The 9 Best Egypt Tours of 2019

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Ancient Egypt Tour with Nile Cruise – Buy Tickets at Viator

"During downtime, you’ll be comfortably aboard the cruise ship, but optional activities are still aplenty, including a hot air balloon ride."

Best Pyramid Tour: Full-day Amazing Tour of the Pyramids in Egypt – Buy Tickets at Viator

"These monuments amaze, thanks to their remarkable age, their massive size, and their legendary history."

Best Nile Cruise: Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan – Buy Tickets at Viator

"You’ll see temples, museums filled with mummies, and even massive necropolises dedicated to preserving the bodies of ancient pharaohs."

Best Hot Air Balloon Tour: Luxor Hot Air Balloon – Buy Tickets at Viator

"Your balloon ride will give you a bird’s-eye view of Luxor, known as the world’s biggest open-air museum, as you eat cake and drink warm tea."

Best Cairo Museum and Food Tour: Visit the Egyptian Museum & Citadel – Buy Tickets at Viator

"If anything is above your head, an expert Egyptologist will be able to give you the full rundown."

Best White Desert Tour: Overnight Camping and Dune Bashing – Buy Tickets at Viator

"There is definitely no lack of adrenaline on this journey, but come nightfall, you can relax with a barbecue dinner as you camp under the stars."

Best National Park Tour: Wadi El Gemal Safari and Trekking – Buy Tickets at Viator

"Visit one of the most varied coastal ecosystems in the world, with hiking, exploring, and sightseeing."

Best Abu Simbel Tour: Day Tour to Abu Simbel Temples – Buy Tickets at Viator

"Built 1,000 years before the Great Pyramids, this site is one of the most impressive architectural feats of the ancient world."

Best Watersports Tour: Scuba Diving Two Dives – Buy Tickets at Viator

"This area is celebrated as one of the most beautiful diving locations in the world, thanks to coral reefs and shipwrecks."

01 of 09

Best Overall: Ancient Egypt Tour with Nile Cruise

Valley of the Kings and Karnak

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This ten-day adventure begins in Cairo with a visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum, three of the most famous sites in Egypt. A personal Egyptologist will guide your group through the monuments, and help field all of your questions.

After three nights at a comfortable bed and breakfast, take a southbound flight to the city of Aswan, where you’ll board a felucca, a boat traditionally used to sail the Nile. Once on the boat, sleep under the stars before visiting the ancient temples of Abu Simbel, built by King Ramesses II in the 13th century B.C.

The culmination of the tour will bring you to the city of Luxor, where you’ll embark on a guided hike of the Valley of the Kings, home to the tombs of over 500 years worth of pharaohs. After, a trek through the collection of ancient temples at Karnak will unveil the history and religion of the Ancient Egyptian empire.

During downtime, you’ll be comfortable aboard the cruise ship, but optional activities are still aplenty, including a hot air balloon ride above the West Bank of Luxor.

Meals are included, and the tour will also handle all local taxes and service charges so things are taken care of for you.

02 of 09

Best Pyramid Tour: Full-day Amazing Tour of the Pyramids in Egypt

Great Pyramids

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This five-hour trip includes stops at the pyramids of Giza, Sakkara, and Dahshur, and begins with a hotel pickup in an air-conditioned minivan. Once at the monuments, your resident Egyptologist will explain how the pyramids were constructed, and then detail how each one was used by the Ancient Egyptians, describing their function as mausoleums to the pharaohs.

Your trip will guarantee up-close photo ops of the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Valley Temple be available. Constructed more than 4,000 years ago, the famed Great Pyramids of Giza are not only easy to visit from Cairo but are also a bucket-list item for many travelers across the world, thanks to their monumental height and their legendary history.

Further stops include the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest pyramid in the world, and the Red Pyramid at Dahshur, which is only a few feet shorter than the Great Pyramids in Cairo. While not as famous as the Great Pyramids, these monuments are still surprising highlights, thanks to their remarkable age and their massive size.

Lunch, all entrance fees, and even an optional 30-minute camel ride are included. The only thing you’ll have to shell out some money for is admission to the interior of the Giza pyramids and the Solar Boat Museum. There, you’ll see the Khufu ship, one of the best-preserved ships from antiquity, which was buried fully intact at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza. 

03 of 09

Best Nile Cruise: Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan

Karnak

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This five-day, private cruise is a great way to experience the Nile, the world’s longest river. The journey kicks off with a hotel pickup and traditional hibiscus tea offered as soon as you step on the boat, so you’ll be treated with absolute comfort right from the start.

On your first day, you’ll tour Karnak, an ancient site of worship for the god Amon Ra and Egypt’s largest temple. Next, visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings to peer at the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Egyptian empire. Here, you’ll see temples, museums filled with mummies, and even massive necropolises dedicated to preserving the bodies of ancient pharaohs.

At the half-way section of the trip, you’ll sail south to the Temple of Edfu, an excellently-preserved shrine to the ancient god Horus. The spotless cabins and hammock-lined balconies of your cruise ship allow for luxurious relaxation before you set off sightseeing in the morning and afternoon. When your daily sightseeing is over, kick back with cool drinks and lounge at the swimming pool aboard your Nile cruiser. 

04 of 09

Best Hot Air Balloon Tour: Luxor Hot Air Balloon

Luxor

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On this three-hour program, enjoy breathtaking views from a hot air balloon as you sail for 45 minutes over the Nile, the Sahara Desert, and Luxor, beating the crowds of tourists down below. Beginning at 4 a.m., you will be picked up by minibus at your hotel and board a motorboat to the West Bank of the Nile.

Your balloon ride will give you a bird’s-eye view of Luxor, known as the world’s biggest open-air museum, as you’ll be able to see its eponymous temple, the Valley of Kings, and the Karnak Temple. To cap off the experience, cake, warm tea, and coffee are served during the flight.

Book well in advance as the hot air balloon experience is popular throughout the year. The price includes all extras except tips for your pilot and guide, who ensure safe passage over the ruins of Luxor. 

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05 of 09

Best Cairo Museum and Food Tour: Visit the Egyptian Museum & Citadel

Egyptian Museum

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With visits to the Cairo Citadel, Muhammad Ali Mosque, and the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, this tour of Cairo is a full day of culture and culinary delights. The star of this trip, however, is the Egyptian Museum, where you’ll begin the day with two hours to discover the more than 120,000 ancient artifacts on display, including King Tutankhamun’s tomb and the Fayum Portraits (ancient sarcophagi paintings depicting deceased Egyptians). And if anything is above your head, an expert Egyptologist will be able to give you the full rundown.

After the museum, you’ll travel to the highest part of the city to visit the citadel and mosque, where you’ll get to hear the daily prayer call, an important Islamic tradition, from up close.

Then, after a lunch break, you’ll stop at the oldest and largest market in the Middle East, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, where you can snack on foods like falafel or Egyptian-style shawarma, or browse shops selling pottery, rugs, and real ancient artifacts.

The trip includes all hotel transfers, lunch, and dinner when you can cap off the day with a traditional meal of meats like rabbit stew or roast duck before heading home.

06 of 09

Best White Desert Tour: Overnight Camping and Dune Bashing

Bahariya Oasis

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This two-day tour from Cairo to the White Desert is sure to provide unique adventure and views of the stunning landscapes of the Sahara. The White Desert National Park is a unique stretch of Sahara that is seldom visited, despite being home to rare and endangered species such as Rhim gazelle and sand cats.

A guided, overnight excursion on a 4x4 vehicle, this safari begins with a traditional Bedouin lunch at the Bahariya Oasis, a lush spring valley right in the middle of the desert. Next, you’ll visit the small and unorthodox Museum of Golden Mummies, which houses 10 richly decorated sarcophagi.

Before dinner, guides provide an opportunity to sandboard down vast, picturesque dunes of sugary sand. If sandboarding isn’t for you, your driver is an expert with on 4x4 dune-rover, and will happily take you leisurely through the sands of the White Desert. There is definitely no lack of adrenaline on this journey, but come nightfall, you can relax with a barbecue dinner as you camp under the stars.

All meals and transport are included on the trip, but the journey to the desert can be long, so pack extra snacks if needed, and make sure to bring a lot of water. 

07 of 09

Best National Park Tour: Wadi El Gemal Safari and Trekking

Appolonia

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This 11-hour day trip to Wadi El Gemal, a 5,000-square-mile national park encompassing one of the most varied coastal ecosystems in the world, features hiking, exploring, and sightseeing.

After pick up from either south of Marsa Alam or north of Wadi El Gemal Park, depending on where your hotel is, you’ll be driven to the park in an open-top Jeep, which is the perfect way to see the rolling dunes of the vast desert surroundings. The tour is fully customizable, as your guide is highly familiar with the national park, but guests typically begin with a hike to Kab El Khawara, a cliff point that offers panoramic views of the area.

Next, travel to Appolonia, an ancient Roman mining outpost to learn about the history of their presence in Egypt. Here, you’ll see well-preserved homes and public spaces of Roman life, including the agora, the major gathering point of the city. At Appolonia, your guide will also provide a traditional Bedouin lunch that includes fresh bread, grilled chicken, a green salad, fruit, and coffee.

Finish off the tour at the Qulaan Beach Settlement, a resort-like outcropping in the middle of the desert, where you’ll relax next to the mangrove shores of the Red Sea.

Everything you’ll need, including lunch, water, coffee, and food is taken care of on this tour, so you’ll be able to have a stress-free day of exploration.

08 of 09

Best Abu Simbel Tour: Day Tour to Abu Simbel Temples

Abu Simbel Temples

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This nine-hour private trip ventures to the Abu Simbel temples, decorated by sculptural reliefs carved into the mountainsides of southern Egypt. Constructed in the 13th century, Pharaoh Ramesses II had them constructed in order to commemorate himself and his queen, Nefertari.

The tour starts with air-conditioned transportation from Aswan, and an English-speaking personal Egyptologist to guide your group through the complex. As you walk through the Sun Temple, the guide will make a note of the expertly engraved battle scenes and hieroglyphs that depict the victories of Ramesses II. Built nearly 1,000 years before the Great Pyramids of Giza, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most impressive architectural feats of the ancient world.

Your guide will explain the importance and meaning of the temple, and tell the story of how these intricate Nubian monuments were relocated in the 1960s after the construction of a nearby manmade lake and dam caused flooding in the region.

After approximately three hours at the temples, you will be taken back to Aswan. Snacks, water, and all entrance fees are included in the excursion.

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09 of 09

Best Watersports Tour: Scuba Diving Two Dives

Red Sea

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If you’re looking for a shorter diving excursion, try this one-day trip that departs from the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Gulf of Aqaba.

The tour visits two exquisite sites, including Ras Mohammed National Park, which was the first of its kind in Egypt. With an abundance of coral reefs and shipwrecks teeming with wildlife, this area is celebrated across the scuba diving community as one of the most beautiful diving locations in the world. It’s home to the rare and illustrious oceanic whitetip shark, as well as tons of turtles and dolphins, so you’re in for a real treat when you dip below the water’s surface.

Next, head the Tiran Island coast, known for its deep, crystal-clear waters that open up into colorful reefs on the seafloor.

This two-dive package includes all transportation, a professional guide, and an intimate 16-passenger boat so you can relax and enjoy yourself while out on the water for the day. All scuba gear and oxygen tanks are provided for you as well. Fees to the national park must be paid on arrival, and food and drink are not included.

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