A Portrait of Egypt (sailing Luxor to Aswan)

With so much to discover in this alluring destination, Egypt deserves in-depth exploration and that’s how we’ve tailored the journey.

Journey Overview

With so much to discover in this alluring destination, Egypt deserves in-depth exploration and that’s how we’ve tailored the journey. You’ll be guided to the most iconic museums and ancient monuments around Cairo and along the Nile and be introduced to some unexpected attractions that will take you off the beaten path. See a different side of Cairo in its Coptic neighbourhood and browse the stalls of its oldest bazaar, explore some unexpected tombs at Aswan and key WWII battlegrounds in the Western Desert with time to soak up the Mediterranean vibe in Alexandria.

Journey Highlights

• Marvel at the mighty Pyramids and Sphinx and recently excavated tombs of their builders 
• Wander through the lanes of Coptic Cairo to the Church of St. Simeon 
• Stay in grand Victorian style at two Nile-side palace hotels 
• Cruise for four nights in luxury aboard newly refurbished Sanctuary Sun Boat IV
• Admire vivid wall paintings in Aswan’s tombs of the Nobles 
• Discover Roman ruins and the ultra-modern Library in Alexandria 
• Learn sobering stories of Australian soldiers at the renowned war site of Al Alamein

Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cairo

Receive a warm A&K welcome on your arrival and transfer privately to your luxury hotel on the banks of the River Nile. Cairo, the bustling Egyptian capital is home to colourful markets, authentic Arabic restaurants and an inspiring art scene. Spend time orientating yourself with a leisurely walk around the tree-lined streets of the Garden City neighbourhood, admiring celebrated local artworks in the lobby or simply meandering along the waterfront Corniche.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (Nile View Room)

Day 2: Cairo

Wander through 7,000 years of history accompanied by your private Egyptologist at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and uncover the treasures of Tutankhamun and the Mummy Room. Designed by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon, the Egyptian Museum is home to more than 120,000 ancient artifacts including the funerary mask of Tutankhamun made from 11kg of solid gold, discovered by Howard Carter in 1925.

Leaving the city, continue to the 4,500-year old Pyramids of Giza, built for Pharaohs Cheops the oldest and largest, Chephren and Mycerinus, the smallest. The Great Pyramid of Giza (Pyramid of Cheops) is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence and you’ll have privileged access into the tomb. Lying to the east is the legendary Great Sphinx rising from the Giza plateau. Having inspired the imaginations of emperors, poets, artists, scholars and travellers for centuries, it remains a truly enigmatic feature of Cairo. Continue to the Solar Boat Museum to view the re-assembled funerary boat of King Cheops, one of the most important archaeological finds in Egypt since the Tomb of Tutankhamun. You will also have the chance to view the more recently excavated tombs that belong to the workers who built the mighty pyramids.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (Nile View Room) | Meals: BL

Day 3: Cairo

Be guided by your Egyptologist through the narrow, twisting lanes of Coptic Cairo to the Church of St Simeon the Tanner, a beautiful church in the heart of Moqattam, a suburb of south-eastern Cairo built to serve the local inhabitants there who are predominantly Christian. This is the area of the rubbish collectors who were moved here in the late 1960s, to work on classifying garbage for recycling. The current building dates to the 1970s and the body of Saint Samaan the Tanner (the Shoemaker) was later moved here. Several chapels were added later and murals on the rocks on the hill behind were carved to feature biblical scenes. 

Continue to the Islamic Saladin Citadel where one of Cairo’s most prominent mosques and landmarks, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, is located. Soak up the breathtaking views and sneak a peek at the nearby Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and the Al-Rifa’i Mosque.

Uncover another side of Cairo when you immerse yourself in the magical Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, recalling a time when the area was the heart of the old walled city. Traverse the ancient thoroughfare from the massive fortified Fotouh Gate to the beautifully-designed Zuweila gate through some of the most traditional parts of the bazaar where life has changed little in centuries. There are more listed buildings per square metre here than on any other street in the world and, in this part of the bazaar, you’ll see Egyptians going about their daily business, bargaining for everyday items. Pass by the liquorice-tea-sellers, the colourful spice stalls with obscure roots and magical powders, black-swathed women, and brightly-painted donkey-carts overflowing with watermelons and mangos. Stop for a breather in the heart of the bazaar at El- Fishawy coffee shop which was built over 200 years ago. Try a cup of aniseed tea, the hibiscus infusion house special or the locally brewed tea and coffee 
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (Nile Room) | Meals: BL

Day 4: Cairo – Luxor

Set off on your morning flight south to Luxor where you are met and transferred to your elegant hotel on the Corniche facing the Nile River. After time to refresh, drive north to Dendera to discover the Ptolemaic temple of the goddess Hathor, who enjoyed great devotion as the deity of maternal and family love, beauty and music, and whom the Greeks associated with Aphrodite. This wonderfully preserved temple complex is almost intact, allowing a special glimpse of its former glory. Hathor is portrayed throughout with a cow head or cow ears. Return to your accommodation where the remainder of the day is at leisure.

Tonight, witness a dazzling Sound and Light show at the Temple of Karnak. Wander through the history of the world's largest-ever temple complex, narrated by the voices of the pharaohs, and watch the shadows play off the enormous columns in the grand Hypostyle Hall. A horse-drawn carriage guides you back through the streets of Luxor to your hotel.  
Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor (Luxury Room) | Meals: B

Day 5: Luxor

Transfer to the private riverside dock to board Sanctuary Sun Boat IV or Sanctuary Nile Adventurer, your luxurious home afloat the River Nile. Upon arrival, you have an opportunity to visit the strikingly, graceful Temple of Luxor.

After lunch on board, join your Egyptologist on a tour of the West Bank of Luxor to explore the Valley of the Kings, most famous for the tomb of Tutankhamun, with its legendary treasures, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.2 There are 63 tombs here, with different ones open each day. You also have the chance to visit at least one tomb in the Valley of the Queens and visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. On your way back to the river pass by the famed Colossi of Memnon, the two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep II.This evening on board enjoy drinks, dinner and a cultural performance.
Sanctuary Sun Boat IV or Sanctuary Nile Adventurer (Nile Deck cabin)  | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Luxor – Edfu

After breakfast on board, begin your day with a visit to the Temple of Karnak, the world’s largest religious site. Spread over 200 acres, this complex of ruined temples, pylons, sacred lakes and chapels is breath-taking and an insight to the extraordinary achievements of the pharaohs. Lunch is served in the lounge whilst you sail to Esna. 

After lunch, explore the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum at Esna. The beautifully-preserved Great Hypostle Hall was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius; it was excavated from the silt that had accumulated through centuries of annual Nile floods and is about nine meters lower than present-day street level. Back on board enjoy afternoon tea and later dinner as the ship cruises to Edfu.
Sanctuary Sun Boat IV or Sanctuary Nile Adventurer (Nile Deck cabin)  | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Edfu – Aswan

Following breakfast, explore the extraordinary Temple of Horus, one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt. To reach the temple, board a horse drawn-carriage through town. 

Back on board, lunch is served as you cruise to Kom Ombo.  Venture ashore to the Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek. The temple stands at a bend in the Nile where, in ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the riverbank. Later, afternoon tea is served in the lounge and you have the chance to take part in an Egyptian cooking lesson as you sail to Aswan, a bustling market town in the south. Tonight, an Egyptian themed event is planned on board with traditional entertainment and local cuisine. 
Sanctuary Sun Boat IV or Sanctuary Nile Adventurer (Nile Deck cabin) | Meals: BLD

Day 8: Aswan

A breakfast buffet is served on board and the morning is at leisure.

After lunch, board a motorboat for the short ride to the Island of Agilika where you visit the majestic Philae Temple, a beautiful shrine dedicated to the goddess Isis, which was rescued from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s and rebuilt stone by stone on higher ground. Next stop is the Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in their pyramids and temples, here you will also see the Unfinished Obelisk, located in the northern region of the stone quarries.

You will also have a chance later today for a short cruise on a felucca (a typical Egyptian sail boat) around Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener’s Botanical Gardens and the Aga Khan Mausoleum. Tonight, there will be a farewell dinner. 
Sanctuary Sun Boat IV or Sanctuary Nile Adventurer (Nile Deck cabin) | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Aswan

Disembark this morning and take a short flight to one of Egypt’s most awe-inspiring sights – the colossal temples of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel. Built by Ramses the Great on the edge of his empire to impress his might and power upon all those entering Egypt through the south, these massive temples were moved stone by stone in 1964 to higher ground to escape the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Following your visit return to Aswan and your hotel. 
Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan (Nile Wing Luxury Room) | Meals: BL

Day 10: Aswan

Venture to the desert cliffs of Aswan's west bank to seek out the tombs of ancient Egyptian governors and nobles from the 23rd to the 18th century BC. Many of the tombs still have vivid wall paintings showing scenes of everyday life in ancient Egypt and hieroglyphic biographies of the nobles. The 12th dynasty tombs of Sarenput I and Sarenput II are the most elaborate. In the latter, look out for the stone slab used for sacrifices with a drainage spout for the blood. Ride a camel to the ruins of St Simeon Monastery, a Coptic Christian establishment named after a local saint and inhabited for 700 years until the 14th century, alternatively return to the hotel to relax or perhaps take a wander around town. 
Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan (Nile Wing Luxury Room) | Meals: B

Day 11: Aswan – Alexandria

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairo and journey by road to Alexandria, the “Pearl of the Mediterranean". This seaside city has been a destination for travellers since its foundation by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. After declining into a sleepy fishing village, Alexandria was revived in the 19th century as an important port with immigrants from Europe and the Levant arriving here to settle, bringing a cosmopolitan flair that was so aptly captured in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet. 

On arrival the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax at the hotel – you may choose to enjoy its private stretch of sandy beach or instead amble through the San Stefano neighbourhood, known for its architecture, fine dining and high-end shopping.
Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano (Sea View Room) | Meals:BL

Day 12: Alexandria

Descend into the Catacombs of Kom El Shugafa, the largest Roman burial site in Egypt and the final resting place for 300 individuals, whose tombs are cut into the bedrock in massive tiers. The artisans who built the tombs in the second century AD combined ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman motifs in a fascinating style. 

Continue to the Library of Alexandria which was reborn in a daring design in 2002 on the supposed site of the ancient library, an important seat of leaning which burned to the ground in the fourth century AD. Afterwards, continue to the Roman Amphitheatre and imagine the crowds cheering at a musical performance or a wrestling match. The amphitheatre is the only one of its kind in Egypt and has room for 800 spectators on white marble seats. The acoustics are such that if you stand on the stage and whisper, a person in the back row should be able to hear you. 
Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano (Sea View Room) | Meals:BL

Day 13: Alexandria – Cairo

Departing Alexandria, journey west along the Mediterranean coast to El Alamein, scene of two of the most decisive battles of World War II. Follow the stories of Australian diggers in the Military Museum and Commonwealth War Cemetery, where 7,000 tombstones overlook the desert battlefield. Transfer back to Cairo for your last night.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (Nile Room) | Meals: BL

Day 14: Depart Cairo

Private transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Note: For select dates, the sailing component of this itinerary can be operated on the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer'. 

Show Full Itinerary
Accommodation/Partners

Accommodation/Partners

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo

A Portrait of Egypt (sailing Luxor to Aswan)

The majestic Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza is a beacon of sophisticated hospitality on the legendary Corniche along the bank of ... Read more

Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor

A Portrait of Egypt (sailing Luxor to Aswan)

The Winter Palace was built in 1886, within a tropical garden on the banks of the Nile. The hotel has a central location, just minutes fr ... Read more

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

A Portrait of Egypt (sailing Luxor to Aswan)

A favourite hotel in Egypt for old world charm with a delightful old world elegance. Positioned on a pink granite outcrop overlooking the ... Read more

Sanctuary Sun Boat IV

A Portrait of Egypt (sailing Luxor to Aswan)

This beautifully appointed and perfectly designed vessel offers a cruise experience like no other. The craft is spacious, intimate and el ... Read more

Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano

A Portrait of Egypt (sailing Luxor to Aswan)

Four Seasons rekindles the glamour and prestige of San Stefano, Egypt's legendary Mediterranean resort. It's impossible not to be impress ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey