On your first day, a Beyond the Pyramids Tours representative will await you at Cairo airport with a private driver and air-conditioned vehicle. Your representative will assist you and facilitate the visa process. You will then travel to a five-star hotel to settle in for your first night's in this amazing land.
PYRAMID OF MENKAURE
Arrive in Cairo
After breakfast at your hotel, your English-speaking tour guide will bring you to Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. Learn about the city's magnificent history and tour the open air museum, home to the colossal statue of Ramses II. Then, our journey takes us to Sakkara, the ancient necropolis of Memphis. Sakkara is home to the first known pyramid, the Pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid. Our tour will include one of the tombs in the burial complex.
Next, we will take in the majesty of the pyramids and monument built on the Giza Plateau. Your guide will engage you with the history of the structures, focusing on the three major pyramids: the Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre or Chephren and the smaller Pyramid of Menkaure or Mykerinos. Be sure to bring your cameras for memorable photos of these three pyramids together.
The tour will then move on to the Sphinx complex, and journey through the Valley Temple, learning of the methods the ancients used to mummify their kings.
Visitors who are not too tired from the day's activities are invited to attend an additional attraction: a Sound and Light Show set against the backdrop of the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. While tickets are not included, this event is highligh recommended.
Giza, Saqqara and Memphis
After breakfast at your hotel, your Beyond the Pyramids guide will meet you in the lobby to escort you to the Egyptian Museum. We will spend the morning here, taking in the countless artifacts on display. Gaze in wonder at the golden treasures amassed by King Tutenkhaman and marvel at the exquisit artwork that has survived the ages. While a visit to the animal mummification exhibit is included, visitors may wish to purchase an additional ticket to visit the famous Mummy Hall.
As the afternoon approaches, we will leave the Egyptian Museum for Old Cairo. We will visit several sites of interest in Coptic (Christian) and Islamic Cairo. These include the Hanging Church, or Suspended Church, and St. Serguis Church, which is the oldest church in Coptic Cairo and is built over a cavern where the Holy Family is said to have stayed for three months after fleeing to Egypt. We will also explore the Jewish heritage in Cairo, including the Ben Ezra Synagogue, which houses a library containing documents chronicling the economic and social conditions of Jews uder Arab rule. No Cairo pilgrammage would be complete without stoppinng at the Citadel of Saladin and the Mohammad Ali Alabaster Mosque, the most visible mosque in Cairo.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we step back in time as you experience Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, which dates back to the 13th century. If you're too tired to hunt down some bargains, refresh yourself with some mint tea, mango juice or Al-Fashawy coffee.
If you so choose, you may enjoy a special dinner aboard a 5-star Nile cruise ship as it sails on the Nile for 2-hours. While onboard, enjoy a belly dance/Tenura show.
BEN EZRA SYNAGOGUE
Egyptian Museum, Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo
On the fourth day of our trip, we will travel via an air-conditioned private vehicle to Alexandria. Our first stop is the Roman Theater, hewn from marble and built to hold up to 800 spectators. Then, your tour guide will relate the significance of the Pompe Pillar, one of the largest known monolithic columns, erected around 300 AD for the Roman Emporor Diocletian.
The last stop before luch will be to the Catacomb of Kom El-Shoqafa, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. The tombs are located around a spiral staircase on three levels and the walls of the structure are adorned with depictions of mythological creatures.
After lunch, we explore the Alexandria Library, the most famous library of classical antiquity. The destruction of this library by fire has become an allegory for the loss of cultural knowledge. As we depart Alexandria to return to Cairo, be sure to look for Qiatbey's Citadel, an immense fortress designed as a defensive stronghold against attacks from across the Meditteranean Sea
KOM EL SHOQAFA CATACOMB
On the fifth day of our tour, we journey to Aswan via an internal flight to embark on a 5-star Deluxe Nile cruise.
After check-in, we start with an excursian to the Philae Temple, one of the most impressive temples in all of Egypt and an ancient pilgrimage center for the cult of Isis. The temple is now located on Agilka Island after it was submerged by the waters of the Nile when the Aswan High Dam was built.
The Aswan High Dam, one of the most outstanding architectural achievements of the twentieth century, controls the annual flooding of the Nile River and has had a significant effect Egypt's culture and economy.
Finally, our trip will take us to the granite quarries, where we will learn about the Egyptian method of cutting obelisks from stone. Visitors will have a chance to examine the Unfinished Obelisk, the largest known ancient obelisk and an important clue in the study of how Egyptians created these massive monuments.
Rest easy on board the Nile Cruise ship, rocked to sleep by the gentle waters of the Nile.
ASWAN HIGH DAM
Board Cruise Ship, Agilka Island, High Dam and Granite Quarry
On the sixth day of the tour, visitors can choose to enjoy an optional early morning tour of Abu Simbel Temple. This temple is actually comprised of two massive stone structures, built to honor Pharaoh Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari, and to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
Everyone is then invited along to set sail to Kom Ombo Temple, site of the dual Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the Gods Horus and Sobek. After paying homage to the falcon-headed god and the crocodile god, we journey along to Edfu. A horse-drawn carriage will bring us to the Temple of Edfu, also built in honor of Horus. The Temple of Edfu is the second largest temple in Egypt and is the best preserved.
Returning once again to the ship, our tour will spend the night in Edfu.
TEMPLE OF NEFERTARI
Abu Simbel, Kom Ombo Temple and Edfu
Our seventh day on this adventure finds us sailing to Luxor.
Disembark with your private Egyptologist guide and begin to explore the ancient wonders along the East Bank of the Nile River. Here you will learn about Luxor, often described as the "world's greatest open-air museum" because the ruins of the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes both lie within the city boundaries. The Luxor temple is unique in that it is not dedicated as a tomb to a deceased king, but rather to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually. The Karnak temple complex is the second-largest ancient religious site in the world and was contributed to by approximately 30 pharaohs.
Then, we will journey to the West Bank of the Nile and the Valley of the Kings. Here, you will have the opportunity to explore three tombs of the rulers of Thebes and the New Kingdom. Visitors will also have the option to visit the storied tomb of King Tutenkhaman.
Before the day ends, your tour guide will escort you to the Valley of the Queens, through the Temple of Hatshepsut and invite you to gaze in awe at the enormous Colossi of Memnon.
The tour will retire to your cruise ship, where you will sleep the night away in Luxor.
Luxor and the West Bank
The itinerary for the eight day of our journey will be customizable, based on time constraints.
Visitors will have an option to enjoy a magnificent hot air balloon ride over the city of Luxor. This excursion will allow you to marvel at these ancient sites as you soar above them in the heavens.
Whether you choose to soar among the clouds, or keep your feet on the ground, all visitors will be asked to check-out of the Nile Cruise and check-in for a return flight to Cairo. Upon arrival in Cairo, you will have the chance to enjoy one final night at the luxury hotel of your choice.
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
Luxor and Cruise to Cairo
Our travel through the ancient wonders of Egypt has come to an end. After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, your Behind the Pyramids guide will assist you through the final departure formalities.