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Trip Inspiration

10-Days Exploring Egypt’s Ancient Beauty

Ancient Treasures on Land & River

Desert sands, archaeological treasures and life along the Nile River are all yours to discover on this journey to Egypt. You will explore the country's most iconic sites with special Egyptologist guides who will captivate your imagination with the ancient history and traditional stories along the way. Spend time in Cairo exploring the pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. Experience the country's diverse religious histories with visits to churches, synagogues, and mosques. Then board a beautiful river boat for a voyage on the Nile to visit the impressive monuments you will encounter along the way. This is truly a fascinating trip to the highlights of this intriguing country and the warm people who call it home.

Trip Highlights


  • Four nights at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza.
  • Four nights cruising the Nile River aboard the Sun Boat IV
  • One night in Cairo at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza


  • Private touring in and around Cairo with a professional Egyptologist
  • Visits to Cairo’s iconic sites, including the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
  • Experience the treasures along the Nile River in Luxor, Esna, and Aswan
  • Absorb 7,000 years of history at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
  • Visit the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar and enjoy lunch among the bustle
  • Explore the churches and mosques of Cairo
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Egypt might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Cairo, Egypt

Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival in Cairo, you will complete airport formalities and be transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. Your accommodation will be reserved for four nights and include breakfast daily.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza is a glamorous and stylish hotel located in the leafy quarter of Garden City, a modern retreat in a historic part of Cairo. With the Egyptian Museum close by, this is an excellent base to explore this ancient city. Many rooms offer views over the Nile or Citadel and are dressed in French Empire-style fabrics. The sumptuous bathrooms feature large bathtubs and a glass-walled separate shower complete with plump toweling bathrobes. Intimate shisha lounges decked out in low seating and soft lighting provide tranquil spaces to unwind and watch the sun set over the Nile. On the fifth floor there are three pools with sheltered poolside cabanas to allow you to escape the Cairo heat. There are also seven restaurants and bars to choose from, each serving its own unique menu. The hotel is also home to one of Cairo’s largest spas offering a wide range of holistic therapies including its signature treatment ‘The Nile Journey’. Other facilities include a whirlpool, sauna, steam room and gym.

Enjoy your evening at leisure.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Meals: N/A

Day 2


Today you will be met by your local private Egyptologist guide for a visit to the Egyptian Museum, home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world. Dive into 7,000 years of history and appreciate both those items newly on display and those that have captivated visitors since the museum opened in 1902.

Following the tour and lunch, you will return to your hotel and will have the remainder of the day to spend at your leisure.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Meals: Breakfast/Lunch


Photo by Abdullah Elhariry

Day 3


This morning after breakfast, you will be met in the lobby of your hotel by your local, private Egyptologist guide and driver for a magical visit to many of Cairo’s most historic sites, including Saqqara, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx.

Your first stop will be Saqqara, the former necropolis (cemetery) for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and the place where the very first pyramids were built as tombs for kings. Instead of the smooth sides featured on other pyramids, the pyramids here feature six steps on the outside, representing the pharaoh’s stepladder to heaven. Discover the famous Step Pyramid of King Djoser, the first pyramid ever built and the world’s oldest freestanding stone structure. You could also admire the beautiful tomb art at Saqqara, which gives great insight into the lives of the ancient Egyptians.

Following lunch, you will continue on to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the only present-day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built over 4,500 years ago, they stand as giant tombs for the mummies of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, who were father, son and grandson respectively. The pyramids are truly monumental in scale, with the largest – Khufu’s – constructed from over two million blocks. Contrary to popular beliefs, the pyramids were not built by slaves but by Egyptian peasants, whose labor in building the pyramids paid their taxes to the Pharaoh, who also fed, clothed, and housed them.

Nearby sits the enigmatic Sphinx. With the body of a lion and the face of a man, it wears a royal head cloth which is believed to have been based on King Khafre to guard his enormous funerary monument. About a thousand years after the Sphinx was built it was covered in sand until a young prince had a dream in which the Sphinx told him that if he cleared the sand away, he would become Pharaoh. This story is told on the ‘Dream Stela’ that was placed between the Sphinx’s paws by King Tuthmose IV.

Following your tour, you will be transferred to your hotel and can enjoy the remainder of your evening at your leisure.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Meals: Breakfast/Lunch

Day 4


Today is another day filled with unforgettable Egyptian history and sites. Following breakfast, your local private Egyptologist and driver will meet you for a visit to the NMEC (National Museum of Egyptian Civilization). The first veritable museum of civilization in Egypt, the newly inaugurated NMEC is located on the archaeological site of El-Fustat in Old Cairo, overlooking the Ain El-Seera Lake. The museum showcases Egyptian civilization from prehistoric times to the present day, using a multidisciplinary approach that highlights the country’s comprehensive heritage. The collections are displayed in a core permanent exhibition of the principal achievements of Egyptian civilization, with six thematic galleries covering the Dawn of Civilization, The Nile, Writing, State and Society, Material Culture, Beliefs and Thinking and the Gallery of Royal Mummies. With its various collections of objects spanning thousands of years, numerous cultures, ruling powers, systems of beliefs, religions, and aesthetic expressions, the NMEC offers an exceptional and unique visit through Egyptian history with the aim to connect the country’s rich past to contemporary Egypt.

From there, you’ll make your way to the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar,  reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Originally founded as a watering stop for the large caravans of the 14th century, the bazaar has now grown to vast proportions. While here, you’ll have the opportunity to wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets to find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things from woodwork and glassware to leather goods and perfumes.

Following lunch you will head to two of Cairo’s most spectacular mosques. With its grand, soaring architecture and rich decoration, the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, completed in 1363, is one of the finest in Egypt and houses the mausoleum where Sultan Hassan’s sons are buried. And just across the way sits the Refaie Mosque built in 1912 and home to well-preserved colorful decorations. Here, you’ll find the tombs of a Muslim saint, a companion of the Prophet Mohamed, Egypt’s last royal family, and the last Shah of Iran.

Photo by Dimitry B

Following your tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Meals: Breakfast/Lunch

Day 5

Cairo to Luxor

This morning after breakfast and checkout, you will be transferred to Cairo International Airport for your flight to Luxor. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the boat dock where you will board Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, your home for the next four nights.

Welcomed onboard by drums and flutes, Sanctuary Sun Boat IV ensures a distinct sense of being in storied Egypt. Its contemporary-yet-classic design displays the highest levels of luxury and chic. Elegance is elevated with rich teak flooring, Egyptian marble, and hand-painted decorative details to fashion an exceptional ambiance. Neutral-toned textiles complement the soft fabrics draped artfully over beds – it’s these distinct touches which create an environment a world away from traditional river-cruise cabins. With just forty rooms on board, it feels like you’re in an intimate floating palace where the softly lit lounges are as suited to socializing as quiet romance. Interesting textures and natural materials ensure a distinguished aesthetic, while ceramic ornaments and delicately etched metalwork set an elegant tone. Head to the upper sun deck where you’re promised iconic tableaus in high-definition, cool cocktails and cool shade, and radiant sunshine as you take a dip in the river-view pool.

While sailing, you will join shared tours with your fellow passengers, each of which are led by a local Egyptologist. Today’s visits include the exploration of Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Kings, and Colossi of Memnon.

In the Egyptian language Luxor Temple is known as “the southern sanctuary,” and is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the pharaohs of Egypt were crowned. Once connected to Karnak via the Avenue of Sphinxes, the Temple of Luxor is almost three kilometers (two miles) in length. Built by Amenhotep III in 1380 BC, the site was added to by later pharaohs.

Lunch will be served back on board the Sun Boat IV after which you will sail to the west bank of Luxor. Here, you can explore the Valley of the Kings, where New Kingdom pharaohs were buried in hidden tombs, maintaining their richly painted hues and treasures for their use in the afterlife. You will have the chance to enter the small tomb of the famed boy-king Tutank-Hamun. For centuries the entrance was hidden by debris, safeguarding its discovery until 1922. Although king Tut was not an important pharaoh, the unpreceded treasures found inside ensured his place in history. Tut’s treasures are now in the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

We can also arrange a special entry ticket for the tomb of Seti I. At 137m long and decorated all over with some of Ancient Egypt’s finest art, the Tomb of the Pharoah Seti I is the one of the more impressive. It was discovered in 1817 and is undoubtedly the best-preserved tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The art that you see here sets the precedent for all the tombs that followed.

Just next door you will find the Valley of the Queens, the site where the pharaohs’ wives and children were buried. At the Valley of the Queens, the highlight is visiting the beautiful tomb of Queen Nefertari, Ramses II’s beloved wife. It is said to be the finest tomb in Egypt, with vividly colored work and a ceiling painted with stars, giving an idea of how other, now faded, tombs would have looked when first built. The number of visitors is limited each day, and we will include a special entry ticket for you.

Rising out of the desert plain in a series of brilliant white terraces, the mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut merges with the sheer limestone cliffs that surround it. Forming a natural rock amphitheater, the temple was an important religious and funerary site.

Before returning to the boat, you will also visit the famed Colossi of Memnon and behold the two immense statues of Amenhotep III which, in Pharaonic times, guarded the entrance to his once great temple. During the Roman period, the site became a resort spot where many prominent travelers left their own graffiti carved into the sandstone.

This evening you will be greeted by your Boat Manager, who will discuss your cruise program for the upcoming days, for a welcome reception. Enjoy Egyptian wine and beer with a selection of freshly prepared canapés, followed by a gourmet dinner.

Sanctuary Sun Boat IV Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 6

The Nile River

After a delicious breakfast buffet on board, today’s tour of the East Bank will begin with a visit to the Temple of Karnak, an ancient Egyptian precinct located on the east bank of the Nile River in Thebes (modern‐day Luxor). It covers more than 250 acres, an area larger than some entire ancient cities. Construction at Karnak started 4,000 years ago and continued up until the time the Romans took control of Egypt, about 2,000 years ago. Each Egyptian ruler who worked on Karnak left his or her own architectural mark. The UCLA Digital Karnak project has reconstructed and modeled these changes online. Their model shows a bewildering array of temples, chapels, gateway shaped “pylons,” among many other buildings, that were gradually built, torn down and modified over the years.

You will then enjoy lunch back onboard while sailing to Esna. Here, your Egyptologist will guide you around the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum. The beautifully preserved Great Hypostyle Hall was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius; it was excavated from the silt that had accumulated through centuries of annual Nile floods and is about nine meters below present-day street level.

This afternoon you can enjoy a cup of tea as the boat makes its way to Edfu. A delicious dinner will be served, followed by a movie night.

Sanctuary Sun Boat IV Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 7


The Nile River

This morning after breakfast, you will set off to visit the Temple of Edfu, after which you will return to the boat for lunch. While cruising to Kom Ombo you can relax or choose to take part in an Egyptian cooking class.

This afternoon, following tea, you will visit the magnificent temple of Kom Ombo, an unusual double temple in the town of Kom Ombo. It was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC and some additions were later made during the Roman period. The building is unique because its ‘double’ design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries, and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, God of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu. Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris (“Horus the Elder”), along with Tasenetnofret (the Good Sister, a special form of Hathor). The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis.

You then return to your Nile Cruise boat and prepare ready to sail to Aswan.

Tonight’s dinner on board will be an Egyptian Night costume party for all guests, with a chance to dress up in traditional Egyptian galabeyya. Dinner will be a lavish buffet of Egyptian specialties.

Sanctuary Sun Boat IV Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 8

The Nile River

Enjoy breakfast on board, followed by a short motorboat ride to visit the majestic Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika. This site is the center for the cult of the goddess Isis and was moved by UNESCO between 1972 & 1980 to save it from the rising Nile waters. The romantic and majestic aura surrounding the Isis temple complex on the island of Philae has been luring pilgrims for thousands of years. The ruins were one of Egypt’s legendary tourist attractions. You will also visit Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples, and still houses a huge unfinished obelisk.

Following lunch on board, you will have a chance take a ride on a felucca (a typical Egyptian sailboat) around Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener’s Botanical Gardens, and the Agha Khan Mausoleum (weather permitting, life jackets will be provided).

Afternoon tea will be served in the lounge while you enjoy the sounds of an Oud trio. Tonight’s farewell dinner will be a gala dinner, with white-gloved waiters serving gourmet cuisine. You can also enjoy a Dervish show and belly dancer performance after dinner.

Sanctuary Sun Boat IV Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 9

Aswan to Cairo

This morning after a buffet breakfast, you will bid farewell to the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV and be transferred to the Aswan Airport for your flight to Abu Simbel.

Upon arrival, you will be met by a local private guide for a visit to the Abu Simbel Temples, an incredible complex of ancient structures.  As you approach the entrance, you’ll first notice the four enormous statues of Pharaoh Ramses II, which are all carved from one piece of rock. The temple is dedicated to the god Ra-Hurakhti and was built by Ramses II during the 13th century BC. As such, the walls inside depict the pharaoh in his various exploits and next door is the temple that Ramses dedicated to his favorite wife, Nefertari. The two temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel are each fronted by colossal statues up to 66ft high and are famed as the most impressive monuments of Ancient Egypt that remain. Recently, the temples were threatened by the waters of Lake Nasser, and with the help of a UNESCO campaign they were cut into blocks, raised piece by piece and reassembled in a new position higher up the hillside.

Following your tour, you will be transferred back to Abu Simbel Airport for your flight to Cairo. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, where you will stay for two nights.

Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza Meals: Breakfast/Lunch

Day 10

Cairo and Departure

This morning after breakfast, you will be met in the lobby of your hotel by your local, private Egyptologist guide and driver for a day of Cairo explorations.

Your first stop will be Old Cairo and the Fortress of Babylon to learn about the period of Roman rule in Egypt. Originally built in 100 AD by Emperor Trajan, the fortress was erected to defend the frontiers of Trajan’s empire. Within the complex, you’ll find the Church of St. Sergius which, as tradition has it, was erected on a site where Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus rested on their journey through Egypt. It is believed to have been built by Roman soldiers in the third or fourth centuries and later turned into a Coptic church by the Egyptians. Dedicated to two soldier-saints, Sergius and Bacchus, the church has been rebuilt and restored since medieval times, but it is still considered to be a model of early Coptic churches.

Photo by Mustafa Yasser

While here, you will also visit the Coptic Museum, which displays a wonderful collection of sculptures dating from Pre-Christian times up until the fifth Century AD, as well as bone carvings, frescoes, icons, relics, colorful textiles and more.

A final stop within the fortress will be the Hanging Church, named so because it sits “suspended” on top of the Fortress wall. Thought to originate in the seventh century, this church in basilica style was once the seat of the Coptic Patriarchate.

Following lunch, you will be transferred back to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of your day at relax and freshen up for your flight later tonight. This evening, you will be met by your tour coordinator for your private transfer to the Cairo International Airport for your international flights home.

Overnight Flight Meals: Breakfast/Lunch