Egypt from Top to Bottom

20 days, from Monday, February 6, to Saturday, February 25, 2023

Our grand tour covers all of Egypt’s formidable attractions from Alexandria on the Mediterranean Coast via Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan to Abu Simbel on the Sudanese border, and will include two relaxing cruises, one on the Nile and another on Lake Nasser. Five-star hotels and resorts will be used, and three meals will be provided daily. Egyptologist Ihab Sharawi will be our local guide and your tour escort, historian Jacques Pauwels, will contribute lectures explaining Egyptian history in an international context.

Tour price per person including flight from Toronto, based on double occupancy, and including three meals daily: $8,495 (CAD).  Single room supplement: $1,850. “Land only” from/to Cairo Airport: $7,295

BOOKING INFORMATION

February 06 - 25, 2023

$8,495 based on double occupancy

SIngle supplement: $1,850. Land only: $7,295

Guaranteed Departure. Limited space remaining.

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DOWNLOAD PDF OF ITINERARY

*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


ITINERARY

Day 1 - Monday, February 06: light Toronto to London

Departure from Toronto for London Heathrow with British Airways around 6PM. 

Day 2 - Tuesday, February 07: London to Cairo

Arrival at Heathrow, and connecting flight to Cairo, arriving around 5PM. (The time difference between Ontario and Egypt is 7 hours.) Transfer to our hotel , the Sofitel Gezira or similar, dinner, and overnight. 

Day 3 - Wednesday, February 08: Cairo

Full-day sightseeing in the Egyptian capital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with as highlights Saladin’s Citadel, the Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali, the Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, the Mosque of Ibn Toloun, the Coptic district featuring Orthodox Christian as well as Jewish places of worship, the Caravanserai of Khan El Khalili, and the famous Cairo Bazaar. 

Day 4 - Thursday, February 09: Memphis and Giza

Morning excursion to the plateau of Saqqara, site of the necropolis of Ancient Egypt’s capital city, Memphis. Visits to the funeral complex of King Djoser of the Third Dynasty, built by the architect Imhotep, who designed the step pyramid, forerunner of the great pyramids of Giza, to the mastaba (rectangular superstructure of a tomb) of Kagemni, decorated with well-preserved reliefs, and to the funerary chamber of the pyramid of Teti. In the afternoon we head for Dashour to discover the curious Bent pyramid, which changes of angle at mid-height, and the so-called “red” pyramid. The monuments visited today and tomorrow, all part of ancient Memphis, are collectively classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 5 - Friday, February 10: Saqqara

Today we explore the plateau of Giza, site of the world-famous Sphinx and the great pyramids, the only survivor of the seven wonders of the ancient world. They date back to the Old Kingdom and were built by three Kings of the Fourth Dynasty: Cheops, Khephren, and Mykerinos. After lunch, transfer to Cairo Airport and short flight to Luxor, Thebes in Antiquity and now a World Heritage Site. Arrival and visit to the magnificent Luxor Temple, associated with two of the greatest pharaohs, Amenophis III and Ramses II. 

Day 6 - Saturday, February 11: Valley of the Kings

Visit to the Valley of the Kings, with the magnificently decorated tombs of pharaohs of the New Kingdom. Dug in the rock are magnificent scenes in a remarkable state of conservation. On to Deir el-Bahari for a visit to the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a unique structure in Egyptian architecture, with its three terraces superimposed at the foot of a high cliff. We also view Colossi of Memnon and conclude the day with a visit to the Luxor Museum.

Day 7 - Sunday, February 12: Denderah

Full-day excursion to Denderah to visit one of the best preserved monuments in the Nile Valley, a temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor, situated on the cusp of the cultivated “black land” and the desert or “red land”. Then we continue to Abydos, an ancient pilgrimage centre with a unique temple, dedicated to Osiris, god of the underworld. Return to Luxor in time for dinner. 

Day 8 - Monday, February 13: Valley of the Queens

Visit the Valley of the Queens, where the tombs of the pharaohs’ wives contain fabulous painted decorations, and Deir el Medineh, an ancient Egyptian village, residence of the craftsmen who built the royal tombs and funeral temples during the New Kingdom. On to Medinet Habu and its ancient temple, associated with Ramses III, Egypt’s last great pharaoh. Late afternoon embarkation on the ship that will be our home during a luxurious 5-day cruise on the Nile. 

Day 9 - Tuesday, February 14: Karnak plus start of Nile Cruise

After breakfast, we visit the temples of Karnak, devoted to the deity Amon-Ra, a cult complex that is considered to be the largest ever built by any civilization. Then we start sailing up the Nile and enjoy magnificent scenery, featuring a dramatic contrast between the lush green shores and the desert in the distance! 

Day 10 - Wednesday, February 15: Bassaw

Morning visit to the temple of Edfu, dedicated to the god Horus, said to be the best preserved temple of Ancient Egypt. Then we sail to Bassaw for a leisurely walk through this typical village and surrounding countryside, and to the temple of  Kom Ombo, dedicated to two deities: Haroëris the falcon-headed god and Sobek the crocodile. At the end of the day, we dock in the village of Daraw. Dinner and overnight on board. 

Day 11 - Thursday, February 16: Aswan

We sail to Aswan, Egypt’s gateway to Nubia, a region along the Nile stretching from here to Khartoum in Sudan. Arrival and visit to the magnificent Philae temple, located on a homonymous island and dedicated to the goddess Isis; this was the last active pagan sanctuary in Egypt. On to view the unfinished obelisk, which would have been the highest in Egypt if a crack had not caused the project to be abandoned. The afternoon is free to relax, explore Aswan on your own, shop, and/or visit the Nubian Museum or the Monastery of St. Simeon. (Incidentally, all the Nubian temples to be visited during the next few days, from Philae to Abu Simbel, are collectively classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) 

Day 12 - Friday, February 17: Abu Simbel

Today we travel south by private coach through the desert to fabulous Abu Simbel, where two temples were carved out of a rocky cliff by Ramses II to mark the frontier of his kingdom with Nubia, now Sudan. The four colossal statues of Ramses are arguably the most spectacular examples of ancient Egyptian art! In the 1960s, the temples were salvaged from the rising waters of the Nile River caused by erection of the Aswan High Dam. Visit to the temples after embarkation on a luxurious cruise ship and lunch on board. In the evening, the breathtaking daily light and sound show! Dinner and overnight on board the boat.

Day 13 - Saturday, February 18: Amada & Wadi El Seboua.

As we sail way this morning, we can admire the unforgettable facade of the temples of Abu Simbel but also panoramic views of Kasr Ibrim, a mighty citadel with ancient Egyptian as well as Roman antecedents. After lunch, visits to two more fascinating monuments. First, the ancient Nubian temple of Amada, also moved to its present location to be saved from the rising waters of Lake Naser. Second, the rock temple of Derr, built by Ramses II and similar to Abu Simbel. Third, the Tomb of Pennout. dug in the rock and decorated with scenes relating the life of Pennout, a governor of Lower Nubia during the reign of Ramses VI. At the end of the day, our ship docks in the town of Wadi El Seboua.

Day 14 - Sunday, February 19: Aswan

Morning visits to the new Wadi El Seboua temple complex, the Greco-Roman temple of Maharakka, dedicated to Isis and Serapis, and the temple of Dakka, dedicated to Thot. Afterwards we sail to Aswan. Dinner followed by a Nubian folklore show, and overnight on board. 

Day 15 - Monday, February 20: Kalabsha

After breakfast, visit to Kalabsha, the site where three temples of ancient Egypt were moved to escape the waters of Lake Nasser: the Temple of Kalabsha, built during the reign of Augustus, center of worship of the Nubian god Mandoulis, the Nubian avatar of Horus; the rock-cut temple of Beit el-Wali, another Nubian temple associated with Ramses II; and Gerf Hussein, a sanctuary dedicated to the god  Ptah. Afterwards there will be time to inspect Aswan’s High Dam, the project that gave birth to Lake Nasser, before we transfer to Aswan Airport, fly to Cairo, and check into our hotel. 

Day 16 - Tuesday, February 21: Cairo

 Today we visit the recently inaugurated Grand Egyptian Museum, a true temple of Egyptian archeology, featuring thousands of objects evoking the long history of this fabulous civilization. It is also the new home of the fabulous treasure of Tutankhamun and of royal mummies such as the one of Ramses II. This visit is the perfect conclusion of our Egyptian adventure! This evening, dinner will be complemented by a Sound and Light show in front of the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza! 

Day 17 - Wednesday, February 22: Alexandria

After breakfast, departure by private coach for Alexandria. En route, visit to Wadi el-Natroun, site of a source of carbonated sodium used in Ancient Egypt for mummification but now famous for its impressive Coptic monasteries. Continue to Alexandria for dinner and overnight in a hotel by the shores of the blue Mediterranean. Alexandria, today Egypt’s second city, was founded by Alexander the Great and was for a long time a Greek and then Roman city, not considered to be part of Egypt! Dinner and overnight in a hotel near the Mediterranean.

Day 18 - Thursday, February 23: Alexandria

Our sightseeing program today includes the Municipal Museum with its Greco-Roman treasures; the Catacombs of Kom El-Shokafa; the virtually intact Roman Theatre; the new Library of Alexandria; and the Fortress of Kaitbay, built on the ruins of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Lunch in local restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean, and dinner in the hotel or in a typical restaurant.

Day 19 - Friday, February 24: El-Alamein,

After breakfast we drive to El-Alamein, site of a famous 1942 battle that halted Rommel’s advance into Egypt, and visit to various British as well as German cemeteries and monuments. In the afternoon, return to Cairo for dinner and overnight.

Day 20 - Saturday, February 25: Flight to Toronto via London

Transfer to the airport in time for the departure around 7AM of the BA return flight to Toronto via Heathrow, arriving in Toronto around 3PM.

ITINERARY PDF

EXPLORE THE AREA

INCLUDED

- the return flight Toronto to Cairo (except for those taking “land only”), - and transportation by private coach; - accommodation based in double occupancy mostly in five-star deluxe hotels; - daily breakfast as well as lunch and dinner except on Day 12; - sightseeing and visits as shown in the itinerary; - all tips and taxes, including a gratuities for local guides and coach drivers; - services of a Pauwels Travel tour escort.

NOT INCLUDED

- wine/mineral water with dinners; - all items of a personal nature; - travel insurance: available from the office.

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