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Best 2 Week Egypt Itinerary

Planning a trip to Egypt, but don’t know what you want to see? Trying to budget for an unforgettable vacation? Look no further! I spent one month in Egypt, but I have curated this 2-week Egypt itinerary with all the best highlights to save you planning time and headaches. Make sure you see the best of Egypt and leave saying “wow!”


Day 1-2

Cairo

Most flights either land in Cairo early in the morning or late in the evening. If you are a late evening arrival, then I will count that as Day 0, starting your adventures the next morning. If you manage to arrive early in the morning, make sure you get some shut eye on the plane, because we are going to hit the ground running. If you want to take an Uber from the Cairo airport, follow my travel hack here.


The big highlights in Cairo are:

  • The Great Pyramids of Giza

  • The Great Egyptian Museum (estimated opening date early 2024)

  • The Citadel

  • Coptic Cairo & the Cave Church

  • Civilization Museum


Budget: Private guides with transportation are ~$100 for the day, plus entry fees. With the limited days in Cairo, I would recommend the pyramids, the GEM and Civilization Museum. If you have more time (and aren’t completely jetlagged) then head to the Citadel (fortress and Mosques) and Coptic Cairo area to learn about Christian life in an Islamic country.


Day 3-4

White Desert


You will awake to an early pick-up from your Cairo accommodations for the Bahariya Oasis and your overnight in the White Desert. Make sure you pack lots of water and snacks, though your guide should have extra water. The drive out to the desert is ~4 hours and there are usually stops for bathroom with a small convenience store if you need something.

We packed a change of clothes and layers (for the night) but didn’t end up changing our clothes for the 36 hours we were away. A small backpack is fine for the trip. If you need to bring all your luggage, notify your tour company and they can arrange to hold the large luggage at their camp site. There are many tours to choose from, but make sure you get to see the Black Desert, Crystal Mountain and the White Desert (Bahariya Oasis). Lunch, dinner and the following morning’s breakfast should be included in the price. I recommend staying out under the stars, but you can also arrange to come back to the company’s huts (lodge) for overnight housing. You will arrive back into Cairo around 3-5 pm (depending on tour selected) and can arrange for them to take you directly to the airport. I would recommend catching an evening flight to Sharm el Sheikh to maximize your time in Egypt.


Budget: One night in the White Desert with all travel and meals included should be ~$175-$225 per person depending on luxury and private vs group transfers. Most of the outside camp tents are identical, so I wouldn’t waste your money on “luxury tent” descriptions, but it was nice to pay up for private transfer from Cairo.


Day 5-8

Sharm el Sheikh & the Red Sea


There are several large resorts that offer private beaches. If you are looking for something in a lower budget, consider staying in the more populated areas of Naama Bay or near the Old Market. Naama Bay is definitely closer to the “city” and airport, making this a great central location for beaches, day boats and diving companies. With only 2 weeks in Egypt, I would recommend selecting a day of diving for Day 6 (and maybe a half day on Day 7 as long as your flight is >24 hours later). If you aren’t a SCUBA diver, you can also select snorkeling boats or “learn to dive” day boats where they take to you the shallow reefs nearby in Ras Mohammed. Because I was there one month, my friend and I joined a liveaboard for 3 nights. Pricing is extremely cheap (~$450-$500 per person) for up to 10 dives plus gear rental. Since a 2 week itinerary to Egypt doesn’t allow for that, you can still select various day trips and enjoy a wonderful experience in the Red Sea. Almost any dive site is world-class, but my favorite was Shark & Yolanda Reef, which isn’t far from Sharm el Sheikh.


If you can sleep on the beach or want to pack your itinerary, you can also elect to do an overnight hike up Mount Sinai from your Sharm el Sheikh accommodations. This post has lots of tips to know before you go to Mount Sinai.


Budget: Accommodations can be relatively inexpensive (~$60/night) with daily diving trips ~$100 per person or snorkeling ~$60 per person. Food is inexpensive, averaging $5-$10 per meal, with many hotels including breakfast in the cost of lodging.


Day 9-10

Luxor

Luxor was the capital of ancient Egypt for centuries and is considered the Upper Nile (because the river flows from south to north). As such, there is a plethora of ancient finds in the city, and it’s often overlooked or not given enough time. I would strongly encourage an additional day here if you have the time, but 2 days is enough if you can catch an early morning flight into the city.


The big highlights in Luxor:

  • Luxor Museum

  • Hot air balloon over Valley of the Kings (can only be done at sunrise)

  • Tour of Valley of the Kings

  • Luxor Temple

  • Karnak Temple

  • Temple of Queen Hatshepsut


Budget: The full day tour with hot air balloon ride is the best bang for your buck, but honestly you will be EXHAUSTED by the end of the day with the 3 am wake up call. I would suggest if time permits to visit the Luxor Museum and perhaps Karnak Temple (as it’s in town) on the first day. Almost all tours do NOT include entry fees at each site, so make sure you budget for that accordingly. Egypt just changed their rules in many places no longer taking cash, but credit card payments only.



Day 11-13

Nile River Cruise

Most Nile River cruises will start in Luxor and finish in Aswan. We decided to splurge on the Nour el Nil cruise, which I would say is NOT worth the expense. It’s quite long and has much more down time, though I don’t think the food or guides are anything much better than the lower cost cruises that only take 3 days.


Budget: $250-$500 per person depending on accommodation selection and guided stops. Nour el Nil was $1400 per person and not worth the additional expense.


Day 14

Abu Simbel

Since most river cruises end in Aswan. You can take a day flight to Abu Simbel (and a return to Cairo) if your budget allows or you find flights far enough in advance. Otherwise, you can take an early morning (read 3 am) bus from Aswan to Abu Simbel for the morning, arriving back in Aswan around 1-2 pm and can then take a flight back to Cairo to catch your international flight home. We went on this GetYourGuide tour. Abu Simbel is often traveler’s top temple in Egypt due to its grand size, so I’d encourage you to include it to your itinerary.


Budget: If you stay in Aswan, accommodation varies greatly. Guesthouses on Elephantine Island can be $40-$60/night, but 4-star hotels may be $150-$300/night. The day trip by bus is quite budget friendly, but if you are short on time, a flight may be better, albeit more expensive. Plan ahead and book flights ASAP.

You can see so many different areas of Egypt with this two-week itinerary. It will feel like a different country at times, as you make your way from the White Desert to the Red Sea and the ancient temples. Comment below with any questions!

 

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Guest
Aug 26, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So MUCH to see & do in such an ancient country!

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Guest
Aug 26, 2023

All great picks

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Guest
Aug 26, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
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