There are many places to go to in Egypt to learn about its history and culture, or just to enjoy the beautiful scenery. This Egypt one week itinerary is taking you through the highlights of the country and helping you to plan the perfect, stressless trip.
If you have limited time to visit Egypt, no worries – you can absolutely see the highlights of the country in just one week. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be a very busy and exhausting trip, but it’s definitely manageable and it’s totally worth it.
Flying to Egypt
You can easily fly to Egypt from Turkey, Italy, or many other places. I choose to fly to Egypt from Berlin, Germany. Why? Because I found the cheapest flights from there, plus, Berlin is always a good idea.
There are extremely cheap flights between Sofia (where I live) and Berlin. Sometimes they cost as little as 6 EUR! From Berlin, you can fly on a budget to Hurghada. Berlin is one of my favorites cities and I wanted to visit Hurghada to do some snorkeling and diving, so that was the best option for me.
In total, all of my flights (Sofia – Berlin – Hurghada – Berlin – Sofia) cost me 155 EUR.
You can easily fly to Berlin on a budget from pretty much anywhere in Europe. So, when you’re planning your trip to Egypt, consider the same trip as an option.
What to pack for one week in Egypt
You honestly don’t need more than 2 pairs of jeans or pants, a few shirts / t-shirts, and a swimsuit, if you’re planning to visit the coast.
Egypt is a Muslim country so you need to dress more conservatively. While guys can wear shorts in the hot weather, for girls is a no-no. Of course, there are tourist girls that do it, but I wouldn’t advise you to, especially if you’re traveling solo. You’ll be attracting plenty of attention anyway.
As a girl, you should always cover your shoulders, chest, and knees.
Other packings essentials include a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes.
Visa for Egypt
If you’re a citizen of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, or Georgia, you can obtain a visa upon arrival, or get yourself an E-Visa prior to your arrival.
The citizens of only 9 countries can visit Egypt without a visa for 3 months. Plus, some other that can visit the country visa-free under certain conditions. Make sure to check your country visa requirements for Egypt when starting planning your trip.
For those who can get an E-Visa in advance, I’ll recommend them NOT TO. I did that because I decided that it would save me time from waiting to get a visa on arrival at the airport. It did.
However, when I applied for the E-Visa, I didn’t go to read all the terms & conditions and in the end, I was charged ways more than the cost of the visa. I was charged more than double the price of the E-visa, which is 25 USD. The rest of what they charged me was for a processing fee.
You can easily get a visa on arrival at your port of entry. Yes, you might need to wait a while, so it’s totally up to you how you’ll decide to get your visa.
Egypt one week itinerary
Day 1: Hello Egypt! Arriving in Hurghada
As mentioned above, I found very affordable flights from Berlin to Hurghada and that’s why our adventure around Egypt started from there. If you’re flying into Cairo, check the next section to see how you can make this same itinerary work.
Depending on your time of arrival, you can use your first day to explore the town of Hurghada. There are plenty of markets, shops, restaurants, and cafes, but nothing interesting (except for the Sea, of course). Check the Marina and the impressive Abdulmoneim Riadh Mosque.
How to get from Hurghada airport to your hotel:
The Hurghada international airport is very close to the town of Hurghada. However, you can not just simply walk from the airport to the center. The only option you have is to take a taxi. A taxi from/to the airport shouldn’t cost you more than 150 – 200 EGP.
On our flight, my friend and I meet a local guy who was seating right next to us. I started a conversation with him and asked him how can we reach the center of Hurghada from the airport. Then, he explained that the airport is so close you can even walk to the center, but that’s not possible due to their restrictions.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember that guy’s name, but I want to thank him for being so kind to wait for us at the airport and offer us his taxi. He spent probably more than an hour with us, looking for our hostel and making sure that we’re fine. Moreover, he recommended us the best place to eat in Hurghada. Once again, thank you!
Where to eat in Hurghada:
You guessed it, but yeah, that’s the restaurant, which our friend from the plane recommended us. The name of the place is El dar Darak and they have the best tahini salad ever!
We ate at this place on all of our evenings in Hurghada. You can check the restaurant’s reviews and the location on TripAdvisor here.
Where to stay in Hurghada:
There are plenty of hotels in Hurghada to choose from. In my opinion, you just need to decide if you want to stay closer to the new center or the old center (where most of the snorkeling/diving trips start from). If you choose the second then you need to know that when you want to go to the new center, you should take a taxi. A taxi ride shouldn’t cost more than 20 – 25 EGP (this is just 1 EUR).
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Day 2: Snorkeling trip in Hurghada
Colorful coral reefs, turquoise waters, and more than 2000 different species of fish! On your second day in Hurghada go on a fun snorkeling trip. You should book your tour the day before after you arrive, or do it in advance.
This was not my first time snorkeling in the Red Sea and that’s why I was so excited. The first time I went snorkeling in the Red Sea was on my trip to Jordan. The underwater world was amazing, so I couldn’t wait to see it again.
The snorkeling trip lasts for 8-9 hours and includes pick up & drop off at your hotel, beverages, a very filling lunch, and the snorkeling gear + some extras. And all that at a very affordable/cheap price.
Going snorkeling in Hurghada is an absolute must-do!
Day 3: Hurghada to Luxor
After spending one-day snorkeling in Hurghada, the Egypt one week itinerary continues to Luxor. Luxor is a must stop for everyone visiting Egypt. After all, that’s where the greatest archeological sites are located.
There is an early bus leaving from Hurghada to Luxor, make sure to get on it. You’ll arrive in Luxor around 1 PM. Don’t waste much time, leave your things in your hotel and head straight to the Karnak temple.
The Karnak Temple Complex is the first open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It was built over 2 000 years ago! The name “Karnak” means the Most Selected Place. After the Pyramids of Giza, Karnak Temple is the second most visited place in Egypt.
The Karnak temple works until 5:30 PM, so you’ll have about 2, 2 and a half hours to explore it.
After Karnak, head directly to the Luxor temple. The good news is that the Luxor temple is open until 10 PM and that it might be actually better to visit it in the evening. It looks amazing with the lights.
Luxor temple is where all the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom were crowned. Some even say that Alexander the Great has been crowned here too. Luxor temple is far less complex than Karnak temple and an hour, hour and a half should be enough to explore it.
Karnak temple entry fee is 150 EGP.
Luxor temple entry fee is 140 EGP.
I told you that this Egypt one week itinerary is exhausting but definitely manageable and totally worth it. By visiting Karnak and Luxor temple on the day when you arrive in Luxor, you already have visited half of what is it to see in the city.
After exploring Luxor temple and getting something for dinner, it’s time to go to bed – tomorrow you’ll need to get up very early.
Where to stay in Luxor:
I’d recommend staying on the East bank of the Nile, as there is where most of the hotels and restaurants are located. Plus, it would be easier to explore the temples on the first day. Luxor temple is in the middle of the city, so you can easily walk there from the place where you’re staying.
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Day 4: Exploring the Valley of the Kings & taking the night bus to Cairo
Day 4 from the Egypt one week itinerary is for exploring the Valley of the Kings. Before that, you have the opportunity to get on a hot air balloon. Flying over the Valley of the Kings is a great experience. It was my first time flying on a hot air balloon and I really enjoyed it. We missed the sunrise while waiting to get on the ballon, but that’s another story…
If you want to experience the hot air balloon, you’ll need to get up very early in the morning. Usually, you’re meant to go and see the sunrise over the Valley of the Kings. First, you’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the Nile river from where you get on the boat to cross the river to the West Bank of Luxor. The flight lasts for 40 – 50 minutes.
You need to listen to your pilot who will give you some instructions before the flight. I jumped out of the balloon before we were allowed to and I don’t have any excuse for it (I just forgot that we need to wait). Don’t do like me, it’s very important for the landing!
The Valley of the Kings from the balloon
After the hot air balloon flight, it’s time to explore the Valley of the Kings. The Valley of the Kings is a valley where rock-cut tombs were excavated for the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom. They are very well preserved, but unfortunately, most of the treasures have been stoled a long time ago.
Nowadays, you can only see the decorated with scenes from the Egyptian mythology walls. The Mummies and the treasures that have been found are now stored in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
It’s essential to note that the Valley of the Kings is huge. Even if you wish to, it would be difficult and very time consuming to visit all of the tombs. With the latest discoveries, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs.
Your entry ticket to the valley includes a free visit to 3 tombs of your choice (not all of them can be visited for free, however). We visited the tombs of Ramses IV, KV 8 Merentpah & Ramses IX that were recommended to us by our tour guide.
For the exploration of the Valley of the Kings, I recommend joining a tour. The places you’ll visit on the tour are not so close to each other, so it’s better to have your transfers cover. Also, you’ll get a knowledgeable guide to tell you more about the tombs and Egyptian history.
The Valley of the King’s entry fee, which includes a visit to 3 tombs is 200 EGP + 4 EGP for the electric train.
The Hatchepsut temple entry fee is 100 EGP + 4 EGP for the electric train.
Optional, you can also go and see the Valley of the Queens (100 EGP for 3 tombs).
If you do that on a tour, you should be back at your hotel around 3 or 4 PM. You can use the rest of the day to go on a pleasant felucca ride to Banana Island. There, you can check the banana, mango, and mandarin plantations and the two Nile crocodiles. You’ll spend around 40 – 45 minutes on the island and then you’ll head back to the city at sunset. Enjoying the beautiful sunset over the Nile River on a felucca is a must-have experience for your Egypt one week itinerary.
After a day full of exploring, it’s time to get on the night bus to Cairo. The bus ride between Luxor and Cairo takes about 8 hours. You will arrive in Cairo around 5 or 6 AM.
Day 5: Exploring Cairo
Cairo is a chaotic city – there are millions of people living there and the traffic is insane. An absolute must-do when you’re in Cairo is to visit the Egyptian Museum. I’m usually not into museums, but this is the place where you can see mummies, the Tutankhamun mask, and much more.
Things to do in Cairo:
- Visit the Egyptian Museum – the entry fee is 160 EGP. The museum is definitely one of Egypt’s top sightseeing spots.
- Explore Islamic Cairo – Islamic Cairo is part of central Cairo around the old walled city. It’s part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site as one of the world’s oldest Islamic cities.
- Get lost in Khan el Khalili – Located in the Islamic Cairo, Khan el Khalili is a big souk and one of Cairo’s main tourist attractions. You can find pretty much everything there. Make sure to find the Bab al-Ghuri gate.
- Coptic Cairo – In this area you will find the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, and other Coptic churches.
Where to stay in Cairo:
In Cairo, I’ll recommend you to stay in Dahab hostel – a great place, centrally located, wonderful terrace and friendly staff.
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P.S. there is a great place for fresh juices 2 minutes walk from the Dahab hostel. Craving a fresh orange juice, a sugar cane juice, or some kind of a mix? They have varieties of combinations to choose from, or you can create your own. I can not find it on the map, but it’s on Talaat Harb Square. Once you’re there, you’ll easily spot it. Even if you don’t go there, there are many other juice places all over Cairo to satisfy your thirst.
Day 6: Exploring the Great Pyramids of Giza and taking the bus back to Hurghada
The last wonder from the Ancient world that remains to stand and it’s also on the list of the New World Wonders, the Great Pyramids of Giza is definitely a site that you need to see with your own eyes. Everyone has seen so many photos of the pyramids, but once you’re standing in front of them, only then you realize how truly great they are.
And you start thinking. How were they build? That’s still one of the leading world’s mysteries.
The Great Pyramid, which is also the tallest one was built around 2 580 – 2 560 BC and it’s 146 meters tall. You can get inside it at an additional cost.
The entry fee for the Pyramids complex is 160 EGP and includes entry inside one of the smallest pyramids. Honestly, there is nothing to see inside the pyramids, so I wouldn’t pay an extra 360 EGP to get inside the Great one. Even if there is something to be seen inside it, it is not open to visitors.
What I didn’t like about the Great Pyramids of Giza is that the complex feels like one huge bazaar. You’ll be chased by people who want to sell you things or take you somewhere. It’s very annoying. What else is annoying is all the people climbing on the pyramid to take pictures. Why do you people do that?
There is a spot from where you have a great view of all 3 main pyramids. To get to that spot, you DON’T need to get on a carriage, you can easily walk there within 30 minutes or so. Just follow the road and cars.
What else I didn’t like about the pyramids is the garbage and the collapsing buildings in the surrounding areas.
The surroundings of the Great Pyramids of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and a human face. The Sphinx is believed to symbolize the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt as an embodiment of the God of the Sun and that’s why he’s facing East.
Do you know who broke the Sphinx’s nose?
There are several stories about what happened to the Sphinx’s nose. The most popular among them is that a cannonball fired by Napoleon’s soldiers in 1798 hit the nose and broke it.
The nose, however, has been missing long before that according to some pieces of evidence, such as an oil painting by Louis Norden, that dates before the French military campaign in Egypt.
The real reason why the Sphinx’s nose broke off is most likely to be erosion. The rock in which the Sphinx was carved could easily be affected by natural erosion.
The Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx could be seen for 3 – 4 hours (depending on how much time you’ll spend taking pictures).
You can spend the afternoon exploring other parts of Cairo or relaxing. We decided to take the earlier bus back to Hurghada.
Day: Diving in Hurghada
Last but not least on your Egypt one week itinerary is diving in Hurghada.
On this trip, I finally decided to try diving for the first time. I was excited about trying something new, something that I haven’t tried before. I’ve been snorkeling in the Red Sea before and I knew how beautiful the underwater world is and of course expected the diving experience to be amazing.
Everything was great until I started diving 8 meters down under the surface with the dive tank and all the equipment. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. For that same reason, it was pretty scared at the beginning. I had a few panic attacks under the water.
I got more used to it during the second dive. The truth is that it was so new and different for me, so I was breathing very heavily the whole time, just to make sure that I actually breathe. That was exhausting.
I didn’t do my best on this first experience, but I’m highly motivated to become a diver one day. I know that the fear that obsessed me, it’s a fear that I can overcome and that I can actually become comfortable with it.
And of course, the wholly other, incredible world that is waiting for you under the water is absolutely worth it!
Day 8: Goodbye Egypt!
Our Egypt one week itinerary finishes here. Depending on the time of your flight, you can explore a little bit more or just relax until it’s time for you to go.
But what if you’re flying into/out of Cairo?
You can do the absolute same trip starting in Cairo:
- Day 1: Explore Cairo
- Day 2: See the Pyramids and explore more of Cairo
- Day 3 & 4: Snorkeling and diving in Hurghada
- Day 5: Visit the Karnak & Luxor temples
- Day 6: Hot air balloon flight + the Valley of the Kings
- Day 7: Back to Cairo
If you have more than one week in Egypt, you can do this itinerary slowlier and add some other places. I would suggest adding Aswan, Alexandria, Dahab, and the White Desert.
Egypt Travel Tips
The water in Egypt is NOT drinkable. I brushed my teeth with it and that was fine, but don’t drink it. When you go to a restaurant, even if you don’t order, most of the time, you’ll be served a bottle of water.
How much does it cost to visit Egypt – Excluding the flights, for one week in Egypt, I spent around 300 EUR. In general, Egypt is a very affordable travel destination. If you do a lot of tours and visit a lot of attractions, that would add up quickly. Accommodation, eating out and transportation in Egypt are cheap.
I already covered the entry fees for the temples, etc above, the transportation prices you can find below. Here’s what I paid for the tours:
- Full-day snorkeling trip = 20 EUR
- Full-day diving trip = 30 EUR
- Hot air balloon flight = 50 USD
- Banana island tour = 150 EGP
- Valley of the Kings tour guide + transportation = 90 EGP
Bargaining – Bargaining in Egypt is very common, so go for it. What I usually do is that when I want to buy something, I decide how much I am willing to pay for it and then I ask for the price. When they say that it costs 3 or 4 times more than what I am willing to pay, I start bargaining.
Nothing is free – Locals will come to you for a photo, or to show you around, tell you about a certain place. None of that is free, in the end, they will ask you for money and even get mad if you refuse to give them any because you wanted nothing from them. That’s very common, have it in mind and don’t accept random invitations.
Is it safe to visit Egypt?
I’d say that Egypt is generally a safe country to visit. If you’re a girl traveling alone, it might be a bit overwhelming, but if you use common sense and dress appropriately, so you don’t attract any unwanted attention, you’ll be fine.
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With local girls in Luxor
Why I couldn’t wait to leave Egypt?
I meet many nice and friendly locals in Egypt. Most of them are very welcoming and genuine. Unfortunately, however, there are also many people that will try to scam you, lie to you, will chase you annoyingly, and will want something from you. The second kind of people was too much.
Thinking about it now, I’d say that I couldn’t wait to leave Egypt because I was so mentally tired from all those people, everywhere, all the time. That’s it. Rather than that, Egypt is awesome.
Buses – For long-distance trips, you have 3 options: airplane, bus, and train. Flying is, of course, the most expensive of them all. Many tourists choose to travel around Egypt by train. A train ticket might cost as much as flying.
I choose to travel around Egypt by bus. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t bad too. Here’s how much it cost me to travel around Egypt by bus:
- Hurghada to Luxor = 4 to 5 hours, costs 110 EGP
- Luxor to Cairo = 7 to 8 hours, costs 215 EGP
- Cairo to Hurghada = 6 to 7 hours, costs 190 EGP
Local buses – The local buses in Egypt are like marshrutkas. To get on one, you need to wave at it and then tell the driver where you want to get off. They are pretty cheap too. The price range depending on the distance (I think).
On the local bus to Karnak temple
Taxi – Very common and affordable in Egypt. Make sure to ask at the reception of your hotel how much should cost the trip you want to take to prevent the chance of being scammed.
Uber – Uber was available in all of the cities we visited – Cairo, Hurghada, and Luxor.
Metro – In Cairo, you can use the metro to get around. I always like to use the metro when possible to get around a new city, so when I found out that Cairo has a metro, I was very excited to get on it.
We used Uber to get from our hostel in Cairo to the Great Pyramids of Giza. We got there in half an hour and it cost us 60 EGP.
The metro in Cairo is unsurprisingly crowded but with the heavy traffic on the streets, I’d say is the best way to get around the city. Plus, the ticket for the metro is almost for free. A single ride costs only 3 EGP (0.15 EUR).
Crossing the streets in Cairo, especially
The traffic in Egypt is complete madness! In Hurghada, I don’t even remember seeing traffic lights, while in Cairo where there are, often someone just ignores them. When crossing the streets in Cairo, especially, or anywhere else in Egypt, you need to be very careful. Don’t expect anyone to let you cross, as they rarely will.
If it’s you’re first time facing such heavy and crazy traffic, you can try and wait next to someone local. When they go, you go too.
Hopefully, this one week Egypt itinerary and travel tips would help you plan and have a stress-free trip. If you have any additional questions or anything to add, feel free to contact me.
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