Guide To Luxor Egypt And  Perfect  Luxor Itinerary

Luxor Egypt, famous for its beautiful temples and tombs, was the religious center for ancient pharaohs and is a must-see in Egypt. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country’s top attractions. Located 500 kilometers south of Cairo, between the desert and the Nile’s green shores, Luxor showcases some of Egypt’s most impressive ancient sights. Over 3,400 years ago, it was known as Thebes and was the heart of Egypt during the New Kingdom, a high point in its history. Today, Luxor, or “al-Qosour” in Arabic, meaning “the palaces,” still holds many historical remains. This complete guide will help you make the most of your time in Luxor Egypt.

Table of Contents

Why visit Luxor Egypt

Guide To Luxor Egypt And  Perfect  Luxor Itinerary

In my guide on planning and preparing for your trip to Egypt, I highlighted Luxor as an essential destination.

Let’s keep this brief and to the point, given the extensive and intricate history of Egypt. Situated 720 km south of Cairo, Thebes was one of ancient Egypt’s most flourishing and notable cities. It’s important not to mix it up with the Greek Thebes near Athens; we’re discussing Thebes in Egypt, now known as Luxor. This city was the capital of Upper Egypt during several key periods, especially during the prosperous times of the 18th Dynasty, which included rulers like Amenhotep I, Hatshepsut, and Tutankhamun. Today, Luxor attracts around 4 million visitors annually, making it one of the country’s most frequented cities and a vibrant hub for Egyptologists.

For those who adore well-preserved Egyptian temples adorned with vivid frescoes, Luxor is a dream come true. Moreover, the stunning vistas along the Nile’s banks, showcasing the stark contrast between the desert and lush greenery, are simply breathtaking.

How To Get To Luxor Egypt

Guide To Luxor Egypt And Perfect  Luxor Itinerary

There are several methods to travel to Luxor, including by plane, train, and bus.

Flying is a direct option, with Egyptair offering daily flights from Cairo at various times, starting at 6 a.m. Ticket prices for these internal flights range from €60 to €90 for a one-way trip.

For those preferring not to fly, trains are available from Cairo, taking about 10 hours, or from Aswan, which is closer and takes about 3 hours. Train travel is really affordable.

Additionally, the GoBus company provides bus services connecting Luxor to other tourist destinations like Hurghada.

How To Get Around Luxor Egypt

Careem In Luxor Egypt

Getting around Luxor varies depending on where you are. On the East Bank, many attractions are close enough to walk to.

Taxis are the fastest way to get around and are hard to miss due to their abundance. However, the rates can be quite high, often around 250 EGP each way. I prefer using Careem.

Careem, the local equivalent of Uber, is readily available on the East Bank and offers a user-friendly app and reliable service based on my experience. The situation changes on the west bank, where Careem drivers are less common.

Local buses aren’t an option for city travel in Luxor.

Places To See In Luxor Egypt


Karnak Temple In Luxor Egypt

Dedicated to the deity Amon, the Karnak Temple is a testament to the ingenuity and extravagance of the pharaohs. Over 3,400 years ago, this sacred temple held the highest significance in Egyptian religion. Spanning an impressive area of over 2 km², it stands as the largest religious complex ever constructed in Antiquity. Throughout nearly 2,000 years of its construction, numerous pharaohs, including the renowned Seti I, Ramses II, and Ramses III, contributed to its magnificence.

One of the architectural highlights is the great hypostyle hall, adorned with a forest of 134 columns. Gaze upwards to marvel at the grandeur of these columns and the intricate hieroglyphs adorning them. Be sure not to miss the towering obelisk erected by Queen Hatshepsut, the tallest standing obelisk in Egypt at an impressive height of 29.5 meters.

My advice: Karnak is the second most visited site in Egypt, following the pyramids of Cairo. To avoid crowds and the sweltering heat, consider visiting early in the morning or late in the day. The site is expansive, so plan several hours for your visit, wear comfortable shoes, and bring an ample supply of water.

The Sphinx Avenue

Sphinx Avenue In Luxor Egypt

The Temple of Karnak and the Temple of Luxor, also known as the Temple of Amun, are connected by a remarkable path nearly 3 kilometers long, famously dubbed Sphinx Avenue. This historic avenue was once adorned with a vast collection of sphinx statues, amounting to over a thousand pieces showcasing three distinct forms: human-faced sphinxes, ram-headed sphinxes, and full-bodied rams. This alley served as a ceremonial pathway for grand processions and pilgrimages, including the significant Opet festival.

The existence of Sphinx Alley came to light in 1949, thanks to the dedicated efforts of archaeologists. Their significant work has allowed us to see this magnificent alley almost in full today, although it meant demolishing more recent constructions that had been built atop the ancient road. Sphinx Avenue is now considered a part of Luxor’s open-air museum, highlighting its immense historical value.

In 2021, Sphinx Alley was the scene of a grand inauguration event, meticulously recreating an ancient Egyptian procession. This event was widely celebrated and captured in photos and videos, which are available online for those interested in witnessing the splendor of this historical recreation.

The temple of Luxor

Luxor Temple

With its entrance guarded by the imposing colossi of Ramses II and a beautiful 26-meter obelisk, Luxor Temple will impress you as soon as you arrive. In 1830, the second obelisk originally presented was donated to France by Mehemet Ali. 

Also dedicated to the god Amon, the temple is located 2.5 kilometers from Karnak. At the time, the two shrines were connected by an aisle of 1,300 sphinxes. Today, there are only a few dozen left that you will see at the entrance. They were intended to protect the pharaoh during his annual procession between Karnak and Luxor: the Opet festival. Inside, you’ll see bas-reliefs depicting this ceremony, including offerings to Amun and musicians playing drums.

My advice: as the hours are late, take the opportunity to stay in the temple at night. With the lighting and the calm that takes over the place, the atmosphere becomes magical.

After the visit, take a break at the Aboudi Coffee Break bookstore-café to enjoy a beautiful view of the temple and leaf through interesting books about the country.

The Medinet Habu

Medinet Habu In Luxor Egypt

The Medinet Habu is probably the most breathtaking Temple of Luxor. Surprisingly, this gem doesn’t attract as many tourists as it deserves, which might be a blessing. It means you can explore its grandeur without the crowds, enjoying a more intimate visit.

What sets this temple apart? It’s among the most vibrant temples you’ll find, boasting frescoes and wall paintings that have been remarkably preserved. The vividness of these artworks gives us a glimpse into the original splendor of what was once a regal palace.

Furthermore, the temple features some exceptionally deep bas-reliefs—in some places, they extend about 30 cm deep! This unusual detail is no accident. The temple was commissioned by Pharaoh Ramses III, driven by a unique concern: he feared being forgotten after his death. Determined to ensure his achievements would forever be remembered, he ordered that his exploits be depicted in such a profound manner that they could never be erased. Looking at the temple today, it’s clear his efforts were successful.

The Valley of the Kings

The Valley Of The Kings In Luxor Egypt

In this narrow valley that winds between the arid reliefs of the Libyan desert hide real treasures. You are here on the west bank of the Nile, on the side of the setting sun, the symbol of the abode of the dead, in opposition to the east bank where the temples of Karnak and Luxor dedicated to the god Amon are located. It is the place chosen by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom to house their tombs. If the kings of the Old and Middle Kingdoms were buried in huge pyramids, those of the New Kingdom preferred discretion to avoid (in vain) looting. Large amounts of gold and jewels accompanied them to the afterlife. Among the most beautiful tombs, admire those of Seti I, Ramses III, Ramses IV, and Ramses VI.

My advice: after your visit, stop by the Ramesseum Rest House café (phone: 201 061 848 160). The owner, Mohammed Abdelrassoul, comes from an emblematic family of tomb discoverers and will be happy to tell you his story!

The Valley of the Queens

The Valley Of The Queens In Luxor Egypt

To the south of the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens is the necropolis of the royal wives, princes, and princesses of the 19th and 20th dynasties. Less visited than the Valley of the Kings, it is home to nearly a hundred tombs. You will discover wonders in a calmer atmosphere. Do not miss that of Nefertari, the favorite wife of Ramses II. With its almost intact decorations and bright colors, it is one of the most beautiful tombs in Egypt.

One kilometer away, the site of Deir El Medina is worth the detour. You will see the tombs of the artists who worked on the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. As you leave, also stop at the Colossi of Memnon, two monumental sculptures, the last vestiges of the temple of Amenhotep III.

My advice: the tomb of Nefertari is fragile, and the number of visitors per day is limited. It is recommended to come early. If you want to visit it, buying the Luxor Premium Pass is worthwhile.

To get your Luxor Pass, head to the sales office located to the left of the ticket office at Karnak Temple or at the Valley of the Kings visitor center. You can pay for it in US Dollars or Euros, but they only accept cash.

The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut

Temple Of Hatshepsut In Luxor Egypt

It’s hard not to be amazed by this majestic mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s first female pharaohs. Built at the foot of the Ochre Mountains on the west bank of the Nile, it seems embedded in the cliff. You will be struck by the symmetry and perspective of its architecture. The building is made up of three terraces with, at each level, a portico supported by a row of pillars. On the third portico, observe the pillars with the effigy of the queen. She is represented as a man with a fake beard, a sign of the struggle she had to face to be accepted as a female pharaoh. Monumental access ramps reinforce the feeling of grandeur. 

My advice: as the temple is facing east, go there early to take advantage of the first light that illuminates the cliff. Don’t miss the third terrace and its panoramic view of the Nile Valley.


Deir El Medina In Luxor Egypt

Deir el Medina is a unique tourist destination located on the west bank of Luxor. This village once housed the craftsmen who built Luxor’s temples, keeping them close to their work. Remarkably preserved, Deir al Medina offers visitors the chance to explore stunning mosaics and historical scenes.

Despite its significance, Deir al Medina remains off the radar for many travelers, so it’s less crowded. This makes it an ideal spot to visit, even during the more popular tourist seasons, allowing for a more relaxed exploration.

The Colossi of Memnon

Colossi Of Memnon In Luxor Egypt

The Colossi of Memnon are two massive statues standing 20 meters tall that you’ll surely encounter on your way to the temples of Medinet Habou or the Valley of the Kings. These impressive monuments are the remaining relics of Amenhotep III’s palace. The best part? Visiting these giants doesn’t require a ticket – you’re free to explore them at your leisure.

The Luxor Museum

Inside In Luxor Egypt  Museum

The Luxor Museum offers a glimpse into the grandeur similar to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Positioned on the eastern bank’s corniche, close to the Luxor Archaeological Park, this archaeological museum showcases a vast collection from the ancient city of Thebes, now known as Luxor. Among the artifacts are tombs, statues, funerary steles, papyrus, and more. A highlight of the museum is the “hiding room” found in the basement, which is a replica of the secret room in the Karnak temple. Just so you know the Tutankhamun pieces have been moved to the GEM in Cairo. The entrance fee is reasonable.

Luxor Egypt 1-3 Days Itinerary

Colossi Of Memnon In Luxor Egypt

Arriving in Luxor is an overwhelming experience, a sensory overload. It’s advisable to take a moment to adjust.

Walking through the main street, the chaos of horses, carts, tuk-tuks, and motorbikes is astonishing, moving seemingly at breakneck speeds.

Starting your Luxor journey on the East Bank is wise since many attractions are within easy walking distance or a short taxi ride away, allowing for a leisurely exploration pace and time to soak in Luxor’s unique atmosphere.

Day 1-  East Bank Tour

In the morning, visit Karnak Temple, a remarkable site dating back to 2500 BC, known for its vast complex and the Great Hypostle Hall with 134 massive columns. The afternoon is best spent at Luxor’s Mummification Museum and Luxor Museum, offering insights into mummification and displaying significant artifacts like the statue of Amenhotep III. In the evening, explore the Luxor Temple, a well-preserved monument dedicated to Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, featuring a grand entrance with statues of Ramses and the historical Avenue of Sphinxes.

Day 2 – West Bank Tour

The West Bank houses world-renowned archaeological sites like the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and the Temple of Hatshepsut. A hot air balloon ride offers a unique aerial view of these sites. On the ground, the West Bank’s historical depth is unmatched, with must-visit sites including King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings and the cliff-built Temple of Hatshepsut.

Day 3 – River Nile Cruise, Night Market & Authentic Dinner

The final day in Luxor is for relaxation and cultural immersion. A felucca ride on the Nile starts the day gently. Dining at Sofra Restaurant presents an opportunity to savor authentic Egyptian cuisine. The evening at Luxor’s night market allows for engaging with locals and experiencing the vibrant market culture, though it can be intense, so a brief visit may suffice.

Throughout these three days in Luxor Egypt, the mix of awe-inspiring historical sites, cultural experiences, and the beauty of the Nile creates a memorable journey into the heart of Ancient Egypt.

When To Visit The Temples Of Luxor

 Luxor Egypt

For exploring Luxor’s temples, plan to start early, as sunrise happens before 6 am, and sites close by late afternoon. Keep in mind, it gets really hot, especially from 11 am to 3 pm, and the sun can be harsh in open areas. It’s best to visit well-known spots like Karnak and the Valley of the Kings early to avoid the midday heat.

Best Places to stay in Luxor Egypt

Address:  Memnon Street, West Bank (just outside the Colossi of Memnon).

 New Memnom Hotel In Luxor Egypt
New Memnon Hotel

Address: Khaled Ibn El Walid Street

 Iberotel In Luxor Egypt

Where to eat

Panorama Restaurant In Luxor Egypt

Panorama Restaurant, Zamzam, New Qurna, Luxor, Nile River Valley, 85831

Aladdin’s Kingdom , Banana Island, Al Bairat Al Gorf.

Sofra Restaurant & Cafe, Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate 1362352, Egypt

Al-Shahaby Lane Restaurant, Al-Sahaby Street, Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate 85951, Egypt

Aisha Restaurant Luxor, Al Rawda Al Sharifa, st، Luxor, Luxor Governorate 1362103

What to buy in Luxor Egypt

Egyptian Jewelry In Old Shop  In Luxor Egypt