Egypt, a land steeped in history, is a destination that holds a special place in my heart. While my roots trace back to this ancient land, I assure you that my enthusiasm for Egypt is not biased; rather, it is an enthusiasm born from a profound appreciation for its incredible history. This is a country that deserves a spot on every traveler’s bucket list. With a history that spans millennia, Egypt offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the marvels of the past, still standing tall in the present day. Even after three visits, I remain in awe of the astonishing masterpieces created by human hands that continue to captivate and inspire. In this 10 day itinerary to Egypt, I’ll summarize all the main sites you need to see and how to navigate this beautiful country.
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Before you go:
🚢 Consider booking a cruise that will take you to Aswan and Luxor and allow you to see all the main sites with a guide! Book Online via Get Your Guide
🧷 Travel Insurance with SafetyWing in case of any accidents. Better safe than sorry!
📱Mobile E-sim card to stay connected while traveling without the hassle of changing out your sim card!
💛 Best time to visit Egypt: October to April is the best time to visit. I’d recommend October before the tourists roll in from November to December.
📄 You’ll need a visa to enter Egypt. You can get it online at iVisa here.
💧Do not drink the water in Egypt.
How long do you need in Egypt?
10 days or longer is really ideal to see Egypt so you can see what it all has to offer. I would say you could also do it in 5 days if you are tight on time but it might be a super packed trip! 10 days will allow you to see Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and have time for the beach in Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh. If you stay even longer you can visit the Siwa Oasis too!
Best Time to Visit Egypt
Anytime from October to April are the best times to visit Egypt. The summers are extremely hot and I would avoid visiting during these times as temperatures rise as high as 122 F (50 C). That can be dangerously hot as most sites you want to see will be outdoors. The best temperatures are in December, however, this is peak season and will be extremely busy. I went during this time and it was indeed very crowded. If I could pick the most ideal time to go, it would be around October when the temperatures begin to cool down and fewer people are around.
Visa to Enter Egypt
To enter Egypt, you’ll need a visa for a maximum of 30 days. This visa can be purchased on-site when you arrive for $25.00. Otherwise, it’s advised to buy online to save time but be sure to leave plenty of time (at least 7 days before departure) for it to be approved. You can get the visa online at iVisa here.
Pro-tips for visiting Egypt & mistakes to avoid:
- There’s a huge tipping culture. You need to tip everyone from those handling your bags, to drivers, and more. Tip drivers $2-4, 10-15% at restaurants, guides and cruise workers $4-6 a day per person.
- If you need help with pictures and angles avoiding people, the guards at most of the tourist sites will help you. They were like my own personal photographer and of course, a small tip is expected. Anywhere between 50-100 Egyptian pounds ($2-4). They are really helpful and nice trust me.
- You have to pay to use the bathroom most of the time.
- There’s often no toilet paper in bathrooms so be sure to bring your own!
- Places get super crowded so be sure to go right at opening or wait til closing time to have the temples to yourself.
- Shopping always requires negotiation. Be sure to research the going rates so you know how much to pay so you’re not overcharged.
- Haggling is common and people may ask you repeatedly to buy from their shop especially to and from the different temples. Say “le shukran” (no thank you) or “Ana mish owsa” ( I don’t want) sternly to get them to stop. None of these people are harmful it’s just a nuisance.
- There may be extra charges to bring in a professional camera to some of the sites so be sure to check!
- Be sure to get a guide – there’s so much history that needs to be explained properly to you. Also, you won’t be hassled as much when you’re with a local guide.
10 days itinerary for Egypt!
Planning a trip to Egypt can be overwhelming and this post should help you understand the best things to do and what places you need to hit to get the most out of your trip.
The rough plan:
- 2 days in Cairo: Great Pyramids of Giza, Egyptian Museum, Khan el Khalili bazaar, The citadel of salah Eldin, Mohammad Ali Mosque, Coptic Orthodox Christian sites in Old Cairo
- 3 days in and around Aswan: Abu Simbel, Nubian Village, Sunset Felucca boat ride, Philae Temple, Horus Temple, Kom Ombo, Unfished Obelisk, High Dam & Lake Nasser
- 2 days in Luxor: Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, Temple of Hatshepsut, Colossi of Memnon
- 3 days in Hurghada/El Gouna: Relaxation time
Days 1-2: Cairo
You’ll likely be flying to Cairo when you arrive in Egypt to start your journey. Let’s start the 10 day Egypt Itinerary with how to spend 2 days in Cairo.
What to do in Cairo
In Cairo, I had the most wonderful guide ever. Her name is Mai and she’s incredibly sweet. She’s a certified Egyptologist and is very skilled at taking pictures too! You can DM her on Instagram and tell her I sent you for the best price 🙂
You can book this tour that will take you to all the places below!
- Great Pyramids of Giza: No trip would be complete without seeing the magnificent Pyramids of Giza. You can also go inside one of the pyramids – not much is inside but it’s a cool experience to go in. You have to walk backward down a steep incline to get to the bottom!
- There’s a restaurant with views of the pyramids called 9 Pyramids Lounge. It is super instagrammable with a spot below the restaurant with pillows on the ground facing the pyramids. You need to book a reservation in advance or you won’t be allowed access to this place. A bit of warning: be sure to pre-arrange transport to and from otherwise you’ll get stuck there. They overcharge you to return by double or triple the going price if you use the restaurant’s transportation back. Also, you can get pictures without people in the backdrop here.
- Egyptian Museum: It’s the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East, with a staggering collection of more than 170,000 artifacts. That includes mummies, statues, jewelry, and priceless relics. It’s best to go with a guide so you can understand what you’re viewing.
You can book this tour that will take you to all the places below!
- Khan el Khalili Bazaar: this bustling and historic bazaar is located in the heart of Old Cairo, Egypt. The shops sell everything from traditional crafts and jewelry to spices and souvenirs. Be sure to come with your negotiation skills. It is one of the top sights in Cairo and in the evening the atmosphere changes to become even more lively. There are many nice cafes to sit and relax at too!
- The Citadel of Salah Eldin & Mohammad Ali Mosque: The Muhammad Ali Mosque, also known as the Alabaster Mosque, is an iconic Ottoman-era mosque located atop Cairo’s Citadel. It offers a breathtaking panoramic viewpoint of Cairo, with vistas of the city and the Nile River.
- Coptic Orthodox Christian sites in Old Cairo: This area holds great significance for Coptic Orthodox Christians. It’s home to several ancient Coptic Christian sites, including The Hanging Church, Saint Sergius and Bacchus Church, Coptic Museum, and more. There is also a really cool street lined with books.
📸 From left to right: Mohammad Ali Mosque, Egyptian Museum, Khan el Khalili Bazaar
Where to stay in Cairo
Although the pyramids may be further from the main sights, I highly recommend staying in this area for at least one night. Imagine waking up to a view of the pyramids from your bedroom. It is truly the most unforgettable moment I’ve ever had!
Best Pyramid View Hotels:
- The Guardian Guest House is my favorite Cairo pyramid view hotel. It is a budget-friendly hotel that is around $65 a night at the time of writing
- Jacuzzi by the Pyramids is an airbnb with a 3 pyramid view. The unique feature of this apartment-style hotel is that there is an actual jacuzzi in the room.
- Marriott Mena House is a 5 star hotel facing the Pyramids of Giza. This hotel is unique because it is surrounded by 40 acres of green gardens.
Other Best Cairo Hotels:
- The St Regis Cairo: a five star hotel right on the Nile Corniche.
- Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezirah: with views of the NIle & gorgeous decor.
🐪 Check out my dedicated blog post on Pyramid View Hotels in Cairo, Egypt
Days 3-5: In and around Aswan
📸 From left to right: Philae Temple, Kom Ombo
From Cairo, you could fly directly to Abu Simbel as it’s quite far from Aswan. If you fly to Aswan, it will be a 3 hour drive to Abu Simbel. That’s why I flew there, explored the temple, then booked a private transfer to Aswan. You can account Abu Simbel to take about half a day or more including the long transport time to get here. On days 3 to 5 of your Egypt itinerary, you can see all the major highlights below.
What to do in and around Aswan on days 3 to 6 of your Egypt Itinerary:
- Abu Simbel
- Nubian Village: Full Guide Here
- Sunset Felucca boat ride Book this Tour
- Philae Temple
- Horus Temple (Edfu)
- Kom Ombo
- Unfinished Obelisk
- High Dam and Lake Nasser
Where to stay in Aswan:
- Instead of a hotel, you could take a 3 night cruise which would take you to all these sites and also take you to Luxor. This will cover your meals, allow you to have an Egyptologist guide the whole way, and cover your transport. Book Online via Viator
- Sofitel Legend Old Cataract: Possibly the most famous hotel in Egypt.
- Benben By Dhara Hotels: This hotel is veryunique. It’s located on the old Nubian Island of Heissa, overlooking Aswan.
- Anakato Hotel: Staying in the Nubian Village for at least one night is an incredible experience. The people in this colorful village are so kind. I stayed at Anakato Hotel and felt just at home. The rooms were super colorful and in Nubian style.
📸 Horus Temple
Days 6-7: Luxor
📸 Karnak Temple
From Aswan, you can transfer to Luxor by car which will take a little over 3 hours. Otherwise, if you’ve joined a Nile River Cruise like this one you will be transported that way! Luxor will be day 6 to 8 of your Egypt itinerary.
What to see in Luxor on Day 6 to 7 of the Egypt Itinerary:
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: Wake up at sunrise and see the beautiful landscapes in Luxor from a hot air balloon! Book this Tour
- Luxor Temple
- Valley of the Kings
- Karnak Temple
- Temple of Hatshepsut
- Colossi of Memnon
Where to stay in Luxor:
- Instead of a hotel, you could take a 3 night cruise which would take you to all these sites and also take you to Aswan. This will cover your meals, allow you to have an Egyptologist guide the whole way, and cover your transport. Book Online via Viator
- Pavillon Winter Luxor
- Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor
- Nile Panorama Hotel
Days 8-10: Hurghada / El Gouna
For the last days in the Egypt Itinerary, spend them relaxing at the beautiful beaches. You’d be surprised Egypt has such amazing beaches! You can choose between Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh. I opted for Hurghada and nearby El Gouna this time. It was a 4 hour drive to get here from Luxor. Alternatively, you can catch a flight here too.
What to do in Hurghada:
- Relax at the beach and also check out El Gouna which is more of the newer stylish beaches in the area.
- Go snorkeling. There are many tours that will pick you up and take you snorkeling. I recommend this tour!
- Explore the desert surroundings of Hurghada during a safari tour. You’ll take a quad bike excursion through the dunes, followed by a Jeep ride to a Bedouin camp to soak in the stunning landscapes. Book this experience here
- Eat at El Dar Darak: This was the most authentic Egyptian restaurant ever. The food was delicious and it was a hole-in-the-wall kinda place. Highly recommend.
Where to stay in Hurghada/El Gouna:
- Continental Hotel Hurghada: This is an all-inclusive resort with a beautiful beach right on site.
- Cook’s Club El Gouna
Extending your Egypt Itinerary
If you want to add more days to see more of Egypt which I highly recommend, then add a day or 2 in Alexandria and 2 days in Siwa Oasis. You can spend the night in the white desert (with this tour) which would be super cool!
How to Dress in Egypt
Egypt is a conservative country but you don’t have to be as covered up as you think! I wore normal long dresses some that were strappy but I always had a scarf with me to cover up. You absolutely do not have to cover from head to toe. You also do not have to cover your head. This is only in some mosques that you would need. to do this and they would let you know before you enter. As long as you aren’t showing your midriff and wearing booty shorts, you’ll be fine!
Is Egypt Safe?
I found Egypt to be safe. The media portrays things in a much harsher light sometimes. Of course, there are always risks anywhere you go and Egypt has had a history involving terrorism. However, as a female traveler, I had no problem in Egypt. In fact, I have encountered the most kind and hospitable people ever during my time here. Even my taxi driver found me such an amazing place to eat and helped me inside to order, waited for me, and was so helpful. The people here may seem threatening to you if you don’t know the language but I assure you they have kind intent. Even those haggling, while it may be annoying, they are not harmful people. They are just trying to make a living and do have a lot of persistence. In these situations, I’d just say “le shukran” sternly which means no thank you. I’m not going to say Egypt is free from harm like other countries you’ll travel to, but I think it’s a place you can definitely visit and will hopefully fall in love with as I have!
Should you travel Solo to Egypt?
If you’re looking to solo travel to Egypt, I’d recommend getting an organized tour. The tour company will be with you the whole way. From pickup to the airport to pick up at your hotel or cruise for different activities. I would recommend using Memphis Tours for this, they were great! Ask for Nouran and. tell her I sent you!
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Hopefully, this 10 day Egypt Itinerary was helpful and you feel more prepared for your epic trip to Egypt!
You may also like these posts:
🌈 Exploring Egypt’s colorful Nubian Village in Aswan
🐪 Pyramid View Hotels in Cairo, Egypt
🚢 The Best Luxor Aswan Nile River Cruises in Egypt