The Valley of the Kings is one of the most iconic destinations for anyone interested in ancient Egyptian history and culture, as it houses the tombs of at least 63 ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and nobles. The Valley is on the west bank of the Nile river in Luxor and is one of Egypt’s most popular sites to visit.
Here you can walk down the passageways of ancient Pharaoh tombs and into the burial chambers where they were laid to rest. Get a glimpse into the luxurious afterlife these powerful figures sought to achieve. It is also home to King Tut’s tomb, where Howard Carter made the famous discovery of his intact tomb with all his burial treasures in 1922.
Visiting the Valley of the Kings is a must if you are visiting Egypt, as there is no other place like it on the planet.
Getting to the Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is located in Luxor, Egypt, about a one hour flight south of the capital city of Cairo. It sits in a valley on the west bank of Luxor near other attractions including Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple, the Colossi of Memnon, and the Valley of the Queens.
The two most common ways to get to Luxor are to fly directly from Cairo, or to arrive there as part of a Nile Cruise. Accommodations are on the east bank of Luxor, so you will have to take a short five minute boat ride across the river and then about a ten minute drive to the site.
When I visited Egypt, I arrived in Luxor at the tail end of a Nile Cruise from Aswan which is something I highly recommend doing. As most places in Egypt, I strongly suggest visiting the sites with a guide to make sure you are getting to where you need to be safely and learning more about the ancient sites to get the most of your experience.
Entrance & Fees
The entrance fee for the Valley of the Kings is 240 EGP (~$10 USD) as of December 2022. Your entrance ticket includes 3 tomb visits for free. You can choose from a list of these open tombs to visit. Tombs are on rotation so the same ones may not always be open to see.
There are three more tombs you can visit for an extra fee: Seti I, Ramses V & VI, and Tutankahmun. The ticket for Seti I’s tomb is 1,000 EGP ($41 USD). The tomb of Ramses V & VI is 100 EGP ($4 USD). And Tutankahmun’s tomb is 300 EGP ($12 USD).
You buy your tickets at the visitor center and then take a tram into the valley. If you want to add more tombs to your ticket, you will need to ride the tram back to the visitor center to do so. There is a cafe & souvenir shop located in the valley.
The Best Tombs to Visit
The three tombs that charge an extra fee are the best tombs you can visit in the Valley of the Kings.
Ramses V & VI (KV 9)
Talk about bang for your back, for only an extra $4 USD you can see one of the most colorful and decorated tombs in Egypt. The long, wide passageway has incredible murals lined with colorful hieroglyphs, and the tomb chamber is a spectacle in itself. This was my favorite tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and second favorite in all of Egypt only behind Queen Nefertari’s Tomb in the Valley of the Queens.
Tutankhamun “King Tut” (KV 62)
One of the most famous archeological discoveries of all time took place in this tomb, which is worth visiting alone. The passageway is small and largely undecorated, but the tomb chamber has a giant stone sarcophagus with colorful artwork around it. The highlight and main reason for a visit to this tomb is to see King Tut’s mummy on display, which is an unforgettable experience.
Seti I (KV 17)
This is the only one of the three tombs I didn’t visit, but from what I’ve seen and read online it is supposed to be a very beautiful and well preserved tomb. This one is also the priciest, coming in at over $40 USD, so if you are tight on money or time I would recommend visiting Ramses V & VI and King Tut’s tombs instead. But if you have the money and time to see them all, Seti I looks beautiful.
Merenptah (KV 8)
Merenptah was one of my favorite tombs I saw while visiting the Valley of the Kings. He was the son of Ramses II and Queen Isis-Nofret. Starting at the entrance you are met with some very impressive artwork of the falcon God Horus. As you make your way down into the tomb, the large burial chamber has a giant stone sarcophagus and stone tomb. Our guide recommended this one for people that were in better shape as it is a pretty steep decline and incline to get in and out, but in my opinion was the most interesting of the free tombs I visited.
Ramses I (KV 16)
Ramses I only ruled for two years, but nonetheless all the Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs get their own lavish tomb. His tomb has two staircases leading to a burial chamber that still houses his sarcophagus.
Ramses IX (KV 6)
The tomb of Ramses IX was one of the first tombs discovered in the Valley of the Kings - it has been receiving visitors since ancient times. It also has one of the largest entrances of all the tombs. Rameses IX was a very successful king but archeologists believe his tomb was finished in a rush after his death.
Other tombs you can visit include:
Ramses VII (KV 1)
Ramses IV (KV 2)
Ramses III (KV 11)
Tausert-Setnakht (KV 14)
Seti II (KV 15)
Siptah (KV 47)