Better of Egypt: Discover 5,000 Years of Egyptian Historical past in Simply 7 Days

All of Egypt in only one week?

It appeared like an bold plan — perhaps too bold. However, that’s primarily what Woman Egypt Excursions promised us on our latest luxurious tour of Egypt.

Whereas our thought of vagabonding doesn’t often contain organized excursions, we knew that Egypt may show tough to discover on our personal. The desert is huge, Cairo is notoriously chaotic, and albeit, with greater than 5,000 years of historical past to discover, there’s simply loads of floor to cowl. We learn numerous Egypt tour evaluations — particularly concerning escorted excursions in Egypt — and located that Woman Egypt got here extremely really useful as probably the greatest Egypt excursions firms.

Finest Egypt Excursions

In complete, our total Egypt journey spanned 16 days. As a result of we had been flying to Africa from Boston, it was vital that we had two days on both finish to settle in and a pair days of downtime the place we’d not be touring, touring, or — doing a lot of something actually. We spent these final two days by the pool on the aptly named Le Méridien Pyramids Lodge & Spa sipping fruity cocktails and staring on the Pyramids of Giza immediately throughout the road (sure, this job is hard work if you will get it …).

Assuming you might have the time, I extremely advocate you do the identical. Our tour began in Cairo for a whirlwind journey across the metropolis earlier than flying to Aswan (a 90-minute flight south) and dealing our manner again to Cairo for our flight residence. Assuming you solely have two weeks — together with flying and journey days — right here’s how one can discover 5,000 years of Egyptian historical past in only one week.

Day 1: Discover Downtown Cairo

Skyline of Cairo, Egypt (seen from The Citadel)

Skyline of Cairo, Egypt (seen from The Citadel)

Cairo is manic. The streets are chaotic, the visitors at any time of day is at a close to standstill, and the air is heavy from the burden of its practically 9.5 million folks. However, it’s arguably Africa’s most vibrant and spectacular metropolis (rivaled solely by Cape City).

The Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali) in Cairo, Egypt

The Alabaster Mosque (Mosque of Muhammad Ali) in Cairo, Egypt

By day, hit the Egyptian Museum (a.okay.a. Museum of Cairo) which boasts the most important and oldest assortment of artifacts on the earth. It’s a perfect place to get your bearings concerning the overwhelmingly lengthy timeline of Egyptian historical past.

From there, head to the Citadel of Cairo and the beautiful Alabaster Mosque (a.okay.a. The Nice Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha), particularly. It’s arguably probably the most traditionally and culturally important mosque in all of Egypt.

Khan El-Khalili Bazaar in Cairo, Egypt

Khan El-Khalili Bazaar in Cairo, Egypt

After darkish, take a look at the Khan El-Khalili bazaar — the most important and oldest souk on the continent. Carry loads of money and be ready to haggle like a boss.

Day 2: Onward to Aswan and Abu Simbel

Except for The Nice Pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel is arguably probably the most iconic landmark in Egypt. The temples are situated some 300 kilometers (roughly 200 miles) exterior of Aswan. So, a day journey there entails rising very, very early and a six-hour roundtrip drive into the desert. However, it’s a lot value it.

The temples had been constructed in commemoration of Ramesses II tactical victory on the Battle of Kadesh that passed off in 1274 BC. Apparently, the traditional Egyptian architects constructed the Nice Temple in such a manner that twice a 12 months (on October 22 and February 22), the sunbeams attain the interior sanctuary and loosen up three out of the 4 sculptures. The statue of the God of the Underworld Ptah at all times stays in darkness.

Kelsey standing outside Abu Simbel Temples

Kelsey standing exterior Abu Simbel

The Small Temple devoted to Goddess Hathor and Nefertari can be distinctive. It was the primary time in Egyptian structure the statues of the Pharaoh and his spouse had been equal in measurement. Within the night, you’ll be able to take one other optionally available tour and benefit from the spectacular Sound and Mild Present on the Philae Temple.

Apparently, the upcoming destruction of the unique temples (earlier than they had been moved, piece-by-piece to their present location) as a result of substantial erosion from Lake Nasser is what sparked the launch and supreme rise of UNESCO’s World Heritage websites program.

Day 3-4: Nile River Cruise

Sail the Nile River to Edfu and Esna Temples

Few experiences in Egypt are extra iconic than cruising the Nile River. We boarded a three-day cruise with Woman Egypt that allowed us to discover the river leisurely. However, a lot of its greatest websites could be seen in a fast 2-day/1-night “journey.”

Make sure you cease on the twin Temples of Kom Ombo, constructed throughout Egypt’s Ptolemaic Dynasty and devoted to the gods Horus and Sobek. Proceed on afterward to Edfu and Esna — two remarkably well-preserved temples.

Kelsey exploring the inside of Edfu Temple

Kelsey exploring the within of Edfu Temple

At day’s finish, you’ll be able to head to the traditional metropolis of Luxor with its historic monuments that span greater than 4,000 years of Egyptian historical past. Take the time to go to the large, 200-acre Karnak Temple Complicated (making it the most important spiritual constructing ever constructed). As soon as darkness begins to fall, head to Luxor Temple which presents beautiful views significantly as soon as it’s illuminated at night time.

Discover the West Financial institution (Valley of the Kings & Valley of the Staff), plus Karnak and Luxor Temples

Cruising the Nile River in Egypt

Cruising the Nile River in Egypt © Advert Meskens

Exploring the West Financial institution of the Nile is greatest completed by arising early in your first day to keep away from the oppressive noon warmth. Early morning can be the very best time to take a once-in-a-lifetime scorching air balloon trip over the Valley of the Kings.

Sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings

Dawn scorching air balloon trip over the Valley of the Kings

Upon touchdown, head to the Valley of the Kings to discover 15 of the 63 tombs which might be at the moment open to the general public. These embrace Tutankhamun, Thutmose III, Ramesses I and Seti II. All are extraordinarily effectively preserved and every was uniquely designed and architected for its respective pharaoh.

Valley of the Kings Near Luxor, Egypt

Valley of the Kings Close to Luxor, Egypt © Francisco Anzola

Day 5: Hurghada by the Sea

A lot of Egypt is “tough across the edges”. It’s rugged, huge, and impossibly previous — all the issues that make it probably the most bucket list-worthy locations on the earth. Against this, the ocean aspect city of Hurghada is an illustration of the very best luxurious that Egypt has to supply.

The Westin Soma Bay (near Hurghada, Egypt)

The Westin Soma Bay (close to Hurghada, Egypt)

Briefly, it’s the resort city that well-heeled vacationing and honeymooning Egyptians head to when it’s time to loosen up. It’s fashionable, stunning, and touristy — residence, the truth is to the nation’s most unique resort, The Westin Soma Bay.

Desert hills near Hurghada, Egypt

Desert Hills Close to Hurghada, Egypt

It additionally occurs to be probably the greatest locations in Egypt to expertise Bedouin life. Woman Egypt can coordinate a desert tour — together with ATV rides within the desert, climbing amid Egypt’s highest peaks, and a go to to a standard Bedouin village together with a standard (and virtually required) camel trip.

Happy Bedouin camel in the desert near Hurghada, Egypt

Blissful Bedouin camel within the desert close to Hurghada, Egypt

Day 6: Fayum and the Valley of the Whales

After visiting historic temples, cruising the Nile River, escaping to Egypt’s most stunning seaside resort city, what’s left? Two issues really.

Fishermen in Fayum, Egypt

Fishermen in Fayum, Egypt © Hussain92 (Wikimedia)

First, not far exterior of Cairo lies the tiny fishing village of Fayum. For vacationers, it’s a perfect alternative to see what number of non-urbanite Egyptians at the moment reside. It’s tough across the edges, however it’s unimaginable to say you’ve actually visited the nation with out seeing how a lot of its inhabitants really lives.

Second is the Valley of the Whales (identified regionally as Wadi Al-Hitan). This comparatively new historic park is considered one of Egypt’s best-kept secrets and techniques — we had been shocked to be taught most of the nation’s well-informed tour guides have by no means even heard of it.

Egypt's Valley of the Whales (Wadi Al-Hitan)

Egypt’s Valley of the Whales (Wadi Al-Hitan)

Situated amid an unlimited swath of open desert, the park is the positioning of a latest, however extremely important archeological discover — absolutely intact whale skeletons. It’s proof that the Egyptian Desert was as soon as an ocean. To seek out indeniable proof of marine life embedded within the harsh, bone dry desert panorama is surreal to say the least.

Day 7: Return to Cairo to See the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

You didn’t actually count on to go to Egypt with out seeing the Nice Pyramids, did you? Consider it as “saving the very best for final.”

Intricate stonework of Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza (low angle)

The intricate stonework of Egypt’s Nice Pyramid of Giza

This goes with out saying, however The Nice Pyramid of Giza is the most important and oldest of these within the Giza pyramid complicated. It’s formally the oldest of the World’s Seven Wonders and probably the most intact. (Sizzling tip: save your cash and skip the inside tour. It’s claustrophobic, impossibly scorching, and it’s primarily simply an empty room)

The Giza Complex — Sphinx and the Pyramids

The Giza Complicated — Sphinx and the Pyramids

You may expertise all the pieces above in roughly seven full days, plus a couple of days of journey within the center. We went with Woman Egypt Excursions — voted among the many greatest Egypt excursions significantly for luxurious suppliers. From touchdown in Egypt to floor and intra-country flights to the second we returned to Cairo to fly residence, they offered us with each very last thing we wanted. Whereas they provide all kinds of fantastic packaged excursions, they’re 100% versatile and, the truth is, encourage vacationers to personalised their journeys to expertise precisely what they need to expertise.

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