Ancient temples, painted tombs, colorful bazaars, and desert adventures: Luxor lays out a long lineup of attractions. From admiring the major sights to enjoying cultural experiences, culinary delights, and sports pursuits on top, here’s how to get the most from a 3-day stay.
Day 1: See the Sights
Spend today checking off Luxor’s archaeological highlights, starting with an exhilarating sunrise hot air balloon ride over the West Bank’s mountains and temples. After this aerial overview, set off on a full-day tour of Luxor’s highlights, including the Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut, and Colossi of Memnon in the West Bank and Karnak and Luxor Temple in Luxor itself. A private tour with an Egyptologist guide is invaluable in ensuring you get the most out of your visit. As the day ends, relax with a sunset felucca (boat) cruise on the River Nile or dinner at a local family home for memorable insight into local life and cuisine.
Day 2: From Abu Simbel to Abydos
Spend your second day exploring outside Luxor. Leave before dawn for a whistle-stop day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Abu Simbel, or consider an overland 2-day tour to Aswan and Abu Simbel, with visits to Edfu and Kom Ombo en route. Alternatively, go for a full-day tour of Aswan, traveling by road and train to see the city’s Unfinished Obelisk, Philae Temple, and gargantuan High Dam. The archaeological sites of Dendera and Abydos, two of Egypt’s best-preserved temples, make another popular day trip. Dendera serves up extraordinary astronomical ceiling reliefs, while Abydos is home to a series of richly detailed wall paintings.
Day 3: Delve Deeper or Kick Back
On your last day, discover any attractions you’ve missed, and, if you wish, kick back with desert sports or other activities. Choose a tour of the Luxor Museum to admire artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb and other pharaonic exhibits, or take a guided shopping tour to scout out quality souvenirs such as carpets, perfumes, and gold at Luxor’s lively bazaars. For an active day out, head to Hurghada to join a snorkeling cruise to Utopia Island on the Red Sea, or hop onto an ATV to race across Luxor’s desert plains and hills. Perhaps end your stay on a high note with a Sound and Light Show at Karnak. Book a ticket-and-transport package and view the temple on a walk-through experience of lights, music, and special effects.