Discover one of the world's oldest Christian buildings on this private 10-hour trip to the Red Sea Monasteries of St Anthony and St Paul, which are among the holiest sites in Egypt's Coptic Christian faith. Drive through the Eastern Desert to the sculptural Red Sea Mountains, and discover churches, chapels, caves, sacred springs, and ancient frescoes. Lunch is included.
Your day begins at 7am when your personal driver-guide collects you from your hotel in Cairo or Giza for the journey to the Red Sea Mountains, which takes a little over three hours. Enjoy the serene sands of the Eastern Desert and the sculptural mountains as you travel in air-conditioned comfort. As you drive, your guide will explain the stories of the sites, how hermits first retreated into these mountains seeking solitude, and a little about Egypt's Coptic Christian faith. Your first stop is the Monastery of St. Anthony, probably established in 356 AD, when the saint's followers settled around the cave the hermit had lived in. It is still a practicing monastery today. You'll explore this independently, discovering seventh-century frescoes, medieval churches, and an ancient library: you may choose to embark on the 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) hike to the cave where St. Anthony lived. Next, drive back to the coast to discover the Monastery of St. Paul, built in the fifth century AD. Discover churches, including an underground church that incorporates the hermit's cave, the mill, and a sacred spring where Moses' sister supposedly washed her feet. Once you're done, you'll enjoy lunch before driving back to Cairo. You should be back at your hotel around 5pm.