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There are so many things to do in Luxor, Egypt that a lifetime would barely be enough to explore it all. So, I came up with the most complete and detailed Luxor bucket list you can find online.

So, if you are the first-time visitor to Luxor, I have listed some things to see in Luxor, Egypt, that you simply cannot miss. And, make sure to read 2-day itinerary in Luxor to help you plan your visit to Luxor.

If it is not your first trip to Luxor, Egypt, then, I included some secret spots for your to discover.

NUMBER 1

Explore the Famous Valley of the Kings

Valley of the kings is my number one choice for all the things to do in Luxor. It is the top bucket list experience.

The Valley of the Kings was home to the tombs of the Pharaohs for a period of nearly 500 years, from the 16th to the 11th century BC, known as the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.

Tomb KV9 - Ramses V and Ramses VI

Tomb KV9 – Tomb of Ramses V and Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings

Things to Do in Luxor

The Valley of the Kings contains some 65 magnificent royal tombs.

Nowadays, their contents are gone. However, you can still see the amazing wall and ceiling decorations with religious images and texts from the netherworld books, designed to guide the pharaohs in their journey to the afterlife.

KV 9 - Tomb of Ramses V and Ramses Vi

Tomb KV9 – Tomb of Ramses V and Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings

Things to Do in Luxor

Before you head to the Valley of the Kings, some advance planning is necessary.

First of all, you need to know which tombs are open, and which tombs are worth visiting.

Second, you need to know what tickets to buy (regular vs extra).

Intrepid’s Tip: 

First of all, make sure to read 12 tips for first visit to Valley of the Kings.

Second, what you need to know is that I visited 9 tombs in the Valley of the Kings and here are my recommended 7 best tombs to visit in the Valley of the Kings.

Finally, if you are short on time, the I narrowed that list down even more and came up with an absolute 3 must-see tombs in the Valley of the kings.

NUMBER 2

Visit the Temple of Hatshepsut

Needless to say, make sure you see the Temple of Hatshepsut: it’s a sight to behold. The Temple is built into a cliff face and consists of a series of terraces lined with columns that can be reached by long ramps. It was built by my favorite Egyptian queen who later became a pharaoh – Hatshepsut.

Temple of Hatshepsut

Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

Hatshepsut became the queen of Egypt when she married her half-brother Thutmose II. Upon the death of Thutmose II, she was elected to control the affairs of the state until her step-son Thutmose III was to come of age.

Temple of Hatshepsut

Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

However, around 1473 BC, Hatshepsut broke with the tradition and had herself crowned as the pharaoh of Egypt becoming a co-ruler of Egypt with Thutmose III.

We do not know why and how Hatshepsut died. However, when Thutmose III came to power, he had her image and name completely erased.

As a result, Hatshepsut remained completely unknown for centuries. Her story is fascinating. I encourage you to read more about her. Check out my post and find out why Thutmose III went to such lengths to have Hatshepsut’s name completely erased, then, learn how Hatshepsut was discovered.

Now, the temple grounds are vast and there is a lot to see. So, make sure to check out my post: 7 Unmissable Things to See at the Temple of Hatshepsut.

Temple of Hatshepsut

Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

However, I need to mention that one of most fascinating sections of the Temple of Hatshepsut, is the Southern Colonnade. It has reliefs that tell the story of the transportation of two obelisks to the Temple of Karnak.

In addition, make sure not to miss the Punt Colonnade which depicts the expedition to the Land of Punt.

Things to Do in Luxor

Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 3

Head to Ramesseum

The Ramesseum might not be the most popular site in Luxor, however, after visiting it, I came to the conclusion that it was one of the most majestic sites that I visited in Luxor. It definitely should be one of the things to do in Luxor!

Ramesseum in Luxor

Ramesseum in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

Ramesseum in Luxor

Ramesseum in Luxor.

Ramesseum in Luxor

Ramesseum in Luxor.

The Ramesseum is the mortuary temple built by Pharaoh Ramses II.

Today, the temple is in ruins. However, you can still see the remains of the famous 57-foot high statue of Ramesses II which once stood in front of the very first pylon to the temple.

Ramesseum in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

In addition, do not miss the stunning Hypostyle Hall with 29 columns which still remain standing.

Things to Do in Luxor

Ramesseum in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

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Things to Do in Luxor, Egypt
Things to Do in Luxor, Egypt

NUMBER 4

Discover the Medinet Habu

Of all the temples that I have visited in Luxor, I can honestly say that the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III is one of the best preserved temples in Luxor, as well as one with the most decorated surfaces.

Medinet Habu in Luxor

Medinet Habu in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

I was very impressed by the first courtyard lined with the colossal statues of Ramses III as god Osiris. So, take your time here and get some awesome pictures.

Next, continue to the third pylon, that can be reached by a ramp that goes through a columned portico. Finally, you will reach a huge hypostyle hall. Unfortunately, it was badly damaged. All the columns are reduced to a small fraction of their original height.

Medinet Habu in Luxor

Medinet Habu in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

However, as my guide pointed out, the temple is best known for its reliefs depicting the arrival and the defeat of the ‘Sea Peoples’ during the reign of Ramses III.

Medinet Habu

Medinet Habu in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

Medinet Habu

Medinet Habu in Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 5

Tour the Valley of the Queens

The Valley of the Queens is a place in Luxor where the wives and children of the Pharaohs were buried.

As my guide told me, there are about 75 tombs that have been excavated so far. The treasures that were stored inside the tombs, are long gone, however, you can still see some extraordinary decorations which survived up to this day.

Currently, there are four tombs that are open and that can be viewed:

  • Nefertari (Tomb 66)
  • Khaemwese (Tomb 44)
  • Tyti (Tomb 52)
  • Amenhikhopeshef (Tomb 55)

However, one tomb that you absolutely cannot miss is the tomb QV66 which belongs to Queen Nefertari. This tomb has the most spectacular paintings. As my guide told me, these painings are one of the best preserved and most elaborate decorations of any Egyptian burial site.

Tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens

Tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

Furthermore, the tomb was restored by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and the Getty Conservation Institute and re-opened in 1992. Since then, the public access is restricted to only 150 visitors per day.

Moreover, to enter the tomb, you will need a special entrance ticket. It costs 1,000 EGP, however, it is all worth it.

Tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens

Tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, Luxor.

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 6

Stop By Colossi of Memnon

The Colossi of Memnon are a pair of giant statues made out of quartzite sandstone. Each statue stands about 18 meters high (65 feet) and depicts Pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Although they look as if they are standing randomly in the middle of nowhere, they actually used to guard the entrance of the first pylon of the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III.

By the way, the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III was one of the largest temples built in Egypt.

Unfortunately, the location of the temple was too close to the River Nile. Each year, when the Nile flooded it would fill the temple. Needless to say, the repeated flooding caused an extensive water damage to the architecture and statuary.

Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

Furthermore, Tthe Colossi of Memnon is famous for singing every morning at dawn.

Strabo, a Greek historian and geographer of the 1st century, recorded an earthquake in 27 BC. The earthquake damaged the statues, especially it shattered the northern figure, causing its upper section to fall away.

Apparently, the damage created a fissure in the rock and hence the singing every morning at dawn. In addition, it is possible, that the reason why the sound was emitted only in the morning was due to the increase in temperature at dawn, and the evaporation of dew that accumulated in the cracks of the rocks at night.

When the Roman emperor, Septimius Severus ordered to have the statue repaired the sound vanished.

Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 7

Be Awed by the Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple was dedicated to Amon, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons.

Pharaohs Amenhotep III, Ramses II, Tutankhamun, Horemheb, Merenpetah, Seti I, Ramses III, Ramses IV, Ramses VI and even Alexander the Great contributed to the construction of the temple.

Things to Do in Luxor

Luxor Temple

Things to Do in Luxor

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

Things to Do in Luxor

Did you know that once the temple was stopped being used, it got buried underneath silt from the River Nile. The extend of accumulation of sand, rubble, and trash was so high that the Mosque of Abu Hggag was built on top of the temple in the 13th century AD.

Luxor Temple

Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

A visit to the Luxor Temple can be overwhelming as there is so much to see. My favorite two things were the Courtyard of Ramses II and the Processional Colonnade of Amenhotep III.

However, to make it enjoyable, I narrow things down and came up with a list of 11 top things to see. Make sure to check them out before heading to the Luxor Temple!

Things to Do in Luxor

Luxor Temple

Things to Do in Luxor

INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Luxor Temple – 11 Unmissable Things to See

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

Things to Do in Luxor

Luxor Temple

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 8

Go to Luxor Temple in the Evening

If you can do just one thing in Luxor, then you should venture out and see the spectacular Luxor Temple at night.

It is one thing to see the Luxor Temple during the day, however, it takes on a completely different look at night. Your imagination really starts working when you see how majestic and grandiose it looks when it is beautifully illuminated.

Luxor Temple at Night

Luxor Temple at Night

Things to Do in Luxor

If you are planning to see the Luxor Temple during the day and then at night, then, unfortunately, you will need a separate ticket to enter the temple grounds at night. The same day ticket will not work. The entrance ticket is 160 EGP.

If I were you, I would head to the temple at about the sunset time. You will be able to capture some pretty awesome pictures.

Luxor Temple at Night

Luxor Temple at Night

Things to Do in Luxor

Luxor Temple at Night

Luxor Temple at Night

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 9

Go for a Romantic Ride in Horse-Drawn Carriage Along the Corniche

Get out of the crowd and off your feet and take a horse-drawn carriage ride along the Corniche. Sit back and relax!

Things to Do in Luxor

Carriages waiting for customers to take them along Corniche in Luxor. 

Things to Do in Luxor

The Corniche runs along the River Nile and passes by the Karnak Temple, the Luxor Temple and the historical Sofitel Winter Palace.

In my opinion, the best time to take a ride is in the evening. The Corniche is beautifully lit at that time. Moreover, the famous structures along the passage are illuminated in the evening and they look pretty incredible.

The cost of the horse-drawn carriage rides varies depending on the length of the ride. This is a perfect time to use your bargaining skills. Start off with an offer of 50 EGP and see how the far it gets you.

Luxor Bucket List

Luxor at night

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 10

Explore the Mummification Museum

I have to say that the Mummification Museum is a true gem and it should not be missed. Also, if you are as fascinated by the mummification process as I am, then you will find the Mummification Museum in Luxor very informative.

Luxor Bucket List

Luxor Mummification Museum

Things to Do in Luxor

I enjoyed learning about the embalming materials and looking at the different tools used for mummification.

The museum is open from 9 am till 2 pm and the entrance ticket cost 100EGP.

NUMBER 11

Visit the Luxor Museum

Do not miss this gem! The Luxor Museum’ collection is beautifully curated among two floors. It is displayed in an uncluttered manner with each piece clearly labeled and well-lit.

The flow of the museum is easy to follow. Start off with the Ground Floor Gallery and make sure to locate the limestone relief of Tuthmosis III, as well as an incredible statue of Tuthmosis III. In addition, do not miss the alabaster figure of Amenhotep with his protector god Sobek. Moreover, take a look at the two royal mummies of Ahmose I and Ramses I.

Next, continue on to the First Floor Gallery. Here, you will be amazed by the display of treasures from Tutankhamen’s Tomb.

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum. Image Credit: Matt Howry via Flickr

Things to Do in Luxor

The Luxor Museum is open daily from 9 am till 2 pm. And, then from 5 pm till 9 pm.

The entrance ticket is 100 EGP. You are allowed to take pictures, however, you can only use your cell phone to do so. If you want to use your camera, then you will need to purchase an additional ticket for 20 EGP. Only no flash photography is allowed.

NUMBER 12

Go on a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hands down, a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor was a bucket list experience for me. Honestly, I don’t know if there is anything more spectacular than drifting peacefully through the sky while the sun gradually reveals the panoramic views of the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut.

Trust me, you will love it watching the glittering river Nile surrounded by lush green fields as you are passing by the splendid temples of Karnak and Luxor.

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor 

 

Things to Do in Luxor

It is important that you select a reputable hot air balloon company.

Review my post 12 Useful Tips for Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor . It has everything you need to know to plan your hot air balloon adventure.

  • To start off, it tells you what hot air balloon company to select and which one I ended up with.
  • Then, if you decide on the sunrise ride, you need to take extra steps and ensure that you are picked up at the right time.
  • Next, find out step-by-step what to expect at takeoff, during the flight, and at landing.
Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

NUMBER 13

Explore Karnak Temple

The Karnak Temple complex is massive. It was built over the centuries. Pharaoh after pharaoh rebuilt, expended, restored or changed the existing structures at the Temple of Karnak.

Today, the ruins cover almost 250 acres of land.

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

You definitely need to reserve at least 3-4 hours to be able to see some highlights of the temple complex.

Karnak Temple

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

My favorite was the Hypostyle Hall. It was built by Seti I and completed by Ramses II.

The hall covers an area of about 50,000 sq ft. It contains 134 gigantic stone columns with beautiful capitals.

You will be amazed by the sheer size of just the center aisle which consists of six columns with open papyrus capitals on each side. These columns are 21 meter tall with a diameter of over three meters.

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

But, that is just the beginning. There is so much more to see. To help you out, I compiled a list of my 9 absolute must-see things at the Karnak Temple.

NUMBER 14

Watch Sound and Light Show at the Karnak Temple

If you are looking for more ideas for things to do at night in Luxor, then my suggestion is that catch the Sound and Light Show at the Karnak Temple.

Karnak Temple at night

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

The shows goes on for about an hour and a half and recounts the history of Thebes (Luxor) and covers the lives of several pharaohs who contributed to the construction of the temple complex.

Things to Do in Luxor

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

I have to be honest and say that the show is rather average, however, you will be able to see the Temple of Karnak beautifully illuminated at night. You will be amazed how incredible this complex looks with all the structures and statues lit up. Do not miss it!

Things to Do in Luxor

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

You can purchase the entrance tickets online. The price for the adult ticket is $19.61 and the child ticket (up to the age of 6) is $9.80. Also, make sure to double check the schedule, since shows are done in different languages at different times.

NUMBER 15

Stay at Historic Sofitel Winter Palace

Hands down, the Sofitel Winter Palace is the place to stay while in Luxor. If it is out of your price range, then just do it for at least one night! It is an experience like no other and it should be on your Luxor bucket list.

The Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel is a historic British colonial-era 5-star luxury resort hotel. Its location is absolutely perfect. It is right on the bank of the River Nile between the Luxor and Karnak Temples.

When you step inside, and look at furnishings and artwork, you will feel as if you traveled back in time. In addition, the Sofitel Winter Palace is surrounded by beautifully manicured grounds. Besides the location and the ambience, I have to say that the service was absolutely impeccable. The attention to detail, really impressed me.

Luxor Bucket List

Sofitel Winter Palace in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

The Sofitel Winter Palace houses 5 restaurants. However, the 1886 Restaurant, which serves French cuisine, should not be missed.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to stay at a place where Agatha Christie wrote her famous 1937 novel ‘Death on the Nile’.

NUMBER 16

Eat Traditional Egyptian Cuisine at Sofra

Are you looking for a place to try some traditional Egyptian food? Stop searching and head directly to Sofra. You will not be disappointed. It is one of those hidden gems in Luxor.

First of all, you will love the ambience. This place is quiet and comfortable, and beautifully decorated with oriental furniture, copper lamps, and paintings. Second, the service is excellent. They will make you feel at home and go above and beyond to make sure you have a great dining experience.

Luxor Bucket List

Sofra Restaurant in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

But, above all, try some different dishes. The menu is in English with a description of each dish, so you should have no problems deciding what to try.

To start off, I suggest some cold and hot mezzes, which are small salads and appetizers. And, to narrow down the selection, how about some roasted aubergines with sesame oil, lemon, parsley, garlic & tahina dip. Yum!

Next, continue with the main dish. They have stuffed duck and pigeon, oven-roasted rabbit, or you can try some chicken stewed in spicy tomaoe sauce. My suggestion is to try a selection of khebabs and add Koushry, which is a rice and pasta mix. I have to say Koushry was delicious.

By the way, they have quite a variety of fresh juices. The list is extensive. I recommend trying the fresh guava juice.

If you still have any room left, then go for a traditional Egyptian dessert called Roz Bil Haleeb, which is cooked rice with milk topped with rosewater syrup and nuts with raisins.

NUMBER 17

Go on Felucca Ride

Take a break from all the sightseeing and go on felucca ride. What is more perfect than a felucca ride after a long day of visiting the archaeological sites? Second to none, in my opinion!

Things to Do in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

To start with, make sure that there is some breeze in the forecast, otherwise, it is a no-go. Furthermore, start your sailing right about sunset time, you will get some good photos at that time. However, if you hang on till the golden hour, you will get awesome pictures.

Felucca in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Things to Do in Luxor

And, finally, be prepared to be amazed by the skyline of Luxor as it gradually becomes all lit up.

So, sit back and unwind as you sail along the River Nile and let the incredible Temples of Karnak and Luxor slide past you.

Felucca in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Felucca in Luxor

Your hotel will be more than happy to arrange a felucca ride for you. However, if you want to test your bargaining skills then head to the Corniche. The section between the historical Winter Palace and the Luxor Temple is packed with feluccas. Start your barging at about 100 EGP for an hour of cursing along the Luxor and see if you score a deal.

NUMBER 18

Kick Back in Style at Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa

If you need a little break from all the sightseeing, then I am recommending that you head to the spa located at Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa. It is definitely my top choice for a place where you can relax and get pampered.

First of all, you just want to hang around and enjoy the spa facilities then they are all complimentary. You have a choice of Thermal areas (male and female) which include: steam bath, herbal bath, Lacconium, reflexology basin, experience shower, kneipp walk, indoor waterbeds relaxation room and outdoor thermal garden.

Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa

Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa

Things to Do in Luxor

In addition, check out the Spa’s extensive body therapy collection. They offer a hot stone massage, foot reflexology, facials, body wraps and scrubs, manicures and pedicures.

The hours of operation are daily from 10 am to 9 pm.

Check with the hotel for prices and availability.

Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa

Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa

Things to Do in Luxor

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Best Things to Do in Luxor

That’s quite a list, right? Now, if you only have a few days, what are the most important things to do in Luxor? ok, here are my top seven best things to do in Luxor that you absolutely cannot miss:

  1. Valley of the Kings
  2. Temple of Hatshepsut
  3. Colossi of Memnon
  4. Luxor Temple
  5. Karnak Temple
  6. The Sound and Light Show at the Karnak Temple
  7. The Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor

Do you want to find out how to put all of these sites and experiences into one epic trip to Luxor? Click here to view my Perfect 2-Day Itinerary to Luxor.

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18 Best Things to Do in Luxor (Luxor Bucket List)
18 Best Things to Do in Luxor, Egypt

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