Out of all the places in Egypt, Luxor contains the highest concentration of quality historic sites. It is impossible to see everything in Luxor in one visit so deciding what to see can be quite overwhelming. To make matters more difficult, the sites are spread out between two different sides of the Nile and several valleys. Planning our trip to Luxor was a time consuming experience and we hope to make your trip to the area a little easier to figure out. In this post we will provide you with the perfect two, three, and four day itineraries so that you can make the most of your time while in Luxor.
Two Day Itinerary
With two days you will be extremely busy and have to crunch a lot of sites into each day. This could easily lead to monument fatigue but I have spread out the sites in a way that should minimize this.
Day You Arrive
Visit Luxor Temple in the afternoon and enjoy the sun setting over the Nile and the West Bank.
Get up early and take the ferry across the Nile to the West Bank. Arrange for a taxi to drop you off at Hetshapsut Temple but be sure to buy your tickets for the tombs of Nobles along the way. After you finish exploring the Temple, take a short walk in the desert to the Tombs of Nobles. After getting a closer look at daily life in Ancient Egypt, walk or take a van back to the Tombs of Nobles ticket office and strike a deal with a driver to drop you off at the Valley of Queens. Be sure to pony up and pay for the entrance ticket to the Tomb of Nerfertari, the most beautiful tomb in Egypt. By now the sun should have burnt you out so take a walk back to the Nobles ticket booth and take a public van back to the ferry. After lunch and a short rest, head over to the Luxor Museum to inspect the many treasures of ancient Thebes.
Get up early and head to Karnak Temple. After lunch go to the Mummy Museum before taking the ferry over to the West Bank where you get to explore the most epic graveyard in the world, The Valley of Kings. To get there, have a taxi drop you off at the gate. On your way back, you can get a free ride down to the main road if you linger till closing time. From here you can catch a public van that will take you to the ferry. If you still have energy and time, you can visit a few of the temples that are spread out along the West Bank before or after the Valley of Kings.
Three Day Itinerary
Three days gives you a lot more options. You can follow the two day plan and add a day trip to Dendera, take the main sites at a slower pace, or hit up more of the temples that are scattered on the West Bank. If you haven’t been to Dendera, I highly recommend going to see it. Dendera is easily accessible by train from Luxor and is the most beautiful temple you will see in Egypt. You can check out our post on Dendera here to learn more.
Four Day Itinerary
Four Days will allow you to spread out the main sites, making for a much more relaxed pace. If Luxor is the only place you are visiting while in Egypt, you can fill in the schedule more with some of the smaller temples and sites on the West Bank.
Introduce yourself into the glories of Ancient Thebes by inspecting the treasures and monuments that are on display in the Luxor Museum. After lunch, head over to Karnak Temple, or wait until the late afternoon to catch the sun creating a glow around sunset. This is when the temple is least crowded.
Get up early and take the ferry across the Nile to the West Bank. Arrange for a taxi to drop you off at Hetshapsut Temple but be sure to buy your tickets for the tombs of Nobles along the way. After you finish exploring the Temple, take a short walk in the desert to the Tombs of Nobles. After getting a closer look at daily life in Ancient Egypt, walk or take a van back to the Tombs of Nobles ticket office and strike a deal with a driver to drop you off at the Valley of Queens. Be sure to pony up and pay for the entrance ticket to the Tomb of Nerfertari, the most beautiful tomb in Egypt. By now the sun should have burnt you out so take a walk back to the Nobles ticket booth and take a public van back to the ferry. Take the afternoon off to rest up for the next day.
Day trip to Dendera, the most beautiful temple you will find while in Egypt. See our post on Dendera to find out how to get there and what there is to see.
Visit Luxor Temple in the morning when it is least crowded. Go have lunch and a quick rest before heading to The Mummy Museum. Then head across the river to the The Valley of Kings in the late afternoon (see two day itinerary for transport details).
Public buses (vans) should cost 2 EGP while a one way taxi to any of the sites on the West Bank should cost no more than 30 EGP. Public transport on the West Bank only follows the main road so it makes the most sense to take a taxi to the site you are visiting, take a little walk to the main road after, and then take public transport back to the ferry. Public transport also runs past both Luxor and Karnak Temples.
Details on Attractions
Want to know what there is to see and how to visit each attraction of Luxor? Check out our posts on the West and East Bank where we explain everything in detail.
Cost of Attractions
Here is a list of prices for the main attractions in Luxor as of 2018
Luxor Temple: 100EGP
Karnak Temple: 120EGP
Mumification Museum: 80EGP
Luxor Museum: 120EGP
West Bank Temples
Habu Temple: 60EGP
Ramesseum Temple: 60EGP
Temple of Seti I: 60EGP
Hatshepsut Temple: 80EGP
Tombs of Nobles
Sheikh Abd el-Qurna area:
Nakht + Menna + Amenemopet: 60EGP
Rekhmire + Sennefer: 40EGP
Ramose + Userhat + Khaemhat: 80EGP
Khonsu + Userhat + Benia: 80EGP
Neferrenpet + Nefersekheru + Djehutymes: 40EGP
Dra Abu el-Naga:
Roy + Shuroy + Amenemope: 40EGP
Dair el-Medina area:
Sennedjem + Inherkau & temple: 80EGP
Qurnet Murrai area:
Imnhotep/Hwy + Imnement + Amunemheb: 40EGP
Kheruef + Ankh_Hor + Mentuemhat: 60EGP
Photography Ticket: 300 EGP
Valley of the Kings
General entry ticket (3 tombs): 160EGP
Rameses 5th & Rameses 6th: 90EGP
Seti 1st: 1000EGP
Photography Ticket: 300EGP
Valley of the Queens
General entry ticket: 80EGP
Queen Nefertari: 1000EGP
Photography Ticket: 300EGP
Where to Stay and Eat
Luxor was our least favorite town in Egypt. People tend to be less friendly and many people here tend to take advantage of tourists. Even restaurants will often overcharge where prices are not listed so be sure to confirm before ordering. Food options are pretty dismal in Luxor, so don’t expect to have many good meals here. Think of Luxor as your base and nothing more. The sites will be more than enough to distract you from the rough and tumble of modern day Luxor.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to accommodation in Luxor as the modern town is literally built for tourism. A lot of the options can be overpriced and knowing we were going to spend quite a lot money visiting the sites along the east and west bank we decided to go cheap. After a tiring search we came across and decided to stay at Oasis Hotel. Here a private room with a shared bathroom cost us $6.50 a night. The rooms and bathrooms are very basic and cleanliness is borderline acceptable. We ended up using our sleeping bag liners as a precaution and encountered no problems. The room also had AC which is a huge plus given the blistering heat that hits Luxor for most of the year. We would only recommend this place for those really looking to limit their budget. For us, it was comfortable enough for a week long stay. The managers speak English and can help you out if you need it.
If this doesn’t sound right for you, a quick search on hostelworld or booking will provide you with endless results. One highly rated (but overpriced in our opinion) budget option is Bob Marley Hostel.
As for food, the best option in town when it comes to quality is Sofra. The only problem here is that prices are high and portions small. It’s hard to fill up here as a backpacker but if you get tired of the endless roasted chicken and Koshari joints, this is the place to escape to.
Our favorite cheapy in town was El Zaeem. Prices are good, portions are large, and they have a wide selection of traditional Egyptian meals. If you are in a hurry, you can always just grab a falafel or Shawarma to go from downstairs.
Luxor: You Will Never Want to Leave
With so many tombs and temples to explore, it is really hard to say you’ve seen it all in Luxor. It would take several trips to accomplish the feat and Claire and I hope to visit the area again in the future. No matter what you do, you will enjoy your time in Luxor as long as you do a little planning before you go.