Luxor – three days of Egyptian history

Please note: all our trip reports are independently written and based on our own experiences. All links and recommendations are not sponsored, unless explicitly labelled as such.

This trip took place in November 2018.


We have some destinations that are on our list for some time already. Due to its massive count of impressive historic sites and the hospitality of its population, Egypt is one of them. We didn’t have too much time, but wanted to have a glimpse into the country, to see if a longer, future trip would be worth it. And it definitely would, so here’s what we experienced and liked about Luxor:

Originally we wanted to fly to Luxor directly, but unfortunately at the moment there are not many flights going here, so the prices were really high. Actually as high as a flight to Hurghada plus a short stay at a hotel there. We won’t be losing much time talking about our stay in Hurghada, as there’s not much to see here and we only used the stay for some relaxation. We stayed at the Stella di Mare Beach Resort & Spa Makadi Bay (Tripadvisor), which was quite comfortable. We booked a transfer to Luxor from here, which is a 4.5 hour ride, through the desert at first (fast) and along the Nile River afterwards (slow). The section along the Nile River actually costs a lot of time, due to the traffic and road conditions.

After arrival at the Mercure Luxor Karnak (Tripadvisor), where we had a really good stay for the two nights in town, we walked over to the Karnak Temple. Even if it was November, the temperatures were high, so you should prepare to drink enough. But no worries, as opposed to many other countries, the prices for drinks are not high, even right next to the entry of the world famous sights and museums in town. The entry fee for Karnak Temple isn’t expensive either, it was only 150 EGP per person.

About Karnak Temple: it is just impressive! We enjoyed walking through the ancient ruins that have been restored with a lot of work and are still in the restoration process today, as some parts, such as the ancient street connecting Karnak and Luxor Temple are still not completed. Walking through the temple does not only make you feel small with all those tall pillars, statues and detailed inscriptions, it also lets you think about the work that constructing such a structure in ancient days must’ve been. But see yourself:

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What shocked us: that even in places like this, some people are so stupid, they’re destroying such a beautiful piece of history with their senseless scratch writing in hidden parts of the temple, where keepers are not always present. I never understood that behavior, but in places like those it lets us doubt the intelligence of some humans.

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And please mind, the keepers at all the sites here, are sometimes trying to hustle for some tip. If they’re pretending to show you something very special, they’re usually just bringing you a few meters away, where you would’ve been passing by a little later anyways and they’ll be expecting a small tip than. If you don’t want that, a friendly “No, thank you” has done its job for us. They’re never getting unfriendly.

After day one in town already impressed us, day two did the same:

We took a taxi to the Valley of the Kings, another one of the many historical sights of the city. As it is located on the other side of the Nile, seen from Karnak, the taxi ride takes about 30-40 minutes from the city center. You will pass other sights like the Colossi of Memnon, the Tombs of Nobles and the Ramesseum, so making some stops along the route can also be interesting.

Upon arrival at the Valley of the Kings, you have to choose how many tombs you want to visit, as there are different tickets for a different number of tombs. Additionally you have to buy a ticket when you’d like to take pictures (300 EGP) and a 8 EGP ticket for the mini train up to the entry. We chose the standard three tomb entry which costs 200 EGP per person.

The entry fee definitely is worth it, as those tombs are something really impressive! The corridors down to the tomb chamber are decorated in such detail, it must’ve taken so much work to create all this, just to show the wealth and history of the person buried in this place. We spend some time in the three tombs we visited, and loved this place. Unfortunately the larger tombs require another ticket than ours and some were closed as well, but nonetheless we were so happy we had a chance to visit a place like this. We stayed here for about an hour and during our stay there were more and more tourist busses coming in, so it was getting a little crowded. The rule like everywhere else is to be here as early as possible to avoid the rush hours.

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Afterwards our taxi driver took us back to to Karnak, where we visited the Luxor Temple, which was perfectly located on our route back to the hotel. The entry fee again is inexpensive with 140 EGP and it is another sight that is so worth a visit! Upon entering, you already see a structure that has not completely been excavated and refurbished: the street connecting Luxor and Karnak Temple, seamed by hundreds of Sphinx statues. The beginning at Luxor Temple can already be seen from the gate, but especially the middle part is not finished yet, as our taxi driver showed us later the next day.

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The Temple is a little smaller than Karnak Temple, but not less impressive. A special feature of this temple is the integrated mosque Abu el-Haggag. It has been integrated into the structure during the excavation process. One of the obelisks from Luxor Temple is today located at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

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After some relaxation back at the hotels garden at the Nile River, we had an awesome dinner at the Sofra Restaurant in the city center (Tripadvisor). If you look for a restaurant serving high quality local food in a pleasant atmosphere, you are perfectly right at this place. During high season, reserving a table might not be a bad idea.

The next day was the day of our departure. Originally we wanted to visit the Luxor Museum before leaving the city, but we arrived here shortly before their lunch break, so we weren’t getting in anymore. That was a little let down for us, as this museum is supposed to be really interesting, but our taxi driver was really friendly and showed us around a little bit instead (for no extra price), so we saw how people live in this city, drove along the central train station and saw the markets for locals (ask your taxi driver, you’ll get much better and cheaper stuff there, then on the tourist markets). As we had two taxi drivers from the same family during our stay, and they both were really friendly, spoke English very well, had a good knowledge of the city and made fair prices all the time, here are their numbers, in case you’re looking for some reliable transportation in Luxor:

Mohamed Crocodile: +2 01062248176 (mobile and Whatsapp),

Hamdy Temsah: +2 01003540429 / +2 01014610410 (mobile and Whatsapp)

Later on we took our transfer back to Hurghada and took back a lot of impressions with us. Luxor was even better, more impressive and interesting than expected, so we didn’t only enjoy our stay there, but are also thinking about making another tour from Luxor to Aswan, to explore even more of the immense amount of archeological sites that Egypt has to offer. But next time we’ll definitely skip the stay in Hurghada, so here’s how to get to Luxor directly:

How to get to Luxor:

If you already are in Egypt, you can easily access Luxor by booking a taxi transfer from anywhere in the country, There also are trains on the Aswan-Cairo line stopping in Luxor.

For everyone coming in from farther away, Egypt Air is the only Airline offering scheduled flights from all over the world via Cairo to Luxor at the moment. Besides that some charter airlines offer flights from a few European and Arabian cities.

You can also fly into Cairo(CAI), Hurghada (HRG) or Marsa Alam (RMF), from where you can book transfers to Luxor, but all of those are a 4+ hours ride away from Luxor.

 

Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to give you some interesting tips and inspiration for your own trip to Luxor.

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