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.

Luxor key facts

Time difference

GMT +2 hours

Currency

Egyptian pound

Flying time to destination

5¼ hours

Language

Arabic

Getting around

Felucca
Sail up the Nile in a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailboat. After watching the sun set, float along through bustling river traffic past the lit-up banks. You can hire a felucca along the main corniche – make sure you haggle for the best price.

Caleche
Take a wonderful trip through Luxor in a caleche – a horse-drawn carriage. You can hail one down along the main corniche.

Bicycle
Luxor is bursting with bicycle rent shops.

Donkeys, camels and horses
Explore Luxor’s villages on the back of one of these sturdy animals, traditional modes of transport in Egypt.

Getting there

Felucca
Sail up the Nile in a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailboat. After watching the sun set, float along through bustling river traffic past the lit-up banks. You can hire a felucca along the main corniche – make sure you haggle for the best price.

Caleche
Take a wonderful trip through Luxor in a caleche – a horse-drawn carriage. You can hail one down along the main corniche.

Bicycle
Luxor is bursting with bicycle rent shops.

Donkeys, camels and horses
Explore Luxor’s villages on the back of one of these sturdy animals, traditional modes of transport in Egypt.

Luxor good to know

Etiquette

Religion
Islam

Dialling code
+20 65

Travel tips
• When visiting the West Bank, wear a strong pair of shoes and a sun hat, and take plenty of water.
• In the summer, excursions leave very early in the morning to avoid high midday temperatures.
• Take a small torch, as the tombs are very dark and you may want to look more closely at the hieroglyphics.
• Kuoni offers a pre-bookable excursion package which is well worth taking – especially if it’s your first time to Luxor.

Tipping

Tipping or ‘baksheesh’ is a way of life in Egypt. It’s customary to tip about LE£1 for every little service, so keep a pocketful of small change!

What to wear

• Egypt is predominately a Muslim country, so make sure you’re properly dressed when out and about. Revealing outfits are a no-no, especially for women.

• Pack lightweight cotton clothes in the summer and a jumper or jacket for cooler winter evenings.

Religion

Islam

Sports

• All our Luxor hotels have swimming pools and some have other facilities like tennis and squash courts.
• Keen golfers can tee off on the nearby 18-hole Royal Valley Golf Course.

Shopping in Luxor

Luxor’s back streets are home to colourful bazaars, where you can haggle over local goods including clay pots and alabaster.

Food & drink

Food
At hotels you’ll find a variety of restaurants serving a mixture of Middle Eastern and local specialities, normally buffet-style. There are also a few great local eateries, such as the Luxor Sheraton’s Italian restaurant.

Water
Stick to bottled water, and remember that it’s easy to get dehydrated here in the summer.