A city enriched with ancient tombs and temples, Luxor is the ideal destination for discovering Egypt’s enchanting history.
Luxor is often dubbed ‘the world’s greatest open air museum’. Its greatest exhibits are the magnificent ruins of the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes and on the opposite banks of the Nile lie mysterious monuments, beautiful temples and the fascinating tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
Best time to visit Luxor
From February to April and October to November
Luxor holiday highlights
Vibrant and energetic, Luxor’s bustling population encompasses the East and West Banks of the majestic River Nile. Known famously as the home of the Great Valley of the Kings and Queens, this colourful city is an ideal way to explore the wonderful decaying tombs of Egypt’s deceased pharaohs.
Situated upon the West Bank of the River Nile, the Valley of the Kings is set amongst a barren expanse covering one of the greatest burial grounds the ancient world has ever encountered. Where pharaohs of the Old Kingdom chose to rest in the city of Cairo amongst the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom had a different plan in mind: to be closer to the south which was seen as the gateway to the Gods. This great mausoleum became the final resting place for great royals such as Tutankhamen, Seti I and Ramses II, along with their families and subjects over the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties.
On the East Bank of the Nile lie the temples of Kanak and Luxor. Walk amongst a variety of chapels and pylons in Karnak and contemplate in what was once the main place of worship for the God Amun. A monumental icon in the heart of Luxor’s ancient city of Thebes, the temple of Karnak also gave its name to its surrounding area. The Temple of Luxor was built in 1400 BCE by Amenhotep III, a great supporter of the arts and Ramses II, known as ‘the great builder’, famous for raising whole cities, as well as The Great Temple of Abu Simbel, southwest of the scenic city of Aswan. A temple also dedicated to Amun, king of the Gods, the temple of Luxor stands today as a Muslim mosque.
A stone’s throw away from Luxor Temple is the Sharia al-Corniche, where you can take the time to observe the wonders of the Nile from beyond and below. Watch the world pass you by as you sit on a bench beneath the bougainvillea shaded promenade, and wave as the cruise ships and pleasure boats sail by. From here, take the chance to take a caleche (horse and carriage ride) to see the temples, museums and many other iconic sights in Luxor.
Further along the Corniche resides the Luxor Museum, housing a smaller collection of relics and antiquities than those found in Cairo. Amongst the array of ancient discoveries lays such intriguing artefacts as grave goods from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the mummies of Ahmose I and Ramses II, and a fascinating reconstruction of one of the walls in the Temple of Karnak.
Karnak Open-Air Museum
This wonderful museum houses a collection of statues that have been found in the famous complex.
This museum has a small but well-chosen collection of relics from the Theban temples and necropolis. A new section recently opened featuring 16 new exhibits discovered in Luxor Temple, and other displays include pottery and jewellery.