Luxor is located on the banks of the Nile. Visiting Luxor is an inevitable stop on Egypt tours. It is very often the starting point for a Nile River cruise but also and above all the first stage of the discovery of the Nile valley.
Formerly called Thebes, there is no shortage of ancient sites in Luxor: Luxor temple, Valley of the Kings, Karnak and so on!
In this guide to Luxor, we are going to discuss several subjects useful for preparing a stay in Luxor: what to do in Luxor, what to visit, where to sleep in Luxor, how to get there, this post can therefore be useful if you plan to visit Luxor by yourself but also as part of a cruise on the Nile to help you choose the visits to do!
What to Do in Luxor?
For lovers of ancient sites, Luxor is surely one of the richest places in Egypt. There really is a lot to see in Luxor. The ideal is to stay 2 to 3 nights in Luxor to fully enjoy the sites of interest located in the city and its surroundings.
Temple of Amun In Luxor
Luxor Amun Temple is located in the heart of Luxor city. Impossible to visit Luxor without passing in front of this temple.
At the entrance of the temple, it is possible to see an obelisk. The missing obelisk (one of the 2 plinths is empty) is the one located on the Place de la Concorde in Paris!
A must see in Luxor, if you were to visit only one ancient site, this would definitely be this one!
The Karnak site is located approximately 4 kilometers north of central Luxor. The site is huge, it takes at least half a day to visit it properly.Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the largest religious center of Antiquity, it stretches over more than 2 kilometers squares …
Impossible to visit Luxor without going through Karnak. Note, it is also possible to attend a sound and light show in the evening, within the site of Karnak.
This temple is located on the left bank of ancient Thebes, on the bank opposite Luxor. It is located north of the Colossi of Memnon. It is quite small, but I really like this temple.
It is the million-year-old temple of Ramses II.
Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Ancient Sites at Sunrise
For an unbeatable price compared to the usual rates for a hot air balloon flight, it is possible to fly over the ancient sites of Luxor!
In fact, hot air balloon flights are planned every morning (and carried out when the weather permits) at sunrise. A magical experience …
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are also located on the western shore of Thebes. These 2 stone colossi are impressive! These 2 colossi are the last true vestiges of the temple of the millions of years of Amenhotep III.
These colossi are about 18 meters high if we take into account the base.
Valley of The Kings & Valley of The Queens
Also on the west bank, the Valley of Kings and Valley of the Queens are also unmissable. Many tombs can be visited especially in the Valley of the Kings.
Some tombs have impressive wall frescoes in still very bright colors! I recommend that you inquire before your visit to Luxor and select 3 or 4 tombs to visit in the 2 valleys. No need to want to visit them all. Not all graves can be visited. The opening is by rotation in order to protect the graves.
Note, photographs are prohibited inside the graves. Be sure to respect this!
Temple of Hatshepsut
The temple of Hatshepsut is also located on the west bank of the Nile. This temple is impressive and rather well preserved.
Allow an hour and a half to 2 hours to visit it.
Felucca on The Nile
Visiting Luxor is not just about visiting the temples and ancient sites of Thebes. To enjoy your stay and to relax, nothing better than taking a felucca ride on the Nile.
From the banks of the Nile, on the Luxor Corniche, many people will offer you a felucca ride. Negotiate the price and duration and embark aboard a felucca sailing on the Nile.
The ideal is to leave a good hour before sunset and negotiate a 2-hour outing. At sunset, the Nile is magical!
Where to Sleep in Luxor?
To visit Luxor, 2 different possibilities are available to you:
- discover the city of Luxor on a Nile cruise
- visit Luxor during a more classic stay by staying in a hotel
In the case of a Nile cruise, you don’t have too many questions to ask yourself regarding the subject as you will be fully taken care of during your cruise and you will spend your nights on the boat.
If you are going to Luxor by yourself from Aswan or Cairo for example, I advise you to spend at least 2 nights or rather 3 nights in Luxor as the surroundings of Luxor are rich in sites of interest to visit …
First, let’s talk about where to sleep in Luxor. There are hotels on both banks of the Nile. Nevertheless, I recommend you stay in Luxor on the East Bank because it is the modern city of Luxor. It will be much more pleasant for your evenings, the other side, West Bank is much more residential.
Here are some good addresses, by budget, that I recommend sleeping in Luxor:
- small budget? meet at the Iberotel Luxor where one night in a double room with breakfast will cost you around 30 euros! The hotel is well located, it has a beautiful swimming pool, unbeatable for this price…
- if your budget is around 60 euros a night, go to the Hilton Luxor. The setting is magnificent, on the banks of the Nile with a restaurant, tearoom. A treat to enjoy the landscape! It is definitely one of the best places to sleep in Luxor to relax and enjoy your evenings after visiting the treasures of Luxor!
- for an even more refined hotel, go to the Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor with its Victorian-inspired rooms. Beautiful swimming pool also and in the heart of Luxor. At less than 100 euros a night, it is rare to be able to stay in a Sofitel hotel at this price …
Visit Luxor: Practical Information
To end this post which should help you to visit Luxor, here is some practical information to know before going to Luxor. These tips focus on the practical aspects of visiting Luxor: how to get to Luxor, how to get around to visit Luxor and the sites of interest on both shores.
How Do I Get to Luxor?
Very often, visiting Luxor is the next step after visiting Cairo. To get to Luxor from Cairo, 2 options are available to you:
- domestic flight Cairo / Luxor
There are several trains a day that connect Luxor to Cairo. There are daytime trains but also night trains that save time and avoid wasting an entire day in transport.
Also, it is possible to get to Luxor from Aswan for example, also by train. If your timing is tight, this is the best option because the flight will only take you an hour! There are several flights per day which allows you to schedule your flight at the best time according to your itinerary and thus lose as little time as possible. A Cairo / Luxor flight costs between 70 and 100 euros on average (one way) with Egypt Air.
Getting Around Luxor
It is very easy to get around Luxor. No worries about this subject. Depending on your wishes, you can get around by taxi or carriage.
To cross the Nile to reach the Valleys of the Kings for example, a ferry allows you to cross the river.
On the budget side, transport is very inexpensive inside Luxor, but it is necessary to fix the price of the trip before leaving, whether by taxi or horse-drawn carriage.
Finally, it is possible to hire the services of a taxi for the day to discover the sites of West Bank (Ramesseum, Valley of the Kings, Colossi of Memnon, temple of Hatshepsout, Deir el Bahari). Again, fix the price with the driver before leaving.