The city of Luxor is known as the ‘world’s largest open air museum’ and is home to some of Egypt’s most significant surviving ancient monuments.

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Everything you need to know about Luxor

The city of Luxor – an Arabic word for ‘palaces’ – is home to some of Egypt’s most significant surviving ancient monuments, temples and tombs. It is no wonder that it is often referred to as the ‘world’s largest open-air museum’. Formerly known as Thebes, the great capital of the Egyptian Empire, the city was home to some of the most important kings of the ancient world including Tutankhamun, Ramses, and others. Today, it is one of Egypt’s most popular destinations for travelers who flock to the city to explore the East Bank and West Bank of the Nile where ancient civilizations once stood.

Where is Luxor located?

Luxor is a beautiful mix of the old and new with the modern city built amid the ruins of the ancient. The city lies on the east bank of the Nile about 312 miles (500 kilometers) south of Cairo. While the quickest way to get from Cairo to Luxor is by air, we recommend a luxury cruise on the famed Nile to really experience the ancient riverbanks and lesser-known monuments along the way.

When to visit Luxor

The best time to visit Egypt is between October and April when temperatures are cooler. However, it is important to note that between the winter months of December and February – prime tourist season in Luxor – the crowds can be rather unpleasant to manage. Swarms of tourists visit in the winter which means you’ll be battling with long lines at the main attractions and finding availability at hotels might be more difficult. 

We recommend visiting during late fall (October – November) and the spring (March – April). During these shorter shoulder seasons, temperatures are still comfortable and crowds are either yet to arrive, or are waning after the mad winter rush.  

Top experiences to enjoy in Luxor

Valley of the Kings

The west bank of the Nile plays host to the famed and brightly muraled tombs and ancient burial chambers built for the pharaohs. Dating back over 3,000 years, the royal burial ground known today as the Valley of the Kings, pays homage to some of the most legendary rulers of ancient Egypt. The Valley of the Kings served as the final resting place for the mummies of pharaohs like Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Seti I as well as queens, high priests, and other important nobility of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties.

Karnak Temple

A famous highlight on the east bank of the Nile is the extraordinary Karnak Temple complex – the largest religious building ever built. This breathtaking marvel took over 2,000 years to build and was Ancient Egypt’s most important place of worship during the New Kingdom era. The Temple of Amun is the only section of the vast complex that is open to the public and contains a pillared hall of 134 columns that stand a staggering 69 feet (21 meters) tall.

Hot air ballooning

With so much to see in the world’s greatest open-air museum, sometimes a little perspective is necessary to take it all in. One of the most thrilling and unique experiences in Luxor is a sunrise hot air balloon over the city. Balloon rides take place just after the sun rises and casts its beautiful morning light over the tombs sites and temples, barren escarpments, and river. Viewing the incredible sights of Luxor from above is a remarkable way to truly grasp the impressive nature of these significant landmarks.

Luxor temple

The Luxor Temple is a large ancient temple complex located on the east bank and is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in the country. Constructed over 3,500 years ago, the temple is characterized by a unique architectural style and is an ode to the changing face of Egypt over the centuries. The Luxor Temple stays open later than most other monuments and becomes a dazzling display of lights as the sun goes down.

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