How to Spend One Week in Egypt
- How to Spend One Week in Egypt
- Day 1: Arriving in Cairo
- Day 2: Exploring Cairo
- Day 3: Visiting the Pyramids at Giza and Night Train to Aswan
- Day 4: Aswan and Egypt Nile Cruise
- Day 5: Abu Simbel
- Day 6: Visiting Luxor
- Day 7: West Bank of the Nile
- Day 8
- Where To Stay in Egypt?
- FAQs for Visiting Egypt
- Final Word
Egypt is an incredible country, and when planning your trip, you may feel overwhelmed about which places to visit and how to start planning your time. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the best 7-Day Egypt Itinerary that highlights all of the best places to visit in Egypt in one week. I’ll also discuss some essential planning advice and information to help you get ready to visit this magical destination!
Day 1: Arriving in Cairo
This is your first day in Egypt. You will probably arrive around lunchtime and will be very tired after the long journey. Get to your chosen accommodation in Cairo and spend the day relaxing. Take the evening to rest and acclimatize after a busy travel day, by enjoying a dinner near your hotel. You will need a lot of energy for the rest of the week of Egypt’s adventures.
Day 2: Exploring Cairo
Take your first full day to explore the busy capital of Egypt – Cairo.
There are plenty of interesting sites in Cairo that you can explore.
Pro Travel Tip: If you want to save money while traveling in Egypt, I would highly suggest you take an Uber whenever you need to go somewhere. It’s going to be the cheapest option and will save you the process of bargaining when looking for a ride.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Egypt, The Egyptian Museum is an excellent way to spend the morning. There, you can see more than 12,000 Egyptian antiquities, including the solid gold mask of King Tutankhamun weighing 11 kg (24,25 lbs).
After that head to the Cairo Tower. It’s a 187 m (614 ft) free-standing concrete tower that offers incredible views over the city.
Another interesting site to visit in Cairo is the Saladin Citadel also known as the Citadel of Cairo. It’s probably the most popular non-pharaonic monument in the capital of Egypt. You can easily catch an Uber from your hotel to get to it. There are three mosques located on the grounds of the fortress. The views from there are truly amazing. The price to go inside is 50 EGP.
If you’re not feeling comfortable enough exploring Cairo on your own, you can always book a guided tour to do that.
Don’t forget to try several different places that offer local Egyptian cuisine while in Cairo. All the meals that we’ve tried in Egypt have been nothing but amazing. Some of the local dishes that we tried and loved were lentil soup, falafel, ful medames, manshy, and fattah. The restaurant that I highly recommend for you to eat at is called Felfel. It’s a very famous place built within the alleyway, between the two buildings, located there since the 60s. It has very impressive and beautiful decor inside.
Another great way to experience Cairo and try even more Egyptian food is to go on a food tour. That way you will try a larger amount of local dishes and meet many amazing people along the way. I recommend this Cairo No Diet Tour where you will visit at least 5 different food stops and get insider tips for Cairo.
The meal that deserves number one on my list hands down is koshary (also spelled as koshari or kushari). It’s Egypt’s national dish and very popular street food. Kushari is made of rice, macaroni, spaghetti, and lentils mixed together, topped with chickpeas, tomato sauce, and crispy fried onion. So, basically, they just put together all of my favorite carbs and proteins and made a meal out of it. Koshari originated in the mid-19th century. The place where we tried it was called Koshary Abou Tarek, and it’s the only dish that they make there.
Enjoy finding some freshly made local desserts, and exploring the various shops in Cairo. No matter what you’re buying on the market, don’t forget to bargain.
If you are looking to have a long day out, then you should also consider taking a trip to Alexandria. Alexandria is located 180 km (112 mi) from Cairo and is a beautiful waterfront area with plenty of fascinating history and beautiful sights.
This is a tour which you can book to go to Alexandria from Cairo for one day. You will be able to see all the main highlights of Alexandria and the tour takes around 10 to 12 hours. You also have another option to go with this one instead.
Day 3: Visiting the Pyramids at Giza and Night Train to Aswan
Day three of your trip is fully dedicated to one of the main highlights of the Giza pyramid complex, also called the Giza Necropolis. The Giza Pyramids were constructed around 4,500 years ago.
The complex itself includes the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, along with smaller pyramids, remaining worker’s village, cemeteries, and the Great Sphinx of Giza.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the oldest and the only remaining seven wonders of the ancient world. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is built from an estimated 2,3 million stone blocks each weighing an average of 2,5 to 15 tons.
The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in Egypt
I can’t even begin to describe how magical and breathtaking the place itself is. It feels surreal to be standing at the foot of the giants that you used to see only in movies.
You can get to the complex by bus, or taxi, and make sure you set aside a full day for exploring.
There are two points of entry to the pyramid complex in Giza, one located near the Great Pyramid which is used mostly by tourists, and the other one near the Sphinx used mainly by locals. It’s better if you use the Great Pyramid entrance as that way you won’t have to walk very far to get to the pyramids. Expect to see a lot of crowds near the entrance. The further you walk around and explore, the less crowded it will become for those perfect photos.
Weekends will be more crowded as schools are closed at that time so be prepared that there will be even more people.
There will be people trying to sell you stuff or offer you camel rides everywhere. Don’t be afraid to say no and walk away because if you feel bad for saying “no” and start replying, the conversation may go for hours.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to do a lot of walking, it’s about 3 km from the panoramic view to the Sphynx and on top of that you’ll walk a lot just around the area. So, because that was impossible for my mom, we just got a horse carriage. Again, remember to bargain as we paid way too much for it. You can also hop on a horse or a horse carriage for around $10 to get around the Giza Plateau. Another popular option is to go on a camel ride which will cost you around 300 EGP. In my opinion, it’s a very fun and interesting way to explore the Pyramid complex. The only thing you should look out for when choosing your ride is whether the animal is treated well.
There is another more adventurous way to explore the pyramids – booking an ATV tour. It will guarantee a lot of fun along the way and great pictures at the end.
Pro Travel Tip: If you want to avoid being overcharged like we were while visiting the Pyramids I highly recommend you book your tour online in advance. That way you’ll know how much it costs and what is included. You won’t have to bargain afterwards and feel that you got scammed at the end like we did.
The entry ticket to the Giza Pyramids costs 200 EGP for adults and 100 EGP for students. You will pay an extra 400 EGP if you want to go inside the Great Pyramid. Going inside the other two pyramids will cost you 100 EGP each.
Keep in mind that there is not a lot to see inside the pyramids. It’s more about the experience in itself rather than seeing something magical.
If you want to bring your tripod, you’ll get charged additional 20 EGP.
Try and arrive as close to opening time as possible to enjoy a full day of exploration and to avoid the crowds. It is open from 6 am until 5 pm.
My top recommendations for the day at the Great Pyramids of Giza are: go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, take the perfect photo with the Sphinx, and take in the view from the lookout point from where you can see all three of them lined up, just enjoy walking around the complex, and if you can come back in the evening watch the Sound and Light Show.
I haven’t seen it myself but I have to warn you that a lot of people have mixed feelings about it. The people that we were traveling with who had seen it told us that it was very boring and not worth the money. If you would like to check it out for yourself, click here to visit the official website.
After a busy day, head back to collect your belongings from your hotel. Tonight is the time to head to Aswan for the next part of your adventure. I recommend booking the overnight train to Aswan on this night, to save both time and paying for a night in the hotel. Riding a train in Egypt is an experience in itself. First class is your best option for trains in Egypt for a relaxing and stress-free journey. They will even offer you a small breakfast in the morning.
Day 4: Aswan and Egypt Nile Cruise
After a restful night on the train, enjoy a day exploring the highlights of Aswan.
First, head out to see the Unfinished Obelisk. This monument from ancient Egypt was ordered to be built by Hatshepsut, the second historically confirmed female pharaoh of Egypt, more than 3,500 years ago. If finished the obelisk made out of bedrock would have been around 42 meters and would have weighed nearly 1,090 tonnes. Because of the cracks that appeared during the carving process, the project was abandoned. This open-air museum is a very interesting place to visit just don’t forget to put on sunscreen and grab your hat, as there is no shade.
After that stop to see the Aswan High Dam. It’s the world’s largest embankment dam built across the Nile River. The Dam is 3,600 meters long, 980 meters wide, and 111 meters tall at its highest point. It provides irrigation water and electricity for the whole of Egypt.
Continuing our adventures, take a short boat ride over to Agilika Island where you can visit the Philae Temple.
This temple dedicated to the goddess Isis was the last temple built in the classical Egyptian style. It would have been buried underwater but you can still enjoy its beauty today. It was saved by UNESCO’s rescue project during the building of the Aswan High Dam. Transferred block by block from their original place on Philae Island to Agilika Island.
Another place that you can visit in Aswan is the Nubian Museum to learn even more history. We were too tired by that point after all the exploring, so we just embarked on our beautiful cruise ship, where we stayed for the remainder of the trip.
There are plenty of different options for Nile cruises, so research which one suits your budget and needs best. Food is usually included in all trips, so enjoy the service and amenities onboard after boarding.
Day 5: Abu Simbel
Almost all Nile cruises include an optional excursion to Abu Simbel. You will probably pay a little bit extra if you want to do it but visiting the Abu Simbel Temples is even more exciting to some people than visiting the Pyramids of Giza!
The excursion usually involves a very early start at about 3 am. It took us 6 hours to get there but believe me, it’s well worth it. I found this to be the most interesting temple that I visited during my trip to Egypt.
The site has two massive rock temples; The Small Temple of Hathor and Nefertari and The Great Temple of Ramesses II.
This complex was also relocated in its entirety in 1968 to an artificial hill to save it from submersion during the creation of the Lake Nasser and the Aswan Dam.
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel took around 20 years to build and was completed on the 24th year of the Ramesses the Great’s reign (1265 BC). There are four majestic 20 meters (66 ft) statues, at the entrance each representing Ramesses II seated on a throne.
There is a lot of history and impressive facts surrounding this place which I can’t even start to tell you in this blog post. So, put it on top of your list, and don’t miss a chance to visit this stunning place!
I suggest you visit the Temple of Kom Ombo later on this day. You can even see the mummified crocodiles there! I was shocked to see how well preserved they are after 2000 years.
After such an early start you will simply want to spend the rest of the day relaxing on your ship and enjoy an evening watching the scenery of the Nile River. We even had a pool on the upper deck to enjoy it to the fullest. A lot of cruises will offer cultural entertainment during the evening time or you can simply go to bed and prepare for the next day on our Egypt itinerary.
Day 6: Visiting Luxor
You will most likely be offered another optional early morning trip today, to the Temple of Horus located in Edfu. We started at 5 am with a horse carriage ride to get there.
This temple was built between 237 and 57 BC and is one of the most well-preserved monuments in Egypt. It is dedicated to Horus, the avenging son of Osiris and Isis.
Take some rest following your morning excursion, as your ship sails to Luxor, which was once an Ancient Egyptian capital.
Again it will depend on the cruise company you choose but most of them will make an overnight stop in Luxor, and this gives you the perfect chance to explore the area.
Visit the large Ancient Egyptian temple complex – the Luxor Temple, which was built by Ramesses II in approximately 1400 BCE. It’s better if you visit it either early in the morning before the crowds arrive or later at sunset time.
Enjoy some delicious Egyptian cuisine, and if you are lucky enough you will get the chance to see the Karnak Temple Light and Sound show, it’s an amazing night time activity to add to your Egypt Itinerary.
Again, if you feel more comfortable with booking a tour rather than exploring alone, which I highly recommend, you should check out this tour. It includes exploring the East and West banks.
Day 7: West Bank of the Nile
The final day of the cruise is another action-packed one with plenty of sightseeing that needs to be done. Egypt is certainly a non-stop adventure for visitors!
This is the perfect time to add some more activities to your Egypt itinerary. If you’re not afraid of heights and would like to try something more adrenaline-oriented, then I would suggest you go on a hot-air balloon ride. Again you’ll have to wake up very early to do it (hotel pick-ups usually go from 3 to 4:30 am) and pay some extra but it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so I truly believe that it’s well worth it.
If you’re still not convinced then I’d recommend starting the morning with seeing the Colossi of Memnon. They are two impressive statues of Amenhotep III who reigned in Egypt during the 18th dynasty. They have stood at that place since 1350 BCE.
There is nothing else that you can see there, so after spending 15-20 minutes continue your journey to one of the most impressive sights of your visit to Egypt, the Valley of the Kings.
It’s another massive sight of Ancient Egypt that will blow your mind by its size and majesty. There are many different temples to explore here that are included in the price of your entrance.
The Valley of the Kings is a royal burial ground that was used during the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties to bury pharaohs. Some of the most famous kings are buried here including Tutankhamun and Ramses II. You will be very impressed by the preservation of these tombs, and you can even still admire the colors and details of the paintings.
It’s one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. There are over 60 tombs in this area, however, only eight of them are open to the public.
Which tomb to visit in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor?
Your entrance ticket which costs 240 EGP per person will include three of the tombs. If you would like to see more than three you have to buy an additional ticket. The list of open tombs changes frequently as they may be closed for renovation during your visit. If you would like to take pictures inside with anything other than your cell phone you’ll need to pay 300 EGP (check this information when you get there, as the rules change all the time).
We visited the tombs of Ramesses IV, Ramesses III, and the tomb of Tausert and Setnakht as our tour guide told us that they were the most interesting 3 tombs included in the ticket.
Tomb of Seti I is considered to be the best one in the Valley of the Kings. However, I didn’t go inside myself because the visit to the tomb of Seti I will cost you additional 1,000 EGP, which is around $62!
One of the largest and most impressive tombs is of Ramesses V and VI and it will cost you an extra 100 EGP.
Visiting the tomb of Tutankhamun and seeing his mummy will cost you 300 EGP.
There is another tomb that comes with an even bigger price tag and it’s the tomb of Queen Nefertari. It’s located on the west bank of Luxor in the Valley of the Queens. The price to get inside is 1,400 EGP. Again, I didn’t go inside myself, so I won’t give my opinion about whether it’s worth it or not.
My only advice to you is to choose wisely, as visiting too many tombs in one go can get too repetitive and very expensive.
If you would like to read even more information about all the temples I would suggest you check out this blog post. It was written by the Earth Trekkers and they have a lot more in-depth information for your visit.
After the Valley of the Kings, head to visit the stunning Temple of Hatshepsut. She was one of the most powerful female rulers after all. She reigned in Egypt for about 20 years. The ticket cost is 140 EGP.
Don’t forget to visit the Karnak Temple Complex. The most impressive part of which is the Hypostyle Hall with its 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows.
Sadly this brings us to the end of your time on the River Nile. If you are traveling home after this 7-Day Egypt Itinerary, tonight you will head to a hotel or airport before flying home tomorrow. You can return to Cairo via the train, and once again I’d recommend booking first-class tickets for a comfortable journey.
Today is sadly the end of our time in Egypt. If you are flying home, this day will be dedicated to traveling.
If you have more time, I would highly encourage adding more time in this amazing country. If you have more time in Cairo before or after your travels, I’d recommend visiting the White Desert or Black Desert. You can also find tours that combine the two, although this can be quite an exhausting day out! They both offer spectacular scenery, with the White Desert in Farafra showcasing snow-white to cream-colored rocks. The Black Desert is a spectacular sight, with black tips to its landscape. I would also highly recommend looking into more hot air balloon rides over Egypt. They are an amazing way to get a different perspective on the landscape and scale of the country, and are in my opinion a must-do in Egypt!
The best choices for trip extensions are relaxing trips to Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh. Hurghada is a beach resort town on the coast of the Red Sea and stretches for over forty kilometers. It’s well known for its amazing scuba diving, with many dive schools if you are a beginner located in the Sekalla district. The area features endless resorts and restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Enjoy exploring the old town, El Dahar, with traditional souks and coffee shops.
There are so many amazing different activities that you can experience in Hurghada. You can book a 3-hour Desert Safari ATV Ride, go on a Snorkeling Trip to Giftun Island, take a Submarine Trip to see the underwater world of the Red Sea, or you can book an even longer trip which includes an ATV drive through the desert, visit to the Bedouin village and a traditional Arabic evening.
Sharm el-Sheikh is another resort town located between the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. Another great diving destination, with amazing marine life at Ras Muhammad National Park, it’s known for its variety of luxury resorts. Naama Bay is filled with restaurants and bars and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy an all-inclusive escape following a busy week of exploring.
Where To Stay in Egypt?
What can be better than staying in a hotel where you can see the Great Pyramids while having your breakfast? These are the top options to do that!
Marriott Mena House, Cairo
This is probably one of the most popular hotels to stay at if you want a breathtaking view of the pyramids while eating your breakfast. It’s located less than half a kilometer (0.62 mi) away from the complex. The hotel itself is surrounded by 40 acres of green gardens, and has a fitness center, a pool, and a spa.
Panorama Pyramids Inn
Located at a 4-minute walk away from the Sphinx, this is another gem of a hotel to enjoy the majestic view of the pyramids. This hotel has a rooftop terrace from which you can enjoy the Sound and Light show without paying for the ticket.
Pyramids View Inn
This bed and breakfast is located right in front of the Giza Plateau and needless to say it offers one of the best views of the pyramids and the Sphinx. You can drink your free tea while sitting on the rooftop terrace enjoying the view. They will even arrange a free arrival pick-up shuttle from the airport for you.
FAQs for Visiting Egypt
When is the best time to visit Egypt?
If you are focusing your trip on seeing the main outdoor sites, I’d recommend traveling to Egypt between October and April. Around that time you’ll experience great weather, and it won’t be too unbearably hot.
The busiest travel season is between December and February, so it can be a little more crowded and expensive during that time. I went to Egypt in April and the weather was perfect.
If you are planning to spend a lot of time touring the country, I would avoid visiting during the summer months as it can be extremely dry and hot, making traveling quite unpleasant.
Visa for Egypt
To visit Egypt, you will need a visa to enter. You can either apply in advance for an Egypt e-Visa online, or queue at the border upon your arrival into the country. The visa will cost $25 US for a single entry visa (for up to 30 days) or $35 US for a multi-entry visa.
Is Egypt safe
It’s impossible to say that any country is entirely safe, as bad things can happen anywhere in the world. I can only share my honest personal opinion with you and what I can say is that from my time in Egypt, I’ve felt very safe, welcomed, and comfortable during the whole time.
Educate yourself before traveling to Egypt about common tourist scams and current issues. Check authorized travel advisories for the country.
If you are not comfortable traveling alone, I would highly suggest you book a group tour. That way you won’t have to worry as much as you will always be with your group. It also means you don’t have to do a lot of planning for your trip and can sit back and enjoy the journey.
What to pack for Egypt
For a trip to Egypt, you will want to pack a similar wardrobe as to any other hot-climate destination you may visit. The most important thing is that all of your clothes should be lightweight and breathable.
Also, keep in mind local traditions and keep your knees and shoulders covered as much as possible. Don’t wear short pants and crop tops. Be polite and respect other traditions, cultures, and religions. A scarf is very handy to pack and carry everywhere with you, so you can cover your head when visiting mosques.
Egypt uses European plugs, so you may need to pack an adaptor.
To stay protected from the sun and hot weather, use sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat when you are outside.
You don’t want to be caught short at any point so I’d suggest always carrying hand sanitizer and a toilet roll.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound. Tipping is expected everywhere in Egypt, so be prepared with small notes for your hotel, restaurant, and cruise ship staff.
How many days to spend in Egypt
If you are looking to enjoy the main highlights of Egypt, seven days will be enough. One week is the perfect amount of time for touring Egypt. This allows you to see places like Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Luxor while cruising along the Nile River. The trip will be jam-packed and you will have to wake up pretty early almost every day but it will allow you to see all the main sights of the country in a short time and will be worth it for sure.
If you can afford a more extended trip time-wise in Egypt, you could add several days or even a week at a beach resort near the Red Sea, such as Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh. Also, these destinations are perfect for scuba diving. After a busy week of sightseeing, relaxing in a resort is the perfect end to your time in Egypt.
I hope this 7-Day Egypt Itinerary has given you some inspiration for your next trip. Egypt is one of my favorite destinations and is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. The longer you can afford to spend in this country, the more enjoyable your trip will be, as it can become quite hectic and tiring with so many amazing sites to see. I hope you have an amazing time in Egypt, and that you enjoy exploring the culture and history of this country as much as I did.