Luxor is a hotbed of Ancient Egyptian wonders. Once the great capital of Egypt, Luxor is divided by the Nile River into two sides: the east bank and the west bank. The east bank contains two of Egypt’s most impressive temples, while the west bank served as the necropolis of Ancient Thebes. No trip to Egypt would be complete without visiting the sites in Luxor. Here are the 10 best things to see in Luxor.
1. Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise
Hands down one of the best things you can do in Egypt is take a hot air balloon ride over Luxor. Balloons take off just before sunrise, allowing you to view ancient sites such as Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple, the Valley of the Kings, and Medinet Habu temple just as the sun rises over the Nile. Serenely float alongside dozens of other hot air balloons while getting an aerial view of what was once Ancient Egypt’s historic capital.
2. Nefertari’s Tomb at the Valley of the Queens
Receiving a fraction of the tourists as the nearby Valley of the Kings, The Valley of the Queens contains one of the gems of Egypt: Queen Nefertari’s tomb. The tomb is in pristine condition with much of the original color and detail. Entering the air sealed tomb takes you back in time to 3500 years ago. It is one of the Most Unforgettable Things to do in Egypt.
3. Karnak Temple
The second largest temple complex from the ancient world (behind only Angkor Wat), the Karnak Temple complex is one of the most impressive sites in all of Egypt. The towering hypostyle hall, giant obelisks, and its very own Sacred Lake make this temple a must see attraction while visiting Egypt.
4. Valley of the Kings
Carved into the desert mountains on the west bank of Luxor, the Valley of the Kings is home to 63 tombs of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs. One of the top attractions in all of Egypt, no visit to Egypt would be complete without entering the ancient tomb of an Egyptian king.
Walking down into ancient tombs from 3500 years ago, decorated with detailed hieroglyphs and colorful artwork, is one of the best things to do not only in Luxor, but all of Egypt.
Some of the stand out tombs include Seti I, Ramses V & VI, and King Tut’s famous tomb - which still has his mummy on display.
5. Luxor Temple
On the east bank with Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple is another one of the Top Things to see in Egypt. The temple has a giant obelisk in front of the temple walls and colossal statues of Ramses II lining the entrance. The Avenue of the Sphinx, the hypostyle hall of Amenhotep III, the Birth Chamber of Amenhotep III, and the courtyard of Ramses II are other highlights.
6. Queen Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple
One of the most aesthetically pleasing architectural wonders of Ancient Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple is one of the most iconic sites in Egypt. Nestled in the side of a mountain, you can wander through the temple and see the evidence of King Thutmose III trying to erase references of Queen Hatshepsut’s rule from history.
7. Medinet Habu Temple
On the west bank of the Nile river lies an often overlooked temple, Medinet Habu. Although parts of the temple have deteriorated over time, Medinet Habu has some of the most impressive preserved color in the hieroglyphs and artwork in its hypostyle halls. With much less crowds than some of the bigger temples, a visit to Medinet Habu is a great change of pace and offers stunning visuals.
8. Dier el Medina
This archeological site is the village that housed all the workers who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. For a different change of pace, get an up close look at what life looked like in Ancient Egypt for the common people, seeing their living spaces and tombs.
9. Colossi of Memnon
Located just off the main road through town are the two massive stone statues of Amenhotep III that stand in front of what was once a massive mortuary temple for the pharaoh. Much of the site is still under excavation, but a quick stop to admire the giant structures should be included in a visit to Luxor’s west bank.
Another temple in ruins, the Ramesseum was believed to be one of the most impressive mortuary temples back in ancient times. Time has gotten the best of this site that was dedicated to the pharaoh Ramses II.
Luxor offers a wealth of cultural and historical experiences for travelers. From visiting the iconic Karnak Temple to sailing down the Nile River, there is something for everyone to enjoy. With its fascinating history and breathtaking monuments, Luxor is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the land of the Pharaohs.
For more information on some of these sites, check out Visiting the Valley of the Kings and Visiting Queen Nefertari’s Tomb at Valley of the Queens.