Egypt is a deceptively large country. The intensely populated Nile Valley, while it holds the vast majority of the population and contains all the best-known sites, actually only constitutes a tiny fraction of the overall landmass. Seeing the whole country is a huge undertaking, and even hitting the high points can mean traveling significant distances in a limited amount of time. For this reason, it's important to plan ahead and develop a workable itinerary that takes into account not only what you want to see, but the inevitable hassles of arranging transport.

Almost all transport routes run north-south in Egypt, so for planning purposes it makes sense to divide the country into three major zones, from west to east: the New Valley and surrounding deserts (which contain the oases of Siwa, Bahareya, Farafra, Dakhla, and Kharga), as well as Marsa Matrouh on the north coast as the transportation gateway to Siwa; the Nile Valley, which contains Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, and, thus, most of the Pharaonic antiquities; and the Red Sea coast, where most of the truly spectacular diving as well as the fun-in-the-sun resorts are located.

The itineraries here lay out fairly detailed suggestions about how you can go about making the most of your time in specific zones (Cairo, for example, or Cairo and Alexandria). They are intended to be used either individually or as modules that you can link together in whatever order you wish.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.