A rite of passage for travellers, following in the footsteps of early explorers, there is no better way to explore the famous sites of Egypt than by river cruiser. The Nile has been the centre of life within Egypt for millennia and, as a result, many of the country’s greatest treasures lie within a few kilometres of its banks. Floating slowly down the Nile (or up from Luxor to Aswan) you will pass timeless landscapes of picturesque villages, farmers riding on donkeys and fishermen hauling in their catch. Ancient temples stand on the riverbank and you will go ashore with a guide to visit them, as well as exploring tombs and other monuments.
We recommend a minimum 4 night cruise, allowing plenty of time to see the sites, relax on-board and just enjoy the scenery.
The first (and sometimes second night depending on the length of the cruise) is spent on-board in Luxor. The city has a wealth of incredible temples and sites to explore and is often known as the world’s “greatest open air museum”. The East Bank is home to the legendary temples of Luxor and Karnak whilst across the river on the West Bank lies the famous Theban Necropolis (city of the dead) – The Valley of the Kings. The valley is the ancient burial site of pharaohs, queens and nobles of the New Kingdom between 1539and 1075 BC.
Other sites enroute to Aswan include the Temple of Edfu and the Temple of Kom Ombo. The last two nights are usually spent in Aswan. The city boasts a plethora of ancient and fascinating sites including Philae Temple on Agilkia Island and the Unfinished Obelisk.
For avid cruise enthusiasts there are a handful of longer cruises between Cairo and Aswan of up to 14 nights in length. These cruises are for travellers that enjoy sitting peacefully on-board and are content to watch the world pass by. Some itineraries have one or perhaps two days without a scheduled stop. However, a benefit to these departures are visits to some lesser known (or less visited) sites such as beautiful Dendra Temple, The Temple of Seti I (also known as the Great Temple of Abydos), Tuna El Gebel – the ancient Necropolis at Hermopolis – and Beni Hassan, another ancient cemetery.
The best way to finish a Nile cruise itinerary is with a short flight to Abu Simbel, site of the Great Temple of Ramses II, one of the most famous and beautiful temples in Egypt. Built by Ramses in 1300 BC, the temple was carefully moved in 1968 due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam.