Are you planning a trip to Egypt and trying to see its highlights from Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel in 7 days? This post is here to help you plan your one week in Egypt and see as much as you possibly can!
We were fortunate to have 7 full days to explore Egypt. Now, we normally try to spend 10 days in a country, but we also wanted to go to Jordan for a full 3 days on this vacation too. This ended up working out quite well, though. One full week in Egypt felt like a good amount of time to see its highlights at a relatively relaxed paced (at least compared to our normal touring pace). By the time we had to board our plane to Jordan, we left Egypt feeling satisfied and ready for our next destination.
For this post, I’ll share how I would do 7 days in Egypt if I had to do it over. (This isn’t our exact itinerary.) There were some aspects of our itinerary that I would have done differently, and I’ll be noting them in here.
*And please note, if you are interested in doing a Nile River Cruise, depending on which cruise you choose and where it departs from, you’ll have to board on a specific day of the week. You may need to split your time in Cairo.
How to Spend 7 Days in Egypt – The Ultimate Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive in Cairo + Optional evening tour
Depending on the flight you choose, you will likely have just enough time to get checked into your hotel, grab dinner and go to sleep. Of course, this depends on where you are flying from. If you have time and aren’t too jet-lagged, you could do a tour that evening, such as exploring Cairo’s markets with a local guide. (Click here for more info on that.)
or if you have the time…
*Note: These tours will not be within the grounds of the Pyramids. They are at a distance from them because the grounds typically close well before sunset.
Day 2 – Pyramids of Giza + Cairo Museum or Saqqara
It is a good idea to see the Pyramids of Giza at your earliest opportunity. I had been wary of this and wanted to save it for last, as I thought it would be better to not be tired after our flight. I was also worried the other sights in Egypt would pale in comparison if I saw the Pyramids first… I was wrong on this one! See them ASAP.
This is because, from a chronological standpoint, the Pyramids of Giza are going to have been built earlier than anything else you will see on the other days. My other reason for suggesting to see them first is because if you run into any issues with your tour (like we did) or the Pyramids closing unexpectedly (this happens every once in a while when a celebrity or politician visits), you’ll still have the opportunity to see them at a different time.
Morning – Visit the Pyramids of Giza
Visiting the Giza Pyramid Complex is far more pleasant in the morning. You’ll also get better photos from the panoramic viewing area in the morning. (*Click here for more information.)
Afternoon – Tour the Egyptian Museum or Saqqara + Memphis
Many tours combine visiting the Pyramids with the Egyptian Museum or Saqqara. This is entirely personal preference, of course. If I had to choose, I would say the Egyptian Museum in Cairo wins, hands down for me. (Especially if the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum is going to be open when you visit!) The amount of history crammed into that museum is simply astounding. However, Saqqara and Memphis are both interesting to visit as well. They are also relatively quiet places to visit if you’re looking to escape the crowds of tourists. (*Click here to read more about Saqqara, and click here to check out my tips for visiting the Egyptian Museum.)
With the way our flights had worked out, we were able to see Saqqara and Memphis as well before we left Cairo. (Again, though, if you can’t do all of these – I choose the Egyptian Museum.)
Day 3 – Fly to Luxor for a Nile Cruise // Karnak + Luxor Temples
We had opted for a Nile River Cruise to see the remainder of the sights. You don’t have to do a Nile River Cruise by any means, you could take the train to these destinations or fly to Aswan and then to Luxor and take day trips to all of the places mentioned. (You can also read my full Nile River Cruise review to decide for yourself.)
Morning – Flight to Luxor + Nile River Cruise Check-in
For us, our cruise was leaving from Luxor (you could also depart from Aswan – depending on which days work best for your itinerary). We spent the morning at the airport and then getting checked into our cruise. We also spent a little time wandering around Luxor.
Afternoon – Explore Karnak & Luxor Temples
By about 3 pm that afternoon we set off with a tour group to explore Karnak and Luxor Temples in Luxor. They are both incredible to see. Karnak Temple is actually the second most visited sight in Egypt, the first is, of course, the Pyramids. (Click here for more information about visiting Karnak and Luxor Temples.)
Day 4 – Nile Cruise // Valley of the Kings
Morning – Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is where for nearly 500 years (from the 16th to 11th century BC) the tombs for the pharaohs and nobles were made. They are all located underground in this valley so they would be hidden from looters…and now you can tour some of them! Click here for more info.
Afternoon – Traveling to Edfu via Your Nile Cruise or….
We spent the afternoon relaxing on our Nile River Cruise. However, if you opt not to do the cruise, you could spend this afternoon exploring more in Luxor. (There is also the Valley of the Queens to see!)
Another option is to go straight to Aswan now and take the rest of your day trips from there.
Day 5 – Nile Cruise // Edfu & Kom Ombo
Edfu and Kom Ombo are towns along the Nile River in Egypt that are home to 2 famous temples – The Temple of Horus at Edfu and The Temple of Kom Ombo. I, personally, enjoyed the Temple of Horus at Edfu – it was extraordinary to see and when we visited right away in the morning, there were hardly any tourists there. (Click here for more info on visiting these two places.)
For our Nile Cruise, we visited Edfu straightaway in the morning and then we visited Kom Ombo later that afternoon. If you opt to visit these as a day trip from Luxor or a day trip from Aswan, this will be an all day tour.
Day 6 – Nile Cruise // Aswan Sightseeing
Morning – Temple of Isis (Philae Temple) + High Dam + Unfinished Obelisk
Aswan is a beautiful city located along the Nile River, and it is home to some very interesting places to visit! Out of all the cities we visited in Egypt, Aswan was, perhaps, my favorite. It was quite clean and modern and traffic was not as horrifically crazy as it was in most of Egypt. You can visit the Temple of Isis, which is actually located on an island and was built to honor the goddess Isis back in 690 BC. The High Dam (fed by the Nile River) is also not that far away…nor is the unfinished obelisk..which is the largest known ancient obelisk! (Click here to read more about all of these places.)
Afternoon – Relax or Do a Tour
You could spend your afternoon hanging about by the pool on your Nile River Cruise or your hotel or you could do an excursion. We visited the Nubian Village (you can click here to read my thoughts on that).
Another option is to take a sunset felucca ride and visit some of the islands in the area. (Personally, I think this would be the nicest option.)
Or you could see the Sound and Light Show at Philae Temple – which is supposed to be the best out of all of the sound and light shows.
Day 7 – Abu Simbel then back to Cairo then Home (or to Jordan, Perhaps?)
Morning – Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel is an absolute must-do if you are traveling to Egypt. This was honestly cooler for me than seeing the pyramids, and I have been dreaming about visiting the pyramids since I was 8! Abu Simbel is a village in Southern Egypt, near the border of Sudan. It is home to two massive rock-cut temples one for the great Egyptian ruler Ramses II and one for his chief wife, Queen Nefertari. (Click here to read more about visiting Abu Simbel.)
Afternoon – Flight home or more time in Aswan or Cairo
Depending on how your flight works out, you could fly from Aswan back to Cairo and then to wherever your international destionation is. Or you could spend another night in Aswan or Cairo and then fly out the next morning. (There is also a tiny airport in Abu Simbel – but flights are very few and far between!)
Hotels – Where We Stayed
While we were in Cairo/Giza we stay at the Marriott Mena House – which had incredible views of the Pyramids (as you can see above)! It was also a very luxurious place to stay. You can click here to read my full review of staying here.
For the remainder of the trip, we were on our Nile River Cruise. Again, we really enjoyed this! Click here to read the full review.
*Click here to see all of my posts from Egypt.
If you have any questions at all about this 7-day itinerary in Egypt – don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section, below.
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