Cairo buildings and architecture.

CATACOMBS OF KOM EL-SHOQAFA

Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa in Egypt

Journey below ground to see the exceptionally well-preserved Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa, many of which date back to the Roman era. 

In this great Alexandria tour, they cover the highlights of the city. Visit the catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa, the Pompeii’s pillar, the citadel of Quetbay, and many more. you will have free time for lunch.

After enjoying Alexandria you will be dropped off back at your hotel.

ALEXANDRIA CORNICHE

Alexandria Corniche in Egypt

The long Corniche is a great way to see the best of Alexandrina. Take a walk along this seafront boulevard, and enjoy sweeping views over the harbor and the Mediterranean. 

Read more 15 Unmissable Things to Do in Alexandria, Egypt


Hurghada: 3 to 5 Days


Hurghada Egypt (The Red Sea)

Hurghada is Egypt’s Red Sea resort destination, and this beautiful stretch of coastline is the best place in the country to relax and unwind. 

You can lounge on beaches, enjoy world-class snorkeling or Scuba Diving and make the most of the sunshine and the great hotels. 

Popular Things to See in Hurghada

SNORKELING & SCUBA DIVING

Scuba Diving in Hurghada

Hurghada is one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. There are coral reefs just off the coast, while more advanced divers can descend to deep shipwrecks. 

Head out on the waters of the Red Sea on a full-day snorkeling tour from Hurghada. You’ll travel by boat toward Giftun Island, where you can jump in to swim and snorkel with the native marine life. Lunch is provided on board.

DESERT SAFARIS

Desert Safari in Hurghada

Away from the coast, you can head into the desert to discover how the local Bedouin have lived for hundreds of years. Join a jeep safari or hire quad bikes, as you bash through wadis and dunes. 

Experience a fantastic adventure far away from mass tourism on this day trip from Hurghada.

Learn about the four-wheeled vehicles and you familiarize yourself with your vehicle. Then you have one hour for a fast ride through the desert.

Navigate over sand dunes and through the canyons that run through this unique landscape.

You’ll reach a small Bedouin village, where you have the opportunity to explore the desert a little more relaxed on the back of a camel. Enjoy the beautiful sunset in the desert of a small hill and follow the rhythm of the Bedouin.

Read more 15 Top Things to Do in Hurghada, Egypt


Putting it All Together


The biggest thing is to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to truly see the best of Egypt. As I’ve pointed out, it can be done in 7 days, but 2 weeks is definitely the sweet spot.

Where you go and what you do will have a lot to do with how much time you have and your budget. It is possible to experience Egypt as a backpacker on a budget, in a high-end luxury way and everything in between.

Feel free to share your Egypt itinerary ideas and questions below!

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



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