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Iconic 7-13 Day Egypt Itinerary for First Timers 

Iconic 7-13 Day Egypt Itinerary for First Timers 

All of the best places to visit in Egypt are spread throughout the country, making creating an itinerary to visit them all quite a challenge. 

While fitting all the most popular attractions into one trip is going to be quite the packed schedule, don’t let that scare you away!

I’ve created the perfect itinerary for first-time visitors to Egypt, even if you have just 7 days! It’s all based on my own experience as a solo female traveler but it’s a great itinerary for anyone. 

Below I’ve given you all the details you need to complete the trip in an efficient and affordable way with some bonus trips for those who want to extend their trip up to nearly 2 weeks. 

Egypt Itinerary Highlights

  • Sounds & Light Show at the Pyramids
  • Saqqara Necropolis ancient burial grounds
  • Valley of the Kings 
  • Snorkeling with Wild Dolphins
  • Boat Ride on the Nile
  • Hot air balloon ride

Overview of the Perfect 7-13 Day Egypt Itinerary

Whether you have 1 week or 2, crafting the perfect itinerary to make the most of your vacation is vital when planning your first trip to Egypt. 

Luckily for you, I’ve crafted the perfect itinerary for first-time visitors to savor the best of this incredible country without feeling rushed. I also have some handy travel tips that you will want to read before you set off. 

In just 7 days you’ll visit all of Egypt’s most popular ancient wonders, and if you have a few more days, we’ll dive deeper into some of the country’s more hidden gems that are equally as worthy of your time.  

Day 1: Cairo – Arrival + Sounds & Light Show at the Pyramids.
Day 2: Cairo – Visit the Pyramids, Sphinx & Saqqara + Egyptian Museum + flight to Hurghada.
Day 3: Hurghada – Snorkeling with wild dolphins & desert ATV trip.
Day 4: Transfer from Hurghada to Luxor
Day 5: Luxor – Explore West Bank
Day 6: Luxor – Hot-air balloon flight + Karnak & Luxor Temples  + felucca ride on Nile River.
Day 7: Domestic flight to Cairo OR continue onto Aswan
Day 8-10: Aswan – Visits to Edfu, Kom Ombo & Abu Simbel Temples, Nubian museum, High Dam & the unfinished obelisk + Late flight to Cairo.
Day 11-12: Bahariya Oasis Tour – hot and cold springs +  Temple of Alexander the Great
Day 13: Final departure from Cairo with optional Hanging Church and Saladin Citadel.

How to Get Around Egypt

Egypt is quite a large country and for most of this itinerary, the best way to get between larger cities is to fly. While trains and buses are an option for many of these legs, the distances are much longer and will eat into a lot of your vacation time. 

That being said, there are a handful of smaller towns where you will need to take a transfer or bus to your destination. But don’t worry, I have tried to keep the travel time down where I can in this itinerary. 

One last option that I have included for those of you who have 2 weeks to travel is a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan which could be an incredible experience for those who have the time. 

Egypt itinerary

When to Visit Egypt

Picking the right time for your Egyptian adventure is vital if you want to make the most of your trip as Egypt’s weather can get pretty extreme.

The best time to visit Egypt is from October to April when the weather is not too hot yet still more than sunny enough to enjoy all of the country’s best attractions. 

Keep in mind that the Islamic holy month of Ramadan often falls within this time frame, during which many shops and restaurants will be closed during the day.

May to September are Egypt’s summer months when it can reach temperatures up to 122 F (50C), especially in Upper Egypt. 

These extreme temperatures make outdoor activities a bit of a challenge in Summer, but if you’re a sun worshipper and plan to stick to the coast, you can still enjoy the Mediterranean and Red Sea beaches. Just be prepared for some scorching days!

Complete 7 Day Egypt Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Cairo

Your Egyptian odyssey begins in Cairo, the bustling capital. After landing at Cairo International Airport, head to your chosen accommodation for check-in and get ready to start your adventure with a visit to the legendary Pyramids of Giza. 

Since you will probably be quite tired from traveling, take the time to settle in before heading out to see the captivating Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids in the evening. 

It’s an immersive experience that takes you on a journey through Egypt’s history as it’s projected on the pyramids around 7:30 p.m

Where to Stay in Cairo

Kempinski Nile Hotel – Luxurious 5-star hotel with a rooftop pool overlooking the city and Nile River. 

Panorama View Pyramids – Beautiful modern hotel with incredible Pyramid view. 

Sphinx and ​Pyramids Inn – Budget-friendly hotel with a view of the Pyramids. 

Day 2: Cairo & Flight to Hurghada

I hope you didn’t think that you’d only get to see the pyramids once on this trip! Today we’re heading back for a second glitz with more time to explore the sites more thoroughly. 

Begin by visiting the Great Sphinx, the guardian of the pyramids. Gaze upon this mysterious statue and contemplate its history before taking an iconic picture of kissing from a distance. 

The colossal structures you’ll see are unmissable wonders of the ancient world. You can marvel at their grandeur from the outside or explore the interior of one of the 3 pyramids which are open to the public. 

Next, make your way to Saqqara, home to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, one of the earliest colossal stone buildings. Explore the vast necropolis and admire the intricate hieroglyphs adorning the ancient tombs.

In the afternoon, immerse yourself in Egypt’s rich history at the Egyptian Museum, home to a remarkable collection of artifacts including the treasures of King Tutankhamun

After an action-packed day, I recommend taking an evening flight to Hurghada on the Red Sea to make the most of your time! 

Day 3: Hurghada

Hurghada is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts located on The Red Sea coast which is famous for its vibrant coral reefs and marine life. 

Here you will have a lifetime chance to swim with wild dolphins in their natural habitat. So make sure to book straight into a snorkeling tour to fully experience this incredible spot. 

In the afternoon you’re in for a huge contrast as you take an exhilarating ATV trip through the mesmerizing desert landscapes surrounding Hurghada. I hope you’re up for some adrenaline as you ride up, down, and over all the dunes. 

Where to Stay in Hurghada

The Oberoi Beach Resort – a 5-star beachfront resort with private and shared pools. 

El Gouna Elite Sea View Residence – Suites and apartments with an amazing beachfront location 

Moon Beach Suites – Very affordable beachfront apartments with a pool. 

Day 4: Transfer to Luxor

Take the morning to relax and soak in the Red Sea’s tranquility. You’ve earned a little relaxing time on this epic vacation and you’ve got plenty more action coming up in this trip! 

In the afternoon, get ready for a 4-hour transfer to Luxor, an incredible open-air museum town that is sure to fill your need for more history with its array of ancient treasures and historical sites.

Where to Stay in Luxor

Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor – Regal 5-star resort with an amazing pool

Nefertiti Hotel Luxor – Chic mid-range hotel with an incredible rooftop.

Djorff Palace – Luxury on a budget with a quiet location. 

Day 5: West Bank of Luxor

Luxor holds the key to some of Egypt’s most iconic sites and today is a day full of history.

Begin your day by exploring the renowned Valley of the Kings, a vast necropolis home to the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Make sure to take the opportunity to go down into the tomb of Ay which is the only tomb open to the public. 

Next, visit the awe-inspiring Hatshepsut Temple which not only has incredible architecture for the time but also offers great views of the surrounding landscape. To top off your day, don’t forget to explore Medinet Habu, a mortuary temple featuring well-preserved reliefs and inscriptions that reveal Egypt’s ancient history.

There’s so much to do in Luxor so if you have more time and are passionate about history, you can of course spread the sights out over a couple of days. 

Lastly, if you loved the sound and lights show in Giza, you’ll be happy to know that they do a similar Sound and light Show at Karnak Temple which is absolutely worth a visit. 

Day 6: Luxor & Karnak Temple

I hope you got lots of sleep last night because today we need to rise early for a magical hot-air balloon flight over Luxor

Prepare for a breathtaking view of the city’s temples, monuments, and the mighty Nile River doused in the golden light of sunrise, this is most likely going to be one of your biggest highlights of the trip!

After the flight, explore Karnak Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in the world. Here you can wander through its grand halls, obelisks, and sacred lakes as you uncover the history of this incredible site.

And to top it all off, in the afternoon it’s time to enjoy a relaxing felucca boat ride on the Nile River. The perfect way to unwind and take in the picturesque views of this famous place.

Day 7: Fly to Cairo

If you only have 7 days for your vacation, it’s time to fly to Cairo and then onwards to your home. 

This 7-day itinerary really packed a punch, covering all the biggest tourist attractions that are absolutely must-visits for first-timers in Egypt. 

That isn’t to say you’ve seen it all though! If you have more than 7 days available, I have some more great stops for you so read on! 

Luxor Egypt weather

Bonus Stops for Up to 13 Day Itinerary

Whether you have 8,9,10 or more days for your trip to Egypt, you can easily adapt the following additional days to suit your needs. 

Day 7-10: Aswan

For those of you with a couple of extra days, your adventure continues as you explore more of this fascinating country.

To get to Aswan from Luxor you have a few options. You can either take a bus or private transfer by car which will take around 3.5 hours, or alternatively opt for a multiday cruise which will stop at additional sights like Edfu Temple on the way. 

Along the way, you should check out the Edfu Temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, showcasing impressive hieroglyphs and grand architecture, and visit the unique Kom Ombo Temple which offers insights into Egyptian religion. This car transfer includes a stop at both on the way from Luxor to Aswan.

Once you arrive, you’ll have plenty more Nubian culture and stunning temples to explore in the south of Egypt which is why you should dedicate 3-4 days to see it all. Your first stop here should be the Abu Simbel Temples, make sure to dedicate the full afternoon (at least). 

One of the highlights of your trip will undoubtedly be a visit to the Abu Simbel Temples. Ramesses II built two profoundly captivating temples that were originally carved solely out of a mountainside in order to immortalize himself and his much-beloved wife Nefertari. However, the temples were relocated in 1959 in order to save them from the rising Nile River.

The four 20-meter-high colossal of the Pharaoh himself are dazzling and the inside hall is supported by 8 gigantic Osirid pillars, all 18 meters long. Walking down this hall is an enthralling experience itself!

While in Aswan, there are a few more sites to see around the city itself so don’t miss the Nubian Museum, which delves into the rich history and heritage of the Nubian people, plus the High Dam and the Unfinished Obelisk.  

After another action-packed few days, grab a late flight back to Cairo for the final leg!

Where to Stay in Aswan

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract – 5-star hotel on the Nile with incredible facilities.

Kato Dool Wellness Resort – Beautiful and colorful beachfront resort for a unique experience.

Nubian Palace – Fun and budget-friendly hotel in a great location. 

Day 11-12: Bahariya Oasis Tour

After a brief overnight in Cairo, it’s time to head back out into the desert! The easiest way to explore the tranquil desert haven of Bahariya Oasis is to take a 2-day desert camp tour

On the tour, you’ll explore the area’s therapeutic hot and cold springs like the Bir Sigam and Bir el-Gebel springs, and take in the serene landscapes of Gebel al-Ingleez and Gebel Dist, where you can enjoy captivating vistas.

Overnight you will sleep in a luxury tent in the middle of the desert. A unique experience to top off a memorable trip to Egypt for sure! 

A visit to the Temple of Alexander the Great will add a historical touch to your desert experience before you head back to Cairo, but not all tours include this so make sure to check before booking if it is important to you. 

Day 13: Departure from Cairo

Your incredible Egyptian journey is coming to a close! 

If you have an afternoon flight and are looking to squeeze in a little more, consider visiting the Hanging Church and the Saladin Citadel in Cairo, two historical landmarks that will provide a final glimpse into Egypt’s rich heritage.

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