Luxor Travel Guide
Temple of Karnak
Once part of the ancient city of Thebes, that was the ruling seat of power in Egypt for 1,350 years, Luxor is now a major holiday destination, particularly for those interested in ancient Egypt. The area boasts an exceptionally rich legacy of temples, tombs and monuments. Around these relics of ancient Egypt's celebrated history are signs of the prosperous industry of the modern day - tourism.
Luxor town is crowded with souvenir shops, hotels and restaurants, while the Nile River carries feluccas and luxury hotel ships. The streets are filled with the cries of shop owners, horse-drawn carriages (caleches), taxi drivers and tour guides, all offering their services to the newly arrived holiday people, whether wealthy tourist or economizing backpacker. The action on the Luxor streets is almost as captivating as the temples the tourists have come to see.
Whereas the impressive structures of the Temples of Luxor and of Karnak are within the town itself, the biggest attractions lie on the west bank across the Nile, where the funerary complexes of the Tombs of the Nobles, the Valley of the Kings, and Valley of the Queens relate the fascinating story of the ultimate resting places of ancient royalty.
Luxor's market, or souk, on Sharia el-Birka, as well as the tourist bazaar on Saria el-Karnak, offer scarves, scarabs, spices, carpets and other local souvenirs and curios to holiday visitors. Haggling is a common form of trade in these market areas. There are many souvenir shops located close to the Luxor Temple in the more touristy areas. Luxor is a good place to buy silver jewellery.
Egypt's local cuisine can be delicious, such as the kebab, the kofta and kushari. When on holiday in Luxor, tourists will find most restaurants in the centre of town. The Oriental, situated close to Luxor Temple is recommended, as is Amoun Restaurant on Sharia el-Karnak, and the El-Hussein. The Sheraton Hotel, situated on the banks of the Nile serves excellent pizzas.
Since half of Egypt is Islamic, there are not many bars around Luxor to enjoy while on holiday. One of the most popular but expensive bars, Metropolitan Café, is found opposite the Luxor Temple on the Corniche walkway below road level, and the only English pub in town, the King's Head, is open 24 hours a day and offers darts, billiards and TVs for live soccer broadcasts. The Sound and Light show at the Karnak Temple is breathtaking, and the night bazaar is well worth a visit.
Luxor is brimming with holiday activities. Besides the awe-inspiring sights and temples, horse, camel and donkey rides are available. The Nile River offers Felucca trips by both day and sunset. The mysteries of Ancient Egypt can be discovered by visiting some of Luxor's surrounding temples including Luxor Temple, Karnak, Ramesseum, Medinet Habu, the Temple of Hatshepsut and the exquisite Valley of the Kings, which should be visited as early in the morning as possible as only 150 tickets are sold daily to visit these ancient tombs.
Vendors of everything to do with the tourist industry and touts are extremely hard-sell and rarely take 'no' for an answer; they frequent every corner of Luxor and their constant hassle can become quite annoying.
What to see in Luxor
The main place of worship in Theban times, and built over a period of 1,300 years, the massive Temple of Karnak in Luxor…
The West Bank is an area of limestone hills and valleys riddled with tombs and temples across the river from Luxor. Goats…