AFRICA

Epic Egypt itinerary: 10 days for an extraordinary family journey


This Egypt itinerary will transport you on a fascinating journey of exploration that make you feel you have travelled back in time and are living among the History books!

The ancient Egyptian civilisation, studied all over the world, has always fascinated young children. The rich cultural heritage and majesty of its monuments, which in some cases have come down to us intact, makes Egypt a dream destination.

Whether you have considered to travel in Egypt to appreciate the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, or to relax on the idyllic beaches of the Red Sea, in the following itinerary you will find all the necessary information.

This itinerary is set over 10 days in Egypt and includes the best places to visit in Egypt. It has the right pace for a family visiting Egypt with kids, or whoever doesn’t want to rush from one place to another but prefers to take the time to also appreciate the local culture. At the end I will suggest how to adapt if you have only 1 week in Egypt available or if you could stretch it to 2 weeks in Egypt.

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO EGYPT: Even people accustomed to travelling independently often find themselves booking a trip to Egypt with a tour operator.

I can guarantee you it is not necessary, even independently you can organise almost everything in advance. When a guide is needed you can book independent tours that will make you appreciate more the places you are visiting, but you are not tied to a group tour schedule.

The only challenge of not having a guide with you all the time is being exposed to the continuous and restless attempts of the local Egyptians to sell you everything and anything.


At the very end you will find details on the practicalities: hotel, transport, visa, money.

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A few reflections on planning a trip to Egypt with kids

Our trip to Egypt was in October when our twins, Liam and Santiago, were almost 2 and half years old.

Taking children to Egypt presents some challenges, it is an amazing super fascinating country to visit, BUT at times you could also experience some heavy moments.

  • In October the weather is still really hot, over 30 degrees, so you are constantly juggling the desire to visit more things and the reality of walking at 1 pm under a strong burning sun, possibly with a toddler attached to your neck/back/arm
  • It is not a particularly clean country: this wasn’t a surprise for me as most people who travelled Egypt report this, but of course with kids you are constantly cleaning faces and hands in the hope to kill some germs. On top of that there is sand everywhere, and what’s more attractive for toddlers than playing with and even eating sand?

If you are comfortable travelling with small kids then you will soon get used to this, relax, and just allow more time to visit the different places. Plan to end your Egypt family vacation with a couple of days by the sea were the sand and sun will be your friend, and you will build life time memories.

In this other article I go through my best tips and advice to make a family trip to Egypt unforgettable!

Or you can read Best things to do in Egypt with kids, if you want a quick overview.

EGYPT ITINERARY: 10 DAYS SUMMARY

  1. Arrival Cairo
  2. Cairo
  3. Cairo-Aswan
  4. Aswan
  5. Nile Cruise
  1. Nile Cruise
  2. Nile Cruise
  3. Luxor-Red Sea
  4. Red Sea
  5. Red Sea-Departure

As you can see, in a 10 day trip to Egypt, there are some things left out, time in Luxor is sufficient for only a glimpse, but I think a Nile cruise is unmissable while you are there so I decided to cut time elsewhere to include it.

This itinerary assumes an early arrival and a late departure to take advantage of the full 10 days.

Amazing view from our room at the Marriot Mena House

DAY 1 EGYPT ITINERARY: THE PYRAMIDS

You will start your 10 day tour of Egypt arriving in Cairo. During your time in Cairo my recommendation is to stay in Giza in a place where you can appreciate the majesty of the Pyramids. On arrival transfer directly to your hotel in Giza and after a quick freshen up start your day.

We personally stayed at the Marriott Mena House (more info later). From there you can walk just 5 minutes and you reach the main ticket office of the Pyramids.

Egypt started a digitalisation process to allow all visitors to buy tickets online and reduce queues at the most famous attraction, but at the beginning of 2021 it is not in place yet (global pandemic fault?). In the mean time there is the possibility you will find a small queue at the ticket office.

It is always difficult to find the most updated price, but here you can check 2019-2020 entrance fee for all Egyptian archaeological and museum prices. That said, in summer 2020 the Tourism and Antiquities Minister cut the prices of most attractions for all foreign visitors to encourage them to go back. In summary, normal prices for foreigners (the government has been increasing these prices incredibly in the recent years) for the most common attractions are:

  • Giza Plateau area 200 EGP (€10.50, £9.30, $12.80)
  • The Great Pyramid 400 EGP (€21.00, £18.60, $23.60)
  • Pyramid of Khafre 100 EGP (€5.20, £4.65, $6.40)
  • Inclusive ticket (the general entrance + the Great Pyramid + the Boat Museum) 600 EGP (€31.30 £28.00 $38.20)

You are not allowed you to bring your camera inside the Pyramids. You can safely leave your camera with the guard at the entrance, 5 EGP will be enough as a tip when you exit. Don’t forget to keep your ticket because they use it to match to your camera.

In other sites/museums you will be able to buy a separate ticket to bring the camera with you. Although in the Pyramids we had no problems using our phones.

Entering the Pyramids with small kids

If you decide to enter the Great Pyramids with small kids (I definitely recommend it, even if there isn’t much to see inside) be aware that to reach the top chamber there are 2 long, steep, and cramped wooden slopes/stairs. Inside there is little air and it gets really hot.

OUR EXPERIENCE: Santiago didn’t have any problem to climb up, but to come down I have had to carry him…meanwhile Liam was less keen and preferred to be carried the whole time….. poor Mark!

Advice on visiting the Pyramids

There is a sense of magic to walk around and be so close to something so unique and historic. When we were there the site wasn’t particularly busy, and when we entered the Great Pyramid we were almost alone.

The site is big, but for an adult in good health, even if it is hot, it is absolutely possible to walk around and to get from the Pyramids to the Sphinx, and, with a bit of effort, even to the viewing platform. You should allow 3-4 hours.

Although if you are visiting the Pyramids with kids it could be different.

OUR EXPERIENCE: we are not in bad shape but I’m definitely not fit enough to walk in the strong heat with a 16kg child on my back for too long. From the moment we entered (and also before), we were hassled from touts that wanted to sell us something or convince us to ride a camel or horses.

At some point we decided to look if any of them actually had any healthy looking camels and we agreed for 300 EGP (in total for 1 hour with 2 camels) to get to the viewing point and then down to the Sphinx.

There are many people with their animals around the pyramids and not all of them look in good health, before you agree anything with anybody ask them to show you which camel or horse you are going to ride, and only accept if they seem well fed and in good health.

HOT TIP: if you take a ride on the horses or camels be sure to agree exactly where you are going and the price. Repeat it to them a couple of times including the actual guide. The guide that was guiding our camel ruined some of the magic of our camel tour because he wanted continuously to cut it shorter, and pushed a lot for additional money.

After Mark’s Camel Guide induced irritation had subsided he became philosophical wondering, “if you haven’t been ripped off by a Camel Driver have you even been to Giza?”, so maybe try to make peace with it in advance and enjoy the experience.

After arriving at the Sphinx you will probably start to feel the need for a rest. Take a taxi back to the hotel, however if you are fit for it then walking is faster as Taxis must take a longer route through often heavy traffic.

Even if you arrived early in the morning, your day has probably been tiring enough, my suggestion is to take it easy and relax for the rest of the afternoon, ready for a bigger day tomorrow.

DAY 2 EGYPT ITINERARY: 1 DAY IN CAIRO

Coptic Cairo

The second day is fully dedicated to exploring Cairo. It could be difficult to choose what to see in Cairo in just one day as it is a big city, but here are the highlights.
First thing in the morning you can take a Uber and go to the Coptic Cairo (~64 EGP). This is a lovely small area, one of the best places to visit in Cairo and it is really easy to walk around.

  • You can visit: the Hanging Church, possibly the oldest Christian church in Egypt; the Church of St. George, St. Barbara Church, the Ben Ezra Synagogue and the lovely Greek Orthodox cemetery.
    This visit takes around 2 hours, but you will need more if you also want to visit the Coptic museum.

HOT TIP: In this area there aren’t any restaurant options, only a cafe for small snacks and drinks. If your kids are picky eaters then better you bring something with you. Near the next stop, the Egyptian museum, you will many more options.

From Coptic Cairo you can take another Uber and get to the Egyptian museum (~35 EGP). Visiting the Egyptian museum around lunch time has the advantage of during the hottest hours of the day you will be indoors.

Egyptian Museum

IMPORTANT: A completely new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) should open by mid 2021 in a new location in Giza. Dates have not been confirmed yet.

The tickets are sold outside the museum entrance. You can bring your camera into the museum only if you pay for an extra ticket, don’t forget to buy it together with your entrance ticket or you will be asked to leave your camera at the entrance. The Mummies room also requires a separate ticket. You can buy it at the entrance or directly inside when you reach it.

Here is a cost overview:

  • Entrance fee: 200 EGP (€10.50, £9.30, $12.80)
  • Mummies room: 180 EGP (€9.40, £8.40, $11.50)
  • Combined ticket (entrance + Mummies room): 300 EGP (€15.60, £14.00, $19.20)

CAVEAT: A visit to this museum is a must do in Egypt, but I’m really glad that the new Museum (GEM) will soon open because the actual Egyptian museum was for me the biggest disappointment of our trip. I was prepared to find a place with old displays and in a transition phase, but I didn’t think it would have been so poor.

Don’t get me wrong, the pieces on display are amazing and fascinating truly historical artefacts, but they are poorly lit and often with no English explanations (or often no signage at all). You can’t take pictures in the Tutankhamun room or in the Mummies rooms.


HOT TIP: To appreciate the museum you would really benefit from a guided tour with an Egyptologist, that will help you to understand the humongous treasures that are displayed in front of you. You will not regret spending that money!Shortcode

Khan el-Khalili

After you finish your visit to the museum take another Uber (27 EGP) to quickly see the Khan el-Khalili market. It is a great bazaar to spend some time wondering around in.

It is a busy market with narrow streets and souvenirs of all kinds. Be careful to always check they are genuinely local and not bought in from other countries, and always negotiate price.

To finish your Cairo in a day little tour, you can simply eat something at the market or a nearby restaurant. Another option is to experience a different side of Cairo in one if its posh restaurants.

My research suggests to choose “8” or “The Birdcage”, Chinese and Thai fine dining restaurants. Unfortunately I can’t comment because we discovered only when we got there that they don’t accept kids! Ask your hotel owner to call and check if you want to try something different than the local cuisine, as outside Cairo you will not have many other opportunities.

A taxi back to the Mena house at this time should be fast enough and cost around 80 EGP.

Khan el-Khalili

DAY 3 EGYPT ITINERARY: SAQQARA AND FOOD TOUR

Saqqara

Saqqara is a impressive burial site and deserves a full half day, try to go early because there is no shade from the hot sun.

  • The stepped Pyramid of Djoser is the oldest in the world but it isn’t the only interesting thing. To access the site you need to go through a superb limestone wall, higher than 10m. After entering the door you will walk through a gigantic colonnade almost intact for nearly 5,000 years (the pillars are now covered with a concrete roof to protect them)

    I will maybe be boring but I must repeat that travelling in Egypt will make you step back in time!
  • Be aware some of the tombs close for an hour at 1pm (of course I went down one of them exactly as the guard was closing down the gate :()

OUR EXPERIENCE: We didn’t go early enough so in the end visited only a small part of the site because it was too hot for small kids. We took an Uber and when we arrived we asked the driver to wait for us. He kept the journey open on the app while we were exploring. We had the Uber for roughly 3 hours and from Giza to Saqqara the return journey was around 50km. We paid $14 (261 EGP, but the fare was 1.5x higher than usual)

Saqqara is another place where it is worth to have a guide to really deeply understand the wonder behind the sand. Here the entrance costs:

  • Site entrance + Emhoteb Museum 180 EGP (€9.40, £8.40, $11.50)
  • Pyramid of Djoser 100 EGP (€5.20, £4.65, $6.40)
  • Noble tombs + New Kingdom Cemetery 140 EGP (€7.30, £6.50, $9.00)
  • Tomb of Mereruka 80 EGP (€4.20, £3.80, $5.10)

Visitors Egypt Tours offer a tour to Saqqara that includes pick up, transportation, and tickets to visit Memphis and Saqqara.

Food tour

After recovering from the heat at your hotel (possibly with a splash in the swimming pool) it is time for a food tour.

A food tour is an amazing idea when travelling with kids. It gives them and you the possibility to try new and different foods without committing to a full meal. In Cairo you could feel overwhelmed by the variety of local places. Even with a good research it could be difficult to discover the local gems without local knowledge or more time.

The 2 ladies behind Bellies en Route do an incredible job sharing with you the heritage of Egyptian cuisine while also telling you the historical and cultural importance.

Our experience with them was absolutely perfect. We booked a private tour as they recommended, because with small kids we could tailor it to our needs and be flexible.

You will spent almost 4 hours walking in the side streets of Cairo, discovering places, and trying food you would never have tried or sometimes even heard of!

As we had a private tour they were also super helpful from the logistical point of view. Laila, our food tour guide, met us in front of the Egyptian Museum and she was really accommodating letting us leave our luggage safe in her car while walking around. After the tour we were going straight to the airport so it didn’t make sense to go back to Giza just to pick up the luggage.

The food tour ends the time in Cairo. It is time to move to Aswan (there are usually quite late flights). From central Cairo you can easily get an Uber (~150 EGP). Be aware of the traffic, in the evening it could take almost 1 hour and a half to get there.


I’m always looking for good food, read my foodie adventures in London if you are planning a trip there.

DAY 4 EGYPT ITINERARY: ASWAN

Nubian Village

You should have arrived in Aswan at the end of day 3.

Arriving in Aswan is like starting another trip. The airport is really small and from Arrivals you walk directly out into the street. Late in the evening there is no traffic, the air is warm, and the light wind will make you immediately relax and put a smile on your face.

You could decide to stay in Aswan or in the Nubian village just outside the city by the river Nile. We stayed at the Kato Dool Nubian resort. (more info after the itinerary)

In the morning, spend some time exploring the Nubian village. Colourful houses and friendly people will greet you as you wander around. They are most used to people coming here with organised tours, so in most cases you will not get too hassled to buy stuff.

Take advantage of a good local lunch prepared at your guesthouse or go to the Kato Dool, feet on the sand, river view, and excellent food!

Aswan City

In the afternoon go to Aswan. Our guesthouse owner organised for us a transfer with a speedboat (250 EGP) and after 10 minutes and lots of laughter from the kids we were there.

Walk around the city, the market, and along the Nile. You could visit Elephantine Island, or just take it easy embracing local life. To go to Elephantine island you can take the public boat that crosses the Nile (near the garden on the water front), or even engage in a little felucca tour to sail around it.

An alternative is to reach the Philae Temple or the High Dam.

At sunset enjoy a cocktail at the the iconic Old Cataract Hotel. To go back to the Nubian village you will need to agree a price with one of the many taxi drivers around as there is no Uber available.

OUR EXPERIENCE: in Aswan we took a bit of time to relax. We enjoyed the time in the Nubian village and just walking around the city of Aswan, the Souq and the gardens. We would have loved to sip a cocktail at the Old Cataract but unfortunately we arrived at the gate to be told that the hotel was fully reserved for a private event and closed to external people…what a disappointment!

Aswan is one of those cities where you could just pass by and think there is nothing to do or see, but if you slow down and spend some time here you end up finding it difficult to leave.

Aswan
Aswan

DAY 5 EGYPT ITINERARY: NILE CRUISE

On day 5 another adventure is starting: an Egypt Nile cruise.

You can choose between 2 types of boat to sail the Nile. There’s the classic cruise style big boat, and the traditional Dahabiya. The Dahabiya are small sailing boats with usually only 5 or 6 cabins. The Dahabiya will make you see life on the Nile from a different perspective while relaxing and slowing down the pace. In this 10 days in Egypt itinerary we will consider a Nile cruise on a Dahabiya boat.

We booked with Djed and everything was perfectly organised. They sail the Nile 4 times a week in both directions. When you put together your itinerary for Egypt double check where the cruise starts on that day of the week.

  • Aswan to Esna (Luxor). Downriver 3 nights from €570 per person (double occupancy)
    
  • Esna (Luxor) to Aswan. Upriver 4 nights from €760 per person (doubleoccupancy)
    

Kids 1 to 4 years stay free if sharing the cabin with adults, 20% discount for kids 5-12 years old. The prices include transfer from/to Aswan and Luxor, all the entrance fees, a guide with you all the time, full board (including even afternoon tea), all drinks (excluding alcohol) and wi-fi.


While sailing there is enough space for everybody to relax and enjoy the view. Several deck chairs, floor cushions, sunbeds, and a hammock. The Dahabiya are a small boat, but as you never have more than 12 adults the atmosphere is always peaceful and relaxed.


The crew is not unprepared for people travelling with kids, they are always happy to help, and sometimes even play with the kids. The concern that your kids could ruin the atmosphere for other guests is legitimate, but if they are well behaved you shouldn’t be worried.

You can read here more details about the Dahabiya Nile cruise. It will help you to decide if it is for you especially if you travel with toddlers.

Boarding the Dahabiya

Around 9am you will be picked up and driven to board a Dahabiya boat to start your Nile cruise! The feeling when you board is like stepping onto the set of an Agatha Christie movie!

I was so excited! I’m not a fan of cruises, but a Nile cruise was one of my dreams since forever, and after all the research and the doubt of booking a cruise with toddlers the dream was coming true.

After boarding you will meet the other passengers, the Egyptologist guide that will sail with you, the captain, and the crew. The guide will give you a brief of the 3 days you are going to spend together and the sailing will start.

Meals are usually served all together on the top deck.


Kom Ombo Temple and Crocodile Museum

On the first day in the afternoon you will visit the first site, the Kom Ombo Temple. This is an unusual double temple, dedicated to the local crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Haroeris (Hourus the elder), the Nile’s Gods.

It is considered special and unique for its design. There are two identical sections but completely independent dedicated to the two Gods.

A short walk from the Kom Ombo Temple there is the Crocodile museum. In a pleasantly cool small museum are kept the roughly 300 mummified crocodiles found nearby.

Reaching this site with a Dahabiya is particularly handy. Dahabiya are small boats that can moor almost everywhere and so reach spots the big cruise boats wouldn’t be able to. With a Dahabiya you only need a short walk to reach the temple.

DAY 6 EGYPT ITINERARY: NILE CRUISE

After an early breakfast you will visit the rock-cut chapels of Horemheb, Seti I, Ramses II and Merenptah, and explore the sandstone quarries at Gebel el-Silsila.

The sandstone quarry is an impressive site when you realise it supplied the stone for most of the major temples in Egypt. All the stone needed to travel on the Nile to reach their final destination.

On our second day during the day the wind picked up a little and we continued with a bit of sailing. (Usually Dahabiya boat are tugged by a motor boat, distant enough for you not to hear much noise)

In the afternoon you could have a lovely stop by a little beach to have a splash in the Nile.


BE CAREFUL: in the stagnant water of the Nile there is a parasite that could be potentially really dangerous. Where the river current is stronger there isn’t this risk, but always follow the boat captain’s advice about where to swim.

On the second night if the weather is good the crew will set an unforgettable dinner on the tranquil banks of the river.

DAY 7 EGYPT ITINERARY: NILE CRUISE

After breakfast the first stop will be the Edfu Temple. This temple, dedicated to Horus, is not on the Nile edge. You will need to reach it with a horse and carriage. This is all organised so you will not be able to choose based on healthy looking animals. Unfortunately ours was really skinny and made the start a bit sad.

The temple is majestic and one of the best preserved. It has been buried under sand 200 years ago which helped to preserve it. It could be quite busy and to enter it you will need to pass through a line of vendors hawking their wares.


In the afternoon there is another interesting and much less busier site. You will sail to El Kab, the ancient town of Nekheb, one of the oldest and most significant archaeological sites on the Nile. You will visit the remains of its temples and some of the tombs cut into the cliffs.

In the evening you will arrive in Esna, where the Dahabiya will moor for the night. You can decide to go out and explore if you wish. In my opinion, mooring by the city with its traffic and noise ruins a little the atmosphere of the last evening,

This is also the moment when you should prepare an envelope with a tip for the guide, the crew, and the captain. It is not mandatory, but this is the recommendation we got from our guide (who also gives you the envelopes).

DAY 8 EGYPT ITINERARY: LUXOR

The cruise will finish after breakfast around 10am.

In this 10 days in Egypt itinerary, as I mentioned at the beginning the time in Luxor is tight to make space for some relaxing time on the Red Sea beaches.

You will need to leave the Dahabiya around 7am, so request an early breakfast. You can book a driver to take you around Luxor during the day and then drive you to the Red Sea. We booked through the same company we used for the Nile cruise and we agreed on €130 plus €30 for the guide that accompanied us on the sightseeing.

HOT TIP: a taxi from Luxor to the Red Sea, needs a permit from the police which usually needs to be arranged the day before the journey. Keep this in mind as it could therefore be difficult to find a last minute transport solution. If you decide instead to stay longer in Luxor I’m sure you could find a much better price by asking different drivers.

In the short time in Luxor, you can visit the Valley of the Kings, the colossi of Memnon, and the Karnak Temple or the Temple of Hatshepsut.

The Valley of the Kings


The Valley of the Kings is an incredible place: a trip into another world in another dimension.

This is also the first place where you will find a lot of tourists, nothing to be worried about, but definitely many more than the other sites you visited. Many tourists holidaying on the Red Sea take the opportunity to come and visit Luxor in a long day trip, that’s why you will find it more crowded.

When you arrive, the first impression is quite underwhelming, but everything is happening underground so don’t worry, as soon as you step into the first tomb you will be rewarded with spectacular scenes.

Tickets cost:

  • Site entrance including 3 Tombs 240 EGP (€12.50, £11.20, $15.30)
  • Tutankhamun tomb 300 EGP (€15.60, £14.00, $19.20)
  • Ramses VI 100 EGP (€5.20, £4.65, $6.40)
  • Camera ticket 300 EGP (€15.60, £14.00, $19.20)


The general entry ticket allows you to enter 3 tombs of your choice, except for those tombs which are closed (some are “rested”, some are being maintained etc), and those tombs which require a separate extra ticket. To take pictures inside the tombs you have to pay another 300EGP for each camera you take pictures with, and you can only take pictures in the 3 tombs you choose with the entrance ticket (no photos in Tutankhamun’s tomb).

Which tombs to see in the Valley of the Kings

The tomb structures seem similar but none were the same as another. Common elements are: stairs or steep downhill entrance, long corridors with some side chambers, and at the end the chamber where the King Mummy would rest in a sarcophagus with storage chambers around it.


We visited the tombs of Ramses III, IV, and IX with the general entrance ticket. Ramses IV was particularly good. We bought 2 extra tickets to enter the tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses V/VI.


We decided to enter Tutankhamun’s tomb even though I knew it is one of the less impressive and you can’t take pictures inside. I can’t really recommend spending money on it…but the Tutankhamun legend has always been so strong in the modern history of Egypt that many people just can’t miss it. What is a bit creepy, but at the same time feeds the legend, is that his Mummy is still resting (well protected under a good glass box) in his tomb.


The site is perfectly accessible with a pram, until of course you need to enter the tombs. There is a bit of walking from the parking lot to the entrance (but a little electric train is available), so a pram could be useful; if you are there with a guide they can look after it while you enter the tombs.

OUR EXPERIENCE: The tombs we visited were all really close to the entrance and really easy to walk for Liam and Santiago, I would have liked to visit Merenptah tomb but our guide said that maybe for them it would have been too difficult as it has a lot of steep steps, looking at the structure now it doesn’t seem so steep, but of course I trusted our guide.


The Valley of the Kings was one of my highlights of the trip but I wasn’t well enough prepared, I’m really happy with what we saw but I encourage you to research in advance which tombs you would like to visit.


After the Valley of the Kings you will have a brief stop to see the Colossus of Memnon, and then move to the Karnak Temple.

Karnak Temple

The Karnak Temple is just incredible. I think it is one of the best places in Egypt. If you stay in Luxor you can go back at night to see the sound and light show, it must be magical. When you are wandering between the 134 gigantic pillars, you can’t help but feel you are in the “Death on the Nile” scene (if you have seen it). It is just mind blowing.

  • Entrance ticket costs 200 EGP and also includes the entrance to the open museum in Karnak (€10.50, £9.30, $12.80)
    

The Karnak Temple is actually a complex of different temples built over 2000 years. it is so spectacular that could be overwhelming.

When you start to walk through the avenue of the sphinxes be aware that these sphinxes were once connected with the Luxor Temple creating an incredibly long avenue. The great Temple of Amun is the main building. Updated by different Pharaohs it is still majestic and imposing.

Remains of many other sites are still visible all around, in different states of conservation. Don’t miss the Temple of Ramses II, the lake, the Temple of Khonsu, and the small Temple of Osiris.

Karnak Temple is another site where you can definitely appreciate much more of such an ancient culture when an expert guide can explain clearly to you what you are looking at.

To transfer to the Red Sea you will need to leave Luxor around 3pm. The transfer needs to go through a slow route that take almost 5 hours even if it is less than 250km.

Watch this video on YouTube.

DAY 9-10 EGYPT ITINERARY: RED SEA

The last 2 full days will pass by really slowly, relaxing and playing on the beach, eating really good food, kayaking, enjoying the playground, reading, and enjoying the sunrise! The best conclusion to a 10 days holiday in Egypt!


OUR EXPERIENCE: we decided to stay at the Radisson Blu Resort (more below) and we just relaxed. You can go out of the resort and visit Quesir, but we decided to unplug and just enjoy the sun, the sand, and the water. Liam and Santiago were 28 months and we all had a great time there!

To fly back you should be able to catch a connection from Hurgada to Cairo. Hurgada airport is around 90 minutes drive from el Quseir. You will need a taxi: you can ask your hotel to book one for you or you can ask one of the previous drivers, for sure they know someone!!!

ADAPT THE 10 DAYS IN EGYPT ITINERARY

Let’s have a look at how to easily adapt this itinerary if you have more or less time. If you only have a week in Egypt you will need to give up on the Red Sea break and move directly from Cairo to the Nile cruise, sacrificing the stop in Aswan. I think 3 days in Cairo is the minimum amount of time to really appreciate everything it has to offer and to get the first feeling of the different culture.

Below you have a one week in Egypt itinerary. As you can see even in a 7 day Egypt itinerary I recommend you do not cut out the Nile Cruise.

EGYPT ITINERARY: 7 DAYS

  1. Arrival Cairo
  2. Cairo
  3. Cairo
  4. Nile Cruise
  1. Nile Cruise
  2. Nile Cruise
  3. Luxor

If you have a little bit more time to travel in Egypt, the itinerary below includes the best places to go in Egypt leaving also some time to relax.

If you have 2 weeks in Egypt you have the option to spend an extra day in Cairo: you can split the third day into two. On day 3 after visiting Saqqara, you can go to Dashur. On Day 4 in the morning you can visit Islamic Cairo and take part in the food tour in the afternoon.

In Aswan you are going to spend an extra day/night. That time can be used to organise a day trip to Abu Simbel.

As you have extra time, your Luxor itinerary can also include more sightseeing. You will be able to visit Hatshepsut’s Temple, the Tombs of the Nobles, the Medinet Habu Temple and if you like you can go for a hot air balloon ride!

This is the best Egypt itinerary to have complete overview of the country.

2 WEEKS EGYPT ITINERARY

  1. Arrival Cairo
  2. Cairo
  3. Cairo
  4. Cairo-Aswan
  5. Aswan
  6. Abu Simbel
  7. Nile Cruise
  1. Nile Cruise
  2. Nile Cruise
  3. Luxor
  4. Luxor
  5. Red Sea
  6. Red Sea
  7. Red Sea

PLACES TO STAY IN EGYPT

Cairo

The first decision to take when you are planning any Egypt travel itinerary is where to stay when you arrive. Central Cairo or Giza (roughly 5 km from Cairo, where the Pyramids are) are the main options. While there you will visit sites sometimes in Cairo and sometimes closer to Giza.

While there are no other relevant places to visit in Giza other than the Pyramids (until the new GEM opens), if you choose well you can wake up every morning in front of the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

This is why, in a Cairo three day itinerary, I recommend you stay in Giza. We stayed in a historic hotel, now part of the Marriott chain: the Marriott Mena House.

If you want more details then read my review of why the Mena House is the best place to stay in Cairo with a family.

The hotel first opened its doors in 1886 as a magnificent oriental palace. Since then the palace has been renovated many times and a new wing has been added. It is now a modern complex, but still keeps its charm and luxurious feeling.

The rooms are generous in size with a lovely balcony to relax. Many of them offer a Pyramid view. The hotel can also arrange cribs in your room. We had two and still had enough space to move around easily.

There is a lovely swimming pool and also a small kids pool. There are two different restaurants serving international or Indian food. The breakfast buffet is extensive and varied.

If you are a Marriott points collector you only need 25,000 points to stay here.

If you are looking for something a little cheaper then you can consider the Pyramids Guest House or the Egypt Pyramids Inn. These are smaller family run hotels closer to the Sphinx side. Some rooms have a Pyramid view and both have a great roof terrace where you have an astonishing view of the Giza plateau.

Aswan

In Aswan we were really happy at the Kato Dool Nubian resort, although I would have preferred to stay at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract. Unfortunately a famous Egyptian was getting married and rooms in the nicest hotels in town were all booked.

If you can afford the Old Cataract you can dream to be Agatha Christie taking inspiration for your next novel!

The hotel is located on the banks of the Nile, just in front of Elephantine Island. Many rooms and suites offer magnificent Nile views.

There are 2 swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor.

Four restaurants cover all tastes with international and oriental options.

If you feel really active you can exercise in the fitness centre and then relax in the spa with sauna, hammam, and hot tub.

The Kato Dool Nubian resort is a lovely family run hotel. Calling it a resort is definitely a stretch, but is a really nice place to get in contact with the Nubian culture.

The little houses are located directly on the river Nile. The rooms certainly are not five star hotel rooms, but they are super clean. Although they are a bit small if you need to add 2 cots.

In the morning it is lovely opening the door to the relaxing river view, and having a good typical breakfast at the colourful tables on the sand.

They offer the possibility to also have lunch and dinner. Food is really good and in the evening the atmosphere is romantic and relaxing even in its simplicity.

Red Sea, El Quseir

By the Red Sea you will have a lot of options to evaluate for your stay, from 5 star resorts to smaller guesthouses. The Radisson Blu Resort offers an unbeatable value for money.

The Radisson Blu Resort is one of those places where you will consider to go back just to relax. They offer full and half board and I recommend it as there is nothing else nearby.

The resort is vast offering a really long stretch of beach and also a quiet lagoon. It isn’t a pretentious place, everything is well integrated into the landscape and you will feel really welcomed.

There are many different types of room. The best of course are just in front of the beach were you can enjoy the sunrise.

There is big pool and a smaller, covered kids pool. A playground and the lagoon are also great for kids.

This resort is a perfect place for families, you can read a more detailed review in this other article.

VISA

Many nationalities need a Visa to enter Egypt which costs $25.

You can pay for a visa online or get one on arrival. At the airport you can only pay in US dollars, but there are options to exchange money in the Airport if you need to.

As I wasn’t sure if the process would be as quick as many other people reported I decide to apply online. It is a long process because the website is not optimised and you also need to wait 24-48 hours to get the Visa approval, but I preferred to have the Visa in my hands. As we travel with small kids I always try to do everything to make the admin more efficient.

  • VISA ONLINE: you can use the official channel Visa2Egypt. You don’t need to pay an agency or intermediary to do it. When you upload pictures of your passport just make sure you save them in a small size or the system will not accept them.

  • VISA ON ARRIVAL: go to the visa on arrival window BEFORE getting in the queue for immigration. Here you will give them $25 and they will give you a visa on arrival sticker. Place the sticker on a blank page in your passport and get in the immigration queue.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT EGYPT?
Assuming that you are not planning just to lie on the beach, the best time to go to Egypt is between November and March-mid April.
In those months the temperatures should range between 20 to 27 degrees ( Cairo being a little cooler than Luxor), and it will make your sightseeing much more pleasant.
If you can, avoid the summer months when the temperatures are easily above 40 degrees.

Weather in Egypt for kids could be tough and make them grumpy, especially if they are not used to high temperatures. Just try to organise your sightseeing early in the morning and later in the afternoon to suffer less the consequences.

MOVING AROUND

You will happy to discover that Uber has arrived in Egypt, even if it doesn’t cover all the touristic sites. Cairo is where you will probably use it most. It is a welcome relief from bargaining with taxi drivers.

Don’t get me wrong, engaging in the bargaining game can be fun sometimes, but not when you maybe have a grumpy child and you just need to get somewhere!

  • From Giza to central Cairo, and around central Cairo we used Uber and we never had any issues.

  • AT CAIRO AIRPORT: you can now book Uber when you arrive at the airport. We personally decided to pre-book a transfer with Cairoshuttle for 450 EGP to be on the safe side. They picked us up in a minivan then in 50 minutes delivered us to the hotel in Giza.

  • CAIRO-ASWAN: There are several ways to move from Cairo to Aswan. If you are considering the 14 day Egypt itinerary you could evaluate the day train in first class, but to be honest with small kids in Egypt I think the best solution is the plane. We love train journeys, even long ones like the transfer we took from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, but in this case I don’t think it is a pleasant enough experience.

  • IN ASWAN: when we arrived at the airport we had a driver waiting for us pre-booked with the Kato Dool House (€10). At the airport it is usually practical to have something organised instead of wandering around with luggage and kids.

  • LUXOR-RED SEA: As I mentioned above you shouldn’t leave organising this transfer to the last minute as the driver needs to request a police permit the day before. If you have time in Luxor you can ask several taxi drivers around and compare or ask your hotel for help. We organised through Djed, the company we booked the Nile cruise with.

HOW MUCH IS A TRIP TO EGYPT

A trip to Egypt could cost really little if you want. Although considering that everything is much more affordable, including nice hotels and restaurants, it could be also the opportunity to treat yourself to something more special.

A double room in a three star hotel starts usually as low as $20, you can easily eat a meal for $5, and Taxis are also really cheap .

We decided to go for a more comfortable trip. Here is a summary of the cost

Egypt: 10 days itinerary costCost per person
2 nights at the Marriott Mena House€160
2 Nights at the Kato Dool Nubian resort€80
3 Nights on the Nile Cruise€500
2 Nights at the Radisson Blu Resort€160
Food (food was included in the Nile Cruise
and at The Radisson Blu resort)
€150
Internal Transfer (excluding Cairo Aswan flight)€130
Entrance fees (included during Nile Cruise)€100
Visa€20
Total trip to Egypt cost~ €1,300, $1,600, £1,150

Final reflections

If it is the first time you organise an independent trip abroad with kids and even after reading this detailed Egypt itinerary you still don’t feel so confident, then why not consider an easier country like Japan or Montenegro, or you can even start with a weekend in London, Venice, or Dubrovnik. Any of these places will give you the exploring bug and you will not want to stop travelling the world.

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6 Comments

  • Ines

    What a superb itinerary! We are looking for an adventurous holiday with our 16 month and 3.5 year old and you’ve now sold us on Egypt.

    • clo

      Thank you so much Ines! I’m so happy you found my article inspiring, feel free to get in touch if you have any question. Enjoy Egypt!

  • Enes Altintas

    Hi, thank you for the good tips! we are planning to go same itinerary in April 2020. But my daughter will be 6 months old and I have a 4 year old boy. is that a risky thing to go for Egypt? We are experienced travellers with many flights. we brought our son when he was 1,5 years to south east asia. we live in west Europe. Any health issues we should concern? we will take our time (3weeks) and find some good clean hotels. Do you recommend to go ? especially with a 6 month old?

    Greetings!

    • clo

      Hi Enes, I’m really happy you found my tips useful! I don’t see anything risky especially for your 4 years old. April will start to be quite hot, but if you avoid to go around with your daughter during the central hours of the day you will be ok. You have a good amount of time to take it slowly! We never felt in danger and found the people really kids friendly! From the health point of view we didn’t have any issue, but we were more careful than useful about we ate and drank. I had some concern too before we went, so we booked hotel and restaurant above the usual standard, and even if we had few buffet meal we didn’t have any issue. Before to go we all got typhoid and hepatitis vaccination, I’m guessing you will need to check that with your doctor. Let me know if you go, I hope you will have a fantastic time!

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