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Located on the banks of the Nile, the ancient sites of Luxor are among the best preserved in the world, making it an enormous outdoor museum and it should be on your Egypt itinerary.
With significant archaeological places such as the Karnak Temple, the Luxor Temple, and the Valley of the Kings where you can find the tomb of the legendary Egyptian King Tutankhamun, Luxor has become an even more attractive place than Cairo.
In this article, I will share all the amazing things to do in Luxor
READ ALSO: The perfect 2 weeks in Egypt itinerary
How to get to Luxor?
Depending on which way you prefer to travel you can easily reach Luxor in Egypt with different types of transport. A flight from Cairo is probably the fastest way while the train is much cheaper but it takes a lot longer to get there.
Here are a few options on how to get to Luxor in Egypt.
BY FLIGHT: Domestic flights from Cairo to Luxor are running daily every hour and cost about EGP 2500 (US$100) for a one-way ticket that will take you in 60 minutes there.
BY TRAIN: The train is very popular in Egypt as it is ridiculously cheap and convenient. It is easy to go from Cairo or Giza to Luxor, which will cost about EGP 250-400 (US$10-15) per person and takes 10 hours.
However, you can book also a night sleeping train where you can book a shared cabin or a single cabin with a bunk bed between EGP 2000-3000 (US$80-120) per person.
The train departs around 7 PM and arrives at 6 AM and tickets can only be purchased at the station. If you have a guide, they can help you to book the tickets for you.
BY BUS: It’s possible to travel by bus from many cities in Egypt to Luxor. I traveled by GO-BUS from Hurghada to Luxor and it is very comfortable as you get your own seat with a video player and USB charger if you book the Elite Class for only EGP 260 (US$ 10).
BY CAR: Traveling around Egypt by car is possible, although I wouldn’t recommend it if you are not familiar with or comfortable driving in hectic traffic. The way of driving in Egypt is different than in most European countries.
If you decide to rent a car, consider having good insurance and coverage in case something happens.
Where to stay in Luxor?
Your Egypt itinerary should definitely include a stop in Luxor, as it is arguably the most stunning destination in the country. The Nile River divides the city in two, making it more challenging to figure out the best hotels in Luxor.
Although the city itself can be found on the East Bank of the Nile, most of the city’s highlights and hotels can be found on the West Bank. However, I stayed at the Le Fayan Nile River Cruise, which is docked at the East Bank, and explored all the temples and sights from there.
If you decided not to join a Nile River cruise, I do recommend spending a few days in this fascinating place, allowing enough time to see all of the incredible temples that Luxor has to offer.
Best things to do in Luxor, Egypt
Wander through the Karnak Temple
As one of the largest religious sites in the world, the Karnak Temple in Luxor should be the first place to visit during your trip in Egypt. With our guide, Keto, we wandered through the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes before entering the massive gate of the religious site.
Once inside the temple, we were astonished by the hundred columns and gigantic statues of the Pharaohs while the guide explained the temple’s history and construction.
As I booked a guided tour, I went to the Karnak Temple at 2 PM with our guide Keto and even though it was pretty busy with groups and individual visitors, he managed to find peaceful places around the site and gave us the time to explore the temple ourselves.
The best time to visit the complex is in the early morning at 6 AM to avoid the big groups, however, I came in the afternoon and the sun was shining perfectly through the massive pillars and columns which created a stunning setting for photos.
ENTRANCE: The price to enter the Karnak Temple is EGP 220 (€ 8,5) per person
BOOK: A private guided tour in Luxor that includes a visit to the Karnak Temple
Explore the Luxor Temple
One of the most impressive temples is the Luxor Temple, which is right in the middle of the city on the East Bank and is easy to recognize by the 6 massive statues of King Ramses II. There used to be 2 huge obelisks but one of them is removed and donated to Paris.
It is also believed that the Karnak temple and the Luxor Temple were once connected by the Avenue of the Sphinx which is about 2.5km long.
The best time to visit the Luxor Temple is in the early morning around 7 AM before it gets too hot, however, another great recommendation of our guide is to visit the temple before sunset and stay until it becomes dark as the temple will be illuminated, giving a unique experience to your visit.
ENTRANCE: The entrance ticket is EGP 180 (€ 7) per person
BOOK: Visit the Luxor Temple with a private guided tour in Luxor at the end of the day to enjoy the sunset and illuminated temple
Experience a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings
A dream came true! My first ever hot air balloon ride was over the Valley of the Kings with sunrise and it was magical. Around 4 AM, we were picked up from the Le Fayan Cruise and with small boats transported to the West Banks. From there we drove in a minivan to the take-off zone where about 20 balloons were waiting to depart.
Although the weather wasn’t in our favor (we had to wait until the wind calmed down) it was amazing! For 60 minutes we drifted peacefully over the Valley of the Kings and enjoyed the sun rising in the distance.
A truly unique and stunning experience and I highly recommend joining a sunrise hot air balloon ride when you visit Luxor or to add on your Egypt itinerary.
BOOK: A hot air balloon ride over Valley of the Kings to experience the most magical sunrise in Luxor
Discover the tombs at the Valley of the Kings
After a hot air balloon ride, you can discover the tombs of the Valley of the Kings yourself. There are about 60 tombs across the site and to find them you’ll have to walk through beautiful and colorful painted hieroglyphs on the walls that lead you towards the tombs into the mountain.
It is a unique experience and during my visit, I explored 3 tombs in the Valley of the Kings, The tombs of Merenptah, the shared tomb of Tausert and Setnakht (the father of Ramses III), and the tomb of Ramses III itself.
With an entrance ticket, you can only discover 3 different tombs at a time, so if you wish to explore more tombs you’ll need to buy an extra ticket to see more tombs.
TIP: Buy or bring water before entering the Valley of the Kings site as it is quite expensive if you have to buy it inside the site.
ENTRANCE: With one entrance ticket you can visit up to 3 tombs and it costs EGP 260 (€ 10) per person. to explore more tombs, you’ll need to buy an additional entrance ticket.
BOOK: Discover the tombs at the Valley of the Kings with a private guided tour in Luxor
Admire the majestic Hatshepsut Temple
The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is located on the West Bank of the Nile River and is worth visiting during your time in Luxor. The Temple has different levels and beautiful hieroglyphs that reveal the history of the only female pharaoh that ruled in ancient Egypt.
The best time to visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is in the early morning to avoid the group tours, however, as I explored Luxor with a private guide, I visited the temple at noon and it wasn’t too busy but pretty hot.
ENTRANCE: To visit the Hatshepsut Temple you’ll need to buy an entrance ticket, which cost EGP 160 (€ 6,5)
BOOK: Visit the Queen Hatshepsut Temple during a private guided tour in Luxor
Watch the massive Colossi of Memnon Statues
On the way back to the East Bank of Luxor we quickly stopped with our guide at the Colossi of Memnon Statues. Two huge statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III sitting in front of the completely destroyed and damaged mortuary temple.
These days, German archaeologists are restoring the site so it was covered and inaccessible to tourists, However, you can still take photos in front of the two statues, So it is worth having a quick stop here.
BOOK: Most private guided tours include a stop a these statues or ask your driver and he will be happy to show you these place
Join a Felucca boat ride with a sunset
A visit to Luxor is not complete without joining a Felucca boat ride on the Nile River. A Felucca is a small traditional Mediterranean boat that the ancient Egyptians used for fishing and transporting goods.
Nowadays, these Felucca boats are used to entertain tourists and visitors and show them the beautiful sunsets from the Nile River. A truly fantastic experience and definitely worth it.
You can easily book a Felucca boat ride in advance, with a guide, or just head to the East or West Bank and ask the locals to join on their Felucca.
Experience a luxury Nile River Cruise
One of the best things to do in Luxor is to join a 4-day Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan as during this amazing experience you’ll discover many temples and ancient sites along the Nile River.
There are hundreds of different companies and boats to join but I ended up with the awesome Le Fayan Cruise. A luxury 5-star cruise that has everything you need to have a great experience on the Nile River.
Beautiful rooms with a view of the river, full board meals, sun and lounge deck, swimming pool, jacuzzi, fitness room and much more can be expected during this journey.
TIP: A cruise along the Nile was the most unique experience I had in Egypt and definitely a bucket list
BOOK: A 4-day luxury Nile River Cruise like I did with the amazing Le Fayan Cruise
Luxor is a fantastic place to add to your Egypt itinerary and with many ancient temples and exciting adventures, you’ll have a great time in this city. My favorite places in Luxor were the Karnak Temple and the hot air balloon flight with sunrise.
However, the 4-day Nile cruise was the most unique experience as it was on my bucket list for years.
If you are planning to visit Luxor or you have any questions, ask me in the comments,
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Plan the best things to do in Luxor, Egypt with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Trip – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- InsuredNomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.