Is 10 days enough time to see all the wonders of ancient and modern Egypt? It all depends on how you spend those days, and how much control you have over your schedule.
Group tours and package deals can save some money, but traveling on set schedules with a lot of other people means little flexibility, hurried visits, and zero personalization—you have to be on board with whatever everyone else is doing.
But on a private guided tour, your trip is entirely in your hands—whatever you want to see or do, Osiris Tours will design the best Egypt guided tour for your unique personal preferences. When a trip is made just for you, we can schedule travel plans to avoid the crowds, take excursions to lesser-known marvels, and squeeze into places that large groups simply can’t fit into. Plus, you can ask your guide as many questions as you want about all the topics you’re interested in.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN CAIRO
On your private guided tour to Egypt, you’ll be with your Osiris Tours representative from the moment you debark your plane—your handler will meet you in person right by your gate, ready to lead you through the somewhat-organized chaos that is Cairo International Airport. We’ll help you navigate the masses and mazes, and escort you through customs and passport control. Never mind getting grilled by border patrol or stumbling through language barriers—we’ll make sure you sail right through. Baggage claim is a breeze with someone to lead the way to the right kiosk, and we’ll escort you to your personal ride, waiting just outside the terminal.
Aside from the peace of mind that comes from slipping through a bustling foreign airport without a hitch, all of this efficiency means saved time—which is far better spent by the hotel pool, taking in your first views of the looming Pyramids of Giza. Not a bad a way to start things off—good thing you booked a personal guide on your Egypt luxury tour!
DAY 2: GIZA & SAQQARA
You spotted them from above on the flight in, gazed at them from the comfort of your hotel—now it’s time to see the iconic Pyramids of Giza in person.
The Giza Pyramid complex comprises the notable Great Pyramid of Khufu, the equally impressive pyramid of Khafre, the enigmatic Great Sphinx, and a handful of other pyramids and structures in the immediate area. As it draws thousands of tourists every single day, it’s best to get in early to avoid the crowds—with your personal guide, you can set out at just the right time.
Wander in wonder freely among the grand monuments if it suits you, or plan a schedule that packs in as much as you like. You’ll have the freedom to climb through the chambers of Khafre—a tight fit for groups!—or stroll below the Sphinx without playing catch-up.
If the hot sun has gotten the best of you, rest and relaxation in the shade await whenever you’d like to head back to your hotel—but if you’d like to press on, there are lesser-seen sites to explore.
Just nearby, step through the crumbling ruins of Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis. Leading you through the vast necropolises of Saqqara and Dahshur, your personal Egyptologist guide will reveal the histories of the Red Pyramid, the curious Bent Pyramid, and Djoser’s Step Pyramid—the oldest intact stone complex in the world.
DAY 3: LUXOR
Halfway up the Nile but only a short flight away, you can spend a few days of your Egypt private tour in Luxor, site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Waset—known more widely as Thebes. The magnificent and expansive ruins here stand on both banks of the Nile and offer visitors multiple days of exploration.
On the eastern bank of the Nile, Luxor’s modern-day streets envelop the towering remains of the Karnak and Luxor Temple complexes. Built throughout the reigns of some 30 pharaohs, the massive sandstone structures at Karnak carry with them a complicated and storied history—a tale hard to tell while corralling groups through the lofty colonnades, but a detailed account your personal Egyptologist guide will be able to explain to you at length in the quietest corners of the complex. Bask in the Sun Court of Amenhotep III in Luxor Temple, and pass carefully through the Avenue of the Sphinxes before heading into the city, where you can wrap up your day at the Mummification Museum or unwind at your hotel.
Think you missed something during the day? The evening is at your pleasure—ask your guide about visiting the temples after twilight falls for an illuminating view of the resting stone megaliths.
DAY 4: VALLEY OF THE KINGS AND VALLEY OF THE QUEENS
Ancient Thebans used the foothills and valleys on the western riverbank at Luxor as a necropolis for nearly half a millennium, digging and constructing grand mortuary temples, comparatively simple tombs, and complicated burial complexes across a number of distinct districts. It can be a staggering array of history to approach, but you’re on the best Egypt guided tour—your Osiris guide will help you sort out ticketing and scheduling to make the most of your time here.
While the tour groups hit the usual route in the esteemed Valley of the Kings, you’ll be free to choose all the best tombs to visit there, as well as sites in the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Nobles. At some of the off-the-beaten-path places you’ve chosen—perhaps at Nefertari‘s Tomb or in the resting place of Seti I—you may well find yourself the only soul within the venerable compounds, free to observe the intricate etchings and paintings covering each ancient memorial at your quiet leisure.
DAY 5: EDFU
After your days in the deserts of Luxor, you’re in a perfect position to explore the more southern reaches of Upper Egypt—whether you decide to set sail on the Nile or hit the road is entirely up to you.
If you choose to take to the water from Luxor, you’ll cruise in style aboard a luxurious riverboat, savoring some quality time and fantastic meals with locals and friends. The yacht’s relaxed setting affords you the perfect occasion for friendly cultural exchange—and if you’re looking for some light shopping, some currency exchange as well. Since all boats leave Luxor on the same day regularly, you’ll be traveling with plenty of company to your next destination: the town of Edfu and its Ptolemaic Temple of Horus.
But don’t let the crowds discourage you just yet—the temple of Edfu is simply astounding, and simply cannot be missed. The second largest temple complex in Egypt is also the country’s best preserved site of antiquity, offering visitors a truly transcendental experience within. To walk through the immense chambers of the resilient ruins, complete with an intact roof, is to see much of what the sacred space was like some 2,000 years ago at its completion. Despite the literal boatloads of people filling the halls with you, there are secluded alcoves and secreted hallways to fade into that provide ample atmospheric escapes, where even the echoed excitement from the main rooms is buffered to stillness.
But better yet, you can arrange for your guide and driver to take you by private car from Luxor to Edfu any day you’d like. Without needing to follow the nautical schedule, you can behold the time-spared temple with hardly anyone else around—just another perk of being on the best Egypt guided tour designed just for you.
DAY 6: KOM OMBO & ASWAN
Whether you are arriving by road or sea, the Temple of Kom Ombo is an impressive sight from a distance, its carved columns and stout walls standing prominently above the banks of the river Nile. This partially reconstructed temple from the Ptolemaic dynasty is uniquely symmetric, with two mirrored halves dedicated one each to the gods Sobek and Haroeris.
Further up the Nile, about 25 miles as the falcon flies, sits the riverside market town of Aswan, a picturesque city full of enticing options for you to choose from on your own Egypt private tour. The calm waters around the port are perfect for light sailing—tour the local leg of the Nile in a small felucca, and float around famous islands in the stream like the Aswan Botanical Garden (Lord Kitchener’s Island) and Elephantine Island. On Agilika Island, see the revived Temple of Philae, plucked from its frequently flooded home in the first cataract and rebuilt on higher ground.
Back on land, roll over to the bedrock quarries of Aswan, source for much of the monumental rock composing the Pyramids of Giza, and the stubborn resting place of Hatshepsut’s Unfinished Obelisk. Take a trip to a nearby Nubian village for an opportunity to encounter another way of life in Egypt—replete with its own unique food, language, and tradition—and visit a modern Nubian family with your personal guide.
If there’s time left in the day, be sure to follow your nose to the spice markets back in Aswan. Your guide won’t do the haggling in your stead—that experience is something you’ll have to learn firsthand—but he’ll point you in the right direction ahead of time, seeking out the reputable vendors selling quality merchandise at a proper price. A proper starting price, anyway—bargain away!
Once you’ve spent a day or two getting all you can out of Aswan, aim to rise the next morning bright and early—catching the first flight to Abu Simbel, just south of Lake Nasser, means getting there well before the rest of the regular crowd shuffles in.
DAY 7: ABU SIMBEL
Just a few dozen miles north of the Sudanese border you’ll find the village of Abu Simbel—and with it, two massive 13th-century BC temples first erected by the mighty Ramesses II. Originally carved straight into the face of a now-underwater mountainside, the larger of the paired temples of Abu Simbel was dedicated to the majesty of Ramesses II himself alongside the gods Amun, Ra, and Ptah. The second, smaller temple he built for his beloved wife, Nefertari, and the goddess Hathor. By way of a bold, modern engineering feat, the entire complex was moved uphill to its current location in 1968 to allow for the construction of Lake Nasser.
The striking temples are both fronted with immense colossi, bearing towering likenesses of Ramesses II, Nefertari, and the rest of the royal family. Inside each, cavernous hallways are flanked with enormous decorated supports—statues of Ramesses II as the god Osiris in the Great Temple, and elaborately etched scenes of Nefertari joined by a number of divine figures in the Small Temple.
A marvelous sight to behold in any case, the magnitude of the temples is only enhanced by quiet solitude—and the unhurried exploration it offers. On your own custom Egypt luxury tour, we’ll be able to fly you to Abu Simbel first thing in the morning, before the usual tourist throngs arrive. At the day’s end, your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight back north to Cairo.
DAYS 8-10: CAIRO
There’s so much to see and do in Cairo that two or three days hardly seems enough time to explore it all. Perhaps the best thing about touring the capital of Egypt on the tail end of your 10-day journey is that you’ll be able to work with your guide to tailor your trip to your exact specifications—no need to adhere to a tight group schedule when you’re on your own custom-made tour.
History buffs and cultural explorers will thrill at the chance to take a private tour through the numerous sites of antiquity in Old Cairo, an adventure that could easily take an entire day itself. Roman ruins and remnants of the Byzantine Empire abound in this historic area of the sprawling metropolis. Just around the corner in Coptic Cairo, see the venerable churches of Christian faith, such as the beguiling 3rd-century Hanging Church or the Orthodox Church of St. George. Seek out ancient mosques, thousand-year-old centers of prayer and learning like the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, resting reposefully along cobbled lanes in the medieval district of Islamic Cairo.
Feeling hungry after your days on the road? Your personal guide will cart you to the best restaurants in Cairo from one restaurant to another on a mobile food tour of modern Cairo. Looking for the best koshary in the whole city? Feeling like fine dining, or would you rather see the best of old-fashioned Egyptian comfort food? We know just the right places to suit your tastes— and don’t worry yourself about getting a seat. Whether you’re dedicating a full day to decadent dining or weaving the meals in throughout the other days, we’ll keep you stuffed.
If you think you’ve got a handle on haggling, let’s put your skills to the test at the center of the city’s swarming souk: the Khan al-Khalili. Spend the better part of a day shopping for souvenirs, trinkets of any kind, and spices and snacks; take a break for lunch, tea, dinner, whatever the time—it’s easy to lose track of it (and yourself) in this buzzing marketplace, so go with the flow and take heed of your guide’s direction.
For a more reserved afternoon of study, see exhibitions of the nation’s invaluable artifacts—formerly found in all the places you’ve spent a week visiting—on a personalized tour of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, it is one of the best museums in Cairo.
Anything you’ve missed? Something you just have to see again? Just let your guide know. And whenever you need to pull yourself away from the unending whirl of Cairo for a while, there’s always your five-star hotel, and of course the refreshing swimming pool, waiting to welcome you back. Check out our guide for best luxury hotels in Egypt.
Mahmoud is the owner and operator of Osiris Tours. Osiris Tours offers custom private guided tours to Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Dubai, and more. The flexibility of Osiris’s offerings result in custom-made journeys that are designed carefully to deliver personalized and different travel experience like no other company.