Best of Egypt tour is a 6 nights/ 7 days group tour covering the highlights of Egypt including Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and a 3-night Nile Cruise.
DAY 1 – Wed: Arrive in Cairo
Arrival in the Land of the Pharaohs, at Cairo International Airport. Flo Tours Representative will be waiting for you after you get your luggage and clear customs, then will transfer you to your hotel.
Tonight, you may choose our Sound & Light Show in Cairo. It tells the story of the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Inaugurated in April of 1961, with the narrative voice of the late Richard Burton, magnificent sound and lighting effects, the show begins with the narrative of the Sphinx, who has been the guardian of the city of the dead for five thousand years. Overseeing the building of the three pyramids, the Sphinx reflects on the historical contributions of Thutmosis IV, Akhnaten, Nefertiti and Tutankhamun.
DAY 2 – Thur: Great Pyramids and Cairo Old City Tour [B,L]
Drive to the Giza Plateau, home of Egypt signature attractions, the Great Pyramids, proclaimed by the Greeks to be among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The largest among these is the Great Pyramid of Cheops, probably built more than 2,600 years before the time of Christ. Standing 480 feet tall this is the last of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world that still standing. Little is known of Cheops, you’ll also see the inscrutable and mysterious Sphinx, known in Arabic as Abu al-Hol (“the Father of Terror”) and carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone.
After lunch, continue to the Egyptian Museum you’ll stroll through the halls highlighting each historical period of this ancient land, Marvel at the glittering treasures of King Tutankhamen, unparalleled in their variety, exquisite beauty, and sheer weight in gold. Seeing this treasure of more than 1,700 fabulous items buried with a young and relatively unimportant king, who can even imagine what the tombs of great and long-lived pharaohs must have contained? You may want to enter the Royal Mummies room for an additional fee and view the “sleeping” Kings of ancient Egypt.
Proceed to Old Cairo explore some of the early religious monuments of the city. You’ll visit the El Muallaqa Church, dating to the late fourth and early V Century. This basilica was named for its location on top of the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. Muallaqa means “suspended or hanging.” Destroyed in a ninth-century earthquake, the church became the center of the Coptic (or Christian) Church of Egypt from the time it was rebuilt in the eleventh century until the XIV Century. Make a stop at the Ben Ezra Synagogue, built sometime between the VI and IX Centuries A.D. The temple contains a Jewish Heritage Library, containing documents found here in 1896 that describe the economic and social conditions of Jews under Arab rule as well as descriptions of relations between various Jewish sects.
End the day with a walking tour of the largest XIII Century covered oriental market, the largest traditional shopping bazaar in the world, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar. In the tiny alleyways, there are hundreds of shops where you can watch gold and coppersmiths, brass makers, and fortune tellers at work. Look also for leather goods and woodwork inlaid with camel bone and mother-of-pearl. Bargaining, Arab-style, is the norm here, and practiced as a national pastime. Overnight in Cairo.
DAY 3 – Fri: Cairo – Aswan – Embark on Nile Cruise [B,L,D]
Early morning transfer to Cairo Airport, for your flight to Aswan. Arrive to Aswan and transfer to your Nile Cruise.
You may also choose our Optional Tour Abu Simbel (AIR or BUS), situated 174 miles southwest of Aswan, exploring the magnificent monuments carved into solid rock 3,000 years ago. In a monumental feat of modern engineering, these massive temples were moved to their present location when construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960 created Lake Nasser and flooded their original location. This extraordinary operation to save one of the world’s greatest treasures took years and the efforts of an international team of engineers and archaeologists. The two temples at Abu Simbel were built by Egypt’s great Pharaoh Ramses II (Egypt’s longest-ruling king) as a tribute to the deities and his favorite wife Nefertari. Four colossal statues, 60 feet high and directly facing the rising sun, are of the Pharaoh himself, with his queen and daughters at his feet. More tremendous statues surround you as you enter the temple. And in the very depths of the temple, Ramses sits in state flanked by the gods to whom the construction is dedicated.
Upon arrival you will be escorted to your luxury cruise ship where you will spend the next 3 nights and 4 days relaxing and enjoy the sailing from Aswan to Luxor.
After lunch, the Nile Cruise shore excursion will start. Visit the High Dam, located near Aswan, the world famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960’s. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The Dam is 11,811 feet long, 3,215 feet thick at the base and 364 feet tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam built by the British between 1898 and 1902, 6 km down river, wonderful views for visitors. From the top of the two-Mile-Long High Dam you can gaze across Lake Nasser, the huge reservoir created when it was built, to Kalabsha Temple in the south and the huge power station to the north.
Continue to the Granite Quarries with the Unfinished Obelisk. Much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. The Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry still lies where a crack was discovered as it was being hewn from the rock. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the world’s largest piece of stone ever handled. However, a crack in the stone occurred, which caused it to be abandoned. Tools left by its builders have given us much insight into how such work was performed. The site has recently been renovated and equipped with tourist facilities.
Our last visit today will be to the Temple of Philae, was dismantled and reassembled (on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island) in the wake of the High Dam. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. It’s various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebus I which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor, Trajan’s Kiosk (Pharaoh’s Bed), a birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. The Victorian world fell in love with the romance of the Temple. But at night you may choose our optional tour (Sound & Light Show in Aswan – A14) at Philae Temple, a magical experience. Overnight in Aswan.
DAY 4 – Sat: Aswan – Kom Ombo – Edfu (Nile Cruise) [B,L,D]
Early sail to Kom Ombo and visit The Kom Ombo Temple (the Ptolemaic Temple of Sobek & Haroeris). Located in the town of Kom Ombo, about 28 miles north of Aswan, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemies, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early II Century B.C. Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 B.C. and are mostly gone. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom near of Kom Ombo village. Sail to Edfu for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5 – Sun: Edfu – Luxor – East Bank Tour (Nile Cruise) [B,L,D]
We start with a visit to Edfu Temple. Dedicated to Horus, the falcon headed god, it was built during the reigns of six Ptolemies. We have a great deal of information about its construction from reliefs on outer areas. It was begun in 237 B.C. by Ptolemy III Euergetes I and was finished in 57 B.C. Most of the work continued throughout this period with a brief interlude of 20 years while there was unrest during the period of Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V Epiphanes. This is not only the best-preserved ancient temple in Egypt, but the second largest after Karnak. It was believed that the temple was built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth. Hence, the current temple was but the last in a long series of temples build on this location.
Back to the cruise for lunch, Sail to Luxor via Esna. Afternoon proceed to your East bank visit of Luxor, visit Karnak Temple. In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramesses III, more than two thirds of the property owned by the temples belonged to Amun, evidenced by the stupendous buildings at Karnak. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders. The Temple of Karnak is three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about three kilometers north of Luxor, Egypt situated on 100 ha (247 acres) of land. Karnak is the sites modern name. Its ancient name was Ipet-isut, meaning “The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places”. This vast complex was built and enlarged over a thirteen-hundred-year period. The three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls.
Continue to visit the Temple of Luxor, built by the two pharaohs, Amenhotep III and Ramses II. Ancient Thebes was a center of festivals, and the Temple of Luxor was the setting for the most important-the festival of Opet, designed to merge the ruler’s human and divine aspects. The temple was dedicated to Amun-Ra, whose marriage to Mut was celebrated annually, when the sacred procession moved by boat from Karnak to Luxor Temple.
Evening, you may add the Optional: Sound & Light Show. It will tell the story of Karnak and the temple. Inaugurated in 1972 the Sound and Light Show in the Temple of Karnak begins with a historical introduction covering the birth of the great city of Thebes and the construction of the Temple. Depicting the glorious achievement of the Pharaohs, spectators listen to the lyrical and poetic descriptions of artistic treasures, grand festivals, heroic deeds and literature of the times. Overnight in Luxor.
DAY 6 – Mon: Luxor, Cairo [B]
After breakfast, check-out from your Nile Cruise, visit the West Bank Necropolis including the Valley of the Kings, with its many tombs chiseled deep into the Cliff-side. From the 18th to the 20th Dynasty, the Memphis area and pyramid-style tombs were abandoned in favor of the West Bank of the Nile in Thebes. Several great leaders as well as many less important rulers are buried here, and more tombs are being discovered even today. This is where Howard Carter discovered the treasures of Tutankhamun and was struck “dumb with amazement” when he beheld its “wonderful things” in 1922.
Proceed to the Funerary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahari. The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world. The queen’s architect, Senenmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, the “Lover of Silence,” where lived the goddess who presided over the Necropolis. Last stop for our morning tour will be at the Colossi of Memnon. Amenhotep III (XVIII Dynasty) built a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are 75 ft. high, one thousand-ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive.
Transfer to Luxor Airport for your flight back to Cairo. Arrival and transfer to your hotel for overnight.
DAY 7 – Tue: Departure from Cairo [B]
After early breakfast, transfer to Cairo International Airport for your flight back to USA.