Premium Egypt & Jordan in Depth


Discover the modern and ancient marvels of Egypt and Jordan on this 22-day Premium journey to two of the Middle East's most fascinating countries. Beginning in Cairo, pass by the magnificent Pyramids of Giza, take a four-day cruise down the legendary Nile and learn about the battles fought in El Alamein. Fly to Jordan and discover the unique culture of the Bedouin in Wadi Rum, float in the salty Dead Sea and stand in awe in front of the elaborate Treasury of Petra. With premium accommodation, local leaders and a relaxed pace all as standard, you’ll be enjoying these masterpieces in all their prized glory.

22 days, from

$8,015

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: XEPDC
Style: Premium
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  Egypt Jordan
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel (16 nights), Feature Stay (5 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Plane , Riverboat , Felucca , Jeep
Meals: 13 dinners, 21 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Discover the Pyramids of Giza, Valley of the Kings, the ancient city of Alexandria, battle site of El Alamein, the majesty of Petra, and embark on a 4WD drive adventure through wind-swept rock formations of Wadi Rum.

  • Embrace local life as you travel with passionate local leaders, learn about the culture of Egyptian and Jordanian food with three local families, and immerse yourself in Bedouin culture during an exciting evening at their camp.

  • Take your time exploring Abu Simbel with an overnight stay, discovering this magnificent monument carved out of the mountainside with less crowds, followed by an incredible sound and light show.

  • Relax with four nights on a premium Nile riverboat, allowing you to cruise up the river in comfort, and experience isolated elegance during your stay at a luxury camp in Wadi Rum.

  • Experience the best of Middle Eastern cuisine during welcome dinners in Cairo and Amman, high tea at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, traditional meals in two family homes, a family-run cooking class in Amman and dinner at a Bedouin camp cooked in a traditional zarb.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Cairo

Welcome to Egypt! Your adventure begins in Cairo – a city just as captivating as it is chaotic. You will be met on arrival at Cairo International Airport and transferred to your hotel. An important welcome meeting will take place here at 6pm with your local leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive with time to spare, you can take in an incredible first glimpse of the pyramids from your hotel’s pool and bar area. After your welcome meeting, get your first taste of Egyptian cuisine during a welcome dinner with your leader and small group. Head to a fantastic local restaurant and try out some classic dishes like fatta, a dish made with rice, bread and meat in a garlic and vinegar sauce, and kushari, a delicious mix of pasta, rice, lentils and fried onions.

Day 2: Cairo

This morning after breakfast, travel to arguably the most recognisable structures in the world – the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Your leader is a trained Egyptologist and will share the fascinating history of these incredible feats of engineering. For an additional charge, you may be able to step inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops). After spending some time here, continue to the Grand Egyptian Museum, the largest archaeological museum in the world. Home to an unseen collection of Tutankhamen’s antiquities and almost 100,000 artefacts, there’s no better place to uncover the country’s rich history. Gain special insight by touring with a guide and enjoy time to explore independently. Spend an evening at leisure – you may like to take a taxi into town to explore Cairo further, or for something special, book in for a dinner cruise on the Nile.

Day 3: Alexandria

Take to the road for your journey to Alexandria after breakfast, stopping in Wadi El Natron along the way. Your leader will explain how this area became a sanctuary for Christians after Saint Macarius the Great retreated here in AD360. There were once some 60-odd monasteries in the Wadi, though now only four remain. One of these is Anba Bishoy Monastery, named for Saint Bishoi who came to the site to live in solitude. Take a wander around the gardens and observe the resident monks as they go about their daily lives, then visit the church for expansive views over the desert. Continue this afternoon to the city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great and often referred to as the Pearl of the Mediterranean.

Day 4: Alexandria

Enjoy a full day uncovering the secrets of Alexandria with the guidance of your knowledgeable leader. Visit Pompey’s Pillar and the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, a Roman burial site dating back to the second century that wasn’t discovered until 1900. The fascinating tombs were created during a transitional period in Alexandria’s history and interestingly feature Greek, Egyptian and Roman elements. Continue to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (once the Great Library of Alexandra), which is found where the Library of Ptolemies once stood some 1700 years ago. Finish up with a stop at the Montazah Palace and Royal Gardens, a complex featuring beautifully maintained gardens and two royal palaces built during the 19th and 20th centuries. Spend the evening by the water wandering along the corniche or relax back at your hotel.

Day 5: Cairo

Today, travel south of Alexandria for a more sombre experience at the historic battle site of El Alamein. It was here that British and Commonwealth soldiers fought a decisive Allied victory against the German Afrika Korps that defined the North African campaign. Both sides suffered heavy losses and the memorial commemorates nearly 12,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Western Desert campaigns during the Second World War. Stop to enjoy your lunch, brought with you from Alexandria; a delicious feteer meshaltet. This layered pastry is an iconic Egyptian dish and can be filled with a range of sweet or savoury ingredients. Return to Cairo in the afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 6: Nile Cruise - Luxor

Transfer to Cairo Airport after breakfast and board a short flight to Luxor. Luxor was the pharaohs' capital during the height of their power and is now perhaps the world’s greatest open-air museum. Upon arriving in Luxor, transfer to your feature stay Nile riverboat where you’ll unpack and settle in for the next four nights. There’s no better way to soak in the ancient history of the Nile and the incredible sights along its banks. Enjoy all the comforts of a world-class hotel, including a swimming pool, sundeck, restaurant and cabins with panoramic windows to watch riverside life stream by. Travelling by riverboat allows you to get to the heart of each destination while ensuring the journeys in between are every bit as interesting. This afternoon, visit Karnak – one of the world’s most celebrated temple complexes built over a period of approximately 200 years. Some parts date back to 2055 BC and your guided tour will take you to its finest sections. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to relax, take a shopping trip through the bazaar or perhaps kick back in a local teahouse.

Day 7: Nile Cruise - Edfu

Rise early this morning to journey into the Valley of the Kings. There are over 60 pharaoh tombs buried under the hills here, many of which are richly decorated, and your guide will take you through this spectacular place where discoveries are still being made. Learn about the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and the significance of the paintings and hieroglyphics, and visit the final resting place of Tutankhamun. The discovery of the young Pharaoh’s tomb is undoubtedly one of the greatest archaeologic finds of all time, and here you will have the opportunity to enter it yourself, exploring the painted chamber and admiring his famous gold sarcophagus. Visit another three royal tombs and continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, which is set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Your final stop is the Colossi of Memnon – giant statues that once formed part of an impressive colonnade – before returning to the boat for a leisurely lunch. Enjoy some time relaxing either on deck or in your cabin before setting sail upstream to Edfu, where you’ll arrive in the evening.

Day 8: Nile Cruise - Aswan

This morning, you will be moored near Edfu and may have the option to venture independently into town to see the nearby temple. Continue along the river, relaxing in the sun on deck and taking in the desert hills forming a backdrop over the lush riverbanks. This afternoon, arrive at Kom Ombo Temple, sitting spectacularly on the river’s edge. Learn from your leader how this temple was built in approximately 181 BC and is dedicated to two gods – Horus (god of protection) and Sobek (god of fertility, linked to the Nile’s water). Each god has a dedicated section – north or south – and there have been recent discoveries of mummified crocodiles in the Sobek section. Afterwards, board your boat and continue to Aswan, arriving in the late evening.

Day 9: Nile Cruise - Aswan

Spend the morning visiting the temple complex of Philae, including the stunning Temple of Isis, located on Agilkia Island. The temple was reassembled in this location after being saved from rising waters and is a true architectural gem featuring some of Egypt’s finest carvings. Some Egyptologists believe that Philae was the last active site of the ancient Egyptian religion and where the last Egyptian hieroglyph was written. Afterwards, get to know the city of Aswan by foot during a walking tour with your leader. Explore the Sharia el Souk, a sprawling and bustling marketplace. Your leader will guide you through a colourful array of stalls selling everything from baked goods to Nubian crafts. Return to the boat for another evening being rocked to sleep by the calm Nile waters.

Day 10: Abu Simbel

Travel by road this morning to Abu Simbel. Your accommodation is located right by Lake Nasser and features lush grounds, two swimming pools and fantastic views over the lake. Spending the night here allows the group a chance to visit the Abu Simbel temples at a more leisurely pace as opposed to a jam-packed half-day trip. Built during the reign of Ramesses II, these mammoth temples took 20 years to complete and feature rock-cut statues of the pharaoh and the queen, some of which are 20 metres in height. Tour the complex with your leader who will provide historical context on these grand structures. This evening, head back to the temples for an impressive sound and light show.

Day 11: Aswan

Return to Aswan, arriving in time for lunch. Enjoy some downtime to relax at your hotel or explore more of the city, then regroup with your fellow travellers later in the afternoon. Take a step back in time during a visit to the Old Cataract Hotel for afternoon tea. Built in 1899 by Thomas Cook, the hotel has played host to an illustrious roster of guests, including Princess Diana, Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, who lived here while writing her novel Death on the Nile. Soak up old-world glamour while enjoying tiered trays of finger food and a delightful selection of tea. The setting is up there with the best of them, with gorgeous grounds overlooking the Nile. Make the most of a free evening to find a local gem for dinner – your leader can help with recommendations.

Day 12: Aswan

This morning, visit a modern example of Egyptian engineering – the Aswan High Dam. Located 13 kilometres south of Aswan, its controversial history that required the relocation of many ancient temples and statues has, in the end, had a mostly positive impact on the region. Afterwards, head to the Unfinished Obelisk – an abandoned structure that would’ve been the largest obelisk ever erected in ancient Egypt, had it been finished. Return to Aswan for some time to relax, then meet your leader in the late afternoon to board a traditional felucca and sail to the settlement of Elephantine Island. This island was once thought to be the home of Khnum – the god who guarded and controlled the Nile’s waters. This evening, enjoy stunning sunset drinks on the river on board your felucca sailing boat. Disembark at a village and join a local family for a traditional Nubian feast. Here you will have the chance to see a different side of Egyptian life, try out some wonderful Nubian dishes and swap stories with your welcoming hosts.

Day 13: Cairo

This morning, transfer to the airport for a flight back to Cairo. Settle into your downtown hotel then meet up with the group in the early afternoon. Head out for a walking tour with your leader to experience a more modern side of Cairo and gain an understanding of how the locals live today. Your leader will take you to sample some of Cairo’s favourite street food, and point out interesting displays of contemporary architecture along the way. Visit Tahrir Square, the site of the political demonstrations that led to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, and hear the story of the events that took place.

Day 14: Cairo

Spend the day discovering yet another layer of Egyptian history – Islamic Cairo. Explore the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar – a labyrinthine area filled with sprawling alleyways packed with shops, cafes and more. This is a quintessential Cairo experience, home to the gold market, perfume street and the spice market. Stop off for an Arabic coffee or mint tea at El Fishawy, Cairo’s oldest café. Run by the same family for seven generations and a favourite with Cairo’s residents, there’s no better snapshot of local life in the city. Continue on to the Mosque of Ibn Tulun and the Gayer-Anderson Museum, home to all manner of curious objects, from antique furniture to Islamic artefacts. To celebrate your Egyptian adventure, share an authentic Egyptian meal with a local family. Be welcomed into their home, chat with the family about life in Egypt and Egyptian cuisine, all while enjoying a delicious feast of traditional dishes.

Day 15: Amman

Today you will transfer to Cairo airport and catch a flight to Amman, Jordan’s cosmopolitan and contemporary capital that’s steeped in biblical history. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel where a meeting will take place at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next part of your adventure. After the meeting, head out to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner with your group and leader. Sharing food is a huge part of Jordanian culture and eating out is a social affair that’s packed with flavour. Tonight your leader will introduce you to some of the country’s most beloved dishes, like mansaf, a dish made with lamb, yoghurt and rice, and kunafa, a delicious dessert made with pastry and cheese.

Day 16: Amman

This morning, leave Amman for a short drive north to Jerash where you’ll find some of the world’s best Greco-Roman ruins. Reaching its peak as a favourite of the emperor Hadrian, Jerash holds a striking collection of archways, theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets. Your leader will share the incredible history of the ruins and help you imagine what life once looked like in this glorious Roman city. Grand columns encircle the city's centrepiece of the Oval Plaza – an atmospheric place to linger after exploring Jerash's riches. Afterwards, return to Amman and head to a cooking school run by a mother and her daughters, where you’ll get a special look behind the scenes of Jordanian cuisine. You’ll feel as through you’ve stepped into the welcoming home of a local grandmother as you learn how to make classics like tabbouleh, flat bread and lentil soup with passionate guidance and generations of culinary know-how. The flavours, recipes and warmth of this evening are sure to stick with you long after your time in Jordan is over.

Day 17: Dead Sea

Today you will make the journey from Amman to the Dead Sea. Named for the lack of life in its waters, this lake is so intensely salty that the water density makes swimming very difficult, but bobbing on the water's surface is a truly fun and one-off experience. En route, stop off at Mount Nebo and hear the story of how Moses saw the Promised Land before he died from what is believed to be this very spot, and St Georges Church, best known for its Byzantine mosaic depicting a map of the Holy Land. On arrival, enjoy some time to float in the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea, relax on your hotel’s beachfront or take a dip in one of three swimming pools or jacuzzi.

Day 18: Petra

Depart the Dead Sea and drive to the ancient Crusader castle at Shobak – your leader will explain how this ancient castle was originally built to protect the eastern flank of the Latin Kingdom and its trade routes to the sea before it fell to Saladin in 1189. Enjoy superb scenery and stop off at the viewpoint overlooking the Dana Nature Reserve before arriving in the late afternoon to your Petra accommodation. Petra dates back to the sixth century BC and is considered the crown jewel of Jordan, featuring an impressive series of tombs and dwellings carved directly into the rock. On arrival, there is time to check out the town that has grown around the site and to relax, ready for a big day of exploring Petra tomorrow.

Day 19: Petra

Today will be spent uncovering the secrets of Petra with the knowledgeable guidance of your leader. The iconic view of the Treasury's glorious facade, glimpsed from a narrow cleft known as the Siq, is perhaps the single-most striking sight of the entire region. The Siq leads through the rock and is at points only a few metres wide, with walls soaring up to 180 metres on either side. Explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several ancient tombs. You will also have time to climb to the Monastery if you wish, providing a magnificent view of the entire site. There is a cafeteria on the site, where you can enjoy your own light lunch. The rest of the day will be at your leisure. This evening, perhaps take the chance to witness Petra by night if your dates align. Seeing the Treasury plaza lit up by candlelight while Bedouin music plays is a truly memorable experience.

Day 20: Wadi Rum

For another glimpse at Petra, rise very early for an unguided morning visit, if you wish. Then, drive to Wadi Rum, a protected area of desert that impresses with sandstone mountains, canyons and arches. Enjoy some lunch in the small village of Rum and browse the informative visitor’s centre. Afterwards, jump into a local jeep and journey into Wadi Rum with your Bedouin hosts. Visit several of the area’s distinctive rock formations and appreciate the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. These landscapes are home to hardy Bedouin communities that live in scattered camps. You will gain a deeper understanding of their way of life as you join them for a zarb (underground oven) dinner at one of their camps, set in an amazing location deep in the desert. Tonight’s feature stay accommodation is a luxury camp that offers a splendid base among remote and wild surroundings. Spacious tents are fitted out with creature comforts like king-sized beds, air conditioning and en suite bathrooms, and all furniture is made by hand with décor inspired by Bedouin culture. Fall asleep beneath a magnificent canopy of stars and wake up to a sunrise over the red-hued landscape.

Day 21: Amman

After waking up in the unique surrounds of your Bedouin camp this morning, take a walk around the area – the length of which depends on the group’s desires – before scaling one of the large dunes to enjoy panoramic views of your surrounds. Afterwards, return to Amman for the evening. Tonight you may like to join your group for a final dinner to round off your adventure – speak to your leader about the best restaurants in the city that are popular with the locals.

Day 22: Amman

Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12pm and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer, you will be advised of the pick-up time. If you would like to spend more time in Amman, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Unscripted experiences, insider access and authentic local flavors


Our team of travel specialists and local contacts have curated some of the best, most exclusive and authentic experiences, restaurants and accommodations in Egypt to truly immerse yourself in a way that wouldn't be possible in larger groups or just on your own.

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