The Best 7 Day Egypt Itinerary For First Timers

Egypt is one of the most fascinating countries in the world thanks to its ancient history of pharaohs, mummies, and tombs, as well as one of the seven wonders of the world; the Great Pyramid of Giza. This itinerary will guide you through how best to spend seven days exploring this ancient land.
Egyptian Pyramids in Giza
The Egyptian Pyramids. Photo: Fynn Schmidt | Unsplash

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Egypt is a destination on many traveller’s bucket lists due to the amount of history and culture that you can find across the country. Ancient Egypt is one of the oldest civilisations in the world and with a plethora of ancient treasures, it’s no wonder millions of tourists visit the country each year. 

Additionally, the famous Nile River, the biggest river in Africa, flows almost the full length of the country. A river cruise on the Nile is an absolute must and allows you to take in some of the best cities in Egypt along the way too. 

Undoubtedly, this week-long trip promises some amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

Egypt is a huge country so travelling around and making the most of the week has to be carefully planned. To save time on this 7 day itinerary we will be flying between the North and South of the country as well as taking a Nile cruise for part of the trip in order to visit the cities of Edfu and Aswan.

We’ll start in North Egypt, in Cairo before flying down to Luxor where we will then take a river cruise through Edfu and Aswan before jumping on a return flight to Cairo.

Day 1 & 2: Cairo

We’re beginning our 7 day Egypt adventure in the capital city of Cairo. This sprawling city set on the Nile River is steeped in history and culture and will give you a real taste of both modern and ancient Egypt.

Cairo, Egypt. Photo: Omar Elsharawy | Unsplash

What to do and see in Cairo?

Cairo is one of the oldest and most famous cities in the world. It is also one of the most cosmopolitan, with a rich cultural heritage and an abundance of ancient monuments. The city is an inexhaustible source of fascination for visitors, and it is well worth spending time there to see its many sights.

  • Egyptian Museum – At the very heart of Cairo is the bustling Tahrir Square where you’ll find the Egyptian Museum. It’s one of the most fascinating museums in the world. It is home to a vast collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including some of the oldest statues ever found. The museum contains more than 120,000 objects from this ancient civilization, most of which were discovered in Egypt.
  • The Pyramids – Nearby Giza is home to the world-famous pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating back to the 26th century BC.
  • Khan el-Khalili –  This famous bazaar and souq consists of a network of narrow alleyways where you can find a wide variety of goods at very reasonable prices. There is something for everyone here — you can find souvenirs, jewelry, rugs, clothing, shoes, and much more. 
  • Cairo Tower – Cairo’s unmissable tower stands over 600 feet tall and offers spectacular views out over the city and the nearby pyramids.

Where to eat in Cairo?

  • BeEJA is an upscale restaurant serving quality authentic Egyptian cuisine in a wonderful location right by the Nile. For impeccable food and fantastic views you can’t go wrong with BeEJA.
  • Roy’s Smokehouse, located in the Cairo Marriott Hotel, offers diners International Mexican cuisine and is well known for its delicious smoked meats. 
  • The Saigon Restaurant & Lounge is a fine dining, Pan-Asian restaurant located in the Fairmont Nile City Hotel. The luxurious venue offers a warm and friendly service with great views over the Nile.

Where to stay in Cairo?

  • $$$ – Ramses Hilton
  • $$ – Tahrir Plaza Suites
  • $ – Regency Inn

Day 3: Luxor

Travel time: 1 hour 10 minutes, by plane.

Today we’re jumping on a plane and heading south to the city of Luxor. The city is home to some of the country’s most impressive temples. Luxor is known for its beauty and splendor, with so many awe-inspiring sights to see.

Tomb KV9 in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings
Tomb KV9 in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings. Photo: Dmitrii Zhodzishskii | Unsplash

What to do and see in Luxor?

  • Luxor Temple – Constructed in approximately 1400 BCE, the temple is steeped in history and is one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in the world. 
  • The Temple of Karnak & The Avenue of Sphinxes – This is one of the largest and most important religious complexes in ancient Egypt. Built over a period of more than 1,000 years, it contains thousands of statues of various gods and goddesses as well as numerous inscriptions and historical documents that attest to its long and storied history. One of the most popular attractions at the Temple of Karnak is the Avenue of the Sphinxes. This 1.7 mile-long ancient avenue runs from Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple and is lined with statues of sphinxes and rams.
  • Valley of the Kings – This burial site for the kings of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties, including Tutankhamun. It is filled with vibrant wall paintings.
  • Temple of Deir el-Bahri (Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple) – This jaw-dropping temple dedicated to the queen who became pharaoh is a sight to behold from the outside and is adorned with impressive statues, reliefs and inscriptions.

Where to eat in Luxor?

  • Sofra serves authentic Egyptian food in a laid-back environment.
  • Nubian House is another wonderful authentic Egyptian restaurant, run by a friendly family in a beautiful setting.
  • Wannas Art Cafe is a great spot to find the highest quality vegetarian Egyptian food around.

Where to stay in place name?

  • $$$ – Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa
  • $$ – Jolie Ville Resort & SPA Kings Island Luxor
  • $ – Oasis Guest House

Day 4, 5 & 6: Luxor, Edfu & Aswan River Cruise

Today we will be joining a river cruise from Luxor and travelling through Edfu and Aswan.

Nile River, Aswan, Egypt. Photo: Mo Gabrail | Unsplash

Taking a river cruise is the best way to visit the cities of Edfu and Aswan as they are both located so close to the banks of the Nile. Below we will give you a breakdown of what to see and do in Edfu and Aswan. The river cruise will also provide your accommodation for the nights spent on board the boat, as well as meals throughout your journey. 

On day 4 you will have some more time to explore Luxor before joining your river cruise which will take you along the Nile River, with the first stop being Edfu.

Day 5: Edfu & Kom Ombo

Today your river cruise will arrive in the city of Edfu, which is famous for its beautiful ancient temples, the most famous of which is the Horus Temple which stands on the banks of the Nile River. From here you’ll continue along the river to the town of Kom Ombo to visit the Kom Ombo Temple.

Edfu, Egypt
Edfu, Egypt. Photo: AXP Photography | Unsplash

What to do and see in Edfu?

  • Horus Temple – This Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 and 57 BC, is dedicated to Horus, who was believed to be the ruler of the afterlife. He was considered to be the God of the sky and the protector of the gods of Egypt. This temple is one of the best-preserved in the country and an absolute must-see on your visit to Egypt.
  • Kom Ombo Temple – The Kom Ombo temple is unique thanks to its double temple, dedicated to both the crocodile god, Sobek, and the falcon-headed god, Horus.

Where to eat in Edfu?

There are not many places to eat in Edfu but City Pizza is perfect for a quick bite to eat. You won’t need to worry as your cruise provider will have meals prepared for you.

Day 6: Aswan

When you wake up on day 6 you will arrive in the city of Aswan, which is famous for its many historical landmarks including the Unfinished Obelisk, and Tombs of the Nobles. From Aswan, it is also just a short boat ride across to the fascinating Elephantine Island. 

Aswan, Egypt
Aswan, Egypt. Photo: AXP Photography | Unsplash

What to do and see in Aswan?

  • Elephantine Island – Considered one of the greatest islands on the Nile River, Elephantine Island is steeped in history from the Pre-dynastic period, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, through to the Greco-Roman period. 
  • Tombs of the Nobles – These tombs were the burial places for priests, governors, the Keepers of the Gate of the South, and other dignitaries of ancient Elephantine Island.
  • The Unfinished Obelisk – This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the largest known ancient obelisk. The unfinished monument offers a fascinating insight into the stone-working techniques used by the ancient Egyptians, as there are marks from the workers’ tools visible in the structure.

Where to eat in Aswan?

  • King Jamaica restaurant & Cafe King is a Nubian (an indigenous population in Southern Egypt) and Jamaican fusion cuisine restaurant and is easily one of the best restaurants in Aswan.
  • Makani Restaurant serves delicious spiced meats and vegetable dishes in a great waterfront setting. 
  • Ibiza free Beach & restaurants & cafe has a nice varied menu and a beautiful location.

Day 7: Fly back to Cairo

Travel time: 1.5 hours, by plane.

Today it’s time to depart from the Nile river cruise and jump on a flight from Aswan back to Cairo.

Cairo Egypt
Cairo. Photo: Tarek Hagrass | Pexels

Subsequently, if you still have some time to kill in Cairo before your flight home then be sure to check out our recommendations for day 1 & 2 of the trip. There is never a shortage of things to see and do in Cairo.

Useful tips for traveling in Egypt:

Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.
Great Sphinx Of Giza, Egypt. Photo: Pixabay | Pexels

The best time to visit Egypt:

Egypt is hot all year round, so the most popular time to visit is during Winter and Spring, from November to April, when the weather is more comfortable. Average temperatures during these months are between 14 – 21 °C. This is peak season because of these more manageable temperatures, so you can expect tourist crowds and higher prices.

From May through to August the weather is unbearably hot, but if you want to beat the crowds this is the best time to go. Temperatures range from 25 – 28 °C, with dry hot dessert conditions.

However, for the best of both worlds, visiting between March and May and September and October is probably best. The weather is not too hot or cold, and there will be fewer crowds at the country’s main attractions. 

Check out our Best Time To Visit Egypt guide for all you need to know.

What is the currency of Egypt?

The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP). 

Cash machines are common in the main tourist areas of Egypt and we recommend you have cash on you to pay for day trips, taxi rides and when paying for items at small shops and restaurants.

Can you drink tap water in Egypt?

No, the tap water in Egypt is not properly filtered so you should buy bottled water. You should even use bottled water when brushing your teeth.

The language of Egypt:

Arabic is the main language spoken in Egypt.

Is Egypt safe?

The short answer is that Egypt is safe to visit for most tourists provided you take care and take normal precautions against petty theft and pickpocketing.

However, it is not advisable to travel around after dark or take local transport such as buses or taxis alone as muggings do occasionally occur. Visitors should also be careful when swimming near the beaches and remember that the Nile River can be dangerous for swimming due to the high levels of pollution in the water.

Final thoughts:

One of Giza's Pyramids
One of Giza’s pyramids. Photo: Jeremy Bishop | Unsplash

So, as you can see, Egypt offers so much for visitors, from ancient history to unforgettable landscapes. From exploring bustling cities to journeying through desserts and cruising on the Nile, Egypt is an enchanting destination. 

A week in Egypt should give you enough time to visit the country’s major tourist attractions, while allowing you time to cruise along the Nile and take in some amazing sights. Hopefully, this itinerary has given you all the inspiration you need to start planning your Egyptian adventure.

Now, if you want even more holiday inspiration then check out our Ultimate 2 Week South Africa Itinerary or the Ultimate Jordan Itinerary 2023.


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