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Days 1-2: Cairo, Egypt
Arrive in Cairo, sprawling city of the pharaohs. Check in to your hotel amid lush gardens overlooking the Great Pyramids.
Day 3: Cairo
Visit the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, where the treasures of Tutankhamun — and artifacts dating back to 4000 BC — reveal Egypt’s artistic and architectural heritage. View the Mummy Room, housing the remains of many kings and queens of Ancient Egypt, including Ramses II, Egypt’s longest ruling pharaoh. This afternoon, visit an Egyptian patisserie to learn the art of Middle Eastern pastry making — and to indulge your sweet tooth with your own gift box of treats. Tonight, meet fellow travellers at a YET hosted welcome dinner.
Day 4: Cairo
Tour the Giza Plateau, site of the Pyramids of Mycerinus, Chefren and the Great Pyramid of Cheops, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Continue to the Solar Boat Museum, site of Cheops’ funerary boat, and the Great Sphinx, guardian of the royal tombs from the third millennium BC.
Day 5: Cairo/Luxor
Journey to the magnificent Temple of Karnak. Walk through the Great Hypostyle Hall, its massive, expertly aligned columns a sight to behold. After lunch, tour the Valley of the Kings, where over 60 magnificent tombs from the pharaohs of the New Kingdom are carved into desert rock. Explore the Temple of Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt’s first female pharaoh. You may also visit the Valley of the Queens (Biban el-Harim).
Day 6: Luxor/Denderah/Luxor
Cruise northward on a scenic route — far from the crowds and other ships — to the Temple of Hathor at Denderah, among the best-preserved temples in Egypt. View the Hypostyle Hall, its roof — featuring small shrines to Isis and Hathor — nearly intact. Explore the interior chambers and underground crypt among foundations dating from the time of Cheops. This afternoon, tour Luxor Temple, completed during the reign of Ramses II.
Day 7: Luxor/Esna/Edfu/Kom Ombo
Continue cruising to Edfu to the Temple of Horus, the falcon headed god. Built in 230 BC by Ptolemy III, this stunningly preserved structure reveals what temple worship in Ancient Egypt was like. Disembark at Kom Ombo (“hill of gold”) to visit the Greco-Roman temple dedicated to Haroeris (the sun god) and Sobek (the crocodile god). Crocodile once basked on this stretch of Nile shore; several of their mummies are now on display.
Day 8: Kom Ombo/Aswan
This morning, cruise to Aswan and board a motorized boat for a short ride to Philae Temple on the island of Agilika, moved here and painstakingly reconstructed to avoid flooding when Aswan’s High Dam was built. Continue sightseeing at the famous granite quarries, site of the enormous Unfinished Obelisk — a monolith illustrating the extraordinary skills of Egypt’s stonemasons. In the afternoon, take a break from the monuments of the past for a visit to a perfume shop, where you discover the traditions that have informed this unique Egyptian craft. You also have the opportunity to learn the art of henna painting with a personal demonstration. End the day sailing around the Aswan islands in a felucca, a small sailboat (weather permitting).
Day 9: Aswan/Abu Simbel/Cairo
Leave your Nile cruise and fly to Abu Simbel, site of the commanding temples of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari. The former’s façade is dominated by four enormous statues of the pharaoh. Afterward, return to Cairo for a leisurely afternoon. If you like, enjoy a complimentary treatment at the hotel spa.
Day 10: Cairo
After a relaxing morning, explore the Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan. Built in AD 1356, it is one of the largest in the Islamic world and among the finest examples of early Mamluk architecture. From here, walk from Bab el-Fotouh to Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, where stalls display spices, leather goods and jewelry. The street itself — running from the imposing, fortified Fotouh Gate to the Zuweila Gate — has hardly changed in centuries. Bargaining is expected, so prepare to negotiate. Gather for a farewell dinner this evening
Day 11: Cairo
Board your international flight.