Things to do in Luxor

Things to do in  Luxor

Valley of the kings

Once ancient Upper Egypt’s capital of Thebes, Luxor’s archaeological heavyweights put it right behind Cairo for visitors keen to peel back the millennia. Hemming the Nile 400 miles (644 kilometers) south of Egypt’s capital, its commercialized trappings don’t detract from the emotional force of its antiquities. Highlights are the hieroglyphic-painted tombs of the Valley of the Kings, the 1,300-year-old Karnak, and Luxor Temple. Other things to do include riding horse-drawn carriages by the river and strolling the Avenue of Sphinxes, the now-restored sphinx-lined road linking Karnak and Luxor Temple.

Top 15 attractions in Luxor

Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings is a trove of archaeological wonders, containing dozens of tombs filled with art and hieroglyphics. See King Tutankhamun's tomb—the most famous sight in the valley—then tour the temples of the sons of Ramses II and of Amenhotep III and others to marvel at art and artifacts dating between the 18th and 20th dynasties.More

Nile River

Measuring a mighty 4,150 miles (6,680 kilometers) from end to end, the Nile is the longest river in the world. It's also the lifeblood of Egypt, flowing through the heart of the Sahara desert and passing through cities, including Khartoum, Aswan, Luxor, and Cairo, before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria.More

Karnak Temple

Ancient architecture goes monumental at this landmark in Luxor, which houses magnificent statues, columns, and the largest place of worship ever constructed—just a stone’s throw from downtown traffic. Construction of Karnak Temple spanned more than 1,000 years, and it shows in the diverse art and architecture of this Egyptian site.More

Luxor Temple

An ancient sanctuary surrounded by honking taxis, touts, and strolling families, Luxor Temple’s grandeur has endured more than 3,000 years on the East Bank of the Nile. Linked to Karnak Temple via the Avenue of Sphinxes, Luxor Temple boasts soaring colonnades, elaborate columns, statues, and images of Amenhotep III and Ramses II.More

Colossi of Memnon

Two giant statues of the New Kingdom pharaoh Amenhotep III, the Colossi of Memnon, tower 59 feet (18 meters high, making the perfect introduction to the grandeurs of Luxor’s West Bank. Each weighs around 1,100 tons (1,000 tonnes and they once guarded the entrance to a funerary temple archaeologists are still excavating today.More

Temple of Hatshepsut (at Deir el-Bahari)

Fiery limestone cliffs are a dramatic backdrop for the Temple of Hatshepsut, a monument to the female pharaoh who was once king of ancient Egypt. The temple’s smooth colonnade has been reconstructed, and the facade alternates between glowing columns with deep shadows. Venture inside to find relief carvings, hieroglyphics, and sanctuaries.More

Temple of Horus (at Edfu)

Vast and beautifully preserved, complete with its original roof, the Temple of Horus (Edfu Temple still dominates the little Nile-side town of Edfu. Completed by Cleopatra’s father in the first century BC, it’s dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus and is one of Egypt’s largest ancient temples.More

Safaga Cruise Port

Safaga Cruise Port sits in the small town of Safaga, on the shores of the Red Sea. With few attractions to recommend either the port or the town, Safaga Cruise Port is primarily known as a jumping-off point for getting to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luxor, situated some 157 miles (253 kilometers) away.More

Tomb of Tutankhamun

Vivid wall paintings keep watch over the Tomb of Tutankhamun, where King Tutankhamun’s linen-wrapped mummy is preserved in a glass case. While most of Tut’s treasures are on display at the National Museum in Cairo, visit the tomb to see where the young king’s body lay for thousands of years.More

Luxor Museum

From royal mummies to King Tut’s sandals, the Luxor Museum’s magnificent collection contains some of Thebes’ most impressive treasures. This is where to find many artifacts excavated from the Valley of the Kings and other Luxor sites, but the exhibits extend from the ancient world all the way to the Islamic Mamluk period.More

Valley of the Queens

Despite the name, the rugged Valley of the Queens doesn’t just house the tombs of ancient pharaohs’ wives: Their children and some high officials are buried here too. Four of the 70-odd graves are open: the tombs of Nefertari, Titi, Khaemwaset, and Amenherkhepshef. There is an extra charge to visit Nefertari’s tomb.More

Mummification Museum

For well over 2,000 years, ancient Egyptians mummified their dead, removing organs and drying and wrapping the body in a gory process that spawned hundreds of horror films. Luxor’s intimate Mummification Museum explores this process and the beliefs around it, displaying tools, animal mummies, and the remains of a 3,000-year-old priest.More

Tomb of Ramses VI

One of the largest and most beautifully decorated monuments in the Valley of the Kings, the Tomb of Ramses VI (also known as Ramesses VI or Rameses VI) is far more elaborate than Tutankhamun’s sparsely decorated neighboring tomb. Ramses VI took it over from the pharaoh who originally designed it, his nephew and predecessor, Ramses V.More


An ancient sacred city, even older than the Giza Pyramids, Abydos was already a burial ground over 6,000 years ago. While many tombs at the site are still being excavated, highlights of it include the ruined Temple of Ramses II, the Temple of Seti I with its gorgeously decorated chapels, and the Osireion, dedicated to the god Osiris.More

Medinet Habu (Temple of Ramses III)

On Luxor’s West Bank, Ramses III built his magnificent mortuary temple with intricate relief carvings and shrines. With its wonderfully preserved art, Medinet Habu represents the pharaoh's royal legacy and is among Luxor’s most important ancient sites. Images of hunting trips, prisoner executions, and battles with the Sea Peoples offer a window into ancient history.More

Top activities in Luxor

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All about Luxor

When to visit

The months of November through March are the most comfortable in Luxor, with warm, pleasant weather perfect for sightseeing. The downside of this season is that the city and its famous sites are fairly crowded. Winter also brings Luxor’s most popular annual events, including January’s Egyptian Marathon and March’s African Film Festival. The periods of April to May and September to October offer a trade-off between heat and crowds; if you can endure soaring temperatures, you’ll get more elbow room at the temples.

Getting around

Most visitors book tours to Luxor’s main sights, so transportation is only an issue if you’re exploring independently before or after these tours. You can stroll around downtown Luxor in the cool of the morning or at dusk, and hotel buses and local cabs always available when it’s too hot to walk. Cabs are cheap and ever-present, but make sure you negotiate a price before your trip. If you’re sightseeing by yourself, try the ferries to the West Bank that depart from the docks near Luxor Temple.

Traveler tips

While in Luxor, make sure to skip the hotel restaurants and fast-food joints at least once. The city has a number of mid-range eateries that offer visitors authentic Egyptian cuisine. To enjoy classic food in an old-world setting, try Sofra on Mohamed Farid Street, just a 10-minute walk from Luxor Temple. Settle into the lantern-lit interior or sit on the shaded terrace, and savor dishes like baba ganoush and stuffed pigeon, both of which are served with bowls of flatbread and chopped salad.


People Also Ask

What is special about Luxor, Egypt?

Luxor is special for two reasons. First, today’s city occupies the site of ancient Thebes, the long-ago capital of pharaonic Upper Egypt, giving it archaeological significance. This heritage also means the city has the highest concentration of ancient monuments of anywhere in Egypt, making it a popular tourist attraction.

What is Luxor, Egypt known for?

Luxor is famous for Karnak, a huge complex started after 2100 BC, and the Valley of the Kings, a network of pharaoh’s tombs—including Tutankhamun’s—in mountains on the Nile’s West Bank, facing the city. Other claims to fame include Hatshepsut Temple, another West Bank site, and Luxor Temple in the city center.

What is unique in Luxor?

The city stands out for its sheer number of antiquities. However, for uniqueness, the necropolis at Valley of the Kings on the Nile’s West Bank wins. Home to numerous rock-cut royal tombs, the hieroglyph-painted burial compounds include Ramses X, Hatshepsut, and Tutankhamun, whose treasures were famously discovered in 1922.

What is the big attraction near Luxor?

Karnak, sited just outside Luxor, is the city’s biggest attraction. A vast ensemble of temples, pylons, and halls covering 2,000 acres (80 hectares), it’s a tourist must-see for its grandiose scale. Don’t miss Hypostyle Hall, where 134 soaring stone columns—122 still standing—supported the roof.

Is Luxor, Egypt worth visiting?

Yes, it’s worth visiting, especially for history enthusiasts. Luxor sits where the ancient capital of Thebes stood and boasts well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage protection. Age-old ruins proliferate, from the tomb-filled Valley of the Kings to Karnak and sights including Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut Temple, and the Colossi of Memnon statues.

How do I spend a day in Luxor?

Begin with a sunrise hot-air balloon ride, floating above Luxor’s West and East Bank sights. Next, spend the morning exploring pharaohs’ tombs at the Valley of the Kings, along with Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon statues. Use the afternoon for experiencing Karnak and Luxor Temple.

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