Discover Egypt: The essential sites

*2014 Detailed Itinerary listed. For reference only

January 6 & 7, 2014: U.S. | Cairo, EGYPT
Depart the U.S. for Cairo, arriving on January 7th. You will be met upon arrival at the airport and transferred to the historic Mena House, a former palace, located at the base of the Giza Plateau. Enjoy a light lunch at the hotel and some time to rest and freshen up before our welcome reception and dinner this evening. Overnight at the Mena House for three nights. (L,R,D)
January 8: Cairo
Spend the day on the Giza Plateau. In the morning visit the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Solar Boat Museum, the timeless Sphinx, and the Valley Temple of Khafra. After lunch at a restaurant near the pyramids, take a walking tour of the Pyramids of Khafra and Menkaura, as well as the remains of their mortuary temples; the Tombs of the Noblemen, Qar and Idu; and an ancient limestone quarry. (B,L,D)
January 9: Cairo | Saqqara | Dashur | Cairo
Today visit the necropolis at Saqqara, site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser and the Pyramid of Teti (with its ancient pyramid texts). While there, see the Tomb of the Brothers and the Tomb of the Nobleman Mereruka. A short drive will take us to the fascinating Serrapeum, ancient burial place of the sacred (and mummified!) Apis bulls. After a late lunch, we will drive to Dashur, a royal necropolis that includes the famous Bent and Red Pyramids, which are among the oldest, largest, and best preserved pyramids in Egypt. This is a good opportunity to learn more about the engineering and evolution of pyramid-building. Return to our hotel in time for dinner. (B,L,D)
January 10: Cairo | Luxor | Karnak | Luxor
This morning we transfer to the airport and fly to Luxor. A short drive through town brings us to Karnak, the world’s largest temple complex (built over the course of a thousand years), where a generous amount of time is scheduled for exploring. After lunch, we visit the small but beautiful Luxor Museum. Overnight at the Steinberger Luxor Hotel for three nights. (B,L,D)
January 11: Luxor | Valley of the Kings | Deir el Medina | Deir el Bahari | Luxor
Join an early morning hike on the ancient workers’ trail over the hill to the Valley of the Kings, or take our motorcoach if you prefer. In the Valley of the Kings, explore several amazing Royal Tombs. Continue on to Deir el Medina, with its small Ptolemaic temple. This is the ancient village of the workers who built the pharaohs’ tombs and also is home to the beautifully preserved Tomb of Sennedjem. After lunch, we visit the stunning mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari as well as the Colossi of Memnon, the statues of Amenhotep III that once stood before his temple. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure in Luxor. (B,L,D)
January 12: Luxor | Abydos | Dendara | Luxor
Today we will visit two of Egypt’s most spectacular and under-visited sites, Abydos and Dendara. At Abydos we will explore the Temple of Seti I, the Temple of Ramses II and the Osirium. After lunch we will continue on to the Temple of Hathor at Dendara, one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. (B,L,D)
January 13: Luxor | Valley of the Queens | Luxor | Embark
Today we return to the West Bank to see the Rameseum (the mortuary temple of Ramses II and inspiration for Shelley’s poem "Ozymandias"), and Medinet Habu, the temple of Ramses III and best preserved of the New Kingdom temples. Continue to the Valley of the Queens, and the deeply touching Tomb of Khaemwaset, a young son of Ramses III. This afternoon, we embark our deluxe Nile cruise boat and settle in to our cabins. After dinner, visit Luxor Temple for a spectacular, after-dark tour. Overnight aboard the five-star M.S. Darakum (or similar) for three nights. (B,L,D)
January 14: Nile Cruising
Relax as we cruise this morning toward Aswan. After passing through the Esna Lock we continue on until we reach Edfu, where we dock for the night. (B,L,D)
January 15: Edfu | Nile Cruising | Kom Ombo | Aswan
This morning we disembark at Edfu, where horse-drawn carriages will meet us and take us to the Temple of Horus, the best-preserved temple on the Nile. Continue sailing most of the day, and then enjoy a short walk to the twin Temples of Sobek and Horus at Kom Ombo. Our boat should reach Aswan after dark. (B,L,D)
January 16: Disembark | Aswan
Disembark our Nile cruise boat at Aswan this morning and visit the Temple of Isis at Philae, said to be Egypt’s most beautiful temple. We continue on to see the ancient granite quarry and the unfinished obelisk of Hatshepsut. After checking into our hotel and having lunch, we board feluccas to visit the archaeological site on Elephantine Island and the 6th and 12th Dynasty Tombs of the Nobles on the West Bank. Overnight at the Movenpick Resort for two nights. (B,L,D)
January 17: Aswan | Abu Simbel | Aswan
Today we fly to Abu Simbel to visit the two fantastic rock-cut temples of Ramses II (built to honor himself and his queen, Nefertari). Moved when the Aswan High Dam was built, they are a marvel of ancient and modern engineering. Return to Aswan this afternoon, and visit the elegant Nubia Museum that exhibits many of the 3,000+ artifacts recovered during the excavations of Nubian sites that were threatened by the construction of the High Dam. After dinner will be an opportunity to stroll through the Aswan bazaar. (B,L,D)
January 18: Aswan | Cairo
This morning you can choose to either relax at our luxurious hotel or, if time permits, take an optional (additional cost) excursion to a Nubian village. In the afternoon, we fly back to Cairo and check-in to our hotel, conveniently located downtown, where we will also have dinner. Overnight at the Cairo Marriott for three nights. (B,L,D)
January 19:  Cairo
We spend the morning at the Egyptian Museum, which houses the celebrated treasures of Tutankhamen and the Royal Mummy Room. Stroll through the labyrinthine Khan el Khalili bazaar, where we will have lunch and time to explore. (B,L,D)
January 20: Cairo
Today is dedicated to a visit to Old Cairo, with its Christian and Jewish past, including visits to the Mosque of Sultan Hassan and El Refai Mosque.  Enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel this evening. (B,L,D)
January 21: Cairo | U.S.
Transfer to the airport this morning for flights home. (B)

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