Top 4 Egypt Itineraries for 12-Day Trips (2023/2024)

By Rita | Updated Aug. 16, 2023

12 days provide a reasonable amount of time to visit Egypt. During a 12-day Egypt trip, you could truly immerse yourself in iconic destinations, including Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan.

Additionally, you could enjoy leisurely moments on sandy beaches by the Red Sea. There would also be time to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems, such as the White Desert or Mount Sinai or visit neighboring Jordan.

To optimize your time, we've crafted four basic itineraries that serve as the foundation for many of our clients' Egypt tours. We are always ready to personalize your chosen itinerary to cater to your specific interests.

1. A Classic 12-Day Egypt Itinerary: Cairo, a Nile Cruise, and Hurghada

If you are first-timers, especially if taking a family/couple trip, choose this itinerary to have a well-rounded view of the best of Egypt.

In this itinerary, immerse yourself in the marvelous pyramids in Cairo, take a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, and seek out some beach fun in Hurghada.

To add more fun to your trip, we have also added some exclusive activities for you to consider. Check them out in the following outlined itinerary.

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Days 1–4: Explore the Best of Cairo and an Excursion to Alexandria

  • Days 1–3 in Cairo (the Giza pyramid complex on a camel ride, the Great Sphinx, Saqqara, the Egyptian Museum, the Cairo Citadel, food tours, the Khan el-Khalili market, and the El Tannoura Dance Show)
  • Day 4 in Alexandria from/to Cairo (the catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and the Library of Alexandria)

During your 4-day stay in Cairo, you'll get up close to the pyramids at the celebrated Giza complex and then go to the less-crowded Saqqara (home to the oldest pyramid).

If you're a history buff, don't miss the Egyptian Museum, which is packed with abundant ancient treasures and mummies.

Visiting Alexandria is also a good idea, allowing you to uncover the visual and historical charm of Egypt's Mediterranean coast. You can explore the unique underground catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa and see the century-old lighthouse (the Lighthouse of Alexandria that was an ancient wonder now lies ruined in the bay).

For couples and families, you can have fun on a foodie tour and enjoy watching the traditional El Tannoura Dance Show together. As you step up to the Cairo Citadel at sunset, you can take in breathtaking panoramic views of Cairo's urban landscape, the Nile River, and the pyramids of Giza. Capturing a family photo or romantic picture together would make these memorable moments long-lasting.

Days 5–8 Take a Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor

  • Day 5: Nile cruise from Aswan (cruise boarding, the Aswan High Dam, the Philae temple complex, and the Unfinished Obelisk)
  • Day 6: Nile cruise (the Temple of Edfu and the Temple of Kom Ombo)
  • Days 7–8: Nile cruise to Luxor (the Valley of the Kings, the temple of Queen Hatshepsut,the Colossi of Memnon, the Karnak temple complex, and a sunrise balloon ride and/or a nighttime city tour by horse and carriage)

Free from the hotel changes, cruising the Nile could be one of the most atmospheric ways to discover the ancient tombs and temples as well as to admire the serene scenery between Luxor and Aswan.

Travel with us and you won't have to share guides with big groups during the onshore excursions. If you are looking for a quieter cruise or a more romantic experience, taking a dahabiya (traditional Nile houseboat) with just 5–6 cabins may be perfect for you.

Especially for milestone trips, a felucca sailing trip at sunset in Aswan and a sunrise hot-air balloon ride could enrich your travel experiences.

Days 9–12 Relax at the Red Sea

  • Days 9–12 in Hurghada (beach activities, such as snorkeling and diving, a desert safari, and a Bedouin village visit)

If you want to experience more than just history and ancient ruins on your trip to Egypt, Hurghada on the Red Sea would be a wonderful option. Close to Luxor, it offers a mix of relaxation and water activities. If you want a tranquil atmosphere, go to nearby El Gouna.

A comfortable hotel is essential for your beach vacation. Whether you prefer adult-only hotels or family-friendly resorts, we would select the best hotel to cater to your needs.

2. A 12-Day Egypt Itinerary with a Pilgrimage to Mount Sinai

In this itinerary, you would have a visit to a momentous Biblical site as well as the iconic highlights of ancient Egypt.

The following itinerary has a well-received winding-down sequence: Cairo – a Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan – Mount Sinai – Sharm el-Sheikh.

  • Days 1–3 in Cairo (the Giza pyramid complex, the Egyptian Museum, Coptic Cairo, Wadi El Natrun, and the Khan el-Khalili market)
  • Day 4: Nile cruise from Aswan (cruise boarding, the Aswan High Dam, the Philae temple complex, and the Unfinished Obelisk)
  • Day 5: Nile cruise (the Temple of Edfu and the Temple of Kom Ombo)
  • Days 6–7: Nile cruise disembarking in Luxor (the Valley of the Kings, the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon, the Luxor Temple, and the Karnak temple complex)
  • Days 8–9 in Saint Catherine (Saint Catherine's Monastery and a trek up Mount Sinai)
  • Days 10–12 in Sharm el-Sheikh (snorkeling and diving, relaxing on the beach)

Trekking up Mount Sinai is a must for pilgrims. Instead of rushing to the top at midnight with huge crowds, we highly recommend hiking up in time for sunset. This way, you can have a good rest and enjoy the mountain to yourself. Saint Catherine's, nestled beneath Mount Sinai, is a place worth visiting.

What could be more relaxing than unwinding on the beach after an energetic hike? In Sharm el-Sheikh, you can refresh yourself in luxurious resorts, immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife, and engage in diving and snorkeling activities.

Insider tips: Before departing for Mount Sinai, it is necessary to obtain permission from the government. Taking a private tour with us, we'd take care of all documents and help with all security checks for you!

3. A 12-Day Egypt Itinerary with an Adventure to the White Desert

This 12-day Egypt itinerary promises a perfect balance of historical experiences in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, and thrilling outdoor adventures to the otherworldly White Desert. 

See if this is your travel style from the following outline and highlights: Cairo – the White Desert – Aswan – Luxor – Hurghada.

  • Days 1–2 in Cairo (the Giza pyramid complex, the Great Sphinx, a food tour, and the Khan el-Khalili market)
  • Days 3–5 in Bahariya (Bahariya Oasis, Crystal Mountain, the Black Desert, the White Desert, and desert camping)
  • Day 6  in Aswan (Aswan city tour with the Aswan High Dam, the Philae temple complex, and scenic felucca ride on the Nile)
  • Days 7–8 Luxor (Luxor city tour with the Luxor Temple, the Karnak temple complex, the Valley of the Kings, the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and sunrise hot air balloon ride)
  • Days 9–12 in Hurghada (beach time, and some free time)

Instead of the regular 3-night slow-paced Nile River Cruises, we specially arranged a scenic Felucca ride in Aswan, allowing the best Nile experiences and more time for exciting adventures.

Beyond classic sightseeing, you'd have the chance to venture into the magical White Desert and partake in a unique Bedouin camping experience. Shutterbugs love its alien landscape and great conditions for stargazing.

Enjoy the tranquility of the desert, engage in storytelling around the campfire, and share quality time with your loved one(s) in this breathtaking setting.

4. A 12-Day Egypt and Jordan Itinerary

This Egypt and Jordan itinerary is designed for those who want to maximize a 12-day travel experience in the Middle East.

During our ultimate 12-day Egypt and Jordan adventure, you'd explore the best of Egypt and Jordan, from their history to their landscapes: the magnificent pyramids, the grand sandstone city of Petra, the stunning Nile, and the magical Dead Sea.

See the following Egypt–Jordan itinerary, for reference: 1 week in Egypt and  5 days in Jordan.

  • Days 1–3 in Cairo, Egypt (the Giza pyramid complex, the Great Sphinx, the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Cairo, food tour, and the Khan el-Khalili market)
  • Days 4–7 on a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, Egypt (the Philae temple complex, the Temple of Kom Ombo, the Colossi of Memnon, the Temple of Horus, the Luxor Temple, and the Karnak temple complex)
  • Days 8–10: fly to Amman, Jordan (the Citadel, the Roman Theater, the ancient city of Jerash, and a day trip to the Dead Sea)
  • Days 11–12 in Petra (the Siq, the Treasury, the Monastery, and Petra by Night)
Map of Egypt Jordan and Egypt tour

You'd follow a similar plan to other Egypt itineraries above for the first part of this trip: Cairo and the Nile cruise.

In Jordan, first-timers usually don't want to miss the capital Amman, the Dead Sea, and the red-hued canyon of Petra.

Floating on the Dead Sea together and covering each other in the rejuvenating mud can create cherished family memories.

In Petra, you would be fascinated by the intricate rock-cut architectural wonder. When you witness the illuminated Treasury by night, it creates a truly memorable and enchanting atmosphere, which is especially lovely for couples to enjoy together.

If you like this itinerary, learn about more exclusive activities from our popular 2-week Egypt and Jordan tour. Combing with Morrocco is also a great option. You can see the well-organized 15-Day Morocco and Egypt Highlights >>>

How Much Does a 12-Day Egypt Tour Cost?

A private Egypt tour can usually be an "affordable luxury" with exclusive experiences. The price of a 12-day private Egypt tour falls at about US$1,800–3,000 per person. Kids under 10 can receive discounts of between 30% and 50%.

To save some costs, you can contact us 1 year in advance to enjoy early-bird discounts. Specializing in customized private tours, we are experts at helping to optimize your costs. You'll have a unique and personalized travel experience that goes beyond traditional group tours: worry-free private transfers, character-filled boutique hotels, and authentic local food experiences.

Furthermore, going right before or after peak time (November to March) is a smart way to gain low-season savings but still have a fair chance of good weather. Whenever you go, more savings can be had in a larger group. For example, invite your family and friends to travel with you to share the costs.

Booking Your Egypt Trip With Us

Want more itinerary options? You can get our handpicked itineraries for various durations: 5 days, 7 days, 8 days, 10 days, 14 days, and 21 days...

You are warmly welcomed to have us customize your own trip based on your group size, interests, and other needs. Sit back and use our Create My Trip service.

For inspiration, you could also see the following popular Egypt tours:

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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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