Luxor, the World’s greatest open-air museum
The easiest way to visit Luxor is certainly by plane straight away from Cairo. But if you have more time, you can complete your adventure with a road-trip heading to the Red Sea. Then, it will take you 3 hours driving in the desert from Hurghada, to finally reach Luxor and its lavish nature that stands beside the river Nile. It is honestly not exaggerated to state that “The Valley of the Kings” offers the most F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C view of the Nile and definitely the most stunning sunrise I ever experienced, overlooking hot air balloons rising above the mountains.
You will find below the list of the most iconic sites to visit in Luxor – you can explore all these places by yourself by hiring a taxi driver. Another great option would be an organized tour – Get Your Guide proposes many of them including transportation from your hotel and an English guide at a very competitive price.
If there is one temple you should not miss while visiting Luxor, it is definitely Karnak!
Built-in the ancient capital of Egypt called Thebes in the past, Karnak Temple holds the most majestuous and impressive antique architecture in Luxor – often referred to the World’s greatest open-air Museum. Indeed, the ancient capital still unveils marvellous treasures of the past and keep attracting millions of tourists per year!
Karnak will welcome you with an impressive alley of sphinxes, followed by two colossal statues of Ramses, leading to the next room where majestuous pillars still stand like in the old time! The site is absolutely magnificent, revealing scenes between gods and kings from the past, and its impressive hieroglyphs on all the walls.
Karnak has the singularity of its dual construction plan – Vertical to get closer to the gods, and Horizontal to access the royal areas.
Karnak has been part of a massive plan of conservation led by UNESCO and you will be able to see their work on many parts of the temple. Especially the Temple of Konshou, on the corner right of the site, reveals impressive frescoes with vivid paintings in excellent condition, displayed inside the building itself.
Colloses of Memnon
To continue your visit, you will have to take the road towards Medinet Habu Temple, crossing the peaceful river Nile. The two Colossi of Memnon will appear on the side of the road, ruling the ancient entrance to the temple of Amenhotep III, and being the only artefacts still standing today.
Medinet Habu Temple
This temple was one of the most decorated I have visited in Luxor. Behind its impressive entrance door, stands a square architecture surrounded by massive pillars with statues. The wall paintings still unveil vivid colours such as red, blue and yellow – offering a priceless travel in time!
If you are an early bird, take advantage of the sunrise to discover the beautiful temple of Queen Hatchepsut – the place can be extremely packed during the day! This beautiful temple, built directly into the rock of the mountain, uncovers beautiful wall paintings and amazing ceilings fully covered of stars representing the clear night sky from the ancient time.
The magnificent entrance of the temple showcases an impressive line of identical statues. All of them represent the Queen Hatchepsut as a male Pharaoh, a non-negligible detail which highlights her desire to enforce her power to the society.
Valley of the Kings
While visiting Luxor, I highly recommend a sunset boat tour on the Nile! After a long day running around all the temples, you will enjoy the city through another perspective, way more peaceful and relaxing!
Located in the centre of the city, Luxor Temple remains one of the iconic building that resisted the time and transformations of the old town – even if today the mosque Abu Haggag stands atop its ruins.
Only one massive Obelisk still stands at the entrance of Luxor Temple, being part of a duo, the second one residing today in the Place Vendôme in Paris.