How to visit Luxor independently, in 2 days

 This is regularly updated, including all the prices, which are the latest from 2018. If you have any additional information based on price increase or any relevant tip, kindly let me know!

Established on the shore of the great Nile river and surrounded by both mango plantations and desert, Luxor is a city of half a million inhabitants and also the world’s greatest open-air museum, containing some the largest and most striking ancient monuments ever constructed.

The history of Luxor (originally called the city of Thebes) dates back to 3,200 B.C. Nevertheless, the city didn’t prosper until the 2,134 B.C., during the 11th Dynasty, when Mentuhotep II brought peace and stability to the region, and Thebes started to grow as a city, becoming, during the 18th Dynasty, in 1,550 B.C., the religious and political capital of Ancient Egypt.

Luxor has been ruled by some of the most famous and important pharaohs and, today, most of their tombs, monuments and temples still remain, very well-preserved, including the tomb of the world-famous Tutankhamun

Luxor is the most important archaeological site in Egypt and, in this guide, I will tell you all the things to do in Luxor and how to organize your visit in only 2 days.

For more information about Egypt, read: A guide for traveling to Egypt (3-week itinerary + tips)

Visit Luxor

 

How to visit Luxor independently, in 2 days and beat the crowds

Unless you go with a tour group, visiting Luxor independently can be quite overwhelming. The list of archaeological sites and things to do in Luxor is so big that visiting every single temple and tomb would take several days, and loads of money as well!

Therefore, unless you have all the time in the world (which most travelers don’t), you have to choose and be pretty organized. Furthermore, most sites tend to be overrun by dozens of tour groups, which could make your visit slightly unpleasant.

So, what should you visit and how can you avoid the tour groups?

Well, avoiding the tour groups is practically impossible but, usually, they seem to follow the same itinerary so, after making some observations, I figured out when it’s the best time to visit each site. In this article, I am going to show you how to visit Luxor independently, in two days, and beat the crowds, based on the best temples and the best time to visit them.

Remember to have a proper travel insurance for Egypt. I strongly recommend World Nomads, as it is the only company which gives unlimited medical coverage, so you never need to worry about anything.Click here to get your free quote from World Nomads

Here you will find (Jump to any content you want):

Visit Luxor – Entrances Tickets 2018
Where to stay in Luxor
What to see in Luxor on Day 1 – Visiting the West Bank
Things to do in Luxor on Day 2 – Visiting Karnak and Luxor temples

Things to do in Luxor
The avenue of the sphinx in Luxor temple – Things to do in Luxor

 

Travel to Luxor – Entrance Tickets for 2018

Very Important 2018 update: In November 2017, prices of most attractions have increased by 50% versus when I traveled to Luxor for the first time in December 2016. Below, you can find the most updated prices:

Prices for the sites located in the West Bank

Habu Temple: 60EGP
Ramesseum Temple: 60EGP
Temple of Seti I: 60EGP
Merenptah: 40EGP (museum closed)
Isis Temple: 80EGP

Noble’s Tombs

1. Sheikh Abd el-Qurna area (11 tombs) :
Nakht + Menna + Amenemopet: 60EGP
Rekhmire + Sennefer: 40EGP
Ramose + Userhat + Khaemhat: 80EGP
Khonsu + Userhat + Benia: 80EGP

2. Khokha area (3 tombs):
Neferrenpet + Nefersekheru + Djehutymes: 40EGP

3. Dra Abu el-Naga (3 tombs) :
Roy + Shuroy + Amenemope: 40EGP

4. Dair el-Medina area (3 tombs)
Sennedjem + Inherkau & temple: 80EGP
Pashedu: 40EGP

5. Qurnet Murrai area (3 tombs):
Imnhotep/Hwy + Imnement + Amunemheb: 40EGP

6. El-Asasif area (4 tombs) 60EGP:
Kheruef + Ankh_Hor + Mentuemhat: 60EGP

 

Where to buy the tickets – Typically, for all the above sites, you should buy the tickets at the office located next to the Nourh El Gourna Hotel. These are the exact coordinates: 25.722725, 32.604387.

 

Valley of the Kings

General entry ticket, including 3 tombs of your choice: 200EGP for any 3 tombs

Additional tickets for:

Rameses 5th & Rameses 6th: 90EGP
Tutankhamun: 250EGP
Seti 1st: 1000EGP

Valley of the Queens

General entry ticket: 80EGP

Additional ticket for:

Queen Nefertari: 1000EGP

Where to buy the tickets – For this 2 sites, tickets are bought at the site itself

Another important update 2018! Since November 2017, you can additionally buy a photo ticket which will allow you to take photos inside the tombs. Previous to this, it was not allowed to take pictures unless you bribed the guard.
Luxor travel
Tutankhamun tomb paintings – Luxor travel

 

Prices for the sites located in the East Bank

Luxor Temple: 100EGP
Luxor Museum: 160EGP + 50EGP (Photo)
Mumification museum: 80EGP
Karnak Temple: 150EGP
Karnak (open air museum): 80EGP
Karnak – Mut temple: 80EGP
Opet temple: 80EGP

Tip: If you have a student card and you are less than 30 years old, you will get a 50% in all the attractions

Luxor Egypt points of interest
A sphinx from the avenue of the sphinx – Luxor Egypt points of interest

 

Where to stay in Luxor?

Backpacker HostelBob Marley Peace Luxor Hostel – This is, definitely, the most famous hostel in town. With plenty of backpackers, it offers 2 and 4 bed-dorms, as well as private rooms. Excellent location, great breakfast, good Wi-Fi and friendly staff.

Click here to see the latest prices

 

Budget Guest House – Luxor Guest House – Located on the shore of the Nile River, on the West Bank side, but right next to the ferry station, this guest house is one of the best-rated places in town, and it’s easy to understand why. Excellent service, breakfast, super clean rooms and everything at a very affordable price. This place is perfect for both couples and independent travelers.

Click here to see the latest prices

 

Mid-range Hotel – Amon Hotel – With a very beautiful and lovely garden, Amon Hotel is another great choice in town for mid-range travelers. A hotel with a real character, the staff is some of the friendliest ever, very kind and informative. The food is also great and the location better than ever. A great choice for families and couples who are visiting Luxor.

Click here to see the latest prices

 

Top-end – Hilton Resort and Spa – The Hilton is the top-rated top-end hotel in Luxor. Located on the shore of the Nile with excellent views to the sailing boats, this luxury hotel is everything you can expect from the world-wide famous Middle Eastern service.

Click here to see the latest prices

What to visit in Luxor
Sphinx of Karnak – What to visit in Luxor

 

Things to do in Luxor: 2-day itinerary

Luxor is composed of three main archeological areas:

West Bank –  Located on the west of the Nile, the West Bank contains a large number of tombs and temples spread across the area, including the Valley of the Kings.

Karnak Temple –  Situated a little bit outside of the city, Karnak is the second largest ancient religious site in the world, after the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia.

Luxor Temple –  This huge temple complex is situated right in the middle of the city.

Following my guide, you can easily visit all the three sites in only two days. Allow one full day for the West Bank and one full day for both Karnak and Luxor temples.

 

What to see in Luxor on day 1: The West Bank

All right. First of all, you need to bear in mind that the West Bank is composed of 14 archaeological sites, plus the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, spread across a huge area. Visiting them on foot isn’t really an option, as several kilometers separate them. The only way to visit them is with a tour group (which sucks), by taxi (which is expensive) or by bicycle, which is the coolest option if you want to do it independently. I rented a bicycle from my hotel for only 30EGP a day ($1,80).

Remember to check my guide for traveling to Egypt

How to get there?

If you are staying on the East Bank (which is where most of the hotels are), you need to take a ferry across the Nile river. There are local boats that cross the river every 15 minutes and cost only 1EGP. Where do you take the boat? Here:

What to see in Luxor
Crossing to the West Bank – What to see in Luxor

 

Which archaeological sites should you visit?

Like I said, in the West Bank, there are 14 different archaeological sites plus the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Visiting all of them would require several days, so you need to choose what you would like to visit.

Please note that each of these sites has a separate ticket. See previous prices.

After talking to one archaeologist and a couple of locals, these were the sites I chose, based on their importance, architectural beauty and also the number of visitors they receive (note that this is merely a personal opinion):

Habu Temple – The mortuary temple of Ramses III, located inside Medinat Habu is, according to many archaeologists, one of the most underrated sites in the West Bank. Why? Because despite its huge dimensions and architectural and artistic importance, many tourists decide to skip it.

Luxor sightseeing
A guard entering into Habu temple – Luxor sightseeing

Seti temple – Despite being located in one of the greenest areas, next to a palm grove, the Seti temple receives very few visitors. Seti I died before the temple was finished, so his son Ramses II was the one who actually completed it.

Things to see in Luxor
The Seti I temple, next to the palm grove – Things to see in Luxor

Tombs of the Nobles – The Tombs of the Nobles are an important archaeological site composed of more than 400 tombs. Some of them are open to the public and, since the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens receive all the focus when it comes to tombs, the Tombs of the Nobles don’t get the attention they deserve but, the truth is that their paintings and hieroglyphs are impressive and very well-preserved. The tombs that are open to the public are divided into groups of three, each group requiring a separate ticket. I chose the Tombs of Nakht, Menna & Amenemopet. Why? Because I was told that they had very colorful paintings.

Places to visit in Luxor
Paintings of the Tombs of the Nobels – Places to visit in Luxor

The Valley of the Kings – When you visit Luxor, this will be one of the highlights of your trip, as the Valley of the Kings is where the greatest of the great pharaohs that ruled in the New Kingdom rest in peace. There is a total of 63 impressive tombs, each very different from each other. The entrance ticket allows you to visit three of them. Yeah, I know. Again, you need to choose. The tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses VI have separate tickets. Which tombs should you visit? One archaeologist recommended me to visit: Nerenptah, Ramses IV and Tuthmosis III and, of course, buying a separate ticket for Tutankhamun. The Valley of the Kings is, definitely, one of the best things to do in Luxor.

Luxor sites
The tomb of Ramses IV – Luxor sites
What to see in Luxor, Egypt
The Valley of the Kings – What to see in Luxor, Egypt

These are the locations of the 4 sites I recommend:

 

How to beat the tour groups?

Like I said before, avoiding the tour groups when you visit Luxor completely is practically impossible but, for some reason, most of them start with the Valley of the Kings. For this reason, you should leave the Valley of the Kings for last. It closes around 5 pm, so you should get there at 3:30 pm, when most people leave.

Therefore, when you wake up in the morning, go straight to the ticket office. No need to say that the earlier you go, the fewer people you’ll find. Once you get your tickets, visit the Habu Temple first, before the visitors come. When you finish, ride to the Tombs of the Nobles afterwards, visiting the Seti Temple. Take a lunch break and, around 3 pm, head to the Valley of the kings.

Important note: Due to the crisis, most of the restaurants are closed so, I highly recommend bringing your own food.

Luxor places to visit
The Tombs of Nobles – Luxor places to visit

 

Day 2: Karnak and Luxor temples

The second day is pretty straightforward, as you only need to visit Luxor and Karnak temples.

How to beat the crowds?

Easy. Since the Temple of Luxor is situated in the city center and also opens at night, many tour groups and people decide to visit it during the evening hours and the Karnak Temple during the morning hours. Therefore, you just need to do it the other way around. Wake up as early as possible to visit the Luxor Temples and, after lunch, around 3 pm, head to the Karnak Temple (3km).

Important: Opening hours vary per temple and season. Some of them open at 6am while other at 8am. I suggest you ask at your hotel. Furthermore,pPlease note that both temples receive visits all day long. As I said, avoiding the crowds is impossible but, my suggested timings are definitely the least busy ones.

Visit Luxor, Egypt
Pharaoh statues in Karnak temple – Visit Luxor, Egypt

 

Luxor Temple

Mainly built during the New Kingdom by both Amenhotep III and Ramses II, the Temple of Luxor was constructed to worship Amun Ra, the greatest of the Gods, considered as the God of the Kings and the King of the Gods. The Avenue of the Sphinxes, which actually connected Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple is impressive, as well as the giant statues of Ramses II. Together with the Valley of the Kings, for me, this was among the best places to visit in Luxor.

Between the Luxor and the Karnak Temples, if you have time, you can also visit the Luxor museum.

Travel to Luxor, Egypt
The statue of Ramses II in Luxor temple – Travel to Luxor, Egypt

 

Karnak Temple

Karnak was the most important religious complex in Ancient Egypt and today, this is the second largest ancient religious site in the world, after the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. In this huge complex, everything is built at a supergiant scale. From its huge decorated pillars to the obelisks, statues and kiosk, the Karnak Temple will definitely leave you breathless. According to one local, it took around 2,000 years to finish it completely. Can you imagine?

Places in Luxor
Karnak temple Pillars – Places in Luxor

 

Read more about Egypt:

A guide for traveling to Egypt
8 off the beaten track places in Egypt  
Nile River Felucca Trip in Egypt

 

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How to visit Luxor

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36 comments

  1. I will just say… this is the most specific (and updated) travel summary of Luxor that I found over the internet, it have the most accurate information it helped me a lot to plan mi visit, I will be there in May 11th 2017 and surely I will follow your tips.

    Thanks and congratulations for your valuable information.

    Jorge Ortiz
    Cd. Juarez, Mexico

  2. Thank you for this helpful overview! Yours is the most concise and thorough report I’ve found and was perfect for answering my final questions before we visit in a couple weeks.

      1. Prices did rise sometime in the past 6 months. I don’t have a full list, myself, but I found it ahead of time on the Trip Advisor Forum. The biggest new thing, though, is that you can now buy photo tickets to go with your entry ticket (in both Luxor & Cairo). This allows you to take photos at the site/museum. It was great at the tombs, especially (although there were still some special ones that didn’t allow photos).

  3. When you say as early as possible, how early do the sites in the West Bank actually open? I can’t find a straight answer online. Some say 6am, but my tour guide said they don’t really open until 8/9am.

  4. We got to Valley of the Queens right at 8 am and they were just opening. I, too, had seen info online that said 6 am. I wonder if it depends on the season? This was late December. Maybe your hotel can help?

    1. To be honest, I don’t know about the Valley of the Queens maybe but I am almost certain that Luxor Temple, in the center of the city, opens at 6am. But yeah, it may depends on the season, as well.

  5. Sadly the entrance fees have increased 🙁

    Btw, would you suggest an itinerary for backpacking Egypt, as what you did for Tajikistan and Azerbaijan?

  6. Hello, this guide is so helpful. We will follow the suggestions as we (2 people) will only be in Luxor for 2 days and Cairo for 2 days. Iwe will be there the first week of April.
    Questions about Luxor: We don’t want to join a tour group and are comfortable doing it alone, but I think I’d like to hire a guide(just for the two of us) to tell us about the sites. How does that work? Are they just hanging around the sites for hire? What are your recommendations? Also what is a reasonable price? Also any comments on tipping?
    Lastly, we probably won’t do the bicycle option but grab taxis. Are they ready available everywhere? Also is Uber popular in Luxor?
    Questions about Cairo:
    Do you have a two day guide for Cairo? We plan to do one day at pyramids and another at the main market and Egypt museum. Welcome suggestions. Thanks so much!!!

    1. Hi Doug, it’s extremely easy to find any guide or taxi to show you around in Luxior. Actually, there are too many and they won’t leave you alone. As per the prices, I am not sure what would be a fair price and it will highly depend on your negotiation skills. Just bear in mind that, definitely, they will try to rip you off. I suggest you try to bargain with 10 different people and then you will get an idea of what is the minimum price. Regarding Cairo, I don’t know about any guide, sorry. However, there are thousands of guides at any archaelogical site. Cheers,

  7. Great info here! We are currently in Luxor and this information was very useful. Rather than rush everything in two days though, we ended up breaking everything up over a few days (a lot of people don’t have that time). We found it fairly easy to use the public vans to get around most of the places. Some required us to take a taxi one way but if you’re experienced with bargaining, it ends up pretty cheap. For budget accommodation I highly recommend Oasis Hotel. The staff is nice, it’s located just a 7 minute walk from Luxor temple and only cost us $6 a night for a private room (with A/C). Its not the cleanest place, but it is clean enough, especially if you carry a sleeping bag liner with you along your travels.

  8. Raziel Aréchiga

    Hola , estamos en Luxor y la información es muy precisa , muchas gracias , aclaración el templo de Seti si cuesta 60 egipcias , la que cuesta 1000 libras es la tumba de Seti en el valle de los reyes
    Maravilloso el templo de Habu, gracias por la recomendación.
    Otro tip viajen con credencial de estudiante , pagas la mitad en todo , pero tienen que ser menores de 30 años .
    Y por cuestiones de clima nosotros contratamos un taxi que nos cobró 250 libras por llevarnos al templo de Seti , Habu , las tumbas de los nobles , el valle de los reyes y al palacio de Hatshepsut, ya que hacía 41c , pero nos quedamos con las ganas de la bici.
    Por cierto , también tú post de la frontera de Israel con Jordan nos sirvió un buen , nosotros cruzamos en el king Hussein que es tal como dices , es carísimo en cuanto a las tasas que pagas y los camiones ,
    También cruzamos por Eilat para ir a Egipto , fue más sencillo , no cobran tasa de salida de Jordania y no hay que pagar autobus, puedes cruzar a pie . Y si aceptan tarjeta en Israel .
    Otra cuestión para los que van a Egipto por Taba , aparte de comprar la visa que cuesta 25 dólares hay que pagar una carta con una agencia de que no vas al Sinaí por otros 25 dólares , aparte 400 libras egipcias por el paso de la frontera. Puf eso no lo sabíamos y fue una sorpresa . Felicidades por tu blog nos ayudo mucho , espero también aportar algo

  9. Another magnificent place you might want to visit would be Luxor temple. It is different from the other temples in Thebes as Luxor temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a deified version of the king in death. But, it is dedicated to the renovation of kingship; it is said to be where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually.

  10. Thank you for the amazing tips! 🙂
    I am also planning a bike tour to luxor in this Dec . But a little bit worry to leave the bike outside.
    Is it safe to leave in front of the temple?
    Thank you 🙂

  11. Diego Pietruszka

    Wow this is really good information, I really appreciate the time you put to it. I’m planning to visit Egypt (mostly Luxor) in July 2019 (I know is hot, but we can do only July or August).
    My question would be, is Egypt in general a safe place to go with my daughter (19) and son (17)? And also, is July so unbearable hot that you would say forget about it, is better to miss Luxor rather than visiting while is an oven?

    Thanks for you help and please forgive me if my questions are to basic, but we never traveled to middle east and we have some concerns.

    Diego

    1. Hi Diego, Luxor is totally safe, more than anywhere else in the country and it is very family-friendly. Furthermore, I am not sure how hot is going to be. I am sure it will be very hot but not humid, so evenings and nights should be fine I believe. In the end, summer is high season, so if you wear the proper clothing and don’t walk too much around, you should be fine. Enjoy, cheers,

  12. Hello Joan,
    I am reading your web page with great interest and appreciation. Do you think that for solo woman traveller Luxor is a safe place? Especially now in november as may be there are not so many tourists? Greatly appreciate your answer, Monic

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