The premier travel destination in Upper (southern) Egypt and the Nile Valley
The dynastic and religious capital of Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Egypt, Luxor has much to offer the traveller, from vast temples, to ancient royal tombs, via spectacular desert and river scenery and a bustling modern life.
Although a relatively small town by Egyptian population standards, Luxor is quite extensive and is best divided up into several ‘districts’ or areas that group the main attractions on their respective sides of the river Nile:
- East Bank the town, the Luxor Temple, the Temple of Karnak, The Museum, trains, hotels, restaurants
- West Bank the location of the major ruins including Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and other important sites; the Western Valley ruins, and a few hotels.
The old capital of Egypt, Thebes, was on the West bank of the Nile. That is where most of the ruins and tombs are.
The modern city of Luxor is on the East bank. That area has the train and bus stations, most of the hotels and restaurants, some museums, tourist shops and so on. Most visitors (and almost all tour groups) stay on the East bank and travel across for the tourist sites but, in recent years, there has been an increase in hotels on the West bank and many independent travelers stay there.
To See & Do
The various Luxor district article pages contain detailed information and suggestions for things to see. Definite highlights, not-to-be-missed, include:
- the Valley of the Kings
- the temple complexes of Luxor and Karnak
- Medinet Habu
- the Tombs of the Nobles
- The Ramesseum Temple
- Walk from the Valley of the Queens across the desert and over the cliffs to the Valley of the Kings
- Hire a bike and ride around Ancient Thebes – takes you less than 15 minutes to get there.
- A local felucca ride just before sunset; shouldn’t cost you more than about LE 30 (for one person) per hour.
- Take a felucca cruise on the Nile for a 2 day trip to Aswan (the reverse trip is recommended, however, due to river currents).
- Hire a donkey, horse, or camel to ride around Luxor’s West Bank.Go to Pharaoh’s Stables,just a short walk from the ferry terminal.They will take you to places where the big coaches cant go,so you can enjoy the real Egypt, with its friendly people and relaxed lifestyle.Every day is different when you see the West Bank by horse or donkey,and the guides will look after you all the way. They have horses for beginners to experienced riders.The Sunset ride and Nile ride is a must do.
- Go for a swim in a hotel’s pool after a dusty day of tombs and temples
- Magic Horizon Balloons, Badr Street, off TV St. Flight starts before dawn: MH staff picks passengers up at their hotel or cruise boat, ferry them across the Nile by Felucca boat (tea/coffee & cakes provided on the boat) and drive them to the take-off point. Guests glide up from the West Bank in an balloon and float over Luxor enjoying a view of all the important landmarks of the West Bank. A unique way to visit the ancient land of the Pharaohs. Each flight lasts at least 40 minutes, weather permitting.
The Pyramids of Egypt • Locations & Activities