Egypt

7 Best things to do in Luxor Egypt – The Ultimate Guide

Luxor Egypt Karnak Temple

If you want to see the most incredible ancient monuments and temples, you can’t miss Luxor Egypt. The city is like a huge open-air museum. Luxor is divided into two parts by the Nile River. East Bank is the city’s bustling center, and West Bank is the quieter and greener part. 

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How to get to Luxor Egypt

Luxor has an international airport, so you can either fly in directly or, if you visit Cairo first, as we did in our 14 Days best of Egypt Itinerary, you can book a domestic flight from Cairo to Luxor. 

A cheaper option would be taking the train from Cairo to Luxor for only 10 USD. But the overnight ride takes 10 hours. Another option would be traveling from one city to the next on a River Nile cruise.

7 Best things to do in Luxor Egypt

Luxor had the most places we wanted to see of all cities we visited on our Egypt Itinerary. So we’d recommend staying for three nights, so you have enough time to enjoy all the best things to do in Luxor.

Luxor Temple, East Bank

The first ancient Egyptian temple we visited in Luxor was Luxor Temple. It is located on the East Bank of the city and opens at 7 am, and it’s worth going early to beat the crowds and the heat. Another great option is going before sunset when it’s less hot. The temple makes you feel like you stepped back in time. It is connected to Karnak temple with the Avenue of Sphinxes, 

Luxor Temple

Felucca Boat Ride on the Nile River 

A felucca is a traditional wooden sailboat, and you can book a sunset tour on the Nile River. You can find feluccas everywhere at the riverside, so there is no need to pre-arrange. This is a great way to end a magical day in Luxor.

Karnak Temple, East Bank

One of our highlights in Egypt was visiting Karnak Temple at Sunrise. It opens at 6 am, and it was worth going so early. We had the place all to ourselves for the first hour, and the light was magical. Karnak Temple is the world’s second-largest religious complex and is truly impressive. Especially the part of the Great Hypostyle Hall, an area with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows.

Rooftop Dinner & Sunset over the Nile River

Our favorite sunset in Luxor was from the Rooftop Restaurant at our hotel, which is called Al Sahaby Lane. We recommend coming here for sunset drinks and dinner and enjoying the view of Luxor Temple and the Nile River in the stunning colors of the sunset.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, West Bank

This incredible temple of Queen Hatshepsut is a must-see in Luxor. It’s built into the cliffs and has three massive terraces rising above the desert floor. The monument tells the story of one of the first female pharaohs. It opens at 6 am, and we enjoyed going early without crowds and the magical sunrise light.
Hatshepsut Temple Luxor West Bank

Sunrise Balloon Ride

We did not do this ourselves but saw the Balloons rising into the sky every morning at sunrise. We’d do that if we had more time, as a balloon ride is on our bucket list. Hot Air Balloon companies will arrange transport from your hotel when you book. It must be magical to see the ancient wonders from above. You can book your hot Air Balloon tour here.

Valley of the Kings, West Bank

One of our favorite things to do in Luxor is the Valley of the Kings. It’s an area with over 60 underground tombs of different pharaohs. To each grave leads a corridor with the most incredible paintings. It’s like stepping into another world. 

Just a few of the tombs are open to the public, and it changes daily which one you can visit. When you arrive, you will see a list of open tombs. In your general ticket, you get to choose three tombs. Some tombs need an extra ticket; believe us, it’s worth it. We highly recommend taking the ticket for Ramses 5 & 6. You won’t regret it. It’s the most impressive and colorful place we have seen in Egypt. Make sure you come early as the tombs can get very crowded and hot. Thankfully many tours don’t do the additional ticket, so one more reason to get it.

A woman is walking down a hallway in Luxor, Egypt.

How to get around Luxor

The easiest way to get around Luxor Egypt, independently is with a rental car. An international driving Licence is recommended. We rented our car via Discover Cars and had our pick up and drop off at Luxor Airport. Another option is getting around Luxor by taxi.

Best places to eat in Luxor

We love oriental food and found some fantastic places to eat in Luxor; here are our favorites:

Al Sahaby Lane Restaurant, East Bank

This rooftop Restaurant is above the hotel we stayed at on the East Bank of Luxor. The view of the Nile River at sunset is stunning, and the local food is delicious. Lots of vegetarian/vegan options.

Sofra Restaurant, East Bank

Egyptian Restaurant with a beautiful ambiance and lovely staff serving a variety of vegetarian/vegan options.

Wannas Art Cafe, West Bank

A warm, welcoming & colorful vegetarian Restaurant serving a large variety of traditional Egyptian food.  

Marsam Hotel, West Bank

Lovely garden restaurant in a beautiful hotel close to the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut temple. They don’t have a menu but cook delicious local food with local ingredients daily. The staff was lovely and prepared a delicious vegan meal for us.

Habu Hotel Ecolodge, West Bank

Right across the street from Habu Temple is a cute hotel with a rooftop restaurant offering fantastic views of the temple. 

Where to stay in Luxor Egypt

As the drive from one side to the other takes around an hour, we decided to first stay on the East Bank and then on the West Bank to be close to the temples we wanted to explore.

On East Bank, we stayed at Nefertiti Hotel, located next to Luxor Temple, which has a fantastic rooftop restaurant with a stunning sunset view over the Nile.
 
On West Bank, we stayed at a beautiful New Villa surrounded by greenery, which was so peaceful and relaxing. The host was the loveliest and made our stay perfect. Very close to exploring the temples. Also, the above-mentioned Habu Hotel and Marsam Hotel are beautiful places to stay.
West Bank Luxor

Travel Tip

Internet Access in Egypt

For the internet, we recommend getting a local SIM card. It will make your life easier as hotels often have terrible wifi in Egypt. Especially when you travel independently, it’s beneficial to always have good connection.

The most convenient option for travelers is the eSim Card (digital SIM card) from Airalo. You can download and install a digital data pack and get connected anywhere in the world as soon as you land, so there is no need to waste time looking for a local plastic SIM card. 

Conclusion

Luxor has a lot to offer, and it’s where we felt like we could genuinely dive into the history of ancient Egypt. The city is much smaller than Cairo, and the West Bank is pretty relaxed and green, which we greatly enjoyed. We found some cute places to eat there and lots of fun, colorful houses. We preferred that part over the East Bank, except for the incredible Karnak temple, which is a must-see.

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