Welcome to Luxor, the gateway to your unforgettable Nile cruise journey. As you touch down at Luxor International Airport, you’ll be greeted by the warm Egyptian sun and the promise of an adventure through the pages of history.
A representative will transfer you to your luxurious cruise ship, where you’ll check in and begin to settle into your room. Take some time to relax, and perhaps enjoy a refreshing drink on the sun deck as you gaze out over the serene Nile River.
The following is a sample itinerary that provides an overview of the Luxor and Aswan cruise. Itineraries can vary depending on the cruise company, the trip duration, and your personal preferences.
Day 1: Arrival to Luxor and Aswan Cruise – Egypt
Your cruise is now docking at the nearest spot to Luxor Temple, the first landmark you are going to visit. You can even see it from afar with its grand mud-brick walls. As you explore the temple’s vast complex, you’ll come across colossal statues, intricately decorated walls, and the magnificent Sun Court of Amenhotep III.
The temple, which was primarily dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, offers a unique journey through different periods of Egyptian history, as each Pharaoh added their own touch to the complex. Some of the key highlights of the temple are:
- Avenue of Sphinxes: Walk along the ancient processional route that connected Karnak and Luxor temples, lined with ram-headed sphinxes that once guarded the sacred path.
- Colossal statues of Ramses II: Admire the impressive seated statues of the powerful Pharaoh Ramses II that flank the entrance to the temple.
- Obelisk of Ramses II: Appreciate the solitary obelisk that stands at the entrance of Luxor Temple, with its twin now residing in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
- Abu-Haggag Mosque: Discover the intriguing story of how this still-active mosque, built during the Islamic era, was incorporated into the ancient temple structure.
Just about 3 kilometres north of Luxor Temple, you’ll find the Karnak Temple Complex, one of the largest religious sites in the world. Its building process took around 1,500 years to finish, representing a testament to the reverence the ancient Egyptians had for the god Amun-Ra. Among the key highlights are:
- Hypostyle Hall: Marvel at the 134 colossal columns, some reaching 70 feet in height, that create a forest-like atmosphere within the hall.
- Great Temple of Amun: Pay homage to the king of the gods, Amun-Ra, in this magnificent temple, which was the most important place of worship in ancient Thebes.
- Sacred Lake: Reflect on the lives of the ancient priests who performed purification rituals at this tranquil lake, which is still home to the ducks and geese resident population.
On getting back to the cruise, you will be greeted with cold towels and drinks, the most satisfying thing to do after your sunny tour. As the sun sets, savour a delicious dinner on board, and if you are lucky, you may get a chance to attend the Light and Sound show at Karnak.
Karnak Light and Sound Show
As you move from one monument to the next, the narration uncovers the stories of the pharaohs who built Karnak, the religious rituals that took place here, and the significance of the various gods and goddesses worshipped within its sacred walls.
Soaring Above Luxor: An Unforgettable Hot Air Balloon Adventure
The adventure begins in the early morning hours, just before dawn, as you make your way to the launch site on Luxor’s West Bank. The pre-dawn timing ensures you’ll witness the breathtaking spectacle of the sun rising over the Nile, casting its golden light on the magnificent monuments below.
Treat yourself to the panoramic views of the ancient monuments along with the Nile, an enchanting sight that will be carved in your memory for years.
A typical hot air balloon ride in Luxor lasts around an hour, with prices ranging from $80 to $130 per person, depending on the season and the provider. The cost generally includes the cruise pick-up and drop-off, as well as light refreshments before or after the flight. It is recommended to book your balloon adventure in advance, as this unforgettable experience is a popular attraction for travellers to Luxor.
Day 2: Delving into the Ancient Wonders of the West Bank
As you savour a delightful breakfast, take a moment to admire the picturesque Nile, rejoicing in the serenity of the cruise gliding over the sparkling water. Your next stop will be the magnificent Valley of the Kings in Luxor’s West Bank, a testament to the grandeur of ancient Egyptian civilisation.
The very location of the tombs is not a mere coincidence, as they are meant to be in the West, where the sun sets every day, depicting the end of life and the beginning of a new journey after death.
Many of the tombs are decorated with funerary texts and magic spells from the “Book of the Dead,” which they believed helped the deceased pharaohs in the afterlife.
Perhaps the most popular of all worldwide is the tomb of Tutankhamun, known as KV62. Discovered by Howard Carter, it was filled with treasures, including the young Pharaoh’s golden death mask, his chariots, furniture, and even food for his journey to the afterlife.
Next, the majestic Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari awaits your exploration. This striking mortuary temple, built for the powerful female Pharaoh Hatshepsut, is a unique architectural marvel nestled against limestone cliffs. As you wander through its terraces and colonnades, admire the beautifully preserved reliefs and statues that tell the story of Hatshepsut’s reign.
Before returning to your cruise ship for the evening, visit the enigmatic Colossi of Memnon. These two massive statues, depicting the seated Pharaoh Amenhotep III have stood guard over the Theban Necropolis for millennia. As the sun sets, casting a shimmering golden glow on these ancient guardians, take a moment to appreciate the enduring legacy of Egypt’s storied past.
If you still have time, seize the opportunity to visit the exceptional Luxor Museum, a treasure trove of ancient artefacts and masterpieces. This modern and beautifully designed museum offers a carefully curated collection of relics that span the entire history of Thebes, the city now known as Luxor.
As you explore the museum’s exhibits, marvel at the splendidly preserved statues of pharaohs and deities, intricate jewellery, and vibrant wall paintings that once adorned the tombs of the nobles. Among the highlights are the magnificent statues of Amenhotep III and his wife Tiye, as well as the breathtakingly detailed wall reliefs from the dismantled temple of Akhenaten at Karnak.
With a day full of exploration and wonder behind you, return to your cruise ship for a relaxing evening and a well-deserved rest. As you start drifting off to sleep, let the memories of Luxor’s awe-inspiring sights and history envelop you, dreaming of the adventures that lie ahead on your Nile cruise.
Day 3: Exploring Edfu and Kom Ombo
Set sail from Luxor to Edfu, taking in the picturesque sights along the Nile’s river banks. At Esna, make sure to stay on deck to experience the Esna Lock, an engineering spectacle connecting the lower and the upper parts of the Nile between Luxor and Aswan.
Upon arrival in Edfu, you will visit the magnificent Temple of Edfu, also known as the Temple of Horus, the god of the sky. Admire the towering pylons, intricate reliefs, and majestic statues that tell the story of the eternal struggle between Horus and his nemesis, Seth. You may then have the chance to visit the Temple of Khnum, also well known as the Temple of Esna, which is dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god of creation.
Upon arrival at Kom Ombo, prepare to explore the one-of-a-kind Temple of Kom Ombo. This architectural marvel is a rare double temple dedicated to two deities: the crocodile god Sobek, associated with fertility and the Nile, and the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder), symbolising protection and victory. The temple complex was designed with two of everything – sanctuaries, halls, and entranceways – reflecting the dual nature of its worship.
As you wander through the ancient halls and courtyards, marvel at the impressive reliefs and inscriptions that depict the rituals and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. The temple also houses a unique collection of mummified crocodiles, a testament to ancient Egyptians’ reverence for Sobek.
As evening falls, return to your cruise ship for dinner and rest, anticipating more adventures ahead as your Nile cruise continues.
Day 4: Sailing for the Enchanting Aswan
Upon arrival in Aswan, prepare to marvel at the Aswan High Dam, an engineering feat constructed in the 1960s. This impressive structure tamed the mighty Nile, controlling its annual floods and generating hydroelectric power for the country.
The dam’s construction also led to the remarkable international effort to save the ancient temples of Abu Simbel and Philae from being submerged. You will need to arrange with your provider before visiting Abu Simbel Temple, as it is about 3 hours away from where the cruise docks.
Next, you are going to take a small boat to reach the Philae Temple Complex, dedicated to the goddess Isis, the embodiment of love, motherhood, and healing. The temple was originally located on the island of Philae, But it was painstakingly dismantled and relocated to the nearby Agilkia Island to save it from Lake Nasser’s rising waters.
Return to your cruise ship and recount the day’s discoveries with your fellow travellers. Savour a delicious dinner on board, and be ready for a unique shopping experience in Aswan Souk. The tangled alleyways of the market are filled with the strong scents of spices and perfumes.
You will find an array of unique souvenirs, from handwoven textiles and embroidered clothing to beautiful Nubian silver jewellery and handcrafted leather goods. Notable shops within the souk include the Aswan Bazaar and El Nabatat Island Market, both offering an extensive collection of traditional Egyptian handicrafts.
Exploring the Aswan Souk in the evening is not just about shopping but also an opportunity to soak in the lively atmosphere, engage with friendly locals and experience a taste of authentic Egyptian culture.
Day 5: Experience the Authentic Nubian Culture
On day five of your Luxor and Aswan cruise, delve into the captivating world of Nubian culture and history. Your guide may encourage you to visit the Nubian Museum, a remarkable institution that houses over 3,000 artefacts related to the rich heritage of the Nubian people.
As you explore the museum’s exhibits, you’ll discover ancient artefacts from the time of the great Nubian kingdoms, such as Ta-Seti and the Kingdom of Kush, as well as more recent pieces that highlight the unique traditions and customs of this fascinating civilisation.
In the afternoon, embark on a charming felucca ride down the Nile, heading towards the picturesque Nubian village of West Soheil. This traditional village offers a glimpse into the authentic Nubian way of life.
As you wander through the village’s vibrant streets, you’ll notice the brightly painted houses adorned with warm patterns and murals, reflecting the Nubian people’s love for art and colour. Seize the chance to interact with the friendly locals, learn about their customs, and even try some delicious homemade Nubian dishes.
Witness traditional craftsmanship, such as pottery and weaving, and take home unique souvenirs to remember your time in this enchanting village.
Boats Chasing the Cruise
One of the most delightful and unexpected experiences while cruising along the Nile is the lively floating souvenir market. As your cruise ship makes its way down the river, local men in small wooden boats skillfully paddle and manoeuvre their way alongside the larger vessel, eager to showcase their wares.
The vendors’ boats are laden with an array of vibrant souvenirs, including beautifully designed scarves, gleaming brass ornaments, hand-carved statues, and beautiful papyrus paintings. The sellers deftly showcase their items, all while maintaining their balance on the rocking boats, creating an impressive display of both craftsmanship and agility.
The floating market is not only an opportunity to shop for unique keepsakes and gifts but also a chance to engage in friendly banter and light-hearted bargaining with local vendors. Their warmth, humour, and enthusiasm are infectious, and the experience often turns into an entertaining and memorable cultural exchange.
What are you waiting for? Luxor and Aswan Cruise – Egypt awaits you! Journey along the Nile, take in the breathtaking scenery, observe life along the riverbanks, and reflect upon the fusion of ancient traditions and contemporary lifestyles.