1 One week
2 Two weeks
3 One month

One week

Egypt offers a range of short-trip possibilities, but you have to be selective and not try to cram too much in. In one week, it's best to take internal flights otherwise you will lose precious time on the bus or train. Start with one night/two days in Cairo to explore the Egyptian Museum, souks of Islamic Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza. Then, depending on your focus, either fly to Sinai or the east coast for diving, relaxing and day safaris, or if you're after pharaonic splendours travel south to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.

If you want to save Cairo for another trip, international flights will take you straight to your point of interest allowing you to tag on a couple of days in Aswan from Luxor, or the chance of a live-aboard diving safari from Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh.

Two weeks

With two weeks, plan to spend at least two to three days in Cairo to visit the desolate pyramids of Saqqara and Dahshur, the museum and churches of Coptic Cairo and enjoy sunset views of the city from Al-Azhar Park. Then go by plane or train to Luxor and spend a couple of days around the ancient capital of Thebes and biking round the West Bank. Funds permitting, book a cruise and sail down the Nile exploring temples on the way to Aswan, where you can enjoy time relaxing on the beautiful banks of the Nubian city and experience the mystique of Philae at night. Take a day trip to Ramses the Great's temple at Abu Simbel before flying back to Cairo from Aswan.

If you're on a tight budget, take a train from Cairo straight to Aswan and enjoy a two- to three-day felucca trip up the Nile to Edfu. From there, carry on up to Luxor to enjoy the splendours of Karnak and the pharaoh's tombs and, if you've time left, the most beautiful of all temples at Abydos.

Alternatively, focus on Egypt's natural wonders. After exploring Cairo, travel to the Red Sea coast for world-class diving around Marsa Alam and the austere realms of the Eastern Desert. Or head for the enchantment of Sinai for a few days' lounging in Dahab's seaside dens followed by a hike through dramatic mountains in the company of Bedouin, before heading back to Cairo. If the Sand Sea is of greater interest, plan a safari around the oases of the Western Desert. It's a 12-hour bus ride to remote Siwa, a unique oasis where three days won't feel like enough for the hotsprings, sandbaths, ruins and tranquillity. From there you can cross the desert to Bahariyya, camp in the psychedelic White Desert and move on to the medieval mud-brick villages of Dakhla, taking six days, with another gruelling bus ride back to Cairo at the end.

One month

With a month, you could see most of Egypt's main attractions, but this depends on how fast you like to move and how extensively you intend to explore. After some time in Cairo, take the train to Alexandria to spend a day or two eating great fish and checking out the cultural scene, before moving on for a few days in Siwa. Do the Desert Circuit, stopping off in the oases en route to Dakhla or Kharga, where you will have Graeco- Roman temples and monasteries to yourself. From either place you can hire a car to Luxor to save time, or travel via Assiut on public transport. Explore the vast temples of Thebes before heading south to Aswan and, if funds allow, take a luxurious and unforgettable Lake Nasser cruise to Abu Simbel, or a cheaper (but still magical) felucca back to Edfu.

From Luxor there is an arduous bus direct to Dahab to enjoy snorkelling, sands and days to unwind. It is possible to squeeze in a visit to St Catherine's Monastery and a walk up Mount Sinai before taking a bus back to Cairo. Or from Luxor, you may wish to strike off east over the desert via Qift to isolated El-Quseir and the desert monasteries, or even further south to where the road almost ends at Wadi El-Gemal and tribal hospitality is at its warmest.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
Products in this Region

  No related products

PDF Downloads

  No PDFs currently available

Digital Products

Available NOW!