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This Bayan Tour is currently sold out. We are unable to accept additional reservations at this time.


DECEMBER 21, 2023  -  January 1, 2024    11 DAYS

Egypt is a unique travel destination at the crossroads of Africa, Europe and Southwest Asia. It is the birthplace of ancient civilization along the Nile river, with numerous pyramids and fascinating temple complexes extending from Upper Egypt to the delta. Greek and Roman influences are also apparent. Judaism and Coptic Christianity are prominent aspects of Egyptian history as well. The Qur’an encompasses in its narrations of various prophets the lands and people of this fertile and important region. From the early 7th century CE onwards, Islam gradually became the majority faith, integrating with the local culture. As an important Mediterranean nexus for trade, scholarship, and cultural exchange, Egypt came to be seen as umm al-dunya (mother of the world), ruled in turn by various dynasties. Cairo (al-Qahirah) was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century, and the region was then governed by Salah al-Din (Saladin) and his family during the height of the Crusades, and later on the Ottomans, each lending a layer of social, aesthetic and historical impact. Join us as we explore this vast heritage spanning centuries, enjoying the beauty of the people and country, visiting mosques and complexes from different eras, shopping for unique handicrafts, and culminating with a viewing of New Year’s eve fireworks along the Nile.

faculty guide

Hisham Hellyer


Dr Hisham A. Hellyer, Fellow of Cambridge University’s Centre for Islamic Studies, will be faculty escort for the tour. Dr Hellyer has been visiting and living in Egypt on and off for the past thirty years, and previously served as a professor at the Department of Law of the American University in Cairo. Dr Hellyer also studied the Islamic tradition in Cairo. The author of 7 books, including two on Egyptian contemporary history, Dr Hellyer's career has posts at Harvard University, the Brookings' Centre for the Middle East, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Middle East Program, making him an excellent faculty escort for this tour in such a historical land for Muslims and world history.


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This Bayan Tour is currently sold out. We are unable to accept additional reservations at this time.


Since 2017, Bayan has been offering unique faculty-led tours to world heritage destinations such as Uzbekistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Holy Land, Southern Spain, and Malaysia. Each year, we offer high-quality curated excursions to these and other destinations to satisfy the interests of our diverse community of fellow travelers.



Tours offered by Bayan cater to the varied interests and needs of families, while offering an exceptional educational and cultural program. Each tour is led by one or more faculty members who provide daily background lectures and insights about the historical and contemporary contexts. Local guides are utilized as needed. The itinerary for each excursion is crafted by experienced personnel to maximize your enjoyment and satisfaction. While the scheduled program is robust, ample time is provided to explore on your own, shop for local handicrafts and souvenirs, and enjoy some leisure activities. Bayan’s tour group size is generally kept to around 30-35 participants.

TOUR pricing

land packages only

All pricing is double-occupancy.  International airfare is not included. 




  • Airport transfers on December 22 and January 1

  • 7 nights in 5-star hotels / 3 nights on 5-star cruise boat

  • Ground transportation by private A/C coach

  • Internal flight from Cairo to Aswan

  • Internal flight from Luxor to Cairo

  • 5-star Nile Cruise - Aswan to Luxor (full board - all meals & snack)

  • Daily breakfast at hotel, plus 5 lunches and 1 dinner

  • All entrance fees for sites

  • Daily commentary/discussions with faculty guide(s)

  • English speaking local guide(s)



  • International airfare to Egypt (budget about $1,300 round-trip per person from US gateways) and applicable baggage fees

  • Travel insurance

  • Tourist entry visa (obtain online in advance for $25 USD)

  • Additional meals/beverages

  • Porterage (hotel luggage assistance)

  • Personal items

  • Incidental charges (telephone bill, mini bar, room service, laundry, etc.)

  • Covid-19 testing costs (if required for entry or return to country of origin)


  • The final day to cancel your reservation is June 30, 2023. No refunds can be issued after this date.

Adult                              $3,395

Additional Adult        $2,995

Minor (8-17)                $2,695

Single Supplement      $700

This Bayan Tour is currently sold out. We are unable to accept additional reservations at this time.

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  • Giza Pyramids & Sphinx

  • Fustat (Old Cairo)

  • Ibn Tulun Mosque

  • Al-Azhar Mosque

  • Al-Husayn Mosque

  • Citadel

  • Al-Moez Street (Fatimid Cairo)

  • Khan El-Khalili (bazaar)

  • National Museum

  • Al-Azhar Park

  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks


Luxor - Aswan Cruise

  • Valley of the Kings

  • Temples of Horus, Hatshepsut, Karnak etc.

  • Temples of Kom Ombo

  • Aswan High Dam

  • Nile Villages

  • Optional: Luxor hot air balloon ride



  • El Corniche and Qaitbay Fortress

  • Kom el Shoqafa (Catacombs)

  • Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque

  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina



Our tour group will stay at the following hotels:


  • Cairo: Marriott Zamalek Hotel - 5* (7 nights)

  • Aswan-Luxor Nile Cruise (Movenpick M/S Sunray) - 5* (3 nights)

The Movenpick MS Sunray is a 5 Star deluxe Nile cruise. It has 66 spacious and elegantly designed cabins. All cabins are air-conditioned and offer either two twin-sized beds or a king-size bed. With an elegant and traditional design, stylish features and spacious public area

Arriving to Egypt (Cairo)

Numerous airlines provide service to Cairo International Airport (CAI). Turkish Airlines is a good option for flights originating from various US gateways. EgyptAir from New York (JFK), Air France, and other carriers also provide direct or connecting service. Participants should book “roundtrip” flights arriving in Cairo (CAI) on Friday, December 22 (for travelers from the US, this means departing from your city of origin on Thursday, December 21). The tour officially begins at 5:00pm on December 22 with a group orientation meeting in the hotel, followed by a brief walkaround in nearby areas and dinner. You may plan your travel to add extra days in transit before reaching Cairo, or in Cairo before the tour begins, if you wish. Hotel check-in for the tour is on December 22.


Departing from Egypt (Cairo)

The tour concludes on the morning of Monday, January 1 in Cairo. Depending on your departure time on that day, you can continue sightseeing or plan to head to the airport. Your outgoing flight can be to any destination or transit point of your choice. You may also consider spending more time in Egypt after the conclusion of the tour, and plan your flights, local transportation and additional hotel accommodations accordingly.


Booking Your Flights

Once you’ve paid your deposit to Bayan Tours, you should book your flights as soon as possible to try and obtain well-priced airfare with suitable flight timings and layovers (if you don’t have a direct flight to Cairo, we recommend that you choose a route with a layover of not less than 90 minutes). You can use your own travel agent, check airline websites, or use other booking sites to select the flight legs that are best for you.

  • Who is leading the tour?
    Bayan’s vice president and professor Munir Shaikh will be the faculty escort for the tour. He holds an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a specialization in the history of Islamic Iberia (Al-Andalus), and certificates from academic programs in Morocco, Egypt and Spain. He has lived for periods of time in Spain (and Morocco), and is conversant in Spanish. He has taught academic courses on Islamic Spain, Middle Eastern history, Islam, and world history, and led world heritage tours in various countries, including seven previous excursions in Southern Spain.
  • What is the expected group size?
    Bayan’s tours are focused on providing a well-rounded experience featuring scholarly knowledge, cultural exposure, recreational activities, and free time. Most tour groups are multi-generational and diverse in nature. In addition to historical and contemporary sites of interest, the itinerary includes visits to mosques and other places of worship to accommodate the religious needs of group members. Our group size tends to be in the range of 30-40 participants from North America and beyond. Participants are able to get to know one another and develop bonds of friendship and camaraderie that can last a lifetime. By participating in a tour, you are helping sustain and advance Bayan’s mission as a non-profit educational institution.
  • When is the registration deadline?
    We are accepting registrations for the tour until March 31, in order to reserve seats on a train, book sufficient hotel rooms, procure entrance tickets to monuments, and ensure other details. You must pay a refundable deposit of $500 per traveler. Deposits are partially refundable through February 15, 2024, however, a cancellation charge of $ 100 per traveler will apply for any cancellation requested 24 hours after time of booking. For other important terms and conditions, please click here. After payment of your deposit, you will receive an invoice for the remaining balance for your party, reflecting any applicable discounts. The balance payment is due no later than April 15, 2024.
  • Is a visa required for U.S. citizens to enter Spain?
    Bayan’s tours are open to participants who wish to join from anywhere in the world. However, the majority of participants tend to be from the United States. US passport holders do not need to obtain a visa to enter Spain for tourism. This is true for nationals of many other countries as well. However, non-US passport holders are encouraged to check requirements for their nationality and obtain a visa if required.
  • How physically demanding is the tour?
    Our group will be transported from city to city in a luxury air-conditioned tourist bus. However, in each city, since we will be in the historical centers where buses can't go, we will use the metro or other local public transportation, and occasional taxis, to get around. Even so, there will be a significant amount of walking on most days, on slight inclines and steps. The streets at times will have cobblestones. The walking distances involved at any given time can range from 1/4 to 1/2 mile between rest points. The guides will take into account the differing abilities and health conditions of group members and regulate the pace and intensity of the tour accordingly. Nonetheless, participants should expect to walk roughly 12,000 steps each day (about 6 miles in aggregate) during the first few days of the program, and perhaps 8,000 steps per day during the latter portion of the itinerary. This tour may not be suitable for those with knee, hip or foot pain that could be aggravated by the amount of walking involved. Ideally, all participants should prepare for the tour by walking at least 5,000 steps per day in the weeks leading up to the tour.
  • What type of food will we have on the tour?
    Spain’s food is a mix of Mediterranean and local traditions. Some dishes, such as paella, reveal their roots in Arab/Muslim cuisines. While the types of vegetarian options have grown in recent years in Spain, most local meat dishes feature pork (we will be sure to avoid any foods prepared with pork or alcohol). During the tour, we will dine at restaurants that serve zabiha halal foods, or at places that offer seafood and vegetarian options. You can expect meals to include Middle Eastern, Turkish and Moroccan dishes at restaurants run by local Muslims, and Italian and other types of dishes more generally. You’ll have the option of sampling various suitable tapas (small dishes) that are routinely consumed in neighborhood establishments..
  • Will you provide more information about the daily schedule and other details?
    Yes, all participants who have completed their full payment will receive a detailed information packet that includes descriptions of the cities and sites to be visited, the daily schedule, currency exchange, local prayer times, electrical adapters, weather, what to pack, and more.
  • What precautions are you taking with regard to COVID-19?
    We encourage participants to be fully vaccinated with at least one booster shot for all who are eligible to receive these shots. Travelers may visit Spain for tourism, but must provide either a certificate proving full vaccination, a negative test (PCR or rapid antigen), or a certificate of recovery. Travelers can enter using the EU Digital Covid Certificate or its equivalents. We do not expect to mandate masking during the tour, but we encourage masking whenever possible and according to each individual’s comfort level. For example, when shopping in crowded areas, it would be best to wear a mask. General sanitary practices should be maintained at all times, such as washing hands with soap, using sanitizing gels and wipes, and maintaining a reasonable distance between individuals.
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