Egypt has so much to see…can you really do it justice in a week? I certainly think so! This one week Egypt itinerary includes seven full days in Egypt with two additional days for travel. In this itinerary, you will see the pyramids of Giza, explore Cairo’s hotspots, visit Alexandria, and take a cruise down the Nile from Aswan to Luxor. Here’s my one week Egypt itinerary.
Day 1: Arrive and Get Settled
On Day 1, you will arrive in Cairo and get settled at your hotel. We left Boston on a Friday and didn’t arrive until Saturday evening! You’ll spend the next three nights in Cairo. Choose a hotel in downtown such as the InterContinental Cairo Semiramis.
Day 2: Pyramids of Giza
When you hear Egypt, you think “pyramids” so why not start there? You can visit the pyramids of Giza on your own, but I recommend taking a tour so you can learn more about what you’re seeing.
You can read the full itinerary for visiting the Pyramids of Giza with additional stops in Memphis, Saqqara, and Dashur here.
The Giza Complex includes the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops), and two smaller pyramids, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure.
Also located in the Giza Complex is the Sphinx.
There are pyramids in areas besides Giza. Next, you will visit the Bent and Red Pyramids in Dashur.
The next stop is the city of Memphis. Memphis was the ancient capital of Egypt and is home to the statue of Ramses II.
Last but not least, visit the Step Pyramid in Saqqara.
Day 3: Explore Cairo
On Day 3, you’ll stay in Cairo proper visiting some of the most popular sights in the city. A highlight of today’s itinerary is the Egyptian Museum where you’ll see artifacts taken from the pyramids of Giza and other ancient sites like the Valley of the Kings.
You can read the full itinerary for visiting Coptic Cairo, the Khan El Khalili Bazaars, and the Egyptian Museum here.
Coptic Cairo is a part of Old Cairo which was the center of Christianity in Egypt before and during the Islamic Era. Here you’ll visit the Hanging Church, the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, and Ben Ezra Synagogue.
Khan El Khalili Bazaars
After Coptic Cairo, head to the Khan El Khalili Bazaars for some shopping.
The last stop of the day is the Egyptian Museum. I highly recommend having a tour guide at the museum so you know what you are looking at.
Day 4: A Day Trip to Alexandria
By Day 4, you might want a break from Cairo. If so, a day trip to Alexandria is the perfect solution. Alexandria is located on the Mediterranean, about three hours away by car.
You can read the full itinerary for visiting Alexandria from Cairo here.
In the evening, fly to Aswan to prepare for your Nile cruise starting the next morning.
Catacomb of Kom El-Shoqafa
The first stop of the day is the Catacomb of Kom El-Shoqafa. The necropolis dates back to the 2nd century AD and includes three levels of underground catacombs.
The next stop is Pompey’s Pillar, a 30-meter high column that sits over the ruins of Rhakotis, the original settlement of Alexandria. Despite its name, the column was created in 291 AD to support a statue of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
Citadel of Qaitbay
Next, visit the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th-century fortress located on the Mediterranean Sea. It was erected in the former location of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
The last stop of the day is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. This modern library was built in 2002 as a commemoration of the ancient Great Library of Alexandria.
Day 5: Nile Cruise – Aswan
Days 5-8 include a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor. You can read my full review of the cruise and how to book it here.
The Nile cruise starts in Aswan with your tour guide picking you up in the morning from your hotel. You will start sightseeing right away before heading to the boat for lunch.
Aswan High Dam
The first stop is the Aswan High Dam. The Aswan High Dam was completed in 1970 and spans the width of the Nile forming Lake Nasser on the other side. Lake Nasser flows south to Egypt’s border with Sudan. It’s also the location of Abu Simbel (more on that later).
Next, vist the Philae Temple. This is one of the coolest stops since the temple is only accessible by boat. The temple was originally built in the 6th or 7th century AD. UNESCO moved the temple from a nearby island that was flooded due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
After lunch, you will visit the Nubian Village. A highlight of this side trip is the cruise down the Nile on a motorboat.
Day 6: Nile Cruise – Abu Simbel and Kom Ombo
The boat stays docked in Aswan for the first night which gives tour groups enough time to visit Abu Simbel in the early morning before setting sail for Kom Ombo after lunch.
Abu Simbel is one of Egypt’s top attractions located 3.5 hours away by car. You can read more about visiting Abu Simbel here.
After lunch, the boat will depart for the Temple of Kom Ombo. The southern half of the temple is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek. There is also a Crocodile Museum at the temple.
Day 7: Nile Cruise – Edfu and Luxor East Bank
The boat will depart for Edfu in the evening so you are able to visit the Temple of Edfu first thing in the morning. Then cruise on to the final stop, Luxor, where you’ll visit the sights on Luxor’s East Bank.
You will arrive at the Temple of Edfu, the largest temple dedicated to Horus, in a horse-drawn carriage.
In order to get to Luxor, the boat has to pass through the Esna Lock. Watching the process of entering and exiting the lock from the top deck is more interesting than you would think!
You’ll arrive in Luxor in the late afternoon with enough time to visit the Karnak Temple before sunset. This is one of the most impressive temples on the itinerary and also one of the most famous.
After sunset, visit Luxor Temple which was constructed in 1400 BC.
Day 8: Nile Cruise – Luxor West Bank
On your last day, you will check out of the boat and spend the day sightseeing on Luxor’s West Bank. After the tour is done, you will head to Luxor airport to fly back to Cairo and spend the night at Le Meridien Cairo Airport before flying home the next morning.
Colossi of Memnon
The first stop is a quick one to see the Colossi of Memnon, two massive statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III built in 1350 BC.
Valley of the Kings
Next, visit the Valley of the Kings which is a must-see when in Egypt. Your ticket allows you to visit three tombs. You can also visit the tomb of King Tut for an extra charge. You can read more about the Valley of the Kings here.
Temple of Hatshepsut
The last stop of the itinerary is the Temple of Hatshepsut. This temple, carved into the side of a mountain, was built for the second female pharaoh, Hatshepsut.
Day 9: Fly Home
On your last day, you will travel home. We flew Egyptair Business Class back to New York which was a nice treat!
You can cover a ton of ground with one week in Egypt. From the hustle and bustle of Cairo to the peacefulness of the Nile, this one week Egypt itinerary fits it all in. Normally I find my itineraries to leave me a bit tired, but since this one relies heavily on guided tours, it was more relaxing than it sounds!