What to do in Luxor, Egypt

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Although most people only plan on visiting Cairo and the pyramids when visiting Egypt, Luxor is in my opinion the best city to visit in the whole country.

There are so many things to do in Luxor, with countless fascinating temples, tombs, museums and ancient history that you really need to spend at least 3-4 days minimum to really appreciate everything that it has to offer.

In this blog post I’ll cover the top ten things to do in Luxor, what to expect and explain why it is a must visit location when staying in Egypt.

Top 10 Things To Do In Luxor

So in no particular order, let’s take a look at what the top 10 things to do in Luxor are:

1. Valley of the Kings

Entrance to Valley of the Kings.
Valley of the Kings

Probably the most famous and popular tourist destination in all of Luxor is the magnificent Valley of the Kings. It is an archaeological site featuring a total of 63 royal tombs, and was the home of royalty for nearly 500 years in ancient Egypt.

Here you can explore several tombs such as the Tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses I, Ramesses III and the most famous tomb; the Tomb of Tutankhamun.

In these tombs you’ll see really detailed, colourful hieroglyphics covering the walls as you descend further downwards. These tombs are absolutely extraordinary to see in person and will leave you in awe!

The only negative about visiting this place is that there are always a lot of tourists visiting, which means the tombs can become overcrowded at times. But it’s an expected and small price to pay for such an incredible experience.

Engraved walls inside a Tomb at Valley of the Kings.
Inside a Tomb at Valley of the Kings

It’s possible to visit the Valley of the Kings by yourself, but I would highly recommend a private tour, where your guide will give you all the history about each tomb.

2. Karnak Temple

Entrance at Karnak Temple.
Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple is believed by many to be the most stunning and breathtaking temple in the whole of Egypt, let alone just Luxor!

It’s based on the East Bank of the River Nile, just a few miles outside of the city centre and is an absolute must visit place when in Luxor.

Obelisk in the courtyard at Karnak Temple.
Obelisk in the courtyard at Karnak Temple

It is a huge historical temple complex site, featuring statues of Pharaohs, pylons, chapels and more. It is known to be the largest religious building ever constructed and was dedicated to the Egyptian Gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu.

The size of the temple here is so impressive that you’ll want to take your time to fully appreciate everything there is to see. When visiting with my tour guide, I felt slightly rushed which is a common occurrence, so I would recommend visiting by yourself to make sure you enjoy the place to the fullest.

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3. Felucca Boat Ride on the River Nile

Felucca boat on the Nile.
Felucca boat on the Nile

Taking a felucca boat ride on the River Nile is an amazing experience and a great way to relax for a few hours after visiting one of the many historical sites on Luxor.

A felucca boat is a traditional wooden sailing boat that dates back to ancient times, and they are now a hugely popular tourist experience in Luxor.

Most felucca boat rides take place in the afternoon and will take you to Banana Island; a banana plantation site a few miles south from the city of Luxor and you’ll also get to experience the sun setting while sailing back to the city.This was one of my favourite experiences while in Luxor; travelling on the Nile is a memorable thing to do and felucca boat rides are extremely cheap as well.

4. Luxor Temple

Entrance to Luxor Temple.
Luxor Temple

Luxor temple is based in the city centre of Luxor next to the East Bank of the Nile River, and is another top historical site that you simply cannot miss when visiting Luxor.

Despite some people saying that this temple is not as awe-inspiring as some of the other temples in Luxor, I still found this place to be extraordinary and absolutely fascinating.

Pillars at Luxor Temple.
Pillars at Luxor Temple

Dating back to 1400 BC, it features incredible Pharaoh statues and was known as a place of ceremony where Pharaohs were crowned. I would recommend spending at least 1-2 hours here, you can visit it as part of a day tour or by yourself so that you won’t be rushed so much.

Nomatic

5. Hot Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise

Hot air balloons in Luxor.
Hot air balloons in Luxor

Hot air balloon rides are extremely popular in Luxor, and take place at sunrise on the West Bank of the Nile. The balloon rides last around an hour and fly over the stunning Valley of the Kings location as the sun rises.

You can expect an early start at 4:30am, with tour companies picking you up at your hotel and driving you to the hot air balloon site. If you’re based on the East Bank then you’ll be taken across the Nile on a motor boat and then taken to the location.

Despite the early start time this was one of the most exhilarating and special experiences I’ve had on all of my travels and one that I highly recommend!

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6. Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut.
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

This is one of the most iconic and popular temples in Luxor and is considered a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian architecture. 

What separates this temple from all the others is its special location; it lies at the foot of the cliffs of Deir el Bahri in the Valley of the Kings region and walking up the many steps towards it is quite spectacular to say the least.

There are plenty of statues, sphinxes and hieroglyphs here and you can visit this temple as a part of a full day tour of the Valley of the Kings and other sites in Luxor.

7. Colossi of Memnon

Statues of Colossi of Memnon.
Colossi of Memnon

This is a unique historical monument that is totally different from everything else that you see on the West Bank of Luxor.

The Colossi of Memnon are two absolutely huge statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III that are at the front of the ruined site of the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III.

Made of quartzite sandstone, both statues stand 18 metres high and date back to 1350 BC. This is another very impressive site, but you don’t need to spend too long here, around 30 minutes maximum would suffice.

Most day tours of the West Bank include a visit to Colossi of Memnon before moving on to other sites.

8 Valley of the Queens

The Valley of the Queens is situated near the Valley of the Kings site and features at least 75 tombs where Queens, Princes, Princesses and other prominent figureheads were buried.

Although it’s considered less important compared to the Valley of the Kings, it is still worth a visit. If you’re on a tight schedule then it may be best to skip this site, though it is included in some day tours.

9. Medinet Habu

Entrance to Medinet Habu.
Medinet Habu

This is an often-overlooked historical site in Luxor as it is located about 4 miles away from the Valley of the Kings site, but is without a doubt one of the most interesting places in the whole city.

At this site you will find the mortuary temple of Ramses III which was constructed to honour the God Amen in 1160 BC. This is a really huge complex (the second largest in Egypt) that deserves to be seen in all its splendour.

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It is also considered the best preserved temple in all of Egypt, with an impressive fortified entrance and countless colourful religious scenes carved into the temple walls and pillars, as well as well preserved statues here.

I wasn’t expecting much from my visit at Medinet Habu but I’m really glad I got to see it, and I recommend a tour here if you have time.

10. Sound & Light Show at Karnak Temple

And last but definitely not least on this list of what to do in Luxor, is the amazing sound and light show at Karnak temple.

This is a very unique experience where you get to walk around the ancient temple site during darkness. As you do so, you can see a wonderfully colourful illuminated light show that’s projected onto the surfaces of various temple walls and monuments, all while listening to a narration about the history of the site.

It’s a fantastic show that concludes at the temple’s Sacred Lake and I very much recommend it. You can book a ticket through a tour company that includes pick up and drop off to and from your hotel.

Conclusion: What To Do At Luxor, Egypt

So that concludes everything you need to know about what to do in the fabulous city of Luxor in Egypt. I found Luxor to be a very special place, much more relaxed and beautiful compared to the hustle and bustle of crazy Cairo.

There is so much ancient history in Luxor that you really are spoiled for choice with all the various tombs, temples and activities to do here. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this blog post and now know what to expect for your trip to Luxor.

Author Bio

Smiling man in front of Taj Mahal with sunglasses.
Mark from MJTravelGuides

Mark is a UK travel blogger and his site is mjtravelguides, where he writes about his travel adventures in the UK, Europe and exotic destinations. He has visited exactly 40 countries so far, mostly as a solo traveller. Follow Mark from Solo Travel Man on Instagram and on X.

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