Top Nile River Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews &...

Nile River Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

33 Nile River trips. Compare tour itineraries from 19 tour companies. 237 reviews. 4.9/5 avg rating.

Small Group Nile River Tours

See all 20 Nile River trips
See all 33 Nile River trips

Top Nile River Attractions

  • Floating down the ancient waters and the lifeblood of Egypt on a river cruise.
  • Seeing first hand the incredible historical and archaeological sites along the Nile’s banks.
  • Learning about the incredible importance of the Nile from ancient times to today.
  • Getting amazing photographs of the Egyptian landscape and traditional village life.
  • Visiting local villages and being introduced to new customs and cultures.
  • Watching the desert simmer under the sun while you are sipping a cold drink in the shade of your boat’s desk, a light breeze cooling you down as the ship glides forward.
  • Trying different and delicious Egyptian delicacies and you travel between regions.

Nile River Tours & Travel Guide

Nile River Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Ancient and Modern Egypt: The Nile River 

At 4,250 miles, the Nile is the world's longest river, rising in East Africa and eventually emptying into the Mediterranean in Egypt. One section in Egypt is by far the most popular cruising region, as comfortable multi-deck tour boats ply the river. Each is equipped with open upper decks for easy viewing.

The Nile flows North, beginning from mountains in the rift valley and letting out in the Mediterranean sea. It flows through 9 countries: Uganda, Sudan, Zaire, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, and Egypt, and the Nile is still a well-used method of traveling between them. 

Cruises on the Nile typically start in Aswan and continue north to Luxor, one of Egypt’s premier archaeological sites, or vice versa. The ruins of the Luxor and Karnak temples are immense, leading this to be called the “world’s largest open-air museum.” Between Aswan and Luxor, the Nile is mostly rural and fertile. Itineraries typically last four days and usually include an extension to Cairo, home to the Giza Pyramids.

The Nile is rural and fertile along the 175-mile archaeological stretch and supports hundreds of small villages, so you will also be able to get a firsthand look at traditional Egyptian village life. You may be amazed, though, to see just how compact the fertile areas are – narrow patches of lush greenery leading up to vast stretches of desert sand. Yet their crops manage to feed most of Egypt.

Scattered among the villages are some of the world’s greatest historical treasures, including immense ruins of ancient temples and burial grounds of ancient kings and queens.Taken together, it’s understandable why Egyptians have long regarded the Nile as sacred. The ancients believed it was created by the tears of the goddess Isis, which gave life to the desert people via water.

What to Expect From a Nile River Cruise

From the beginning, travelers can expect to be in the heat. While luxury cruise ships may have air-conditioning, this is not guaranteed on all budget Nile River cruises. This means that sunscreen and water are both crucial to have while traveling. Travelers should also expect to do moderate to heavy walking to and from certain sites or in cities, making comfortable footwear a necessity.

Since most cruises travel the relatively short distance between Luxor and Aswan, the duration of stays at certain sites is the only thing that changes with cruises. Whether travelers wish to see all of the most popular Nile River sites in a short amount of time or take a moment to explore each one carefully is what will determine the overall cost and length of their cruise.

Entrance fees into the historical sites that are indicated on the original itinerary are typically paid for with the fare travelers pay before boarding. However, adding extra activities is possible but will require further planning and money. In the same way, tour guides and other workers on the cruise line will likely expect tips after excursions or meals, making it handy to keep a small number of Egyptian pounds on hand.

Fortunately for those who are prone to motion sickness, they should not expect turbulence while on the Nile River, as it is typically very calm all year

Cruise Boats on the Nile River

Covering this short route in three or four days, Nile cruise boats take it slow and easy, so there’s plenty of time to view and photograph the countryside as you drift past. The boats also make lengthy stops at the major historic and archaeological sites en route.

Most of the cruise boats are four-deck, rectangular shaped vessels that feature open-air upper decks, complete with shade canopies and comfortable seating. Passenger cabin decks hold an average of 120 to 150 people, though some are much smaller. If you want an intimate experience on the Nile with more control over your itinerary, consider taking a private cruise on the Nile.

These boats generally allow no more than 20 people (and sometimes less), and this is a great way to connect with your guide, as well as customize your trip so it best fits your interests.

Nile River Cruise Amenities

Depending on the level of luxury that travelers want on their Nile River cruise, the amenities will be different. From shared rooms to private cabins and the number of meals provided, cruise lines alter their amenities based on tour package prices.

With shorter vacations, there tend to be fewer amenities than longer, more expensive cruise tours. This is because short trips lead to less time spent on the boat. In the same way, longer cruise tours will spend more time traveling leading to more amenities, a fact which travelers should consider when budgeting. 

If having a range of activities or a comfortable room is important when traveling for long periods of time, travelers may strictly consider luxury cruise options. Similarly, more expensive cruises activities not on the original itinerary, such as camel-riding, snorkeling, or sailing. Since not every cruise provides these opportunities with their original tour price, travelers are encouraged to call their cruise line in advance to verify all details.

Whether or not travelers opt to take part in a private or group guided tour, their guides will travel with them on the cruise ship. This is useful when planning activities during free time, looking for local restaurants or gaining a broader historical context for the sites that are visited.

Most guides on Nile River cruises will speak English as well as Arabic in order to aid in translation, but other languages will need to be verified with cruise lines in advance.

Food on a Nile River Cruise

When it comes to food, the quality tends to remain the same; although travelers who are on luxury Nile River cruises may find more options than those who are on a budget. Buffets are a large part of the food-service provided on cruises. Many of the dishes are authentic, local cuisine with Western dishes making appearances as well.

Travelers will find that food is not available all day and that the specific meal-times are not to be missed. With dinner, there are often shows put on by the crew or lectures given by the ship’s (or private group’s) egyptologist.

Travelers will not only have the opportunity to get to know their shipmates in the dining hall, but also the crew members through participation in their shows. Alcohol is not usually served with meals given Egypt’s high alcohol tax, but it can still be bought on most Nile River cruises.

Nile River Cruise Highlights

Keeping in mind that you may also sail south from Luxor to Aswan, here are the typical highlights along the route, starting in Aswan:

From Aswan North on a Nile River Cruise

Aswan is best known as the site of the Aswan High Dam, which flooded the Nile south of the city to form Lake Nasser and provide electrical power to much of Egypt. Tours generally include views of the High Dam, but, because any serious damage to the dam would cause catastrophic flooding, the dam itself is off limits.

In Egypt’s far south, at Abu Simbel temples, you can see the results of a worldwide effort in the 1960s to preserve one of the great Nile treasure troves from the flooding that created Lake Nasser. While Nile cruise boats don’t usally travel to Abu Simbel (here are some that do), most Egypt tours do include the remarkably rescued ancient temples and monuments that were rescued.

On Elephantine Island near Aswan are the ruins of the Temple of Philae, the second greatest rescue project after Abu Simbel. The entire temple was cut into pieces to save it from Nile flooding – three quarters of the temple was already underwater -- and moved to this island. The temple was the last pagan site in Egypt.

As you sail along the river, you’ll see a stream of exotic-looking feluccas with their lovely white sails, (traditional Egyptian sailing vessels) and water buses. Nile cruise boats dwarf these other vessels, which are usually crowded with Egyptian men who seem to be spilling out the sides. On shore, children run and play, women wash clothes by hand, and donkeys and camels carry heavy bundles on their backs.

Edfu and Esna on a Nile River Cruise

Edfu is home to the only complete temple left in Egypt. The Temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus, the falcon god, who was the son of Isis and Osiris. The temple was completely buried under sand for centuries. This is what ended up preserving it for the ages, and as a result even the roof remains in tact.

Esna, about 30 miles south of Luxor, is the site of the Temple of Khnum. Located in the middle of the modern city – much of the temple remains beneath the town – it doesn’t have quite the dramatic riverside setting of some of the Nile’s ancient ruins, but does have magnificent carvings in its well-preserved hypostyle hall.

Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and Karnak on a Nile River Cruise

Luxor – known as Thebes in ancient Egypt – looks gorgeous from the water, especially when floodlit at night. As you ascend the river banks directly into the ruins and begin to explore, you soon get an idea of its massive size. 

Luxor Temple is one of the most popular attractions in this spot. The temple ruins date from the 13th to 14th centuries BC, a Christian church was added in the 7th century AD. Once brightly painted in 14 colors, the hues are now mostly gone, partially due to salt build-up following the building of the Aswan High Dam.

The Valley of the Kings contains the tomb of the boy king, King Tutankhamun and much more – 62 tombs in all. King Tut’s tomb is the site of the most famous archaeological dig in Egypt, and is one of the most significant finds for our understanding of Ancient Egypt.

Tut’s was the only tomb found intact by archaeologists; others were plundered by grave robbers. Scenes of the afterlife were painted inside the tombs, representing the journeys the pharaohs would take after death.

If you need a break from all of the Egyptology, the Valley is also popular for hot air ballooning. You can get an amazing view of the Valley, and the sun rising over its impressive sandstone mountains from the basket of the balloon -- this is because flights take place in the very early morning when it isn’t too windy.  

The Temple at Karnak, covering some 200 acres, was one of the largest religious complexes ever built, constructed over a period of nearly 2,000 years. Its hypostyle hall remains the largest room of any religious building in the world.

Wildlife Along the Nile

Amidst the rods of bamboo and swaths of papyrus stalk various creatures along the shores of the Nile. While not all of them are dangerous, most are suited for a harsh way of life and should not be provoked. However, while on a Nile River cruise, travelers can safely enjoy unique photo opportunities from afar.

Travelers will more than likely spot Nile crocodiles swimming or sunning themselves in mud onshore. As one of the most powerful creatures in the Nile river, the animals are both protected and respected. Smaller in size but with just as much potential for danger are the Nile monitors, which wade on shores looking for small prey.

Travelers should neither approach them nor the Nile hippopotamus. While these large herbivores look non-aggressive, they are highly unpredictable when approached. Fortunate travelers along the Nile River will see not just their eyes peeking above the water, but also the full span of their powerful jaws and long tusks.

Underwater, travelers may have the opportunity to fish for the enormous Nile perch, which can grow up to 200 kilograms (441 pounds). Sport-fishing in the Nile River may also reveal the sharp-toothed African tiger-fish along with a variety of water-snakes (some are poisonous). A nimble swimmer, the African soft-shelled turtle may also be seen by travelers on Nile River cruises, as these animals eat both plants and animals, making them come to the surface often.

Photography Tips for the Nile River

The gorgeous and unique vistas that can be seen from the Nile are like no other. Along the Nile, the color palate is surprisingly green, along with the expected tans of the sand and temple stones. The water of the river is a deep blue, providing beautiful contrast for color photography. Because of all of these factors, many Nile River tours offer excursions which focus on photography.

Your Nile River tour will feature incredible sunrises and sunsets from the viewing deck of the cruise vessel. Bring a wide angle lens for the most effective shots, and don’t use an filters to maximize picking up the subtlety in the colors.

For getting great shots in temples, embrace the stark shadows and angles created by the strong Egyptian sun. These can create stunning visuals and lines. Getting good hieroglyphics shots can be a challenge, especially as they are often faded, and don’t use a lot of color.  

Nile River Reviews & Ratings

4.9/5  Excellent
237  Reviews
See all Nile River tour reviews


Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Nile Cruise

This was a wonderful trip - I enjoyed it enormously. Visit to the temples at Karnak & Luxor Khaled Lotfy was an excellent & inspirational group leader. He ...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

History in the Heat

I've always been interested in Egyptian history and when friends suggested joining this holiday I booked straight away. And it didn't disappoint. Seeing & bein...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels


Sorry, I meant to add that Exodus should perhaps delete the reference to the "library" on the cruise from the Trip Notes. The library consisted of 16 dog-eared bo...



Feb 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Nile Cruise

I do not have a very long 'bucket list', in fact Egypt is the only destination on it and this holiday did not disappoint. From the flight to Cairo to the flight ho...



Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Nile Cruise Premium

I have always wanted to visit Egypt to see the antiquities, but because of the political instability I thought it would be unlikely. So when I saw this trip adver...

Write a Review

Traveling to Nile River, an FAQ

1. Does Travelstride have all the tour operators?

Travelstride has the widest selection of tours and tour companies. All the largest companies are on the site and most smaller local operators though we are adding new operators daily. Unlike other websites and agencies, we show you all the options, regardless of whether or not we are paid by the company.

2. How does the Member Savings program save me money?

Travelstride membership is absolutely free. You receive special benefits including saving up to $700 on select tours with top tour operators. The main requirement is to write a review after your trip to access the savings.

3. Can I trust the tour operator and trip reviews on Travelstride?

Yes. Travelstride has both expert reviews, written by Travelstride staff and local experts as well as traveler reviews written by people like you who have used the company and traveled to that destination.

4. What does ‘Stride Preferred’ mean?

Stride Preferred and Stride Premier are status categories to help you sort quickly through known and reliable travel companies. Since there are thousands of tour operators around the globe, Preferred or Premier badges are awarded to companies that Travelstride has determined meet the highest standards of professionalism, customer satisfaction, and quality.