The majesty of the Nile Valley’s monuments. The markets, mosques and madrassas of Islamic Cairo. Ancient rock art, and out-of-this-world reefs. There are plenty of reasons tourists are attracted to Egypt’s epic wonders. But such diversity raises a tricky question. Namely, how many days to spend in Egypt? Planning is paramount, which is where this guide comes into play — read on for itinerary suggestions covering different length stays.
For example, some visitors come purely to enjoy Egypt’s best beaches and dive experiences. Others want to focus entirely on Egypt’s ancient attractions, like Luxor and other treasures of the Nile Valley.
With that in mind, you’ll want to research the historic sites and attractions you most want to see. And, if you fancy mixing it up, you'll need to factor in transfer times.
If culture is top of your travel priorities, your best bet is to base yourself in Cairo to access a richness of ancient treasures. In the city itself, don’t miss visiting the esteemed Egyptian Museum.
Top tip: discover how to spend 24 hours in Cairo.
Cairo also offers easy access to incredible day trips, among them the Pyramids of Giza, and the show-stopping Sphinx.
You can also escape Cairo’s intensity by taking an immersive day-trip to Alexandria. With a string of beaches, modern Alexandria has a laid-back vibe, with the Mediterranean Sea and maritime influences on show.
Though Alexandria was an important centre of Hellenistic civilisation and the capital of Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine Egypt, little remains from those eras. But in good news for history buffs, the Alexandria National Museum, set in an Italianate villa, reveals the city’s history.
As part of your 7-day trip, you could also explore the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, the Citadel of Fort Qaitbey, and the Library of Alexandria. Fancy some retail therapy? Don’t miss Khan el-Khalili Bazaar.
During a week-long visit, you can also take a trip on the Nile, with plenty of short cruise trips available.
You could also arrange to visit the awe-inspiring oasis at Faiyum (also spelt Fayoum), some 62 miles southwest of Cairo.
Here Lake Qarun serves scenic beauty, with Kom Aushim, located past the eastern tip of the lake, hosting the ruins of a temple dedicated to the crocodile-headed god Sobek.
Have a week in Egypt? Check out our customisable Introduction to Egypt itinerary.
In addition to doing everything outlined in our seven-day suggestion, make your way to the magnificent Montazah Palace Gardens. Located in the Alexandria area, this opulent complex has a stunning coastal setting.
Having ten days in Egypt also gives you the freedom to enjoy a longer cruise along the Nile. How does stopping off at Aswan High Dam, Edful‘s temples and Luxor sound? You could even opt to include the resort city of Sharm El Sheikh.
Inspired by the sound of a cruise? See our eight-day Nile Cruise itinerary.
Indeed, meandering Petra's monastery route is a Jordanian must-do — the views from the mountain-top are jaw-droppingly spectacular.
We also recommend seeing the lunar landscapes of Wadi Rum, another of Jordan’s best things to do.
To take in a lot of Nile attractions in one immersive, exhilarating trip, a cruise could be the way to go.
After spending time in Cairo and seeing the Pyramids of Giza, lots of cruise itineraries include drifting down the Nile to the Valley of the Kings, the temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo, and Philae Temple near Aswan.
With 14 days, why not enjoy an immersive desert excursion and overnight at a Bedouin camp?
Alternatively, you could opt to mix things up further by doing pretty much all of the above, plus spending a chunk of time in Morocco.
Of course, if you prefer to take things slower, simply cut out some of these suggestions and spend more time the places that most take your fancy — simple!
Of course, you could also cross a few borders to also experience Jordan and Morocco, visiting some of the top attractions outlined above.
Back in Egypt, rather than try to pack in too much into your three weeks, consider touring the top ancient attractions before resting up by the beach at the end of your trip.
If the idea of not packing in too much has piqued your interest, you could book an immersive two-week sailing cruise aboard a traditional dahabieh ship.
With three weeks, you'd still have time to explore some of Egypt’s cities, or discover Egypt's underwater attractions.
Note that while the Nile Valley is balmy throughout this winter season, Cairo can be overcast and chilly.
Want more more detail? Read up on when to go to Egypt.
For most visitors, including nationals of the UK, the European Union and the United States, it's easiest — and cheapest — to get a tourist visa at the point of arrival.
They can be obtained from Cairo International Airport, Luxor Airport, Aswan Airport, Hurghada Airport, Sharm El Sheikh and Alexandria Port.
The fee can only be paid in cash. If you have currencies other than US dollars, bank kiosks will exchange your money. Alternatively, you can apply for an e-Visa.
So, use common sense. Keep your passport and valuables hidden, use hotel safes, and beware of pickpockets and bag snatchers.
While security is tight at places visited by foreigners, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and within 20km of the Egyptian and Libyan border.
The FCDO also advises against all but essential travel to several places that have long been on travellers routes e.g. the oasis town of Siwa. So, be sure to check current advice before planning your trip,