When it comes to ancient treasures, a cruise down the Nile is hard to beat. Get the inside story with specialist tour operator Jules Verne
Soak up the history and the splendid sights following the Nile into Egypt, past temples and tombs, including the Pyramids themselves – the oldest ancient wonder of the world and the only one remaining largely intact.
On a trip down the Nile you can follow the route of ancient travellers who came from the south. Thanks to the re-opening of the river between ancient Thebes and Cairo, you can now explore less-visited sites such as Amarna, the home of ‘heretic pharaoh’ Akhenaten, and get a rare chance to observe an old way of agricultural and village life untouched by tourism and largely unchanged.
What to see and do on a trip down the Nile
Immerse yourself in the legends and superstitions of the Pyramids of Giza, which have been creating awe and wonder for nearly 4000 years. Later this year The Grand Egyptian Museum is due to open nearby and will be one of the largest archaeological museums in the world, but for now visitors should head to downtown Cairo to the existing Egyptian Museum, home to one of the most important collections of ancient artefacts, including mummies, jewellery, eating utensils, and glittering treasures from Egyptian tombs including those from the famous tomb of Tutankhamun.
More of Tutankhamun’s treasures are housed in the Luxor Museum, where visitors will also be astounded by the isolated Valley of the Kings, home to more than 60 magnificent royal tombs watched over by the pyramid-shaped mountain peak of Al Qurn. There is also the possibility of visiting the tomb of Tutankhamun itself, although it’s subject to viewing restrictions.
Don’t miss the highlights of the Nile
Don't miss a visit to the Old Winter Palace, the place where Howard Carter announced the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Another highlight is a the chance to have afternoon tea at the historic Old Cataract Hotel, the setting for Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. It’s set on a pink granite cliff and arguably has the best views of the Nile.
Egyptian food is similar to Eastern Mediterranean, with rice-stuffed vegetables, lentils, kebabs and koftas. Dishes also make use of the many spices that came through Egypt’s Red Sea ports, such as cumin, coriander, chili and ginger.
A trip down the Nile can also be a good option for vegetarians, as you can take advantage of the vegetables and fruit grown in Egypt's rich Nile Valley and Delta. Meat has traditionally been very expensive for Egyptians throughout history so you'll find a range of meat-free dishes.
There are so many ancient wonders to see along the Nile, it’s advisable to do a little bit of research ahead of the trip and to try to learn a few Egyptian hieroglyphics. Howard Carter’s The Tomb of Tutankhamun comes highly recommended. Also, when you go inside the tombs, it’s advisable to bring a torch.
Jules Verne’s 12-night tour, The 600-Mile Nile, and its 10-night Original Nile Cruise – Upstream, take in the newly-opened stretch of the Nile and finish at the Pyramids, so they’re ideal both for first-time visitors and for those who have been before. Jules Verne guests are treated to a private cocktail reception in the Victorian Lounge of the Old Winter Palace, the very room where Howard Carter's announcement of discovery Tutankhamun's tomb took place. And Jules Verne escorted tours also give visitors the chance to join a magical night-time visit to the illuminated Luxor Temple.