Tour type: City Break
Group size: Min: 1 | Max: Any
Accommodation: Luxury Boutique Hotel - Le Riad Hotel de Charme
Transport: A/C minibus
Highlights: Old Cairo, El Moez Street, All-suite boutique hotel, Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, walking distance from Khan-el-Khalili bazaar
This short Cairo city break tour gives you a taste of Egypt's bustling capital city, home to the iconic Pyramids, Sphinx and Egyptian Museum, and is ideal for those short of time or who may have visited other parts of Egypt already.
Accommodation is the the award winning Le Riad Hotel de Charme, a small luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of Old Cairo facing the famous Beit el Sehemy with its exceptional old Ottoman houses. The design of the hotel celebrates and reflects Old Cairo's style and history, with all 17 suites being individually furnished with warm colours, Fatimid fabrics, antique wooden furniture and paintings from local artists. Suites are all large and comfortable with spacious marble bathrooms, separate lounge and study areas and a variety of different arts and crafts displayed.
The tour begins with a guided sightseeing tour to Egypt's most well-known landmark - the Great Pyramids of Giza and the enigmatic Sphinx where your Egyptologist guide will explain the history and evolution of pyramid building.
Your remaining time in Cairo is then free to explore independently, relax in your hotel or take an additional tour. These include a city tour to the Citadel, Coptic Cairo and the Egyptian Museum, a walking tour through the old streets around the hotel and the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, a day trip to the colonial Mediterranean city of Alexandria, or a tour to see more pyramids at Dashour, Saqqara and Memphis. Dinner cruise and felucca trips on the Nile are also available.
An overnight trip to see the ancient Egyptian sites on both banks of the River Nile at Luxor is also available, and the tour can be extended with extra nights in Cairo if you wish.
Upon arrival at Cairo airport, we will meet you and assist you with visa formalities and luggage collection, then transfer you to your luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Old Cairo. We'll help you settle into your suite, then the rest of the day is free at your leisure. If your flight lands early, then you could take a first look at the pyramids at the spectacular sound and light show, or just explore your surroundings on El Moez Street.
Cairo boutique hotel
Single Room Supplement (EGTMC5)
Superior suite upgrade
Your stay in Egypt beings this morning with a relaxing breakfast in the hotel. During the morning our local representative will brief you on the hotel, your location in Old Cairo with some tips on exploring, and discuss any additional optional tours you may have either pre-booked or like to arrange during your stay.
Early in the afternoon you then take a sightseeing tour for a first taste of ancient Egypt with a visit to the enigmatic Sphinx and the three greatest pyramids in Egypt. At 500 feet high and 750 feet wide at its base the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is a breath taking man-made structure, built from enormous stone blocks with a white limestone covering. Over the years, the limestone covering has been stripped away to expose the inner block structure. Along with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the inspiring sight of these huge structures looming out of the desert is an unforgettable site. One of our specialist Egyptologist guides will accompany you and explain some of the history of pyramid building, and of the different dynasties of the ancient Egyptian empire.
You will have a chance to climb down inside the pyramids if you wish, but you're on your own, as your guide cannot accompany you (a limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid). After the Pyramids we then head to the nearby Sphinx which was only properly uncovered from the desert sands in the last century. Finally we head back to our hotel and a taste of local Egyptian life as El Moez Street bustles with a relaxed but exciting energy in the evenings.
Cairo boutique hotel
Your next two days are free to explore independently or to do some more guided sightseeing. The area of Old Islamic Cairo surrounding your hotel is one of Cairo's most charming, with covered markets, narrow streets, old buildings and mosques. Of Old Cairo, this quarter most evokes its past and in many ways has changed very little. It has inspired many writings, from Arabian nights to the works of the modern Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Getting enjoyably lost amongst the winding alleys while walking from the hotel to the nearby Khan-el-Khalili bazaar is one of the pleasures of staying here.
However, a guided walking tour is also available to help you make the most of your surroundings and explore the various different bazaars, markets and architectures around you. Other optional tours available include a City Tour to the Citadel with its great views over the city, the tiny streets and churches of Coptic Cairo, and the famous Egyptian Museum, home to the amazing Tutunkhamun display. You could also take a trip to learn more about the history of Pyramid building at Memphis, Saqqara and Dashour, or enjoy a full day trip to the colonial coastal city of Alexandria.
You may also take a flight to the Nile-side city of Luxor in Upper Egypt, which hosts an incredible number and variety of ancient Egyptian temples, tombs and other sites. This overnight trip includes a tour of Karnak Temple on the East Bank of the Nile, plus the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatchepsut Temple, and the Valley of the Artisans on the West Bank, with a night spent in a 5-star hotel by the NIle before you fly back to Cairo again.
Cairo boutique hotel
Alexandria day trip
Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis
Khan-el-Khaliali bazaar walking tour
Cairo City half day tour
Overnight trip to Luxor with East & West Bank tours
You have another free day in Cairo today with all the same optional tours available.
Cairo boutique hotel
Alexandria day trip
Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis
Khan-el-Khaliali bazaar walking tour
Cairo City half day tour
Overnight trip to Luxor with East & West Bank tours
Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. Alternatively you can add extra nights to your time in Cairo.
Extra day in Cairo - post-tour - Le Riad
Hotel Gala Dinners
Nearly all of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special Gala Dinner with entertainment in the evening of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but normally compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not.
The hotel used on this tour, Le Riad Hotel de Charme, does not run a Gala Dinner on Christmas Eve, but a compulsory Gala Dinner is arranged on New Year's Eve (31 Dec). The price is US$170 p/p, which is not included in the tour price, but will be added to your booking and is either payable in advance or directly to the hotel.
Private departures are available daily all year round. The tour can also be extended and customised to fit your personal requirements, interests and flights.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often use on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Le Riad Hotel de Charme
This lovely small boutique all-suite hotel is situated in the heart of bustling Old Cairo within walking distance of the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. All suites are individually designed and decorated and the hotel also features a roof terrace restaurant.
Le Riad Hotel de Charme is a small luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of Old Cairo facing the famous Beit el Sehemy with its exceptional old Ottoman houses. The hotel itself has been designed to celebrate and reflect the history and style of Old Cairo.
All 17 suites have individual furnishings with rich warm colours, Fatimid fabrics, antique wooden furniture and paintings from local talented artists. The suites are large and comfortable with spacious marble bathrooms, separate lounge and study areas and a variety of different arts and crafts displayed.
The hotel has a 24-hour front desk, a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views over the surrounding streets and alleyways of Old Cairo, and a relaxed tea lounge for breakfast and informal dining. No alcohol is served.
Overall we love using this hotel because of the size and character of the suites, and its location which is perfect for second stays in Cairo when you can walk around the surrounding streets and explore Old Cairo on foot.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
This tour features an overnight felucca cruise. Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and are a fun and relaxing way to travel down the river. You sleep on the deck of the boat (mattresses and some blankets are provided, but we suggest that you bring a sleeping sheet, blanket or light sleeping bag during the winter months of November-February). There are no toilet facilities on board, but you will be joined several times each day and at night by our support boat where a toilet and warm showers will be available. Mosquito nets are provided for use while you are sleeping but you should bring mosquito repellent for the evenings and early mornings. Your Nubian boat crew will cook all your meals while on board and entertain you in the evenings.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. In Egypt we do not use any public tourist buses or overnight coach journeys as we know that people don't sleep on board and end up very tired for the following few days. All the vehicles we use are air-conditioned, many are fitted with speed limiters, and all are inspected and checked daily. Some 4WD vehicles used on desert safaris may not always have air conditioning where they are only used for short periods.
For the overnight train journeys from Cairo to Aswan (approx. 12 hrs) and Luxor to Cairo (approx. 9 hrs) this tour uses the overnight sleeper train. This train has private twin berth cabins with large seats and fold-down beds with sheets, pillow & blanket. The lockable cabins also have a washbasin and storage cupboard, and an airline tray-style evening meal and breakfast is included. If you wish you may upgrade these journeys to internal flights.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A
Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.
Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using ‘black henna’ instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.
In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, the cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) - you'll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don't need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.
All African and Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.
For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.
The time in Egypt, Jordan and Israel is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted ‘LE’. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
This tour runs twice a year with departures timed so that we are in Abu Simbel on the right day for the Sun Festival (22nd February and 22nd October). All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and unlike many operators we maintain our small group size on this very popular date with a maximum of 18 people to each guide. We may share a large coach with another of our groups for the drive between Aswan and Abu Simbel, but otherwise your group runs independently throughout.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected. Financial failure insurance is provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of their tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.
Tipping is very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs. To make our prices more transparent and so it is easier for you to budget and less hassle while in Egypt, on our small group tours we organise a 'Tipping Kitty' which needs to be paid as a local payment and will be around US$25-50 depending on the length of your trip. Payment is collected in US Dollars cash or can also be paid with Egyptian Pounds or other currencies converted to US Dollars at our monthly exchange rate. This kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you’ll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc. Please check the Included/Excluded notes below the tour itinerary for more information on how much to budget for this kitty.
On private/tailor-made tours this tipping kitty is included in your tour price.
Your Egyptologist guide (and Bedouin guides in the desert) is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 10-15 per person per day would be appropriate.
Children under the age of 12 do not need to pay anything towards the tipping kitty.