Not sure where to go? Try one of these common itineraries to take on your own, or mix and match destinations to plan your own independent trip.
1. Egypt: The Nile and The Coast
Approximate Time: 3 weeks
Cairo - Alexandria - Cairo - Aswan - Luxor - Dahab
Cairo should not be missed. Home to not just the Pyramids, this bustling city is full of antiquities, museums, markets, and mosques that are all worth your time and energy. Cairo is like a dynamic continuous pulse of vibrant culture that awaits your arrival with amazing food, comfortable coffee shops, bustling markets, moving religious sites, and desert views that you can only dream about.
After Cairo, Alexandria is worth a visit for its cuisine, history, and culture.
From here, head back to Cairo and then head south up the Nile to Aswan. The most fun way to do this is on an overnight train, but flights are also available. Here you can take camel rides into the desert, visit Elephantine islands, and dip your toes into the Nile from a felucca (a small traditional sailboat with a triangular sail).
From Aswan it is possible to visit the ruins at Abu Simbel, near the southern border. Here, large statues announced the southern entrance to the old Egyptian kingdoms to the uncivilized who lived further south.
In Aswan it is also possible to visit the famous and controversial Aswan Dam, which provides electricity to Egypt as well as curbs the flooding of the Nile.
After Aswan, head north (down river) to Luxor. A great way to do this is on a Nile River cruise, which will stop at various smaller tombs and ruins along the river. And you'll be well rested and well fed, too! Luxor is where ancient Egypt comes to life as it is full of ruins, temples, tombs, and more. Old columns still stand at the Luxor temple and the much large Karnak temple complex that is a few kilometers north of the modern city. Across the river sits the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and the famous Temple of Hatshepsut (among others). Visit King Tut's tomb and others during your visit here. Transportation is easy to come by, just make sure you negotiate your price before you leave! And take plenty of water.
Next, visit the gorgeous beaches on the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea. Either Dahab or Sharm El-Sheikh should be your destination, depending on your budget. The more affordable Dahab is usually frequented by backpackers and budget travelers, while Sharm is much more expensive and home to high-end resorts. Scuba Divers also flock to the coastal areas here, as the Red Sea is a virtually untouched underwater ecosystem in some areas. And while you're in the area, it's also possible to hike to the top of Mount Sinai.