In October 2009 we went to Egypt on a 7 day trip where we spent 3 days on a Nile river cruise and 4 days in Cairo. Here we tell you everything we saw in case you are going to make a similar trip and want to get an idea of what you are going to see.
If you want to visit Egypt and if you are going to do the extensions of Lake Nasser or the Red Sea, it can also be worth it, since they are just that, extensions, and this part of the trip is the same. It will only change if the cruise is 3 or 4 days, so the stay in Cairo will be 4 or 3 days respectively.
Here is a short summary of everything we saw in Egypt on this unforgettable trip.
The preparation of the trip
We have always liked to create our own trips and control each visit, but to travel to Egypt we decided to take a trip organized by a travel agency. If you want to go to Egypt on your own, it is easy to do it but this time we wanted to have it all done.
The trip that the agency organized for us was typical of several days on a cruise and several days in Cairo. Apart from this there are also extensions to the Red Sea or Lake Nasser cruise that last more days but we will leave that for another time because we only had one week.
During our stay in Cairo, we stayed at the Conrad Hotel, one of the most luxurious in the country.
Day 1. Travel to Abu Simbel and visit Aswan
After arriving late the day before in Aswan from Madrid and staying on the cruise ship, we had to get up early. And enough.
At 4 o’clock the convoys leave, escorted by the police, for security, to Abu Simbel.
We got there very early, and despite that it was already hot. We visited the Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Nefertari, and returned to Aswan again through the desert.
Once in Aswan we visit its dam, which forms Lake Nasser, the famous Unfinished Obelisk and one of the temples that we liked the most in Egypt, the Temple of Philae, located on a small island that must be reached by boat.
At noon, the ship sailed from Aswan and we sailed up the Nile to the Temple of Kom Ombo, which we visited after dark.
Day 2. Visit Karnak and Luxor temples
We spent the morning of this day navigating the Nile River, enjoying the boat’s pool and also agreeing with the guide the excursions we were going to do in Cairo.
After crossing the Esna Lock, we arrive in Luxor where two of the most spectacular temples in Egypt are located. First of all we visit the Karnak Temple, the largest in the country and perhaps the most impressive.
After visiting Karnak, and making the typical commercial visit of organized trips to a perfume factory, we went to the Temple of Luxor, which we visited at night so we could admire it illuminated.
Day 3. The Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatchepsut
The surroundings of Luxor are very rich in monuments and this city was the capital of the New Kingdom, under the name of Thebes.
After getting up early, like every day in Egypt, we went to the Valley of the Kings where there are dozens of tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
The size of the tombs depends on the time he reigned, since the tombs began to be built when he came to power and ended the day he died. That is why Tutankhamun ‘s, one of the ones we visited, is so small, since he died at the age of 17.
Nearby is the Valley of the Queens, where the Tomb of Nefertari is. And in the same area the Temple of Hatshepsut, different from the others and dedicated to the only woman, although always represented as a man, who reigned in Egypt. We then visit the Colossi of Memnon and an alabaster factory before an afternoon flight to Cairo.
Day 4. The pyramids of Gizah, Memphis and Sakkara
On our first day in Cairo, and surviving the intense traffic of the city, we visited the most famous place in Egypt, the Pyramids of Gizah, formed by Cheops, Khafre and Micerinos. Cheops is the only one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world that is still standing.
You can enter to visit one of them, but since there were many queues we did not do it, and instead we visited the Solar Boat that is next to the Cheops. The impressive set of pyramids is completed by the Sphinx of Gizah.
From there we went to Memphis, which was the ancient capital of Egypt, and nearby Sakkara, where we can admire the famous Pyramid of Djoser, the stepped one.
At night, we were able to take a walk around Cairo and be surprised by the chaos that reigns in the city.
Day 5. Touring the city of Cairo
We were going to dedicate this day to visiting the capital of Egypt. First of all we went to the Egyptian Museum, a must see in Cairo. There are numerous works of art that go through the history of Egypt and a series of mummies that you should not miss.
The next stop was the Citadel of Saladin, where the famous Alabaster Mosque is located. It is beautiful both inside and out and from there you also have a nice view of the city.
The Coptic Quarter was our next destination, visiting some churches and getting to know what life is like for Christians in a fundamentally Muslim country.
And finally, the Khan Al Khalili Bazaar, a must-see to do your shopping and to practice the art of haggling, almost mandatory in Egypt.
Day 6. The Pyramids of Meidum and Dashur
This day we made a visit to another of the most spectacular pyramids in Egypt, but much less crowded than those of Gizah. A visit to Alexandria was also available but we wanted to do this one.
Towards the south of Cairo we find Dashur, where the Leaning Pyramid is located, which has a different angle in its construction, and the Red Pyramid, which they say is the perfect pyramid. We decided to enter the latter and attest to the claustrophobia felt inside.
Nearby is the Pyramid of Meidum, very interesting, which we also entered as well as an adjoining mastaba. The next point was the Oasis of El Faiyum, where we ate before returning to Cairo.
At night we took a new walk through the capital visiting the Café de los Espejos.
Day 7. Last day in Cairo
Quite tired after all that we have experienced and the fact that we have to get up early on these trips, and also stiff from the posture that we have to adopt to enter the pyramids, we arrived at our last day in Cairo. Our flight left in the afternoon so we were able to make new visits.
We visited the Sultan Hassan Mosque, outside. And then the Ibn Tulun Mosque, which we did go to. In Cairo there are dozens of mosques and each one of them has its own charm.
In this way our unforgettable trip to Egypt ended and we returned to Spain.