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Egypt had been on my bucket list for years and when we finally visited, it exceded all my expectations. If you are planning a trip to Egypt, this comprehensive two-week Egypt itinerary is all you will need. I’ve also provided an alternative three-week plan at the end of this article. We did the three week plan with extra time in Sharm El Sheikh (much more on that later).

This Egypt travel guide offers insights on the best destinations, must-see attractions, recommended accommodations, transportation options, and valuable travel tips that we learned on our trip. During our adventure in Egypt, we were immersed in a whirlwind of exciting experiences, including gazing in awe at the majestic pyramids, leisurely drifting down the Nile River on a felucca, exploring the vibrant Nubian villages, serenely floating in the salt lakes of Siwa Oasis, and countless other captivating adventures!

Egypt Itinerary Summary

The map displayed below features precise markers for every destination on our Egypt journey (minus the extra days in Sharm El Sheikh).

  1. Arrive in Cairo (airport code: CAI)
  2. Explore Cairo for 2 days
  3. Spend 2 days in Hurghada
  4. Discover the magic of Luxor for 2 days
  5. Immerse yourself in Aswan for 2 days
  6. Take a day trip to Abu Simbel
  7. Return to Cairo for 1 day
  8. Enjoy 3 days in Siwa Oasis
  9. Conclude your journey by departing from Cairo

Let’s dive right into our extensive Egypt itinerary!

Upon arriving at Cairo (CAI) airport, we made our way directly to the Airbnb to drop off our luggage. The adventure begins with an exploration of the ancient pyramids of Giza.

*Tip for visiting the Pyramids of Giza: the locals that walk all around the pyramids run many scams. Don’t engage with them unless you want them sticking around with you for the next couple of hours. Spoiler alert – they will expect you to pay them a ridiculous amount of money. Either commit to exploring by yourself (you may have to say no to people numerous times) or opt for a guided tour with a reputable professional company for a hassle-free experience. We explored on our own, but we did have to say “no” to 10 or 15 people trying to hassle us.

Egypt Itinerary - Pyramids of Giza 4

Other Must-do Things in Cairo:

  • Visit the Egyptian Museum
  • Shop and wander at Khan Al-Khalili
  • Eat lunch at 9 Pyramids Lounge
  • Al-Azhar Mosque
  • Eat dinner and take in views of the Nile at Crimson Rooftop Bar & Grill in Zamalek (We visited here with our friend who lives in this area and I can honestly say, it was some of the best food and drinks we had on the whole trip! Not to mention the incredible view of the Nile River)

Where to Stay:

  • Pyramids View Airbnb by Xuru Stays – Relax in your jacuzzi while enjoying a sunset view of the Pyramids. Although it’s a bucket list stay for its views, please be aware that the property and the neighborhood in Giza may not be the safest. Our stay was enjoyable without any problems, but it’s essential to keep this in mind when booking. Prices start from $88/night – $$
  • Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City Cairo – $$$
  • Marriott Mena House – Great views of the pyramids – $$$$
  • Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza –  We stayed here for one night had had an amazing experience! The rooms, service, food, pools, everything is top notch. Visiting the spa felt like a serene escape from the hectic city. – $$$$
Egypt Itinerary - Pyramids View Airbnb Xuru Stays

Pyramids View Airbnb by Xuru Stays

Egypt Itinerary - Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza 2

Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza

Day 3+4: Hurghada

On the morning of Day 3, we checked out of our hotel in Cairo and headed to the bus station.

You can choose which option suits your time schedule and budget:

  1. Head to the bus station where you will board your bus to Hurghada. It is about a 6 hour trip and we used the company called Go Bus. In our experience, the seats were comfortable, the buses were pretty new, and they were (usually) on time.
  2. Head to the airport and take a 1.5-hour flight from Cairo to Hurghada, which is priced around $50 one way. This choice offers a quicker and more convenient way to reach your destination (if you have the budget).

* If you opt for the first flight of the day at 9:00 am, you’ll reach Hurghada by 10:30 am. Proceed to your hotel or Airbnb to drop off your luggage, where you can store it until the check-in time. It’s time to start exploring Hurghada!

** If beaches and swimming aren’t your thing, then you can omit Hurghada and spend an extra 2 days in another destination in this Egypt itinerary. Do what works for you 🙂 We personally loved it and highly recommend a visit!

Egypt Itinerary - Go Bus 1
Egypt Itinerary - Go Bus 2

Must-do Things in Hurghada:

  • Dive in the Red Sea – since we didn’t fly to our next destination, diving was not a problem!
    • I recommend diving with New Son Bijou Diving Center
    • We did 2 dives in a day and the instructor was wonderful, the boat was really nice, and the sealife was incredible! We saw tons of colorful corals, turtles, rays, and many different species of fish. The color of the water is soo beautiful too and visibility underwater is great!
  • Day trip to Mahmya Island
    • A true paradise – heaven on earth. 
    • This was in our top 3 places we went in Egypt! If you love pristine beaches and crystal clear water, then this is the place to go!
    • Read – my travel guide to Mahmya Island
  • Quad ride in the desert – we didn’t have time for this, but it looked super fun and we definitely want to do it next time
  • Stroll through Old Town Sahl Hasheesh – this is a great place to visit in the evening. We strolled around and found some amazing restaurants for dinner.
Egypt Itinerary - Mahmya Island 1

Crystal clear water in Mahmya Island

Egypt Itinerary - Mahmya Island 5

Truly the perfect place to spend the day

Where to Stay in Hurghada:

  • We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb with a bathtub and an amazing view of the Red Sea for just $53/night. 10/10 recommend this place!
  • If you prefer a hotel you have a few good options:
    • Hilton Hurghada Plaza – $$
    • The Oberoi Beach Resort, Sahl Hasheesh – $$$
    • Rixos Premium Magawish Suites & Villas – $$$$
Egypt Itinerary - Hurghada Airbnb

Views of the Red Sea from the bathtub at our Airbnb

Mahmya Island - Giftun Island 2

Enjoying the day at a beach club on Mahmya Island

Day 5+6: Luxor

Next up on our Egypt itinerary is a magical place full of history – Luxor!

On the morning of Day 5, we checked out of our Airbnb in Hurghada and headed to the bus station to board the bus to Luxor. It is a 4 hour trip and we used the company Go Bus (again). The bus ticket was around $6/person one way. We had a great experience with Go Bus for the second time, so we can safely say we recommend them!

Must-do Things in Luxor:

  • Wander around Valley of the Kings
  • Visit Luxor Temple
  • Wake up at sunrise and be first in line to Karnak Temple (the way the sun shines through the columns when the sun comes up is sooo beautiful) – this was our favorite place in Luxor… it’s just so incredible!
  • Take a felucca boat tour down the Nile River at sunset – We went with our Airbnb host/tour guide and a couple of his friends (who own a felucca). We all had dinner together and it was one of our top memorable experiences from Egypt!
  • Marvel at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
  • Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride and see the temples from above
Egypt Itinerary - Karnak Temple 2

Karnak Temple at sunrise

Egypt Itinerary - Luxor

Exploring the wonders of Luxor

Where to Stay in Luxor:

  • We stayed in an Airbnb, which was also hosted by our tour guide in Luxor. We usually don’t hire a guide when traveling, but we chose to in Luxor because wanted to learn as much as we could about the temples in the time we had. We had a great experience with the Airbnb and our guide – Hamdi.. you can book a stay at his place here. Prices start from $40/night.
  • If you prefer a hotel you have lots of options for different budgets:
    • Budget travel: Bedouin Lodge Luxor ($)
    • Mid-range travel: Iberotel Luxor ($$$)
    • Luxury travel: Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor ($$$$)
Egypt Itinerary - Luxor Airbnb

Watching sunset from the rooftop of our Airbnb in Luxor

Egypt Itinerary - Nile River Felucca

Dinner & sailing down the Nile River on a Felucca

Day 7+8: Aswan

We spent three days exploring Aswan, with our main goals being to visit the Nubian Village and Abu Simbel. While Abu Simbel (more on this in the next section of this Egypt itinerary) is situated 300 km away from Aswan, most travelers start their journey from Aswan since there aren’t many hotels near the temples. We had initially planned to join a Nile River cruise, but many of them weren’t running when we were there. If you have time to do a Nile River cruise, you definitely should!

When I first came across images of the Nubian Villages on Pinterest a few years ago, I immediately added it to my bucket list. Some parts of it even reminded me of Chefchaouen, Morocco. It offers a different atmosphere compared to the rest of Egypt, almost like experiencing two different countries in one trip.

Must-do Things in Aswan:

  • Spend a day exploring the Nubian villages
    • The colorful hues of the buildings, the never-ending array of spices (we indulged and spent $40 on spices, returning with an entire backpack filled with them for our friends and family), and the enchanting boat journey down the Nile all contributed to an unforgettable experience for us.
    • The Nubian Village is situated away from the main street of Aswan, requiring a boat ride to reach it. The journey on the boat takes approximately 25 minutes each way and typically costs around $5-$10 USD. We had no problem finding a boat to take us over.
  • Explore the Temple of Isis (Philae Temple)
  • Have Lunch or Dinner at Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan
  • Enjoy a Felucca Ride on the Nile at Sunset (if you didn’t get a chance to do this in Luxor, now is the time!)
  • Take a day trip to Abu Simbel (more info in the next section)
Egypt Itinerary - Nubian village Aswan

Exploring the colorful Nubian villages

Egypt Itinerary - Nubian Village

Made some new friends in the Nubian village

Where to Stay in Aswan:

In Aswan, you can find accommodations to suit every budget. During our visit, we stayed at the CityMax Hotel Aswan, which offered a great location with Nile views and affordability at around $100 per night. However, for our next trip, we would consider splurging on the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan to experience a more luxurious stay.

You’ll also find a variety of Airbnb options in Aswan, but it’s important to consider the location, as some may not be situated near the main street and could be on an island. Additionally, you have the opportunity to stay in the Nubian Village in a guest house or Airbnb. While we didn’t have the chance to stay there, we’ve received recommendations from people who speak highly of Anakato Guest House. In hindsight, we regret not spending a night in the Nubian Village.

Here are some good hotel choices for each budget category:

  • Budget travel: Kafana Guest House and Resturant Nile View ($$)
  • Mid-range travel: CityMax Hotel Aswan ($$-$$$)
  • Luxury travel: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan or Mövenpick Aswan ($$$$)
Egypt Itinerary - CityMax hotel aswan view

CityMax Hotel view from the bed

Egypt Itinerary - CityMax hotel aswan view

Beautiful views of the Nile from our room at CityMax

Day 9: Abu Simbel (Morning & Afternoon)

One of our primary motivations for visiting Aswan was to explore the Abu Simbel Temples. We arranged for a private driver through a contact we made in Luxor. While we initially considered joining a group tour to save costs, choosing a private car turned out to be a blessing, as it allowed us to have more than an hour at the temples all to ourselves (before the tour groups arrived).

Our private driver picked us up at 4 am to embark on the nearly four-hour journey to the Abu Simbel Temples. The drive was quite lengthy, and the town and temples were located in an extremely remote area. We paid approximately $100 USD for the trip both ways and we paid him in cash. If you’d like to have the contact information of our driver, feel free to send me a direct message on Instagram.

This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our entire Egypt journey. We were incredibly lucky because, for more than an hour, we had the entire place to ourselves with no other tourists around. This allowed us to capture plenty of photos and explore the area at our own pace.

Egypt Itinerary - Abu Simbel

Finally got to check Abu Simbel off the bucket list!

How incredible is this temple?!

Important Notes for Abu Simbel Day Trip:

  • For our entry, we purchased a ticket 600 LE ($20) each + a separate ticket for the tripod, which is useful for taking photos outside of the temples. If you wish to use a camera (other than a cell phone) inside the temples, there’s a separate professional camera ticket costing 300 LE ($20) *when we were there*. We ultimately decided not to purchase the camera ticket and relied on our phones to capture photos within the temples.
  • The road to Abu Simbel has a few places to stop where you can get a drink or go to the bathroom, but no restaurants were open when we went.
  • If you’re hiring a private driver, make sure they are trustworthy. I don’t recommend just getting a random driver off the street, as the trip is 4 hours each way. Certain hotels will be able to arrange a private guide for your, or you can search on GetYourGuide or Viator for other possible options.
  • It is possible to fly to Abu Simbel from Aswan, but flights are very expensive, so we decided against it.
  • If you choose to go at 4 am (like we did), you will likely get back to Aswan around 2 pm. We had our driver take us straight to the airport, so we could get on a flight to Cairo for the next part of our adventure.

Marveling at the wonders inside the temple

An amazing day at Abu Simbel

Day 9 (Evening) + Day 10: Back to Cairo

If you opt for an early morning visit to Abu Simbel, as we did, you can expect to return to Aswan by around 2 or 3 pm. Our driver then took us directly to the airport, where we caught a flight to Cairo to continue our Egyptian adventure.

  • We flew non-stop from Aswan to Cairo with EgyptAir, and the cost was approximately $100 per person.
  • The flight is conveniently short, lasting just 1.5 hours.
  • Once you arrive back to Cairo, refer to the previous section to finish any activities or attractions that you might have missed during your first visit.
  • Make sure to rest very well tonight, because tomorrow night is going to be a big adventure!
Egypt Itinerary - Pyramids of Giza

Seeing the Great Pyramids in person feels like a dream

Another snap from our Airbnb (info found in previous Cairo section)

Day 10 morning/afternoon: you have the morning and afternoon to enjoy in Cairo, but don’t push yourself too hard

Day 10 night: board the 10-12 hour overnight bus (other options available in the next section) to Siwa Oasis

Day 11, 12, + 13: Siwa Oasis

Welcome to Egypt’s best-kept secret, Siwa Oasis! This town is nestled near the Libyan border. Describing the allure of Siwa Oasis to someone who hasn’t visited is quite difficult. Siwa is truly a destination that demands personal exploration. It’s a unique place unlike any other we’ve encountered worldwide, and such places always hold a special place in our hearts.

In Siwa, you’ll encounter natural salt pools, expansive sand dunes, abundant palm trees, picturesque lakes, thermal springs, historical sites, and a wealth of adventures. Although the journey to reach Siwa may be quite demanding, we 100% believe it’s an endeavor that is worth every effort. Truly our favorite place on the whole Egypt itinerary!

The other-worldly Siwa Oasis salt pools

If you wander around long enough, you'll find some incredible salt pools and lakes

How To Get to Siwa Oasis:

This aspect of the journey to Siwa nearly deterred us, given that it’s a lengthy 12-13 hour bus trip. However, the bucket list destination that was waiting for us in Siwa was what gave us the push.

For travelers coming from Cairo –
  • The route to Siwa Oasis covers approximately 800 km. While we recommend Go Bus for most bus travel within Egypt, they do not offer a route to Siwa.
    • Instead, we chose the bus company known as West & Mid Delta. Tickets can be purchased at 2 or 3 different bus stations, and we chose the one near the airport.
  • A one-way ticket costs approx. 225 LE, which is equivalent to $14.
  • The bus typically departs around 10 pm each night, though there might be occasional cancellations or delays.
  • While it’s a night bus, please note that the buses tend to be quite old and uncomfortable, so it’s advisable to bring a blanket and pillow if you hope to get some rest.
  • The bus does make 3 or 4 stops along the way for restroom breaks and snacks.

Around 9 am, we finally arrived in Siwa, having had limited sleep but brimming with excitement to kick off our adventure. Upon disembarking in the desert oasis town, we found tuk-tuks waiting to transport passengers to their final destinations.

Other options:

Alternative travel options include catching the bus in Alexandria, which shortens the trip somewhat. You can also opt for renting a private car from Cairo, with costs reportedly around $300.

Unfortunately, there are no commercial airlines servicing Siwa Oasis (as of now). However, it’s possible to fly into Marsa Matrouh, which is approximately 4 hours away from Siwa. From there, you can continue your journey by bus or private car.

cairo to siwa oasis bus

On the looong bus journey from Cairo to Siwa

Floating effortlessly in a small salt pool

Must-do Things in Siwa Oasis:

  • Natural Salt Lakes & Pools –  A true bucket list item! This is the main reason we decided to visit Siwa Oasis and it was really a once in a lifetime experience. Really really recommend you do this on your trip! (more on this in our Siwa Oasis Travel Guide).
  • Hot Springs – There are many different ones to choose from, but we had a great experience at Camp Ali Khaled (aka Mountain Camp).
  • Visit Fatnas Island at sunset – Its name, literally translated to “Fantasy Island,” says it all. This is an absolute must-visit location, especially at sunset! It offers epic views with a beautiful lake reflection, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere. Sip on a fresh juice and be sure to have your camera ready, as this spot provides one of the most breathtaking sunset vistas you’ll find in Egypt.
  • Great Sand Sea (Sand Dunes) – While we didn’t have the opportunity to explore these dunes, we’ve heard great reviews about their beauty. They happen to be the third largest dune field globally. In this area, you can engage in activities like sandboarding, sunset bonfires, 4X4 rides, and even camping.
  • The Fortress at Shali – This mosque has a history spanning over 800 years. Constructed from a distinctive material known as karshif, which comprises salt, sand, and clay, it stands as a symbol of Siwa’s rich history and its people.
fatnas island egypt

The dreamy Fatnas Island

fatnas island egypt at sunset

Fatnas Island at sunset

Where to Stay in Siwa Oasis:

There are many beautiful places to stay in Siwa Oasis in different price ranges, as well as different comfort levels. Make sure to check the location on a map, because some of the hotels are located conveniently in the city center, but some are farther out. There are mainly tuk-tuks to get around, so it depends what kind of experience you’re going for and how much time you’ll spend outside of your hotel.

We booked on short notice and stayed at Siwa Shali Resort ($$). It’s 3 km outside of the city center. Any time we needed anything we had to text our tuk-tuk driver Abdul to come and get us (which was a bit of a hassle, since WiFi isn’t very strong). We paid around $45 a night. It wasn’t too bad, but we probably wouldn’t stay at this hotel again if we went back to Siwa.

Some other hotel options:

  • Shali Lodge ($$)
  • Taziry Eco Villages ($$$)
  • Adrere Amellal ($$$$) – This luxury desert eco-lodge is stunning. They offer candle lit dining, open fires, a swimming pool, organic food, and excursions.

Siwa Shali Resort

Egypt Itinerary - Siwa Oasis 5

Take an adventure day to swim in the Siwa salt pools

Day 13 (Evening): Back to Cairo

Options:

  • We took the night bus departing at 8 pm from Siwa to Cairo (this will be the last stop on your Egypt itinerary if you’re opting for the 2 week itinerary). This bus takes around 10 hours and will make multiple stops for bathroom breaks, snacks, etc.
  • If you’re flying out of Alexandria (instead of Cairo), you can take the Siwa to Alexandria bus, which would make the trip a bit shorter.
  • You can also hire a private driver to take you to Cairo, which from what we heard costs around $300.
  • Take a bus or private car to Marsa Matrouh (4 hours from Siwa), then you can fly from Marsa Matrouh to Cairo.

If you have more time, you can fly from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh

Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh

Day 14: Arrive to Cairo + Go to Airport

Depending on which option you choose for getting to Cairo, you will likely arrive back to Cairo in the morning or afternoon. Take a taxi to the aiport and catch your flight to your next destination.

 

Hope you have an amazing trip! Continue reading if you have more time and you want to know what to do for a 3 week Egypt itinerary ↓

Sunrise at Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh

Al Sahaba Mosque - Sharm El Sheikh

Day 15+: If you have more time

2 weeks in Egypt is enough to see the highlights, but your trip may feel a bit rushed. If you have more time (1 extra week), you can choose to either:

  • Spend more time in each destination on this Egypt itinerary (especially Siwa, since the journey is so long)
  • Take a slow 4 day, 3 night Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan
  • When you return to Cairo, after your trip to Siwa, go to the airport and fly to Sharm El Sheikh (this is what we did)
    • Visit Al Sahaba Mosque
    • Stay in Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh (a stunning resort)
    • Scuba dive or snorkel in the Red Sea
  • When you return to Cairo, after your trip to Siwa, go to the airport and fly to Marsa Alam
    • Enjoy beautiful and relaxing beaches
    • Swim with wild dolphins (please do your research before going and choose an ethical company that doesn’t chase dolphins)
    • Visit Wadi El Gemal National Park
  • If you’re a scuba diver, you may want to look into a 1 week liveaboard diving trip. I did one in 2019 that left from Hurghada and visited Brothers Islands, Daedalus and Elphinstone. We did 17 dives throughout the week and encountered TONS of incredible sealife (including sharks).
Diving with sharks in Brothers Island Egypt

Diving with sharks at Brothers Island

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Egypt Itinerary and Travel Guide 1
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Hi! I'm Carrie Salter, a travel blogger originally from the USA, but now traveling and living abroad full time. I share travel guides, travel tips, and inspiration from around the world!

Comments:

  • Dolly Jones

    February 24, 2024

    so helpful. I recently spent 2.5 weeks in Egypt. One week on a liveaboard and another doing tours. OMG, it was so freaking fabulous. I’m hoping to return with my kids. You’ve given me ideas for more great places to visit. Thanks so much.

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