Egypt Itinerary : In the Land of Pharaohs

One of the most intriguing countries in the world has to be Egypt.

If you are thinking that Pyramids are the only thing to see in Egypt then you are absolutely wrong, Pyramids in Egypt are just one among the other things in which will leave you spellbound. Egypt will straight away transform you to the land of pharaohs and trust me you will never find another country in the world like Egypt.

The best time to go to Egypt is during the period of October - February when the heat is a bit low compared to the summer months. During summer months the temperature crosses 30°C / 86°F. During October - Feb the daytime is hot, however, in the evening, the weather becomes extremely pleasant.

Cost of Travelling to Egypt 

Egypt is extremely cheap to travel and if you apportion approximately $20-25 per day it will be enough for stay and food. Traveling in and around Egypt is also cheap however if you are taking the Nile Cruise you need to budget a higher amount per day. I suggest you should take the Nile cruise for a unique experience. We will discuss the Nile cruise in detail in a separate blog post.

Traveling across Egypt is also very cheap and budget approximately $10-$15 for normal travel expenses ( excluding sightseeing).

Detailed cost of sightseeing is given below in the Egypt Itinerary

Places to Travel in Egypt 

Since this is a detailed itinerary I have ensured that all the places which are worth visiting are covered. The places mentioned here have historical importance and will leave you awestruck.

An important Tip before we begin, don’t even think of getting normal Taxis in Egypt as most of these taxis don’t have AC and the taxis are quite old and hence are not comfortable. While traveling in the city and site seeing it is always advised to take a day tour from a local tourist agent or else book a car for the whole day and go to sites. Since Egypt is very touristy booking a day tour with a local travel agent will help you to jump the queues for entrance as the tour agents generally book the tickets in advance.

Day 1 


After reaching Cairo and checking into the hotel plan for Light and Sound show at the Cairo Pyramids. This show will give you a brief history and will help as an orientation tour for the days to come in Egypt. During the Light and Sound show you will get the first glimpse of the majestic Pyramids and the Sphinx.
The light and sound show (English) starts at 7pm every day and ends at around 8pm.To enter the Light and Sound show you have to get near the entrance of Sphinx. Check this website for Light and Sound show to book your ticket in advance. The regular ticket will cost you USD 17.5 and the VIP ticket USD 20. Suggest you contact them well in advance to book the tickets as sometimes online booking doesn't work.


If you are not in a mood to watch the Light and Sound show head to Khan el-Khalili market/bazaar. It's a beautiful market where you can purchase many products starting from souvenirs to shisha(hookah). Head to El-Fishawy cafe which is 240 years old and serves best tea/coffee and shishas in entire Egypt. Here you can get a glimpse of how Egyptians spend their evening.

Day 2: 

The Great Pyramids of Egypt , The Sphinx and Nearby Places

This will be the day when you will revise all your history lecture during your school days. This day will not only be exciting as you will see one of the ancient wonders of the world but also get a glimpse of the majestic Egyptian civilization.
Book an air-conditioned taxi for 12 hours / the below sites whichever is lower. The taxi will charge you between $40-$80 depending on your negotiation skills.

Visiting the following places is a must. The places are given in chronological order of the way you should visit, however, if you want you can visit the Pyramids first so as to escape the afternoon heat :

  • Memphis

  • Necropolis of Sakkara  ( don't miss the Step Pyramid built in the year 2650 BC)

  • Pyramids of Giza ( only surviving structure from Ancient Seven Wonders of the World)

  • The Sphinx

  • Solar Barque Museum near the pyramids of Giza ( you have to buy separate tickets)

For buying tickets to the pyramids there is no need to purchase in advance just show up and get the tickets yourself.If you are claustrophobic or hate small places don't get the tickets to enter inside the pyramids. My personal experience it's not worth it as you will have to navigate through a small tunnel inside the pyramids and at the end, you will see just vacant rooms.

Tip: Don't take camel rides at the Pyramids. This will not only waste your time but also you will get scammed. The camel owners will ask you for a nominal fee and once you ride and come back they will not allow you to get down from the camel till you pay them an exorbitant amount. They will make all kind of stories for asking the amount.

Day 3 :


Head to Alexandria on this day from Cairo. Take a day trip from Cairo and return back to Cairo in the evening.

Personally speaking, I didn't like Alexandria much as in terms of history it has not much to offer compared to the other places in Egypt. If you want to miss this you can.

It's best to book a day trip from Cairo and visit Alexandria for a day. The cost of the day tour shouldn't cost more than $100 per person including lunch and entrance fees or hire an AC Taxi for the whole day. 

Day 4 : 

Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Keep this day free for the visiting the Egypt Museum at Cairo which has more than 0.12 Mn important artifacts related to the history of Egypt. Also in the evening book a train to travel to Luxor.

The museum opens at 9am and closes at 7pm. You can find the details on the Museum website "Supreme Council of Antiquities". The entrance fee including the Royal Mummies room, Centennial Gallery will cost you approx $10 ( 170 LE). If you are going by car ask for "al-met-haf al-masri".
You should keep at least 3-4 hours if you want to really enjoy all the artifacts this museum has to offer.
The following artifacts shouldn't be missed at the museum :

  • The Gold Mask of Tutankhamun

  • The figure of Khufu

  • Statue of Khafre

  • Statue of Thutmose III

  • Tutankhamun's chariot

  • Grave Mask of King Amenemope

  • Narmer Palette: This is the world's first historical document

After visiting the Egyptian Museum head to the Cairo Station(Ramses Station) for your train to Luxor. The train takes approximately 12 hours to reach Luxor. Take the luxury train to Luxor which is meant especially for tourists. The train leaves Cairo station at 8pm and reaches Luxor at 6:30am.
You can book the tickets from Watania Sleeping Train website.
The cost of tickets in the Double Cabin is $ 80 per person and for Single Cabin is $110 per person and includes a meal. You can also contact a local travel agent after reaching Cairo and ask them to book a ticket for you.They will be happy to book the same for little commission.

You can also take a flight from Cairo to Luxor which will cost you approx $115-120. The flight can be booked on Egypt Air website.

Day 5 : 

Luxor, Egypt

After checking into the hotel and after freshening up go for a Luxor Day tour. If you have already booked a cruise and if the cruise allows boarding on the day of arrival then board the cruise directly.
We will look into the details on how to book a cruise a little below.

Assuming that you have checked into the hotel you can go for Luxor day tours. Luxor is one of my favorite places after Cairo as there are magnificent sites like Luxor temple and Karnak Temple. I can assure you that you will remain mesmerized by the sheer architectural brilliance of the Pharaohs.

Visit the temples of Karnak and Luxor. Start with the Karnak complex. This temple complex is dedicated to Amun-Re (the supreme god), his wife Mut and Khons who is their son. In the ancient world, this was the largest place of worship. This temple complex was built over 2,000 years.The various Pharaohs built their own structure bigger than the predecessor. You will find the temple complex filled with pylons, temple, column, statue, frieze, sacred pool, and obelisks. The temple complex has 134 papyrus-shaped columns in the Great Hypostyle Hall which is huge beyond your imagination.

After Karnak temple proceed to Luxor Temple, which is five minutes drive.This temple was built by Amenhotep III and was dedicated to Amun-Re. Ramses II, Alexander the Great (who had himself declared pharaoh), various Romans, and even Arabs and Christians added to the structure of the temple. Inside you will  Mosque of Abu el-Haggag, dedicated to a sheik who arrived here from Baghdad in the twelfth century. The obelisk in front of the first pylon on the left has a twin that now towers on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

After visiting the two places head to your hotel or the cruise.

How to Book a Nile cruise in Egypt

Nile river cruise is must when visiting Egypt.

Personally speaking, if you have not taken a Nile river cruise you have not seen the real Egypt. Either you can book a cruise from Cairo or book a cruise from Luxor. The cruises have set itinerary and they will stop at specific places so that you can get down an enjoy the various sites.

The Nile cruises span from 4 days, 5 days or 7 days and start at Aswan or Luxor.
The cost of the cruise will vary from $70-$125 per person per night. The rate varies depending on the inclusions and the places they are taking you.
Before booking confirm whether all meals, guided sightseeing are included or not. It's important to take a cruise with a guided tour so that you can soak the rich culture of Egypt.
The cost of drinks and other foods which are not a part of the normal package will be charged extra.

If you book after reaching Luxor or Cairo, of course, you will get the prices much cheaper however you can run into the following problems :
  1. All cruises being booked
  2. Reaching on a wrong day and waiting for the cruise: example - There are many cruises which start on a particular day from Luxor or Aswan and if you reach on other days then you might have to wait for an entire week to board the cruise or you might have to travel to Aswan to board it.
  3. There are agents in Cairo/Luxor who will make you book showing pictures of a particular cruise and will shift you to a different cruise citing various reasons.

While booking the cruise ensure that they cover the following places or else you might miss out on an important site.
When I visited Egypt I had taken 5 days/4 nights river cruise on MS Florence and I was extremely satisfied with the cruise. The best part is that the sightseeing was extremely well covered.

Places to check before booking a Nile cruise in Egypt :

  • Karnak temple

  • Luxor Temple

  • Valley of Kings

  • Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

  • Temple of Horus in Edfu

  • Temple shared by the two gods Sobek & Haroreis in Kom Ombo

  • High Dam

  • The Unfinished Obelisk 

  • The Temple of Philae

  • Felucca Ride on Nile River

Day 10 & 11 : 

Abu Simbel and Aswan

Assuming that you have taken a 5 days cruise on the Day 9 you will disembark from the cruise at Aswan.
On Day 10 plan your trip for Abu Simbel. Going to Abu Simbel requires advance booking i.e. at least a day in advance.

Abu Simbel is a different and exciting place as two huge rock temples were saved by the rising water of the river Nile after the building of the dam and its an engineering marvel of the 21st Century. The temples were dismantled inch by inch and later reconstructed at Abu Simbel.

Abu Simbel is 265 km from Aswan. To reach Abu Simbel you have to join in any one of the two convoys. There are two conveys which leave Aswan escorted by military one at 4am and other at 11am.The tourist police require copies of your passports (the main page with photo and passport number). Hence you need to give it to the booking agent the previous day to prepare the papers for the convoy for you.

After you reach Aswan either contact any local travel agent or your hotel and book a trip to Abu Simbel. Book the 4am trip, though you have to wake up early you will be saved from the scorching sun and you will get amazing photographs en route to Abu Simbel. The drive takes 3 hours one way and you will get approximately 2 hours to visit the temples. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temples.

The cost of the trip to Abu Simbel will cost you approximately $100-$120 and as usual, don't forget to negotiate. The cost trip should be including the entrance to the temple which costs 100 EGP.

Day 12 :  

Aswan to Cairo

Return from Aswan to Cairo and back to your home with beautiful memories of Egypt.

Ciao from shoestring travel and wait for an exciting budget-friendly itinerary. If you have traveled to Egypt don't forget to share your personal experiences in the comments below.

If you need any other info related to traveling to Egypt feel free to connect with me on or in the comment section below.

Shoestring Travel

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