This blog post is the second in our destination series, in which we focus on the wonders of ancient Egypt that you can visit while travelling on a luxury Nile River cruise.

In our first post, we described the amazing ancient Egyptian tombs and temples that you can visit from Aswan, the city that marks the start of a luxury cruise travelling north to Cairo. In this post, we’ll focus on the majesty of Luxor, a city you’ll visit further upriver as you follow the river’s current to the nation’s capital.

You’ll no doubt have seen countless documentaries on Luxor as it’s home to some of the most iconic relics of Pharaonic history, including the legendary Valley of the Kings. In recent years you might have watched Tony Robinson’s Egyptian Tomb Hunting documentary, in which the Time Team host travelled across Egypt to investigate recent tomb discoveries. Yes, the rich history of this amazing country is still being unearthed so there’s always something new to see and learn about the ancient Pharaohs.

Luxor – a time portal to Ancient Thebes

The city of Luxor used to be known as Thebes and was the capital of Egypt in ancient times. That’s why it’s home to some of the greatest monuments of the ancient world and has earned the title of the ‘world’s largest open-air museum’. As soon as you step off your cruise ship you’ll see why, and understand why it’s important to take at least of a couple of days here to marvel at the relics and monuments you can visit from here. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Luxor Temple – this magnificent temple complex took hundreds of years to complete and was the largest and most important religious centre in its day. The remains include a colossal Great Colonnade Hall, a mighty pylon and an entrance guarded by two enormous statues of Ramesses II.
  • Karnak Temple – connected to Luxor Temple by an incredible 3 km avenue of Sphinxes, Karnak Temple is undoubtedly one of the most impressive temples you will visit during your journey along the river Nile. It’s a massive complex that also features hidden pathways so is amazing to explore. Just be prepared for large crowds during the summer months!
  • Valley of the Kings – The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom chose this isolated valley as their ‘gateway to the afterlife’ and it’s a truly spectacular sight. There are 63 tombs in total, including the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun. Beautifully painted in vivid colours, the chambers are adorned with images of the burial rites and death rituals of the ancient Pharaohs. The tombs tend to open in rotation, to preserve the paintings, so no two visits will be the same. In fact, there are many tombs still to be discovered at this UNESCO World Heritage site, so the site is constantly evolving. This is an absolute must-see, and the most popular attraction on Luxor’s West Bank, so include it on your list of excursions.
  • Temple of Queen Hatshepsut – Architecturally stunning, and placed beneath stark cliffs, this mortuary temple is an iconic feature among the west bank’s Necropolis. But perhaps it’s most famous for Hatpetsut herself, who ruled after the death of her husband, Thutmose II. Her powerful reign ended in 1458 BCE, and her tomb is strategically placed to reinforce her position among Kings.

These are just some of the delights Luxor has to offer. Next month, you can read our final instalment in our ancient Egyptian odyssey, where we’ll focus on the magnificent relics from ancient Egypt in the modern-day capital city of Cairo, the final stop on our luxury Nile cruise heading north from Aswan. If the attractions in our series have whetted your appetite for adventure – all from the luxury of a cruise cabin – then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have some incredible offers on for cruise and stay packages and can help you select the holiday of a lifetime. Contact us on 020 3944 7935 or email [email protected] and let our team of experts find the right cruise for you.

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