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Soaring obelisks, imposing temples, and the hidden tombs of the Valley of the Kings, all in Luxor, ancient Egypt’s most important city.

Whether you’re admiring a burial chamber’s still-bright paint, sailing down the Nile in a felucca, or wandering among the columns in one of the great temples, Luxor is where ancient Egypt remains most present. This was once mighty Thebes, the seat of the Egyptian pharaohs at their most powerful, and a visit here gives you a chance to appreciate the grandeur of their architecture up close.

The sun-worshiping Egyptians built their capital to reflect their cosmology. The places of the living — the sprawling complex of Karnak and the graceful halls of the Temple of Luxor — are located on the east bank, where the sun rises. The land of the dead, including the famed tombs in the Valley of the Kings, is located on the west bank, where the sun sets.

The density of ancient sites makes this one of the busiest locales in Egypt, but we can arrange for private guides who’ll help steer you around the crowds and get the best views.

The East Bank — the Temples of Karnak & Luxor

Karnak Temple, LuxorBuilt over the course of centuries, Karnak is a sprawling complex about as large as 190 football fields. This was the most important site of worship in all of Egypt, a constellation of shrines, obelisks, and courtyards built around the oldest and holiest of temples — the Temple of Amun, considered the earthly home of the god.

Nearby, at the Temple of Luxor, two seated statues and a pink-granite obelisk greet you as you enter a building that was known to ancients as the Southern Sanctuary. Smaller and less complex than Karnak, this was a sacred space, intended for priests and not the general public.

Both sites can get very busy and planning your tour early or late in the day can help avoid crowds. You can also visit at night, when the whole complex is underlit with a golden glow. The hypostyle colonnade in the Luxor Temple is particularly evocative when viewed under a canopy of stars. We can arrange for a privately guided visit to both sites on Luxor’s East Bank.

The West Bank – Valley of the Kings & the Valley of the Queens

This is Thebes’ necropolis, a city of the dead located under the horizon where the sun sets every evening. Here, you can explore pharaohs’ tombs that were hidden deep in wadis. Protected from light and looters, some of these tombs have wall decorations as bright as if they’d been painted a few decades ago rather than a few millennia ago. A few, like the burial chamber of Hatshepsut, have been restored to their former glory.

Perhaps the best-known tomb is that of the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamun — Howard Carter’s 1922 rediscovery of the mostly intact tomb, as well as the glittering collection of grave goods, helped ignite a world-wide passion for Egyptology. It’s easy for you to include a stop at King Tut’s tomb on a guided visit to the West Bank.

Best time to visit Luxor

It’s best to visit Luxor between October and April, when temperatures are still pleasantly warm but not unpleasantly hot.

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who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Amira

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Luxor by contacting one of our Egypt specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Luxor

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Luxor, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Luxor

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Luxor

    Accommodation choices for Luxor

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Luxor. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Luxor

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Luxor, and which use the best local guides.

    • Explore the West Bank
      Madinat Habu

      Explore the West Bank

      Explore the West Bank

      The West Bank at Luxor is known as the Theban Necropolis. This full day excursion will typically include the Tombs of the Theban rulers and the Temple of Hatshepsut.

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    • Explore the East Bank
      Avenue of sphinxes, Luxor Temple

      Explore the East Bank

      Explore the East Bank

      The modern town of Luxor has grown up around the two temples of Luxor and Karnak. The name Luxor is a corruption of the Arabic word "El Qsour", meaning castles or palaces, a reference to these two magnificent temples.

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