16 days from SFr. 4’890.-
16-day trip: In the footsteps of the Holy Family
Cairo – Alexandria – Ismailia – Catherine’s Monastery / Sinai – al Minya
The evangelist Matthew reports that an angel asked Joseph in a dream to flee with Mary and Jesus from King Herod of Bethlehem to Egypt because he wanted to kill the child. Only after the king’s death did the family return and settle in the city of Nazareth. (Mt 2: 13-23).
The itinerary of our 16-day trip includes the places where Mary, Joseph and Jesus are said to have stayed during their exile in Egypt. In 2019, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities proposed that the 25 stations of the “Journey of the Holy Family” be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
According to tradition, there were three routes for travelers who crossed the Sinai from Palestine to Egypt. A crossing was usually undertaken only in groups for the sake of mutual protection and safety.
In fleeing from King Herod, however, the Holy Family had to avoid these paths and take less well-known paths. These winding paths, as well as their subsequent journey within Egypt, were later recorded by Theophilus, the twenty-third patriarch of Alexandria (384-412 AD).
He declares that the Holy Virgin revealed herself to him (Theophilus) on the evening of the sixth Hator (this Coptic month roughly corresponds to our November) after a long prayer. After telling him the details of the Holy Family’s journey to, in, and out of Egypt, she asked him to write down everything he had seen and heard.
Get to know exactly this journey of the Holy Family through Egypt up close and experience the story of the escape. Go on fantastic trips to the Pyramids of Giza, visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and linger in the Coptic cities and places that the Holy Family passed.
AdamTravel looks forward to taking you to the land of our hearts .
Travel program in detail
Day 1: Arrival in Cairo
After a warm welcome at Cairo airport by our German speaking tour guide, we will drive you to your hotel in a private air-conditioned vehicle. Our travel companion helps with check-in and explains the travel program for the next ten days. The rest of the day can be used as freetime.
Day 2: Excursion to the pyramids of Giza and visit to the Egyptian Museum
With your personal tour guide you will drive to Giza today and visit one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the great pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinos. Then the great and mystical Sphinx is waiting for you – only she knows the secrets that she has kept for thousands of years. The last point in the program this morning is the valley temple of King Chephren. Look forward to your well-deserved lunch in a high-quality restaurant. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in Islamic Cairo, where you will take a walking tour of Khan El Khalili. Later, enjoy a freshly prepared dinner at your hotel and spend the night in Cairo.
Day 3: Maadi Church and Coptic Cairo
You will enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Your tour guide will then take you to the churches in Cairo. This sightseeing tour starts at the Church of the Virgin Mary in the beautiful and very well-kept district of Maadi. Then visit the Hanging Church with the 110 icons. It is one of the oldest churches in Egypt – its history goes back to the 3rd century. We continue with the Coptic Church of St. Sergius and the Church of St. George. The conclusion is the fortress of Babylon in old Cairo, where the Holy Family passed. Lunch at a local restaurant in Cairo.
Dinner will take place at your hotel in Cairo.
Day 4: Wadi an-Natrun (Sketian Desert) and Alexandria
You check out immediately after breakfast at your hotel in Cairo and drive to the holy place of Wadi an-Natrun. The Coptics called Wadi an-Natrun as Shihēt, which means “measuring the heart”. This place is also the actual birthplace of Christian monasticism. Originally there were around 50 monasteries, of which only four remain today.
Start your sightseeing tour today with a visit to Deir al-Baramus Monastery. It is the oldest of the four existing monasteries and also the most isolated. Then continue to Deir Anba Bishoi Monastery, whose relics are kept in the monastery. You then continue to the smallest of the monasteries: Deir el-Suryan, which is also known as the Syrian monastery. You will learn a lot about the monastery life, the breathtaking fresco arts and the beautiful icons.
Continue to Alexandria, where you will also have lunch at a local restaurant. As you may know, Alexandria is home to the youngest of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the Qaitbay Citadel. It was built from the rubble of the destroyed Alexandria lighthouse. Visit the Qaitbay Citadel.
Then check-in at the hotel, where dinner will also be held.
Day 5: Alexandria and Cairo
After breakfast, check out at the hotel. Then, with your private tour guide, drive to the Bibliotheca Alexandria. In ancient times, the famous Alexandria library burned down. The Bibliotheca Alexandria was rebuilt in 2002 very close to the original library. Then visit the catacombs. It is the largest Roman cemetery, consisting of three levels cut into the rock. You will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Alexandria. Afterward, check out the Latin Catholic Church of St. Catherine in Alexandria.
Day 6: Heliopolis and Zeiton
Have breakfast at your hotel in Cairo before exploring more important churches in Cairo. Transfer to the ancient Heliopolis area of El Matariya and visit the sacred tree “Mary’s Tree”. “Mary’s Tree” is the tree under whose shade the Holy Family rested. At this point the baby Jesus gave rise to a spring from which everyone drank. This source still exists today. You will find many aromatic plants near the spring, such as the balsam tree family, myrrh bushes or frankincense trees. In church rituals, these wonderful plants have been used since the beginning. Then head to the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zeiton, where apparitions of Mary were made between 1968 and 1971. Wikipedia describes it this way:
“On May 4, 1968, the Coptic Patriarch declared Kirellos VI. the apparitions for believable and published the following declaration: ‘The Apostolic See hereby proclaims with absolute faith and certainty, with joy and thanks to Almighty God that the holy and blessed Mother of Light appeared in a clear and distinct form on several nights – and continues to appear […] to this day. This happened in the Coptic Orthodox Church named after her on Toman Bey Street in Zeitoun, Cairo. This church lies on the path that the Holy Family took during their stay in Egypt. ‘
It is a Coptic church built in 1925 by an Italian architect in the form of a small copy of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The Italian artists who painted the church also made the carvings of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and decorated the many icons. ”
At the end of the day, have dinner at your hotel and spend the night in Cairo.
Day 7: Mostorod, Samanoud and Sakha
After breakfast, drive to Mostorod, also known as “el-Mahamaah”. This means “the bathing place” and is the place where the Virgin Mary bathed the baby Jesus and washed his clothes.
Then drive to the small village of Meniet Samanoud (Sebennytos), where Jesus created another source of water. Then visit the old church of St. Abanoub. In this church there is a huge granite trough that the Virgin Mary supposedly used for kneading.
We continue to Sakha, this is near Kafr El Sheikh. The city’s Coptic name is “Pekha – Issous” and means “the foot of Jesus”. This name comes from the footprint of Jesus Christ, who appeared on a stone on which he placed his foot. In 1984 this footprint was found and the “Church of the Virgin Mary” was built around this rock, which in turn stands on the walls of a medieval monastery.
In 2008 there was a fire in the church that destroyed the altar and a historical icon. However, the footprint remained intact.
During the return journey you will receive a snack to strengthen yourself before you enjoy a freshly prepared dinner in your hotel. You spend another night in Cairo.
Day 8: Bubastis (Tel-Basta), Tanis and Ismailia
Today you leave Cairo to continue the journey of the Holy Family in Egypt. Your first visit is the city of Bubastis (Tel-Basta). This city is dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet. Even in the time of Herodotus, Bubastis was widely known for its large temple and the annual Bastet festivals in honor of the goddess. Here Jesus also let a spring spring up from which you can now drink.
Then visit Tanis – the capital of the 26th Dynasty. In Tanis you will visit the small museum, the Ramses temple and the royal tombs. The journey continues to Ismailia, 127 km east of Cairo. We have lunch in a local restaurant in Ismailia.
You then check into the hotel, where you will also have dinner. Today you spend the night in Ismailia on Lake Timsah. This is the name of the salt lake on the Suez Canal and means crocodile lake.
Day 9: Ismailia and Saint Catherine
You start the day comfortably with a city tour in Ismailia. Then you drive to the Sinai Peninsula. On the way there is “Oyun Musa”, the sources of Moses, where you will make a short stop. When you arrive on the Sinai Peninsula, you will first strengthen yourself with lunch.
Continue to the palm groves of the abandoned oasis of Wadi Feiran – a 130 km long former river valley. Before evening falls, drive to the small town of Saint Catherine. The town is located on the edge of the el-Tor mountains at 1586 meters above sea level.
Enjoy a warm, fresh dinner in the hotel and go to bed early: the night will be short!
Day 10: Mount Moses, Catherine's Monastery (Sinai) and Suez
02.00 – for some in the middle of the night, for others already early morning: We pick you up at your hotel and drive together to the Moses Mountain, which is located at 2285 meters above sea level. Accompanied by a Bedouin guide, you will march up the Holy Mountain under the starry sky. You will be rewarded for your efforts with a special highlight: the sunrise on the Moses Mountain.
After this impressive, contemplative experience, the next highlight is waiting for you. At the foot of Mount Moses lies one of the most famous monasteries in the world: St. Catherine’s Monastery. The monastery is located at 1585 meters above sea level and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002. According to legend, this was the site of the burning bush, where God revealed himself to Moses.
After this early morning excursion, go back to the hotel for breakfast. You can then slowly get into the mood for the journey to Suez. During the trip we will serve you a lunch box. When you arrive at your destination, you check in at the hotel, where dinner will also take place later.
Day 11: The monasteries on the Red Sea, Jabal Al Tair (the bird mountain) and El Minia
Check out after breakfast at your hotel in Suez and look forward to driving south along the Red Sea coast. On the way you will visit the monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul, which were built in the 4th century AD.
The St. Anthony Monastery is considered to be the largest and oldest Coptic monastery in Egypt. The Church of St. Anthony was built over the saint’s tomb. Saint Anthony lived in a natural mountain cave for 43 years of his life. Today there is an entire village with gardens, a mill, a bakery and seven churches. There is a library with 1700 handwritten manuscripts.
The next destination is the St. Paulus monastery complex. The monastery takes its name from Paulus von Thebes, who is also called “Saint Paul the first hermit”. Paul supposedly lived to be 113 years old. You can see an imposing new church for pilgrims as well as the actual monastery complex from the 5th century. The Pauluskirche is richly decorated with breathtaking artifacts: altars, candles and ostrich eggs, the symbol of the resurrection.
The path of the Holy Family now leads you to Upper Egypt. The first stop is in Jabal at Tayr (the bird mountain) near the town of El Minia. This is a cave where the holy family rested. The cave is now in the old church there.
Then check-in at the hotel and later dinner also at the hotel.
Day 12: Tuna El-Gebel, Al Ashmunien (Hermopolis) and Beni Hassan
In the morning, your private guide will accompany you to the Tuna el-Gebel necropolis.
Since the 26th dynasty (around 600 BC) underground galleries were laid out there. There baboons and ibises – both symbols of the wisdom god Thoth – were buried first in clay pots and later in sarcophagi. The temple complexes were used and expanded for a long time. To this day, work is being done to unearth this cultural wealth from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman times.
The tomb of the ancient Egyptian high priest Petosiris is also located in Tuna el-Gebel. Petosiris was venerated as a saint. Greek graffiti indicate that sick people had visited the tomb and hoped for healing through Saint Petosiris.
Followed by lunch in a local restaurant.
We continue to Al-Ashmunia. You will visit the open museum with the two colossal baboon statues and the ruins of the basilica church with its rose granite columns.
Then you will reach Beni Hasan on the east bank of the Nile. There you will see the outstanding rock tombs with their scenes depicting the local and regional life of the “Middle Kingdom”.
Dinner will take place at your hotel in El Minia.
Day 13: Tell El Amarna and Assiut
You check out immediately after breakfast at your hotel in El Minia and drive to Tell El Amarna. The city is known as the “capital of Akhenaten (Ach-en-Aton)”. A monotheistic idea arose in Tell El Amarna almost 3,400 years ago. As a symbol of the unity of the universe and of life, the sun god Aton was placed at the center. You have lunch here.
Then drive to Assiut by car. There visit the monastery ad-Dair al-Muharraq – a complex with three churches. The name of the monastery means “the burnt monastery” because it has burned here many times – most recently in 2013. The Holy Family stayed in this monastery for 6 months and 10 days. It’s the longest time she’s been in the same place. At this point the Holy Family received the divine message to return to Palestine.
About 8 km west of the monastery is the Meir (Mair) necropolis. The burial place is famous for the high quality of the wall representations and reliefs, especially from the 6th and 12th dynasties. On a length of 1.5 km there are five groups of graves, beautifully illuminated and in excellent condition. Look forward to this impressive visit.
Later, have dinner at your hotel and spend the night in Assiut.
Day 14: Assiut, Deir Durunka, Achmim and Sohag
After breakfast at the hotel in Assiut, you will check out and be accompanied by your private guide to the Marian monastery in Deir Durunka. In the monastery you will visit a large cave where, according to tradition, the Holy Family stayed before they returned north to the Holy Land by boat. The cave was probably once a pharaonic quarry. Every year it attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, especially during the feast of the Blessed Virgin in August.
You continue through Sohag to reach the city of Achmim (Greek Panopolis). The temples in Achmim were among the largest in Greco-Roman Egypt. Its ruins were still considered wonders of the world by Arab writers in the Middle Ages. Today, unfortunately, the ruins have almost completely disappeared. Achmim is the oldest city in Egypt. The city, almost unknown today, was one of the most important religious centers in ancient times. The main place of cult of the fertility god Min, who was later equated with the Greek god Pan, was located here.
Here you visit the temples and the beautiful open-air museum with the 11 meter high limestone statue of Merit-Amun, the “great royal wife” and daughter of Ramses II and Nefertari.
Day 15: Sohag and return to Cairo
Breakfast in the hotel. Then visit the White Monastery of Saint Schenute of Atripe. He was an archimandrite, a Coptic monastery head of the early church from approx. 348 – 466 AD). The monastery dates from the early 5th century and is made of stones from Pharaonic temples. The name of the monastery is derived from the color of the white limestone on its outer walls.
A few kilometers north of the White Monastery you will later reach the Red Monastery (Deir Anba Bishoi). The monastery is named after the Coptic saint Pischoi (Abba Pisoi, “Star of the Desert”, “Beloved of our Good Savior”). According to tradition, he met Jesus Christ several times. The monastery has several churches. The main church is made up of many ancient, breathtaking paintings that cover nearly eighty percent of the walls, niches, columns, pilasters, gables and apses.
This building is considered the most important (art) historical church in Egypt because of its ornate figural and decorative paintings and some important sculptures, and because of its monumental architecture.
Today you drive back to Cairo, where you will spend your last night in Egypt.
16th day: return home
Today you will strengthen yourself again with a fine breakfast. Your guide will later escort you to Cairo International Airport. On behalf of AdamTravel we wish you a pleasant flight home and hope to see you again soon!
Tip: Combine this trip with a relaxing Nile cruise or with a wonderful beach holiday on the Red Sea.
Realization of the trip at the indicated price with min. 2 persons. Lower price in low season (May-Sep) and group tours.
Please note: A change in hotel selection to a consistent category may occur at any time and without notice.
The price includes all international and domestic flights, transportation, accommodations and three meals per day.
Accommodation options / hotels
Grand Aton Hotel
House of Life Hotel
Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel
Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino
New Morning Country Village Hotel
Red Sea Hotel
Tolip El Forsan Hotel
Windsor Palace Hotel Alexandria
In the footsteps of the Holy Family: 16-day trip through Egypt
- International flights with Egyptair or Swiss.
- Reception & pick up service by our tour guides at Cairo airport.
- Support of our guest relations during your stay.
- All transfers by private, air-conditioned vehicle.
- Accommodation for 6 nights in Cairo at Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in Cairo at Le Passage Cairo Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in Alexandria at Windsor Palace Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in Ismailia at Tolip El Forsan Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in St. Catherine at New Morgen Land Village Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in Suez at Red Sea Hotel.
- Accommodation for 2 nights in El Minya at Grand Aton Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in Assuit at Assiutel Hotel.
- Accommodation for 1 night in Sohag at House of Life Hotel.
- All 3 meals are included.
- Bottled water for trips outside the hotel or cruise ship.
- All sightseeing tours mentioned in the itinerary (private guide).
- Entrance fees to all locations as stated on the itinerary.
- All service charges and taxes.
Services not included:
- Travel insurance / cancellation insurance on request.
- Entry visa.
- Sights not mentioned (e.g. Tutankhamen tomb in the Valley of the Kings, burial chamber of the pyramids of Giza & the sun barge of Cheops).
- Optional excursions.
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