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17 Best things to see & do in Luxor

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Last updated: 25 August, 2023
  • Luxor, Middle Egypt, Egypt

Valley of kings. The tombs of the pharaohs. Tutankhamun. Luxor. Egypt. Ancient monument of architecture. Museum. Excavation. Vacation holidays background wallpaper

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Valley of the Kings

Known to the ancients as the ‘Place of Truth’, the 62 known tombs in the remarkable Valley of the Kings belong to some of the greatest of Egypt’s pharaohs, including the famous tomb of Tutankhamun.

Pharaohs began building and decorating their tombs as soon as they came to the throne, and they were stuffed with all of their belongings after their death to accompany them into the afterlife. The treasures are long gone, stolen by tomb raiders, but the hieroglyphic-decorated ceilings and walls are no less impressive.

Tutankhamun’s tomb is actually one of the smallest. Discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, it’s the only tomb found with its treasure intact (on display in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo).

Adult price: £8

Good for age: 13+

  • Luxor, Southern Upper Egypt Region, Egypt

Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt. The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings in Egypt.

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Karnak Temple

Karnak, or ancient Thebes, was Egypt’s foremost religious complex originally built in 2055 BC. Over the course of 1,500 years the site was continuously expanded by pharaohs, in tribute to the Theban gods; more than 80,000 workers toiled here during the reign of Ramesses II.

The most impressive sight in Karnak is the superbly preserved, 250,000sq m Temple of Amun, which boasts a magnificent hypostyle hall with 134 massive columns.

You need to visit Karnak twice – once in daylight, and once at night for the Sound & Light Show, and to see the temple lit up.

Adult price: £10

Good for age: 8+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Drifting silently over the ancient monuments of the West Bank, as the sun rises over the Nile, is one of those ‘never forget’ moments. It’s a serene way to appreciate the layout of ancient Luxor, from the temples in the east to valley tombs in the west.

Peer into roofless village houses, unchanged for thousands of years, see the fertile floodplains of the Nile give way to the desert beyond, and marvel at the enormous scale of Karnak temple.

Adult price: £30

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 3 hours

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Amazing Luxor temple at sunset, Luxor, Egypt.

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Luxor Temple

Unlike the complex at Karnak, which is connected by an avenue of sphinxes and which was built over the course of 1,500 years, the elegant Temple of Luxor was built mostly by one pharaoh, Amenhotep III.

As a result, it is much less complex than its counterpart, although the Romans made changes to the innermost part.

The temple used to be fronted by two colossal obelisks, but only one remains. Its twin was moved to the Place de la Concorde in Paris in the 1840s.

Adult price: £7

Good for age: 8+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

The ancient necropolis in the Valley of the Queens

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Tomb of Queen Nefatari

The Tomb of Queen Nefertari, located in the Valley of the Queens, is arguably one of the most beautiful tombs in all of Egypt.

Nefertari, the greatly loved wife of Pharaoh Ramses II, was a significant figure in ancient Egypt, renowned for her beauty and intellect. The exquisitely decorated tomb beautifully showcases her importance.

Its walls are adorned with detailed, vibrant frescoes depicting Nefertari’s journey to the afterlife, with numerous hieroglyphs and symbolic scenes of her interacting with various deities. The quality of the artwork is truly phenomenal, with each image and colour holding significant meaning, presenting a stunning blend of art and theology.

Despite the tomb’s discovery in a state of disarray in 1904, it has undergone extensive restoration. While the cost of entry is higher than other tombs, the quality of the art and the historical significance of Nefertari makes it an essential stop.

Adult price: £75

Good for age: 13+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Tourists visiting the ancient ruins of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt

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Temple of Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut was one of the only women ever to rule Egypt and reigned during a golden period, and her impressive funerary temple is now one of the best-known monuments in Luxor.

Built on three terraces cut into the slopes of the Theban hills, it was mostly destroyed and reconstructed during the second half of the 20th century.

Some of the back walls and their decoration have survived and are of excellent quality.

Adult price: £7

Good for age: 13+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Entrance in the Tombs of the Nobles of El Asasif Necropolis, Luxor, Egypt with Corridor and Pylon

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Tombs of the Nobles

While the Tombs in the Valley of the Kings are decorated with the cryptic texts of the Book of the Dead, the Tombs of the Nobles reflect on the daily life led by their ancient inhabitants in the hope that it would continue in the afterlife.

This is a real find – the tombs here are superbly decorated and, in many ways, more evocative and insightful than those of the pharaohs. It’s thankfully unspoilt compared to the Valley of the Kings, as it rarely features on tour group itineraries.

Adult price: £3

Good for age: 13+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Frescos in the ancient necropolis Valley of Artisans in Luxor

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Valley of the Artisans

Deir el-Medina, also known as the Valley of the Artisans, was an ancient village inhabited by the skilled workers who constructed and decorated the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens. In their spare time they built and decorated their own tombs.

The site provides a fascinating glimpse into the everyday lives of ancient Egyptians outside the nobility. The well-preserved village layout, complete with homes, workshops, tombs and a temple, coupled with various personal items and ostraca (inscribed pottery fragments), offers insights into the artisan community’s lifestyle, religion, and work.

While less grand than the pharaohs’ temples and tombs, for those seeking a deeper understanding of the society behind the grand structures, Deir el-Medina is an enriching, must-visit site.

Adult price: £5

Good for age: 18+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

One of the best ways to experience the magic of the Nile – and to see a glimpse of the authentic Egypt away from the tourist trail – is to go sailing in a traditional felucca (sailing boat).

Sit back on cushions as the single sail guides you upriver alongside farmland and villages, past grazing water buffaloes and camels – landscapes unchanged for thousands of years. Boatmen will offer drinks and may sing with drums.

Adult price: £6

Good for age: 8+

  • Luxor, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Abydos was believed to be the burial place of the head of the god Osiris, and it was used as a necropolis for mortals from 4,000 BC- AD 600. One of Egypt’s finest temples was built here by Seti I in 1279 BC and dedicated to Osiris, Isis and their son Horus.

A little-visited temple, it retains an air of grandeur and mystery. The reliefs in the second hypostyle hall are some of the best of any surviving temple.

Adult price: £4

Good for age: 18+