SUN FESTIVAL TOUR: Add an extra special element to your Egyptian holiday by combining it with the magical Abu Simbel Sun Festival in October 2024. Marvel at the spectacular temple of Abu Simbel and the legendary Pyramids of Giza. Enjoy a 5-star Nile cruise and visit Aswan's beautiful Philae Temple. Explore Luxor's incredible Valley of the Kings, mighty Karnak Temple and bustling Cairo, all in 10 unforgettable days!
Today we visit the stunning pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza Plateau. Sole survivors from the ancient Greek-listed Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids are the planet’s oldest tourist attraction. Gaze in awe at Cheops (Khufu) - the largest of the three great pyramids. Constructed from over 2.5 million limestone blocks it is thought to have taken more than 20 years to construct. Continuing to Saqqara, we explore the myriad tombs and temples at this site and see Zhoser’s step pyramid - constructed by Imhotep, the pharaoh’s chief architect in 2700 BC. This evening is at your leisure.
Overnight: Cairo | Breakfast
Cairo - Aswan. Today we have a guided tour of Grand Egyptian Museum, which houses a giant exhibition containing the treasures of King Tutankhamun. In this incredible 490,000 sq.m complex many of the exhibits are being displayed for the first time and artefacts have been brought together from across Egypt and the world. Then we head over to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization to visit the fascinating Royal Mummies' Hall, where the mummies of ancient Egyptian kings and queens are now on display. This incredible hall contains 20 mummies in total and some are so well preserved that they still have thick locks of hair, visible finger nails and smooth blackened skin.
Returning to the hotel, there's time to relax by the pool before we board the overnight train to Aswan 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
Aswan - Abu Simbel - Nile Cruiser. Arrival Aswan, this morning we enjoy a short boat trip to Agilika Island for Philae Temple - dedicated to the goddess Isis. Upon returning to Aswan we visit a perfume oil emporium. Then check-in on board your Nile Cruiser, home for the next three nights. Later, there is free time to perhaps enjoy some shopping in the colourful souks and markets or simply relax in this attractive town which straddles the River Nile.
On board the cruiser there is free time to relax before departing in the early hours of the morning on our coach journey toward the Temples of Abu Simbel. Here 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.
Overnight: Nile Cruiser/Coach Journey to Abu Simbel | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
22 October. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Cruiser. Possibly the most awe-inspiring temple of all ancient Egypt, with its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel was created to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II. Ramses the Bold, Ramses the Great, Ramses the Narcissist are perhaps all apt titles for one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers. Celebrating a life that spanned nearly a centenary, Ramses had plenty of time for his more than 200 wives and concubines who produced him some 96 sons and 60 daughters.
Built by Ramses II to demonstrate his political clout and divine backing to the ancient Nubians, Abu Simbel is an awesome self-tribute. 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, which sit majestically staring out across the desert. Over the centuries, the desert sands imperceptibly shifted until the temple was all but lost to humanity. It was rediscovered by chance in 1813 by a Swiss explorer called John Lewis Burkhardt. Only one of the heads of the pharaohs was showing and only a small part of the rest of the colossal temple peeked above the desert sands. It wasn’t until the British happened upon Abu Simbel and starting excavating, that the full glory of the temple of Abu Simbel was revealed to the modern world.
The temple was dedicated to the deified Pharaoh, King Ramses II, known also as the great builder and the gods Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ptah. In a fit of precision and architectural egotism, 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. Crowds pack into the temple before sunrise and 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.
Famously, the temple was re-located in a multi-million dollar operation in 1972, further up from the shoreline of Lake Nasser, which had threatened to erode the foundations of this monolithic temple complex. For this reason, the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned, though the event this morning itself is no less stunning. After the event, there is plenty of time to explore the Sun Temple of King Ramses II, the Temple of Hathor and take pictures.
After watching this incredible event unfold we return to Aswan. Our Nile Cruiser departs Aswan this afternoon and we cruise the River Nile to Kom Ombo where we disembark to visit the temple which is dedicated to the crocodile headed god - Sobek before returning to the cruiser.
Overnight: Nile Cruiser | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Nile Cruiser - Luxor. Relax, enjoy a swim in the pool and chill out in the sun on deck this morning. Let your troubles melt away as we cruise the River Nile to Luxor. Home of the legendary Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karnak, 4000 year-old Luxor is ancient Egypt at its best. Arriving into Luxor this afternoon, the rest of the day is free to explore the city before we spend our final night aboard the cruiser.
Overnight: Nile Cruiser | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning we disembark and check into our 5 star Luxor hotel. The day is free to relax and explore. Tonight, there is an optional visit available to the beautifully illuminated Temple of Luxor.
Overnight: Luxor | Breakfast
This morning we explore the West Bank of the Nile and the legendary Valley of the Kings. Marvel at Colossi of Memnon, the massive stone remains of the Temple of Amenophis III, and explore the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and surrounding tombs.
After lunch we visit the Temple of Karnak, a spectacular religious complex built on a gigantic scale, where you get lost wandering around the massive stone papyrus columns.
Overnight: Luxor | Breakfast
Fly to Cairo
Luxor - Cairo. Spend the morning at leisure in Luxor. Independently explore, shop or relax by the hotel pool. In the afternoon we fly back to Cairo for our final night.
Saturday 27 Oct 2024. Our Egyptian adventure comes to an end today. Included departure transfer to the airport later today in time for your international flight.
King Ramses Sun Festival
If you have a little more time on your hands consider our 13 day King Ramses Sun Festival tour. See the mighty pyramids, witness the spectacular Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, then set sail down the Nile on a 5 star Nile Cruiser, followed by sightseeing in Luxor and relaxation on the beach in Hurghada. Bliss!
Prices & Dates
The Nile Cruise Upgrade version of this tour includes 3 nights on board a 5 star Nile Cruiser (en suite cabin) in place of the felucca. For full details, please refer to the 'Nile Cruise Upgrade Trip Notes' in the right hand column for details.Read More
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.
Steigenberger Hotel el Tahrir, Cairo
Ideally located in the heart of downtown Cairo, the Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir is right by the lively Tahrir Square. Guestrooms offer peace and quiet away from the high-energy of the city, with contemporary decor and sound-proofed windows overlooking views of Cairo. The wellness facilities are state-of-the-art, including a fitness centre, outdoor pool and sauna and massage rooms. Be sure to take advantage of the poolside bar and delicious hotel restaurant, or enjoy the option of 24-hour in-room dining.
Holiday Inn City Stars, Cairo
The Holiday Inn Cairo City Stars Hotel is an ideal base for exploring the modern and historic attractions of Egypt's capital. Rooms are spacious, offering a flatscreen TV and private bathroom. There are restaurants on site, including the rooftop garden that offers panoramic views of the city.
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 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.
M/S Crown Emperor, Nile Cruising
The M/S Crown Emperor invites travellers on a captivating journey through Egypt's historical marvels in luxurious comfort. This elegant vessel offers comfortable and well-decorated rooms that combine modern amenities such as WiFi, A/C, and a television with classic Egyptian designs. From the expansive sun deck, passengers can absorb panoramic views of the Nile's timeless landscapes. The M/S Crown Emperor features a range of facilities, including a swimming pool, spa, and fitness centre, ensuring relaxation and recreation on board in addition to the tasty cuisine served in the onboard restaurants. This ship promises its guests an immersive and indulgent exploration of the Nile's enchanting treasures.
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.
At a Glance
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons