Africa's longest river flows more than 4,000 miles between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean. But the Nile's most celebrated stretch is the ribbon of blue that meanders through Egypt, waters that spawned one of the world's oldest civilizations and now offer access to many of its ancient landmarks. Most of the cruising is undertaken between Aswan and Luxor on the Upper Nile, but there are also weeklong itineraries that take guests as far as Cairo and the Delta. Either way, the Nile affords passengers a close-up glimpse of Egypt, both ancient and modern.
What We Love
Feluccas: These lateen-rigged sailboats have been coasting back and forth on the Nile for thousands of years. They make for great photos, especially when silhouetted against a sunset.
The Food: Drawn from Turkey, Greece, and the Arab world, Egypt's culinary arts are off the charts, a tantalizing array of freshly made dips, breads, salads, grilled fish, and barbecued meats.
Best Known For
Temples: The Pyramids of Giza are now set far back from the river, but many of ancient Egypt's most celebrated temples are right on the shore, including the shrines at Edfu, Kom Ombo, Luxor, and the incomparable Temple of Karnak.
Sunsets: Whether you're watching the horizon from the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, the Corniche in Luxor, or at a high-rise bar in Cairo, dusk settling over the Nile makes for lifelong memories.
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Luxor: The Valley of the Kings, the riverside temples of Karnak and Luxor, the legacy of King Tut and Queen Hatshepsut — all of this in a single city that should be on everyone's global bucket list.
Cairo: The largest city on the African continent, the Egyptian capital is loud, brash, and traffic-clogged. But sights such as the Great Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum, and the Khan el-Khalili market make it all worthwhile.
Aswan: Egypt's southernmost (and hottest) city is also its beauty queen, a gorgeous blend of rivers and islands with the vast Sahara as a backdrop.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It Gets Really Hot: Triple digits are the norm between May and September. Best to book your Nile cruise in winter.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.