The landmarks of Egypt are so deeply ingrained in our perceptions of history, culture and civilisation that they have taken on an almost mythical quality; phenomenal ancient discoveries are still being uncovered today, a remarkable amount of marvel for one place to boast. It is the oldest tourist destination on Earth and its pulling power shows no sign of waning. Sights such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings, and the River Nile, Egypt’s lifeblood, will furrow your brow with wonder and stay with you forever. Find out more in our Egypt travel guide.
Our top Egypt vacations
From US $1949 to US $23499 days ex flights
Discover ancient temples & tombs & travel by Nile cruise boat
Small group2021: 18 Sep, 25 Sep, 2 Oct, 9 Oct, 23 Oct, 6 Nov, 20 Nov, 4 Dec, 18 Dec, 2022: 8 Jan, 15 Jan, 22 Jan, 29 Jan, 5 Feb, 12 Feb, 19 Feb, 26 Feb, 5 Mar, 12 Mar, 19 Mar, 26 Mar, 2 Apr, 9 Apr, 16 Apr, 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 7 May, 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 17 Sep, 24 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct, 15 Oct, 22 Oct, 29 Oct, 5 Nov, 12 Nov, 19 Nov, 26 Nov, 3 Dec, 10 Dec, 18 Dec
From £1149 to £144910 days ex flights
Discover Egypt on this amazing 10 day tour
Small group2021: 29 May, 12 Jun, 26 Jun, 10 Jul, 24 Jul, 7 Aug, 21 Aug, 4 Sep, 18 Sep, 2 Oct, 16 Oct, 30 Oct, 13 Nov, 20 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec, 18 Dec, 28 Dec, 2022: 8 Jan, 22 Jan, 5 Feb, 19 Feb, 5 Mar, 19 Mar, 2 Apr, 16 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May, 11 Jun, 18 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul, 23 Jul, 6 Aug, 20 Aug, 3 Sep, 17 Sep, 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct, 12 Nov, 26 Nov, 10 Dec, 21 Dec, 28 Dec
Best time to go to Egypt
Rain is not a problem in Egypt and neither is the cold – visiting in winter can get chilly at night, but it’s nothing a few extra layers can’t conquer. The most popular periods too visit are the spring (February-April) and the autumn (October-November). These months are significantly cooler than those of high summer when it gets unpleasantly hot – we’re talking 40°C plus. Of course, ‘cooler’ in Egypt is a relative concept. Even during spring and autumn the daytime temperatures will easily hit 25°C-30°C, but you’ll enjoy some relief in the evenings. Find out more about the best time to visit Egypt.
Map & highlightsThe timeless wonder of Egypt begins amid the noise and grime of Cairo, where the Pyramids of Giza and mysterious Sphinx stand just outside the capital. Further south, often reached by night train, Luxor holds many of Egypt’s great architectural treasures, including the tombs of pharaohs set into the Valley of the Kings. Most Nile cruises, whether by small ship or felucca, sail between Luxor and laidback Aswan with its Nubian villages, sometimes diverting by road or air to the temples of Abu Simbel. Dahab on the Red Sea, meanwhile, is a chilled base for scuba diving.
Valley of the Kings
1. Valley of the Kings
A labyrinth of underground hidden tombs and vivid ancient illustrations – not least King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber – is all part of the otherworldly mystique of the Valley of the Kings. Every archaeologist that’s struck lucky there has claimed there’s nothing left to find and yet amazing discoveries keep happening; rumour has it, Queen Nefertiti’s resting place is next to be uncovered.
Aswan is a compelling and underrated city that sits right down south on the wide, slow-flowing banks of the Nile. Unlike lively Luxor, Aswan’s allure lies in its laid-back vibe. Its colourful markets, unique and historically important Nubian villages, an excellent souk, and the tropical-fringed Elephantine Island are all fascinating, as is the natural splendour of a burnt orange sunset over the Nile.
One city, three parts: Downtown Cairo houses the Egyptian Museum – a crumbling and chaotic affair, but with a priceless collection of pharaonic antiquities (to be relocated from 2021). Old Cairo is the Coptic center with an array of medieval churches; and Islamic Cairo is a maze of narrow walkways, artisan bazaars and shisha. Khan al-Khalili market area is shopping heaven for some, hell for others.
Dahab & Red Sea
4. Dahab & Red Sea
If you like the idea of giving scuba diving a go just a short walk from the water’s edge then Dahab is spot on. Diving here is mainly shore-based as the Red Sea drops down quickly to great depths, making it an ideal destination for beginners. With over 1,000 species of fish, 150 species of coral, and curious dolphins the Red Sea is known for its unbelievable underwater scenes and excellent visibility.
Abu Simbel Temples
5. Abu Simbel Temples
Thanks to UNESCO these magnificent temples, built by Ramses II in 13th century BCE, were rescued from the flooding of the lands that took place to build the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser in 1960s. They relocated them to Abu Simbel, and placed them on the rock face by tunnelling into the hillside. As you do. They are spectacular. Come for the Stonehenge-like sun effect at dawn 22nd Oct and 22nd Feb.
A modern metropolis merged with an ancient arcadia, it is divided by the Nile into two sections. The East Bank is the modern but French influenced town, also home to Luxor and colossal Karnak temples, plus Luxor’s museum. Take a boat to the West Bank to explore the Valley of the Kings. You can take a sleeper train from Cairo, and hire a bike to explore the West Bank when you are there.
History & ancient culture
Egypt is the cradle of more than 5,000 years of history and culture, a sophisticated civilisation far older than those of Greece and Rome. Through its ancient temples, monuments and tombs you can trace the stories of Egypt’s pharaohs, their people and their gods. There are staggering architectural achievements, too, from the pyramids to the amazing project to save Abu Simbel from flooding. But it’s not all dusty museums and dark chambers lined with hieroglyphics – Egyptian history and culture really come to life when you’re visiting Nubian villages or exploring Luxor Temple at sunset, illuminated by the famous light show.
Luxor & Valley of the Kings
An intriguing blend of ancient and modern, the Luxor area has been settled since Homer’s time. Luxor Temple occupies the center of the city, while the vast Temple of Karnak, one of the largest religious complexes in the world, stands in the desert just outside. Luxor is split by the Nile, and on the river’s west bank is the labyrinthine Valley of the Kings, where many of Egypt’s best-known rulers were entombed, including Ramses II and Tutankhamun. Often referred to as ‘the world’s greatest open-air museum’, many of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings’ secrets remain buried and undiscovered.
Pyramids of Giza & the Sphinx
The most iconic symbol of Egypt, and among the most recognisable monuments on Earth, the Pyramids of Giza would be a stunning feat of architecture and engineering today, let alone when they were actually built, nearly 5,000 years ago. Testament to the phenomenal drive and organisational skills of the ancient Egyptians, the three Giza pyramids stand just outside Cairo, and are joined by dozens more in the surrounding desert, as well as the enigmatic Sphinx. This huge limestone statue has the body of a lion and the head of a man, though no-one knows where its nose has got to.
More vacation ideas
From £1249 to £154912 days ex flights
Cairo and the Nile Valley with a Red Sea beach extension
Small group2021: 29 May, 12 Jun, 26 Jun, 10 Jul, 24 Jul, 7 Aug, 21 Aug, 4 Sep, 18 Sep, 2 Oct, 16 Oct, 30 Oct, 13 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec, 18 Dec, 28 Dec, 2022: 8 Jan, 22 Jan, 5 Feb, 19 Feb, 5 Mar, 19 Mar, 2 Apr, 16 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul, 23 Jul, 6 Aug, 20 Aug, 3 Sep, 17 Sep, 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct, 12 Nov, 26 Nov, 10 Dec, 21 Dec, 28 Dec
From £899 to £11499 days ex flights
Discover the secrets of Egypt with this 9 day tour
Small group2021: 29 May, 12 Jun, 26 Jun, 10 Jul, 24 Jul, 7 Aug, 21 Aug, 4 Sep, 18 Sep, 2 Oct, 16 Oct, 30 Oct, 13 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec, 18 Dec, 28 Dec, 2022: 8 Jan, 22 Jan, 5 Feb, 19 Feb, 5 Mar, 19 Mar, 2 Apr, 16 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May, 11 Jun, 18 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul, 23 Jul, 6 Aug, 20 Aug, 3 Sep, 17 Sep, 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct, 12 Nov, 26 Nov, 10 Dec, 21 Dec, 28 Dec
From US $2649 to US $334913 days ex flights
All the classic sites if you have limited time
Small group2021: 24 Sep, 15 Oct, 5 Nov, 12 Nov, 3 Dec, 17 Dec, 2022: 28 Jan, 11 Feb, 11 Mar, 8 Apr, 22 Apr, 7 Oct, 14 Oct, 11 Nov, 25 Nov, 2 Dec, 16 Dec
From £1899 to £229917 days ex flights
Spend 2 weeks in Jordan & Egypt visiting its iconic sights.
Small group2021: 22 May, 19 Jun, 17 Jul, 14 Aug, 11 Sep, 9 Oct, 6 Nov, 4 Dec, 21 Dec, 2022: 15 Jan, 12 Feb, 12 Mar, 9 Apr, 7 May, 4 Jun, 2 Jul, 30 Jul, 13 Aug, 10 Sep, 8 Oct, 5 Nov, 3 Dec, 21 Dec
From £1199 to £169910 days ex flights
Culture, history and beaches of Egypt
Small group2021: 29 May, 12 Jun, 26 Jun, 10 Jul, 24 Jul, 7 Aug, 21 Aug, 4 Sep, 18 Sep, 2 Oct, 16 Oct, 30 Oct, 13 Nov, 20 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec, 18 Dec, 28 Dec, 2022: 8 Jan, 22 Jan, 5 Feb, 19 Feb, 5 Mar, 19 Mar, 2 Apr, 16 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul, 23 Jul, 6 Aug, 20 Aug, 3 Sep, 17 Sep, 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct, 12 Nov, 26 Nov, 10 Dec, 21 Dec, 28 Dec
More about Egypt
Victorian tourists sailing between the monuments along the banks of the Nile in bygone days were following in the oar-strokes of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Nile cruises can still be as sedate, opulent and romantic today, so long as you stick to small ships rather than the floating resorts that pollute the river and swamp the ancient sites. Sail-powered feluccas are a traditional and completely eco-friendly way to sail the Nile – although your progress is reliant on the wind. Cruises of up to a week between Luxor and Aswan usually encompass Edfu, Kom Ombo and Abu Simbel.
Egypt family vacations
Funny thing about kids – sit them in front of a history textbook at home and they’ll collapse with boredom. But dunk them into a historic setting such as the Pyramids of Giza or the temples of Luxor, and they’ll be entranced. Whether it’s cracking mummy jokes in the legendary Egyptian Museum of Cairo, enjoying the breeze in your hair as you sleep on deck with a felucca cruise on the Nile, or taking scuba diving lessons in the Red Sea, Egypt family vacations are out of school but still a class act.
Types of vacation
Even the best guidebooks can’t beat the expert local guides who accompany small group vacations, bringing ancient history to life with enviable troves of knowledge. Cultural vacations naturally cover pyramids and pharaohs, but also offer insights through meals in Nubian homes and atmospheric overnight trains. Culture and history abound on Nile cruising vacations, with small ships and traditional feluccas plying the river between magnificent temples. For a different take on Egypt, Dahab is one of the best locations for diving in the Red Sea, with a seaside village feel and beautifully clear waters rich in marine life.