Getting round Egypt by Nile cruise, prepare or taxi

Egypt has an in depth and pretty environment friendly overland transport system and for journey plans targeted on the Nile, the palm-studded surroundings of Nile Valley journeys are as a lot of a spotlight because the locations on the finish.

For those who’re concerned with minimizing your flights, we’ve bought the thin on touring overland, whether or not by prepare, bus or cruising the Nile.

Trains are good for visiting the Nile Valley 

The prepare is essentially the most simple method of touring the Nile Valley, linking the cities of Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. 

Each “Particular Service” and the significantly cheaper “Pace AC Spanish” trains on this main route have comfy first and second class air-conditioned carriages. The value distinction between them is because of newer rolling-stock on “Particular Service” trains slightly than any distinction in facilities.

Trains permit entry by a lot of the Nile Valley and arrive in main cities like Cairo © Peter Seaward / Lonely Planet

From Cairo, take the 8am departure for essentially the most scenic prepare journey heading up the Nile. It’s 11 hours to Luxor and 14.5 hours to Aswan. Doing the journey in reverse, the 5:30am and seven:30am trains from Aswan, and the 8:40am and 9:10am departures from Luxor, are the journeys to decide on for views. You’ll be able to see full schedules and ebook tickets on the Egyptian Railways website.

An alternative choice is the privately operated Watania Sleeping Train with its wagon-lit (sleeping automotive) service. The prepare runs nightly from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan and vice versa.

Notice that as a result of a long time of neglect, Egypt’s rail community has a better accident charge than many different international locations. A number of high-profile railway accidents lately have lastly pushed the federal government into motion and in 2021 a USD$14.3 billion price range was introduced to modernize the system which is able to hopefully assist it in direction of changing into safer.  

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Boatman on the bow of a traditional Egyptian felucca sailing on the Nile River
Cruising Egypt’s Nile River is feasible for a variety of budgets © Peter Seaward / Lonely Planet

Cruising on the Nile  

There’s no higher solution to make the journey a part of your journey, than by heading onto the Nile. The most well-liked route is the stretch of river between Luxor and Aswan, with choices for all budgets and ranges of consolation.

Nile cruisers

Cruise boats usually make the Luxor-Aswan leg a three-night journey with visits to Edfu’s Temple of Horus and Kom Ombo Temple alongside the best way. That is the no-effort-necessary Nile possibility, simply board the boat and every little thing is organized for you. On the draw back, much less time than you assume shall be spent truly cruising and also you’ll be visiting the sights as a part of a giant crowd.

You’ll be able to often seize a less expensive cruise-deal by reserving regionally in Egypt but when there’s a selected boat you need to cruise with on a particular date then ebook forward.

The most effective time to go to Egypt 


Dahabiyas (giant crusing boats) had been the unique Nile transport for Nineteenth-century vacationers. Fashionable dahabiyas present a extra customized various to the large cruisers, solely taking between 10 and 20 passengers. Itineraries function between Esna and Aswan and embody stops at villages and Pharaonic websites that the cruise boats don’t go to.

As a result of fewer choices, dahabiyas are finest booked early. An important native operator to take a look at is Nile Dahabiya.


For close-up Nile journeys, full with sleeping on deck beneath the celebrities, hop aboard a felucca (open-topped crusing boat). In a single day felucca journeys start from Aswan (to observe the present) and take three nights to Esna, two nights to Edfu or one night time to Kom Ombo.

Felucca journeys will be organized on the bottom in Aswan. This may take a day or two to rearrange so should you don’t have time up, two respected Aswan felucca-operators that may be pre-booked are Captain Jamaica and Aswan Individual.

Taxis can get you to out-of-the-way sights

Most taxi drivers (or personal drivers employed by accommodations) are very happy to move out of city on day-trips, equivalent to Saqqara from Cairo, or to the Temples of Abu Simbel from Aswan.

Within the Sinai, the place there is no such thing as a public transport between the South Sinai resort cities and St Katherine within the Excessive Mountains, taxis are a superb various to having to take a tour.

For out-of-town journeys, you agree the worth with the driving force beforehand.

A coach bus drives past a large pyramid in Cairo, Egypt
Bus excursions are an effective way to get round Egypt © Andrew Holt / Getty Photographs

Buses aren’t for tall vacationers  

Away from the Nile, buses are the very best public transport possibility and run between all important locations with a number of departures day by day on main routes. For those who’re heading to the Western Desert oases independently although, West & Mid Delta bus are the one operator so count on solely a few departures day by day and plan accordingly.

Air-conditioned coach-style buses include barely cramped seating; taller vacationers could have points on long-distance routes. The “deluxe” providers run by Go Bus have extra leg house. 

Go Bus additionally has an simply navigable website with schedules and reserving providers all in English which has made them the go-to firm for international vacationers.

Microbuses (referred to as micros; 14 seater minibuses) run on much more routes than the large buses and will be helpful for shorter journeys. In contrast to buses, there are not any mounted schedules; they depart when full. Remember, micros will be jam-packed and are famend for rushing. 

The most effective locations to go to in Egypt 

Accessible transportation in Egypt

Egypt’s public transport is much from inclusive. Buses and trains have excessive entrance steps and micros are a squashed no-go. In saying that, issues are starting to alter. 

In 2021, Egyptian Railways introduced that they are going to start introducing ramp entry to stations, devoted ticket counters for disabled prepare vacationers and allotted seating areas on trains. It will take a while to come back into observe although.

In higher information, hiring a non-public driver is reasonably priced in Egypt (compared to many different international locations) so it’s attainable to journey independently. 

For a completely wheelchair-accessible car although, ebook a non-public tour. If you wish to cruise, the Nile cruiser MS Amarco has been fully refitted for accessibility with raise entry to all decks and 4 cabins absolutely tailored for wheelchair customers.

Man sailing felucca on River Nile in Egypt
Feluccas permit vacationers to expertise the surroundings at a slower, fulfilling tempo © Nicholas Pitt / Getty Photographs

Why I really like touring the Nile by felucca

Feluccas are Egypt’s final slow-travel expertise and a uncommon alternative to tune out from the world and easily absorb the surroundings for just a few days.

Though positively not necessary – be at liberty to laze on the cushions and watch the Nile banks glide by – pitching in to assist the crew prepare dinner meals and studying easy methods to steer the boat is all a part of the expertise. In my ebook, there’s no higher method of touring the stretch of river between Aswan and Esna.