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If you are planning to travel to the land of the Gods and Pharaohs, make sure you have Aswan on your itinerary because this is where you will find the most impressive and famous landmarks in Egypt.

Even though the city is much greener, life is much more relaxed, and it feels as though you are going back in time, there are a lot of things to do in Aswan.

It was also the last stop of the 5-day Nile cruise I took while traveling through this breathtaking country. However, if a Nile River cruise is not on your itinerary in Egypt, be sure to schedule some time to spend a few days just exploring this wonderful place.

In this article, I will share some of the best things to do in Aswan, where to stay, extra tips, and beautiful photos to inspire you.

READ ALSO: The perfect 2 weeks in Egypt itinerary

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How to get to Aswan?

BY FLIGHT:

The city is located in the southern part of Egypt and the fastest way to get there is by taking a flight from Cairo to Aswan. These flights run daily and will cost about US$100 for a one-way ticket.

BY TRAIN:

When you decide to travel by overnight sleeping train from Cairo to Aswan, I recommend taking a night train as this saves you a lot of time and accommodation. HoweverThe train is very popular and cheap so book tickets well in advance.

You can book a shared cabin or a single cabin with a bunk bed between (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: 

You can travel with a GO-Bus from Hurghada to Luxor for only EGP 260 / US$10 and then take a private transfer or train to Aswan. Some tour packages are included a transfer

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.

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Where to stay in Aswan?

The city is pretty laidback compared to the bigger and busier cities of Egypt. However, there are still many accommodations in Aswan for every budget.

Most of the best hotels in Aswan are located near the High Dam and the Nile River, which is perfect to explore all the magnificent places in this article. Here are a few options I can highly recommend when you want to explore the south of Egypt.

READ ALSO: 18 x best hotels in Egypt

Best things to do in Aswan

Visit the beautiful Philae Temple

The Philae temple has a magical appearance and that is because this temple is built on an island in the middle of the Nile.
Although the original temple was on Philae Island (hence the name), the temple has been dismantled and rebuilt on its current site due to the risk of flooding.

To get there you have to buy an entrance ticket that also includes a boat ride to the entrance of the island.

When you travel to Aswan, definitely add this temple to your list and plan your visit in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower.

I visited this temple with a guide and found it very interesting to learn the history of the temple and also to get more information about the reconstruction.

TIP: The entrance fee for the Philae Temple is EGP 200 per person.

BOOK: Visit the Philae Temple during a guided tour in Aswan

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Explore the Nubian Villages

One of the most unique things to do in Aswan is to visit a traditional Nubian Village.

The Nubian people are known to be some of the friendliest people in all of Egypt. They are originally from Sudan, speak their own language, and live in brightly colored houses.

You can easily visit the Nubian Villages on your own or with a guide if you’re in Aswan. However, if you want to see a stunning sunset, you should go in the afternoon.

Although I didn’t experience a tour myself, I highly recommend joining a tour or visiting the villages during your Egypt itinerary.

BOOK: Visit a Nubian Village and enjoy the friendly hospitality of the Nubian people

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Discover the mighty Abu Simbel Temple

What you absolutely cannot miss on your Egypt itinerary and one of my favorite landmarks in Egypt is the temple of Abu Simbel.

The drive takes about 3 hours to get to Abu Simbel and you drive through a desert area in the south of Egypt with almost no change in the landscape, but once you get there you will have forgotten about the long drive.

This temple was originally closer to the River Nile and was later rebuilt to where it stands today due to the risk of flooding.

Ramesses II built the temple with giant statues of himself to intimidate enemies and merchants along the Nile. What is so impressive is that the temple is carved out of one solid rock with the tools they had thousands of years ago.

How the ancient Egyptians built these gigantic statues at the entrance is sometimes really a mystery… They might look small on photos you’ll find online but once you stand next to them, you will realize how big they really are.

You can visit Abu Simbel the best during a day trip from Aswan, however, it is possible to explore it on your own. I had a guide during my journey in Egypt who told me more about the history of the temple, after which I went to discover the temple myself.

I truly believe this magnificent temple should be on everyone’s bucket list!

TIP: So most group tours go first inside Abu Simbel and then to Queen Nefertari, I recommend doing the opposite and waiting a bit longer. The group Tours will leave between 9 AM and 10 AM so you will have the temples for yourself.

TIP: The entrance fee for Abu Simbel and the Queen Nefertari Temple is EGP 260 per person without transfers to Abu Simbel.

GOOD TO KNOW: Visit Abu Simbel with a private transfer and guide

READ ALSO: From Aswan to Abu Simbel: A magnificent landmark in Egypt

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Don’t skip the Temple of Queen Nefertari

Next to the Abu Simbel you can find the temple of Queen Nefertari and almost every day trip to Abu Simbel from Aswan includes a visit to the Queen Nefertari Tempel as they are right next to each other.

Ramses II built this temple dedicated to his wife Nefertari and this one is also carved out of one massive rock with beautiful hieroglyphics on the inside of the complex. On the outside, you will see six large statues of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari standing in front of the temple.

When you visit Abu Simbel and the Queen Nefertari don’t forget your camera, bring enough water and possibly a hat or cap because this was about the hottest place I visited during my tour in Egypt.

TIP: So most group tours go first inside Abu Simbel and then to Queen Nefertari, I recommend doing the opposite and waiting a bit longer. The group Tours will leave between 9 AM and 10 AM so you will have the temples for yourself.

TIP: The entrance fee for Abu Simbel and the Queen Nefertari Temple is EGP 260 per person without transfers to Abu Simbel.

BOOK: Visit the Temple of Queen Nefertari and Abu Simbel during a full-day tour from Aswan

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Make a day trip to the Kom Ombo Temple

The Kom Ombo Temple is worth a day trip from Aswan as it is only an hour’s drive to get there which makes it easy to combine when you drive for example from Aswan to Luxor or when you are not sailing aboard a Nile River cruise while in Egypt.

There are actually two temples in one, one for each of the gods Sobek and Horus, to whom this structure is dedicated.

One of the first calendars ever created can be found in the hieroglyphs, adding even more significance to this unique location. Besides a visit to the Kom Ombo Temple, you shouldn’t miss the Kom Ombo Museum, which can be found right next to the temple.

Crocodiles and even their eggs that have been mummified can be found here, which makes it definitely worth the trip!

TIP: The entrance fee for the Kom Ombo Temple and the Crocodile Museum is EGP 160 per person.

BOOK: A guided tour around the Kom Ombo Temple and the Temple of Edfu from Aswan

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Visit the Edfu Temple on a day trip

The Temple of Edfu is another day trip from Aswan that is highly recommended and should not be missed. Dedicated to the falcon god Horus, it is also commonly referred to as the “Horus Temple.”

You can ride a horse-drawn carriage to the temple as part of an organized tour, and as soon as you reach the impressive entrance gate, you’ll be in awe of this stunning temple.

It is also one of the most complete temples ever discovered, making it well worth a visit.

Because of its location on the banks of the West Bank, a trip to the temple is frequently combined with a tour of the temple at Kom Ombo or with a cruise down the Nile that travels from Luxor to Aswan.

TIP: The entrance fee for the Temple of Edfu is EGP 200 per person.

BOOK: Discover the Edfu Temple with a full-day guided tour from Aswan

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Join a sunset felucca boat ride on the Nile River

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.

Best time to visit Egypt

Go aboard a Nile River Cruise from Aswan to Luxor

A Nile cruise was one of the most wonderful experiences during my Egypt itinerary. We spent five days sailing through breathtaking landscapes and exploring some impressive temples along the way.

Although most tourists and travelers take the Luxor to Aswan cruise, it is also possible to board at Aswan and travel to Luxor. If you depart from Aswan, you can complete the journey in four days instead of five, saving you both time and money.

Another advantage is that it is frequently less expensive to travel from Aswan because fewer people take this route and the companies would rather have a full boat than a few customers.

Whichever route you’re taking during your trip, don’t forget to include a Nile cruise because it truly is a bucket list experience!

TIP: A cruise along the Nile was the most unique experience I had in Egypt and definitely a bucket list

BOOK: Join a 4-day Luxury Nile Cruise along the Nile River from Aswan to Luxor

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Aswan is a fantastic place to add to your Egypt itinerary and with many historical and important landmarks of Egypt, such as Abu Simbel and the Philae Temple which should be on your list.

However, the 4-day Nile cruise is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience I highly recommend doing when you visit this part of Egypt.

If you are planning your trip or you have any questions, ask me in the comments,

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8 amazing things to do in Aswan2
8 amazing things to do in Aswan1
8 amazing things to do in Aswan3

Plan the best things to do in Aswan, 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. 

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.

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