Luxor is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities to visit in Egypt. The entire city is an open-air museum full of Egyptian magnificent palaces, temples and ruins so beautiful that it has been dubbed the “City of Palaces”. This city is home to a lot of interesting things about an extremely prosperous civilization of ancient times.
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So, is Luxor worth visiting, how to visit Luxor, what to do in Luxor and how to plan a budget trip to Luxor for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Luxor travel blog (Luxor blog) with the fullest Luxor travel guide (Luxor Egypt travel guide, Luxor tourist guide, Luxor city guide, Luxor guide) from how to get to Luxor, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Luxor and suggested Luxor itinerary to help you maximize your trip as follows!
In addition to the name Luxor, people also remember that this city is the ancient capital of Thebes, which witnessed many historical fluctuations of the once majestic Egypt. Located in the upper reaches of the Nile River. This destination not only has a rich and diverse culture but also possesses countless attractive attractions for tourists to visit.
To visit all of these places and discover all that Luxor has to offer in a limited amount of time requires a bit of planning and that is the purpose of this article. In this article you will find all the information you need to visit Luxor with a complete list of great places to visit and top things to do.
Overview of Luxor (# luxor travel blog)
Luxor City is known as the largest open-air museum in the world where thousands of ancient structures are kept. Luxor is located in the southern region of Egypt, is an ancient city with many ancient architectural works that are extremely unique and attract tourists the most in Egypt. According to scientists, Luxor contains about 1/3 of the most precious monuments and antiquities worldwide. Currently, the city of Luxor is divided into two parts by the Nile River, the western area is mainly desert while the eastern area is more fertile. The city of Luxor has a history dating back thousands of years, being the cultural and economic center of ancient Egypt.
Luxor was the capital of Thebes in ancient Egyptian history. Thebes is also known by another name: “City of Amun”. Research by archaeologists shows that Thebes was the peak of the cultural development of Egypt at that time. During this period, the trio of gods considered as guardians for Thebes were Amun (the Sun God), Mut (the wife of Amun) and the God of the moon Khonsu (the son of Amun).
Today Luxor is a bustling and developed tourist city, but when standing in Luxor you will fully feel the power and splendor of ancient Egypt. The temples, structures, and tombs that have survived to this day in Luxor are proof of the greatness of human intelligence.
The Nile flows between Luxor, the two sides of which are called the East and West banks. The East bank is full of hotels and historical attractions such as Karnak temple, Luxor temple, Luxor museum and Mummy museum. The West bank has the Valley of the Kings, which became famous when Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. The West bank also has the Valley of the Queens, including Nefertari’s tomb.
When is the good time to go to Luxor? (# luxor blog)
Egypt has an arid desert climate and is generally hot and sunny. Part of the Northern Hemisphere, the seasons in Egypt follow the same pattern as in Europe and North America, with winter between November and January, and the peak summer months between June and August.
I recommend going in the close seasons instead of June or September, where you’ll be able to get the best of it, with fewer people at the tourist spots, cooler weather with lower services prices than in peak season.
How to get to Luxor? (# luxor travel guide)
To get to Luxor from abroad, you must first go to Cairo, the capital of Egypt, then you can reach Luxor by various means of transportation.
By train (# luxor travel blog)
From Cairo to Luxor
Egypt is well connected by train, and one of the most time and scenic ways to get from Cairo to Luxor is to board one of these sleeper trains to go to Luxor.
There are several trains per day but the most recommended “sleeping train” is the one that departs from Cairo Ramses Station at 7:45pm and arrives in Luxor at 05:55am the next day.
If you want to go on the way to see the view along the journey, you should depart from Cairo at 08:00 am and arrive in Luxor at 7:00 pm.
Tickets range from 7 USD for second class seat to 80 USD for bed to single bed 120 USD.
You can book trains online from the official website.
If you want to take a train with a bed, you can book with Watania. You can book train tickets directly on the website: https://wataniasleepingtrains.com/Home. Bed cabin fare is from 80-120USD including dinner and breakfast, you only have to pay for drinks.
From Aswan to Luxor
Train tickets can be booked at the station or on the website: https://enr.gov.eg/ticketing/public/smartSearch.jsf. Look for express trains marked OD or Speed AC Spanish.
For the most suitable way, I will go by bus. Trains are great if you enjoy the journey as much as the destination but since it’s not cheap you can do as I did and take the train to Luxor and then catch the bus back.
From Cairo to Luxor
This is the cheapest way to get from Cairo to Luxor as there are many buses going directly to Luxor and going by bus is definitely cheaper than taking the train and quite comfortable if you don’t mind sleeping on the bus.
Go Bus, Super Jet and Upper Egypt Travel are the main bus companies operating the Cairo – Luxor route. Go Bus departs from Tahrir Square, Super Jet and Upper Egypt Travel depart from Cairo Gateway bus station. Travel time is about 9 hours and tickets cost from 14-24 USD. You can find information and book tickets at the website.
Go Bus is a great bus operator to go with if you want to get from Cairo to Luxor and vice versa. They have 4 buses daily at 01:50 AM, 05:35 AM, 09:40 PM and 11:34 PM, the departing point near Tahrir Square.
The journey will take about 9 hours to get to Luxor and the fare is 190 EGP, 265 EGP and 450 EGP depending on the class you choose.
By plane (# luxor travel guide)
You can also fly from Cairo to Luxor Airport on one of the 4 daily flights operated by EgyptAir and AirCairo from 6am to 5:30pm. The journey will take about 1 hour and cost 50 USD/person.
From the airport, you’ll have to find your way out of the terminal and away from scammers who will likely charge twice as much to get to the city center. Choose a reputable taxi company.
Taking a taxi from the airport to the city center will not cost more than 200 EGP ($6.5) and it will take you about 20 minutes to get there.
You can refer to the airport shuttle booking website at: https://www.airportshuttles.com/luxor.php
By Nile cruise (# luxor blog)
Luxor can be reached by 5-star cruise (cruise) from Cairo or Aswan. During the boat stop in Luxor you can visit the cluster of temples and the Valley of the Kings. Cruise costs from 2 to 5 days cost from 200-500USD including accommodation on board, meals, you only have to pay for drinks ordered.
How to get around Luxor? (# luxor guide)
Minibus (# luxor guide)
This is the cheapest way to get around Luxor, local people moving in the city also use minibus. Costing about 2EGP/trip, the minibus is clearly marked with different colors and runs on fixed routes. Ask the owner of the hotel/hostel you are staying at to find out which bus routes to the attractions.
Places like Karnak Temple are easily accessible by minibus. The matter will be the minivan to get on and the easiest way to know is to ask your hostel/hotel to show you to do it right. It’s a fun way to get around Luxor and great if you’re looking for a crazy adventure.
By taxi (# luxor egypt travel guide)
You can also hire a taxi to take you to all the tourist attractions in the East bank of Luxor for about 300 EGP and about 500 EGP to explore the West Bank but I do not recommend doing this. You will have to deal with taxi drivers, some of whom are not very nice, and it will cost you more than just going with an organized tour.
By buy a tour
For other more remote places like the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut’s Tomb, it’s recommended to go on a tour as it will allow you to see all of these places without the hassle need. I went this way and I’m glad I did.
If you go in a large group or want someone to take care of transportation and sightseeing tickets, you should buy a day tour. The tour has an English-speaking guide, so when you visit the attractions you will have a brief understanding of its history and architecture.
The interesting thing when coming to Luxor is that you will see a lot of elaborately decorated horse-drawn carriages. You can rent them to walk around the city, to the temples, feeling like you are lost in the past.
If you’re in the city center, there are some places in this article that you can walk to like Luxor Temple but for those further afield, you’ll need something extra.
From the East coast to the West coast to visit, the fastest way is by motorboat, it only takes about ten minutes. If you have a lot of time and want to relax, watching life on both sides of the river slowly, you can choose the felucca sailboat (Old Egyptian sailboat).
Where to go and what to do in Luxor?
Address: Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate 1362501, Egypt
Hours: 6 AM–10 PM
Not far from Karnak temple is Luxor temple located close to the bank of the Nile, built by Pharaoh Amennhotep III, where Queen Hatshepsut and the Egyptians worshiped the god Amun. In front of the temple is the towering Obelisk stone pillar built by Pharaoh Ramesses II depicting his victories, the Pharaohs of the Nubian dynasty also recorded their victories there. Actually in Luxor temple there used to be 2 Obelisk stone pillars, but in 1830, the ruler of Egypt at that time, Muhammad Ali ordered to bring 1 Obelisk stone column as a gift to France and it is now located at Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Luxor Temple is one of the first temples you will see when you arrive in Luxor. This ancient Egyptian temple complex is located right in the middle of Luxor City and is easily accessible on foot.
The Luxor Temple is an ancient Egyptian ruin built in 1400 BC when the area was still known as Thebes and it was built as a place where the ancient Egyptians were crowned their kings.
The main entrance to the temple complex is adorned with six colossal statues of Pharaoh Ramesses on either side – four sitting and two standing, but today only two sit survive. Even the headless statues are still very massive and retain their majesty. The most impressive thing in Luxor temple is the intricately sculpted giant pillars, taking the trunk of the Papyrus tree as the main theme to build the column. Luxor Temple was built to worship the gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu but is often used for the purpose of hosting the annual Opet festival. Luxor Temple is truly a masterpiece, demonstrating the prosperous period of ancient Egypt.
The temple was expanded during its existence by various Pharaohs and was divided into several parts. Right at the entrance, you will find the Obelisk of Ramses II and upon entering the temple you will find yourself in the Grand Colonnade area surrounded by giant pillars.
As you continue, you’ll be at the Sun Court of Amenhotep III, a great place to be at sunset. Behind the courtyard of the sun is Sphinx Avenue, on both sides of the path there are Sphinx statues, the more spectacular at night.
Due to its proximity to the city, it’s also one of the few temples you can visit at sunset and at night to see the ancient ruins illuminated by artificial light, it’s a sight to be admire.
I highly recommend visiting around 6pm to watch the sunset and stay until the temple lights up. You will definitely like it. Luxor Temple is open from 6 am to 10 pm and the entrance fee is 160 EGP per person.
Hot air balloon (# luxor egypt travel guide)
Coming to Luxor, you should not miss the experience of flying a hot air balloon at dawn. Tour costs from 75 USD for 40 minutes of flight. You will be picked up by the tour operator at your hotel at 4am so you can fly up to the sky to catch the first rays of the new day. Under the magical light, the view of the Nile, the houses, the green fields, the barren desert, the valley of the Kings, the temple of Hatshepsut, the temple of Amenhotep III are shimmering, magical, just like we are flying back to the past thousands of years ago.
If you’re spending another day in Luxor, I highly recommend book a hot balloon ride over Luxor to see Luxor and all its beautiful tourist attractions from an angle you haven’t seen yet from above.
Hot air ballooning is also one of the most affordable rides that you can participate in with a tour costing only about $30-40 per person and you will be in the air for about 45 minutes fly over places like the Valley of the Kings…
Fly a hot air balloon, watch the sunrise and the Valley of the queens: I recommend this tour, I have never seen a place to fly a hot air balloon as cheap as here (about 50 dollars). I booked this tour at my hostel. However, you can book a package of hot air balloons in a cruise tour. Fly to watch the sunrise over the Nile and the entire valley of the Queens… From above, the hot air balloon also has a panoramic view of Hatshepsut temple.
The tour includes 2-way pickups at the hotel, a certificate after the flight is over 🙂
But keep in mind that hot air ballooning is subject to favorable weather and the ride may be canceled at the last minute.
Address: Karnak, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
Hours: 6 AM–5:30 PM
Temples in Egypt are countless, but the greatest and most massive is the Karnak temple, only Karnak can compare with the Pyramids in scale and majesty. This is the clearest evidence of the peak architecture and culture of ancient Egypt.
Karnak Temple is another major temple complex to visit, not too far from the city of Luxor. Located just north of the city center, Karnak temple is a great place to visit, especially if you are planning a trip to Luxor independently and cheaply as you can easily reach Karnak Temple by minibus for around 2 EGP.
Right at the entrance of Karnak Temple you’ll be greeted with rows of ram-headed sphinxes on either side, and within the temple you’ll find the Hypostyle Hall, a large corridor with over 130 massive columns lined up in 16 rows that will take your breath away.
Karnak was built over 1300 years, through 30 Pharaoh dynasties including the famous Queen Hatshepsut. So Karnak is getting bigger and bigger in size, rich in architecture cannot be found in any other temple. The temple complex is divided into four main parts, including: Amun worshiping area, Montu worshiping area in the north, Mut worshiping area in the south and Pharaoh Amenhotep IV’s temple in the east. Only the Amun worshiping area is open to the public and it is a cluster of temples that reflect the splendor and culmination of the architecture of the ancient Egyptians.
Everywhere are wonderful art sculptures, stone statues, sphinxes, tons of stone pillars that stand there for thousands of years. The great hall inside is the pride of Kanak with 136 giant stone columns over 20m high, over 3m in diameter decorated with countless vivid reliefs. Karnak also preserves two cylindrical obelisk columns weighing hundreds of tons that were transported from Aswan by river.