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Things to do in Luxor

Itineraries for Your Trip to Luxor

Luxor locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Luxor for First Timers

Curated by Margot Biggwho’s spent plenty of time amid Luxor’s tombs and temples.

On my first visit to Luxor, I had no idea where to start. There was so much to see and do, from ancient temples and burial sites to fascinating museums—including what would become my own personal favorite, the Mummification Museum. My travel companions and I ended up seeing a lot, thanks to our excellent local guide, but we also went with the flow and didn’t visit everything we wanted to. Fortunately, that was not my only trip to Luxor. And, on my second visit, I had a much clearer idea of what to see—and what to show my first-timer friends.

Now that I've thoroughly explored the area, here’s how I suggest approaching a 3-day trip to Luxor for first-time visitors.

To shield from the hot sun, wear loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves for modesty.

If you only have time for one thing, make it a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor.

Day 1

Start your trip with a full-day tour of the archaeological sites on the east and west banks of the city. Must-visits include the Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon—all on the west bank—as well as the east bank's Luxor and Karnak temples.

In the evening, take a sunset sail on the Nile River aboard a traditional Egyptian sailboat known as a felucca.

Day 2

Wake up early on your second day for a hot air balloon ride over Luxor. Most launch right before sunrise so that you can get photos of key attractions illuminated by the early-morning light, and packages generally include transfers from your hotel to the launch area.

After your experience, head over to Luxor's Mummification Museum, where you'll learn about ancient embalming techniques and even see a mummified cat. In the evening, make your way to Karnak to see the Karnak Sound and Light Show.

Day 3

On your final day, take a day trip to Aswan, with stops along the way to visit the Temple of Horus at Edfu, Philae Temple, and Ptolemaic Kom Ombo Temple along the way. Many travelers opt to make the journey by boat, usually as part of a multi-day river cruise, but if you have only three days in Luxor, you’re better off taking a private day tour by car. This allows you to visit the temple complexes en route, Aswan High Dam, and the city of Aswan itself.

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