Having now travelled to almost 100 countries, I feel I have a wealth of information and travel tips stored in my head and ready to share. One of the memorable, and perhaps surprising, places I visited over the past 5 years was Egypt. I came here as part of an epic 9 month overland journey from Cork to Cape Town, and loved how easy cheap it was to travel around, how easy the visa was to get (you can find further information here), and how there’s so much more to see than just the pyramids.
Here I want to share my two week Egypt itinerary with you along with some useful travel tips that you need to know about travelling in this sometimes difficult country.
Two Week Egypt Itinerary
Arriving in Egypt
There are actually 3 ways to arrive in Egypt from overseas. First off, and probably the easiest method, you can fly to Cairo International Airport, which is what most people do.
Alternatively you can actually travel to Egypt overland from Israel or Sudan (although going to either may cause visa issues for you in the future!) or you can take a cruise or cargo ship from Europe to Alexandria. We attempted the latter, hoping it would be as easy as taking the ferry to France, but had no luck so actually ending up flying in the end, bringing the “overloading” element of our epic trip to an end.
Getting around Egypt
Getting around Egypt was sometimes easy and sometimes hard. Taxis are unbelievably cheap, so we used apps like Uber (they take cash only by the way) to get around Cairo and to even go longer distances such as trips to Alexandria and the north coast.
We also braved the train from Cairo to Luxor, which while cheap and quite the adventure, ended up being a bit of a disaster so I highly advise getting up to date information and booking tickets in advance if choosing this option. Long distances buses also exist, and are super cheap, but can take many hours longer than bargained for.
There are also internal flights to get you to places like Luxor and Alexandria so a good option if you’re tight on time.
Where to go in two weeks
We started our trip in Cairo as we obviously wanted to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza. We booked a full day tour as we wanted to see the Pyramids from all angles and stay as late as we could to get shots of the pyramids at sunset.
For an extra charge you can go inside of the Great Pyramid or hop up on a camels back and trek around the desert area next to the pyramids which is a pretty surreal experience.
Most tours will also bring you to the famous KFC restaurant beside the Sphinx which actually affords incredible views over the pyramids and sunset. In winter the gates close around 4pm, which kind of sucks, so you really need to push your luck to stay a bit longer and get those dreamy Golden Hour shots.
Tours will also bring you to the National History Museum in Cairo, which in my opinion is a MUST VISIT, especially for anyone interested in Egyptian history, Cleopatra, the history of the Pyramids and Mummies!
While in Cairo for over a week, we stayed in a hotel close to the pyramids for the first few days and then moved to a hostel which ended up being an amazing idea as we befriended locals who helped us plan out the next bit of our trip. Accommodation is very cheap in Cairo so you could stay in a 4 star hotel for the duration of your stay for only a fraction of what you might pay back home.
Another top place to visit in your two weeks is Alexandria. It was once home to the very famous “Lighthouse of Alexandria”, one of the original Seven Wonders of The World.
Nowadays, top sites in Alexandria include the Pompey’s Pillar, Montana Palace, the Catacombs (we found this pretty creepy), the new lighthouse at the site of the ancient wonder, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina – a new library but just as important as the one that say burnt down many moons ago.
While we stayed in Alexandria for one night to see the sites, we actually stayed a few nights up the coast to get a taste for beach life in Egypt. While the beach was beautiful, our hotel and the ‘strip” felt like a ghost town, so I think in hindsight spending this time at the Red Sea would have been more enjoyable.
Like Cairo, hotel accommodation was embarrassingly cheap so you won’t need to worry much about that. We actually hired a driver to take us there and back and it only costs us about 30 dollars each despite being about a 4 hours journey!
For me, Luxor was the highlight of my trip to Egypt. I had already visiting the Pyramids and the Red Sea as a teenager, but it was my first visit to Luxor. Similar to Cairo, when we went 3 years ago there was a distinct lack of tourists. Even the famous sites in Luxor were quiet, which made visiting a real treat.
We stayed in traditional Arabic accommodation within walking distance of Luxor Temple, which meant we actually went to explore it 2 or 3 times during our stay – both early in the morning and when it was beautifully lit up at night.
One of the highlights was a sunrise hot air balloon ride we did (for just US $35!!) over the Valley of the Kings. It include a boat ride, bus transfer, breakfast and of course the breathtaking hot air balloon ride. A once in a lifetime experience!
The Red Sea
Once you’ve had your share of historic sites around Egypt, it’s time for some down time by the Red Sea. There are many destinations here to choose form depending on your interests.
Some of the world’s top sites for snorkelling, diving, and dolphin watching are located near Dahab and Aqaba while Sharm El Sheikh is more geared towards people looking to have a relaxing beach holiday with gorgeous beaches, activities for kids and plenty of hotels and luxury resorts to choose from.
From boat trips to week long dive course, the towns and resorts along the Red Sea are one of Egypts top destinations and well worth a few days of your two week Egypt itinerary – especially to ensure your trip is as interesting and diverse as possible.
Honestly you could easily spend two or three weeks exploring Egypt, especially if you’re into diving are Egyptian history. However, I think 2 weeks is plenty of time to see all the main sites and get a taster for one of the most fascinating countries on earth. I hope this short but sweet itinerary will give you some idea of where to go and what to do, feel free to get in touch if you’ve any questions or queries.