Tour type: City Break
Group size: Min: 1 | Max: Any
Accommodation: 4 to 5-star hotels
Transport: A/C minibus
Highlights: The Pyramids, Sphinx & Saqqara, Egyptian Musuem with the famous King Tutunkhamun display, city tour including the Citadel & bustling Khan al Khalili bazaar, Alexandria city tour, Nile dinner cruise
The lively, bustling city of Cairo hides a wealth of treasures just waiting to be discovered. The awesome monuments at Gisa, with the towering Pyramids and regal Sphinx, the sprawling Egyptian Museum, home to a huge collection of ancient artefacts, and the colourful, winding alleys of the Khan al Khalili bazaar all combine to make Cairo a great place to visit. We add to these a tour of the coastal city of Alexandria to make a fascinating short Egyptian break.
We start your tour with a visit to the Gisa plateau to experience the timeless beauty of the Great Pyramids and enigmatic Sphinx. These amazing monuments, more than any other, are a true testament to the power and wealth of Pharaonic Egypt. We then take you to explore the tombs and complex around Zoser's step pyramid at Saqqara, an early precursor to the Great Pyramids.
Your next stop is the Egyptian museum, with its vast array of ancient artefacts, including the priceless Tutunkhamun display and intriguing mummy collection. You will then head out into Cairo proper to explore the Citadel, with its wonderful views, ancient Coptic Cairo, and the many interesting mosques dotted throughout the city. A stroll around the many colourful stalls in the Khan al Khalili bazaar will give you the perfect chance to haggle for those 'must buy' souvenirs.
In the evening you step aboard a luxury Nile steamer for a dinner to remember and a chance to see Cairo by night. You will enjoy the unique taste Middle Eastern cuisine and experience traditional Egyptian Sufi and Belly Dancing as you float down the river.
Finally we take you on a day trip to Alexandria, site of the Pharos lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Here you can explore the many Roman remains, including a wonderful amphitheatre and catacombs.
Your last day in Cairo is free giving you a chance to buy one or two more souvenirs or do some more sightseeing before we transfer you back to the airport for you flight home.
We greet you on your arrival in Cairo airport and transfer you to your hotel. Subject to availability, our preference for this tour is the Mena House hotel, situated right at the foot of the pyramids.
Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour
Single room supplement (EGTMEC)
Extra day in Cairo pre-tour - Le Riad
We start our tours today with a visit to the Pyramids and Sphinx at Gisa where our Egyptologist starts his explanations about Egyptian history and how the pyramids came to be built. We continue the tour at nearby Saqqara where we learn about the evolution of pyramid building at Zoser's step pyramid.
This morning we head into the centre of Cairo and visit the ancient churches in Coptic Cairo, the mosques and palaces at the Citadel, and explore the famous Egyptian Museum. The tour finishes with some time to wander round or do some shopping in the busy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. In the evening we take to the river and enjoy a dinner cruise on the Nile with a belly dancing and sufi dancing display.
We leave Cairo this morning for a full day tour to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. The city still has some classic colonial architecture and Roman remains, and we visit Pompey's Pillar, ancient Catacombs, Fort Qaitbey (built on the site of the ancient Pharos lighthouse) and the impressive new library. Lunch is included and we return to Cairo in the evening.
Your time is free in Cairo today until we pick you up and transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home. The tour can be extended with more days in Cairo, or a visit to the Red Sea or Western Deserts.
Extra day in Cairo post-tour - Le Riad
Seasonal prices for this tour are given below. We can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
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.
Mena House Hotel
Overlooking the Pyramids, this luxury hotel is split into the tradition Palace wing and more modern Garden wing, and includes a full range of services.
Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.
The Mena House is a luxurious palace hotel which was originally built in 1869 as a hunting lodge by the King of Egypt. It is a very historic hotel which is reflected in the traditional Arabesque furnishings, original artwork and antiques found throughout. It has a newly rennovated garden wing and the largest swimming pool in Cairo with unrivalled views of the Pyramids in the background. There is a variety of international and Egyptian cuisine on offer at the many restaurants and bars within the hotel.
This hotel is one of our favourites in the whole of Egypt, and we use it on many of our tours with our Luxury comfort rating.
The hotel is set in 40 acres of gardens just a few hundred metres from the Pyramid of Cheops and only 15 kilometers from Cairo. It is about a 30-45 minute drive to the city centre and a 45 minute drive to the airport.
The Mena House has 498 rooms located in the Palace and Garden wings and 25 Cabana style rooms by the pool. All rooms are spacious and are furnished in traditional Arabesque style. 15 of the palace rooms and 145 of the garden rooms have views of the Pyramids. We use Garden Wing rooms as the standard option when we use this hotel, but rooms in the Palace Wing and/or Pyramid View rooms are available on request at a supplement. There are also non-smoking rooms available.
All rooms have either king-size or twin beds, are air-conditioned and have their own balcony and en-suite marble bathrooms equipped with a full range of personal toiletries, bathrobes and king size bathtubs. There is also a mini-bar, satellite TV, hair dryer, direct-dial telephone and electrical sockets in every room for charging cameras, phones etc.. 24 hour room service is also available.
There are a number of restaurants to choose from within the hotel including the famous Moghul Room which offers the very best in Indian cuisine and the Khan el Khalili, named after the famous Cairo bazaar which serves both Egyptian and continental dishes and is open 24-hours a day.
The Al Rubayyat restaurant was built in 1869 and was the original hunting lodge. It is a fantastic room to eat in, and serves Continental cuisine and has live entertainment every evening. There is also the Greenery which is a Mediterranean style restaurant situated in the Garden Wing offering buffet style breakfast and dinner. For snacks and light refreshments there is the Oasis poolside coffee shop.
Also within the hotel are several bars. There is the Sultan lounge where you can enjoy cocktails along with views of the Pyramids and the Mamlouk bar which is open from 5pm until 2am. You can then finish off the evening at either the Saddle disco or Abu Nawars nightclub both of which are open until 2am.
The hotel has a very large outdoor pool with views of the Pyramids and is also the only hotel in Cairo to have its own 18-hole golf course. There is a fitness centre, 2 floodlit tennis courts, jogging track and horseback riding available from the stables. Within the hotel there is also a bank, hair & beauty salon, shopping arcade and a casino. This hotel is not best suited for families with younger children as the pool doesn't have many shallow areas and there are not many children's facilities available (we recommend Le Meridien Pyramids for families with children).
Steigenberger Cecil Hotel
Colonial style hotel perfectly located in the centre of Alexandria. Rooms are spacious and full of character but a little dated.
Conveniently located in Alexandria's business district and overlooking the bay and yacht club, this hotel features an elegant setting influenced by the architecture and interior design of early modernism. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas.
Steigenberger Cecil Hotel Alexandria has spacious rooms with French beds, chandeliers and carpeted floors and furnishing that match in patterns and colours to create an artistically refreshing setting.
As can be expected, the hotel’s restaurants have a historical reputation to keep up to. You can also enjoy a drink at the Monty Bar, named after the famous Marshall Montogomery.
Steigenberger Cecil Hotel Alexandria is a hotel for connoisseurs who can appreciate the impeccable service & attention to detail.
The hotel is situated in a convenient location in the heart of Alexandria. Wired internet is available in rooms at an added fee.
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.
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.
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 is designed as a sample tailor-made tour itinerary. As such we do not offer set group departure dates that you can join. Rather, the tour is available for you to do privately starting on any date of the year. Guideline seasonal prices are given below, based on 2 people travelling. If you would like to adjust the tour itinerary, or there will be more or less people travelling, please contact us and we will customise a price for you.
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.