SUN FESTIVAL TOUR: Blend the best of Egypt with the magical Abu Simbel Sun Festival. You'll visit the legendary Pyramids of Giza, explore Dendera's temples and Luxor's magnificent Valley of the Kings. Cruise down the iconic River Nile toward Aswan and relax by the Red Sea in Hurghada. One thing is guaranteed - you'll never forget the incredible sunrise phenomenon of the Abu Simbel Temple lighting up during the Sun Festival.
Thursday 15 February 2024. Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival at Cairo Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax by the hotel pool, or those arriving early, opt to join our unique Backstreets tour of Cairo which departs the hotel at 10am today. This optional tour takes you off the beaten track in Egypt's bustling capital, visiting Downtown Cairo, the exquisite mosques and monuments of El Moez Street in Islamic Cairo, Garbage City and the incredible Cave Church of St. Simon.
At 7pm this evening meet your guide and the rest of the group at a Welcome Meeting.
Note: If you would like to extend your stay we offer an Alexandria Day Trip on the Saturday before your tour starts, and we can arrange pre tour accommodation as well, please enquire.
Today see the incredible pyramids and the iconic Sphinx at The Giza Plateau. Perhaps opt to ride a camel. Later we travel to Saqqara, to explore the myriad of tombs and temples at the site and see Zhoser's step pyramid - constructed by Imhotep, the pharaoh's chief architect in 2700 BC.
Overnight: Cairo | Breakfast
Cairo - Luxor. We take a guided tour of the vast new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza this morning. In this incredible 490,000 sq.m complex we'll discover a mind-boggling array of relics and antiquities from almost every period of ancient Egyptian history, including the treasures of King Tutankhamun. Then we head over to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization to visit the incredible Royal Mummies' Hall where 20 mummies of ancient Egyptian kings and queens are now on display. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax by the pool at the hotel before we board the overnight sleeper train to Luxor this evening.
Please Note: the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open in late 2024, though an official opening date has yet to be released. If travelling prior to the opening of the new facility we'll visit the Egyptian Museum instead.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
We arrive into Luxor this morning and drive to Dendera which is one of Egypt's best preserved temple complexes, located 60km north of Luxor. This vast complex covers 40,000 square meters and its temples, chapels and shrines were gradually built over thousands of years. Dendera's crowning glory is the 2000 year old Temple of Hathor with its exquisitely decorated ceiling. After our guided tour of this incredible site we return to Luxor where the afternoon if free to spend at leisure. Take a stroll around town or enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool and soak up the sunshine.
This evening there is an optional visit to view the beautiful Temple of Luxor at night. Book and pay locally.
Overnight: Luxor | Breakfast
4000 year-old Luxor is ancient Egypt at its very best and this morning we visit Luxor’s famous West Bank. Our first stop is the famous Valley of the Kings, which is studded with beautifully decorated tombs, including the tombs of Ramses II, Seti I, Amenhotep II and of course, King Tutankhamen. After exploring this incredible site we travel on to visit the beautiful limestone, colonnaded Temple of Hatshepsut, who was one of only three Egyptian ruling queens. On the West Bank we'll also see the imposing 18m-high Colossi of Memnon, which are all that remains of the temple of the hedonistic Amenophis III.
Returning to the East Bank we check-in on board a 5 star Nile cruiser which will be our home for the next four nights. Enjoy lunch and some rest and relaxation on board before we visit the colossal Temple of Karnak later this afternoon. More than a temple, Karnak is a spectacular complex of sanctuaries, pylons, chapels, halls and obelisks, all dedicated to the Theban gods and to the greater glory of Egypt’s Middle and New Kingdom rulers.
Overnight: Nile Cruiser | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Nile Cruising - Aswan - Abu Simbel. We sail the Nile to the Temple of Kom Ombo today, which is dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god, and Horus the falcon-headed god. This temple is unusual because everything is architecturally doubled and perfectly symmetrical along the main axis of the temple including twin halls, courts, colonnades, sanctuaries and entrances. After a guided tour of the temple we continue our journey, arriving into Aswan this evening.
At around midnight we depart for our coach journey to the Temples of Abu Simbel.
Overnight: Coach Journey to Abu Simbel | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
22 February. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Cruiser. Arriving at Abu Simbel we await the first rays of sunlight to touch the temple gate signifying the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II. With its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel is simply spectacular. The temple was built to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II and guarding the entrance to the temple (built between 1290 and 1224 BC) hewn into the side of a mountain are four famous colossal statues of the pharaoh himself.
Ramses II had the entire temple precisely positioned in order for the sun’s rays to align just twice a year, on the date of his ascension to the throne (21 February) and on his birthday (21 October) to illuminate the inner sanctum of the temple. This incredible natural phenomenon provides for a most spectacular sight, which has come to be referred to as the Sun Festival of King Ramses II. The temple was re-located further up from the shoreline of Lake Nasser in 1972 in order to avoid erosion and due to the move the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned.
We gather in the temple before sunrise watch the shafts of light slowly creeping through the rock hewn inner Hypostyle Hall (replete with further statues of the King) and through to the Sanctuary. As we are lead through the temple there will be time to pause for a moment to watch the sun illuminating the statues of Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ramses the god, whilst the statute of Ptah - the god of darkness - remains in the shadows. After the event, there will be plenty of time to explore the Sun Temple of King Ramses II, the Temple of Hathor and take plenty of pictures.
Returning to Aswan around noon, we enjoy a short boat trip to Agilika Island, giving us the opportunity the to visit Philae Temple - dedicated to the goddess Isis. The temple dates from 4th century BC but the Ptolomies and the Romans up to 3rd century AD built most of the existing structures. In danger of being completely submerged by the rising water of Lake Nasser, in 1972 UNESCO stepped in and an 8-year rescue effort was undertaken to relocate the entire temple 20m higher on nearby Agilika Island.
We then have some free time before returning to the Nile Cruiser for our overnight voyage downstream on the River Nile.
Overnight: Nile Cruiser | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Aswan to the Red Sea
Aswan - Hurghada. Today we disembark our cruiser and drive to Hurghada (approx 7hrs drive) for three nights by the Red Sea.
Overnight: Hurghada | Breakfast
The next two days are free for you to relax by the Red Sea. Hurghada is one of the Red Sea's most popular resorts areas and offers excellent aquatic facilities for sail boarding, yachting, deep-sea fishing, SCUBA diving and snorkeling. Hurghada’s central location provides a gateway to prime offshore reefs, some of which are of the finest in the world. Hurghada also has plenty of good nightlife to choose from. Soak up the sunshine by the pool or by the beach, swim in the sea and take a stroll around town, the choice is yours. On day 10 there is an optional snorkelling trip available to book locally.
Overnight: Hurghada | Breakfast x 2
Hurghada - Cairo. On day 12 we bid farewell to the Red Sea and fly back to Egypt's bustling capital where we spend the last night of our Egyptian adventure at leisure.
Tuesday 27 February 2024. On day 13, our tour comes to an end with a transfer to Cairo Airport for your onward flight.
Breakfast x 2
Prices & Dates
Departure dates marked with a 'G' are operating. All dates are guaranteed to operate when there are 2 persons booked on the tour. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Holiday Inn Cairo Maadi, Cairo
Overlooking the Nile and offering distant views of the Great Pyramids of Giza, this Holiday Inn provides the perfect location for your stay in Cairo. Each guestroom features a balcony (not Nile View as standard) and is well-equipped with modern amenities including free WiFi. Evenings can be spent enjoying international or Egyptian cuisine and unwinding with a cocktail at one of the hotel’s bars. Thanks to the friendly hotel staff, you’ll soon feel at home. And with panoramic views of the city from the rooftop lounge and pool, there’s no better place to base yourself for exploring Egypt’s ancient wonders.
Sleeper Train, Cairo
When travelling on an overnight train in Egypt, sleeper carriages offer the highest level of comfort. Cabins are equipped with two beds (one above the other), a basin, electric points and air conditioning. Freshly laundered bedding is provided and in the early evening an attendant will come round and make up your bed for you. The carriages have toilets at each end and there is a club car which serves snacks and beverages. In the morning a very basic breakfast is provided.
Sonesta Hotel Cairo, Cairo
The Sonesta Hotel & Casino is a sophisticated and luxurious hotel offering spacious, en-suit rooms with opulent furnishings. Enjoy a cocktail at the poolside bar or indulge in a relaxing massage or Turkish steam bath at the full-service spa. With 5 restaurants located within the hotel you'll be spoilt for choice over dining options.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo
Radisson Blu is in the Heliopolis area of Cairo, just 3 kms from Cairo International Airport. Providing spacious, well appointed guest rooms with amenities such as a daily newspaper and turndown service, the hotel is the perfect oasis for guests visiting the city. Its two restaurants, lobby lounge, and gourmet bakery offer a range of culinary choices. To top it all off, the hotel boasts a rooftop spa and pool with panoramic Cairo views.
Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor
An elegant and luxurious classical hotel, the Sonesta's sophistication will ensure you a comfortable stay. The hotel has a sweeping terrace with fantastic views of the Nile, a grand entrance of polished marble and handsomely appointed furnishings with exquisite detail and a beautiful health spa. All its rooms offer views of the city or the river, complemented by a wide range of restaurants and cafes. Just minutes away you will find the temples at Luxor and Karnak, home to two of ancient Egypt's most famed sanctuaries.
Steigenberger Nile Palace, Luxor
The Steigenburger Nile Palace is a grand hotel and stylishly furnished, with many rooms overlooking the Nile River. The hotel has a health club with massage rooms, sauna, steam room and fitness room, and a tennis court on the roof, not to mention a riverside pool. Its four restaurants offer a choice between Nubian, Lebanese, Italian, and Thai cuisine.
M/S Medea, Nile Cruising
The M/S Medea is elegantly furnished with rich fabrics, wood panelling and classic style furniture, offering a refined setting for your Nile cruise. The restaurant offers 120 covers with a combination of waiter service and buffet meals which allows to sample both Egyptian and international cuisine. The spacious lounge bar is tastefully furnished with Chesterfield sofas and offers panoramic views of the Nile River.
M/S La Traviata, Nile Cruising
M/S La Traviata has proved be a long term favourite with many regular Nile cruise guests. The cosy restaurant on the lower deck serves 88 guests and serves both - international and Egyptian cuisine. Lounge bar with dance floor and music system for evening entertainment. The sundeck offers a pool as well as sun loungers and a shaded area. The reception offers full services including an international phone. The gift shop on board has a wide range of gifts and souvenirs from Egypt.
M/S Miriam , Nile Cruising
M/S Miriam is a beautiful Nile cruise boat offering 59 spacious cabins. Onboard you'll find a fantastic restaurant serving both international and Egyptian cuisine. As your cruiser makes it's way along the mighty Nile river, take the opportunity to relax on deck and watch the changing scenery or perhaps indulge in a book.
Swiss Inn Resort Hurghada, Hurghada
Set in tropical gardens, the Swiss Inn Resort makes for a comfortable and relaxing stay. The property is equipped with large swimming pools and a private beach. All rooms have a balcony or terrace with views of the garden, pools or sea. Guests can work out in the onsite fitness centre, get active at the watersports centre, enjoy a game of tennis or simply relax with a drink in one of the many bars or lounges.
Marriott Beach Resort, Hurghada
The Marriott Beach Resort is a luxurious beachfront hotel, with every room enjoying a view of the Red Sea and Hurghada city centre just a few minutes drive away. There is a choice of 8 restaurants and bars for hungry travellers, and a health club, tennis & squash courts, and fitness centre to stay in shape. During the day, soak in the heated outdoor pool or book a watersport activity. The hotel even has its own private island if you fancy a massage among the palm trees.