An Epic 8 Day Egypt Tour: See Cairo, Abu Simbel, and Luxor

With all the awe-striking grand structures standing in every corner of Egypt, it feels that even a lifetime would not be enough to discover and explore the ruins of these famous ancient cities. From the mummies to the gigantic statues of pharaohs, Egypt is the cradle of all things mystery and wonder.

While it would seem that you need weeks to discover all of Ancient Egypt’s main spots from the pyramids in Cairo and Abu Simbel in Aswan to the Karnak temple and Valley of the Kings in Luxor, with a bit of planning you can see all of it in just about a week. All this including an experience with the famed Nile Cruise and even a felucca ride! Find out how in this “Egypt itinerary 8 days” article.

At World’s Origins journalist, Ameena Navab, stands in the middle of The Avenue of Sphinxes at The Luxor Temple

Inspired by films like Death on The Nile and The Mummy, this article will help you experience Egypt like a movie and details how you can visit all the best things to see in Egypt, even the places like Kom Ombo and Edfu that are accessible via the river. So read and find out how you can make your eight day tour an epic one with the help of this Egypt tour itinerary.

Giza Pyramids and the Main Museums in Cairo (2 days)

Starting with the central spot, there are tons of things to do in Cairo from Islamic museums to must-see bazaars but the main things that shouldn’t be missed are, of course, the Pyramids of Giza, Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the latter where you can see real mummies. Just visiting these three places in the city itself will have you covering the best places in Cairo.

You can also stay at one of these 4 and 5 star budget friendly or luxury hotels in Giza for amazing views of the pyramids to create a memorable time. You can also hire a private tour guide to help you reach places before swarms of group tours flood the place. Drop us an email or contact us for a reliable guide and car to take you around Cairo in affordable rates.

Day 1 – The Pyramids & Bazaar

Panoramic view of the Giza Pyramids
The Pyramids of Giza

If you arrive in Cairo on an early morning flight or towards the afternoon (around 12pm), then there is a good chance that you can see the pyramids on the same day itself. While Giza is generally crowded on the good months (November – March), there are ways you can beat the crowd and explore the area.

If you have enough time on this day, you can also couple it with a trip to the famous Khan-el-Khalil bazaar. Built inside a fortress, this bazaar is always buzzing with locals and tourists alike and is a famous place in Cairo to shop for souvenirs. You can also quickly hop in to El Fishawi located in the bazaar, a cafe that opened its doors since 1791.

Day 2 – The Museums

Cairo isn’t complete without stepping into the NMEC museum popular for housing the pharaohs that once ruled Egypt. You can see the real mummies of Pharaohs such as Ramsses, Hatshepsut, Tiye, Merenptah, Nefertari among other famous kings and queens in the museum’s Royal Mummies Hall. It’s almost surreal to see them up close in the forms that they once lived in.

Another must visit places in Cairo is the Egyptian Museum (not the newer Grand Egyptian Museum) housing various antiquities of the pharaohs from intricately detailed sarcophaguses to sacred jars. This museum is also globally known for housing the relics of Tutankhamun from his famous sarcophaguses to the golden bust.

Take the Aswan to Luxor Nile Cruise (4 days)

One of the must do things in Egypt is sailing in its famous river via a Nile cruise. While a lot of tourists book a day tour or an evening sail in Cairo, the best way to experience this out-of-the world excursion is to set sail on a multi-day Nile cruise. You can hit two birds with one stone via an Aswan to Luxor Nile cruise where you get to sail the famous waters while also visiting the famous temples located by the river bank which are only accessible through a boat.

Luxor to Aswan cruises are the busiest one which is why you should go for the Aswan to Luxor Nile cruise. This way you’ll get to avoid the hoards of tourists and groups that starts sail from Luxor. This option is also better for those with limited time because the cruises starting from Aswan only takes four days while Luxor takes five.

You can opt for both group and private tours. With private Nile cruise tours, you can reach places earlier than group tours and is another added way to avoid massive crowds which will give you enough time to see and dwell in the magnificence of places like Abu Simbel and Edfu before the groups stamp in.

This private Nile cruise package has all the stops and tours mentioned on this post along with meals, tour guides and felucca rides included in it.

Day 3 – Fly to Aswan for Nile Cruise

On the third day from Cairo, you can fly to Aswan early morning to start your Nile cruise tour. The Nile cruise tour starts with a visit to the Aswan high dam and the famous Philae Temple. With a short boat ride mostly operated by a pure-blood Nubian man, you’ll be able to witness the structure that graced the screen in The Mummy Returns.

The tour will help you enjoy the place more as the guide will explain what the hieroglyphics marking the temples mean, what the rooms and sanctuaries were used for and how this place came to be. You’ll have enough time to go to every nook and corner and really enjoy the place. Nile cruises usually don’t set sail on the first day which gives you time to roam around the place and enjoy Aswan.

Day 4 – Abu Simbel and Kom Ombo

A place that has graced movie screens in The Mummy Returns and Death on the Nile (2022). A lot of excursions include Abu Simbel for an extra price and it’s well worth it! Abu Simbel is one, if not the most, popular places in Egypt that should be on your list. Which also makes this place crowded anytime from November to March.

Booking a private tour with the mentioned Nile cruise will help you get ahead of the crowd and give you enough time to cover every inch and space of the temple, along with amazing photograph opportunities, before the group crowds swarm the place.

Kom Ombo Temple as seen at night

Usually, these tours head there at four am in the morning, giving you enough time to make it back to the cruise by noon and set sail towards Luxor! Another great thing about Nile cruises is that these ships stop at Kom Ombo right on the banks of the Nile, the only ancient Egyptian temple dedicated to two gods – Horus and Sobek. You’ll also get to see real crocodile mummies in the temple’s museum.

Day 5 – Edfu, Esna Lock, Luxor Temple and a Felucca Ride

The fifth day starts off with a stop and tour to the glorious Edfu Temple in the morning. With tall walls of hieroglyphics and the sacred Barque of Horus, Edfu temple is a must visit for all Ancient Egypt lovers. The temple also has coffee shops near it so folks can get a sip of coffee or tea after exploring the grounds.

Later in the day, when crossing from Aswan to Luxor, the cruise’s passengers will encounter the Esna Lock. When a boat enters the Esna Lock, the gates close behind it and water is pumped into the closed chamber until it matches the level of the river downstream. Once the water levels are equal, the gates open and boats enter into Luxor or vice versa. It’s an experience that’s an added bonus to the entire trip.

The statues of Ramses at Luxor Temple
The statues of Ramses at Luxor Temple

Towards sundown, the cruise will arrive at Luxor port and dock there. And you will be guided towards the jaw-dropping Luxor temple with the six iconic colossal statues of Ramesses standing and sitting tall and proud at the entrance of the temple complex. But none of this is before getting a lovely Felucca ride on the Nile.

Nubian folks operate the Feluccas for tourists and the locals alike. With glorious sunset views and the forever stretching waters, this is one of the must do things in Egypt.

Day 6 – Karnak and Valley of the Kings

On the last day of the cruise, travelers will be taken to the exciting Valley of the Kings where you can visit and see the glorious and intricately decorated tombs of the famous pharaohs including those of Seti, Ramases, Tutankhamun, Merenptah, Siptah, Thutmose, and Sennefer. These tombs fit right in with The Mummy movie with the only thing missing being a book of spells that raises mummies and magic.

You will also drop in for a visit to Hatshepsut’s temple and capture images of the giant structures in the Colossi of Memnon. Once the visit to the Valley of the Kings is done, you can then head to the famous Karnak temple, another complex which was featured in The Mummy Returns where Alex O’Connell was held captive. The grand pillars shown in the scenes were those of Karnak.

Luxor and It’s Movie-Like Charm (2 days)

Taking two extra days to explore Luxor is one of the best things you would do in Egypt. While Cairo is the famous city, Luxor is known for maintaining it’s exotic vibe and old-age charm that makes it exactly as you see in movies featuring Egypt and it’s appeal. Staying an extra two days gives you time to leisurely explore the city while soaking in its beautiful atmosphere.

Day 7 – Mummification Museum and souvenir market

The Mummification Museum is just five to ten minutes away from most of the popular and great hotels in Luxor. It’s also one of the unique things to do in Luxor while you’re in the city. A small museum that takes hardly an hour to wander around, the Mummification Museum houses all the ingredients and tools the Ancient Egyptians used for mummification.

You’ll be able to find everything from beds, linens, canopic jars and even the materials the mummies organs were soaked in before sealing in their respective jars.

Souvenirs at Luxor Market

Another Luxor attraction is it’s souvenir market also known as the tourist market. While the Khan-el-Khalili in Cairo is what turns up in google search, this underrated spot is what we found to be quite dazzling compared to Cairo’s. With hundreds of shops and all types of souvenir’s in gold and silver with bargain-worthy prices, this market can fit right in with a James Bond or Indiana Jones market scene.

It’s a great place to buy souvenirs and wrap up your time in glorious Egypt.

Day 8 – Fly back home

Now if you want to see more of Egypt you can always head onto other areas (like Alexandria, Saqqarah or Sharm el Sheikh) from here or you can head back home via the Luxor airport. The airport has international flights from a number of countries and you can check to see if they fly to yours.

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