How to Explore Luxor on Your Solo Trip to Egypt
Luxor is one of the most popular cities in Egypt and one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. It is known for many world-famous historical sites, just as we learnt in history classes in school. This was one of the many reasons I decided to travel to the country.
If you love learning about the past of a place, you will totally fall in love with Luxor. But even if you don’t, there is so much more to see in this city than just the ancient ruins.
There is so much information on the internet about exploring Luxor, so it is very easy to get confused. You may across blog posts on What to do, what not to do, what to see, and so on. I faced the same confusion when I was planning my solo trip to Luxor. And I do NOT want you to go through the pain as I did! Therefore, I will explain how you can explore Luxor on your solo trip to Egypt.
When should you visit Luxor?
To be very honest, Egypt is not really a year-round destination. The best time to visit is between October and April. This is because the temperatures are cool, yet there is a bit of warmth. Other than these months, I would say the temperatures are pretty uncomfortable. And that’s not the best option when you have to travel around the country.
I travelled to Egypt in November, and it turned out great. The weather was pleasant, there wasn’t much crowd, and the hotel rates were low. That’s the best part about choosing the right time to travel. Honestly, the time of your travel is like a make-or-break situation for your solo trip. So, ensure that you plan your solo trip around these months.
How to reach Luxor?
After deciding the right time to travel, you need to know how to reach the city. Do note that Luxor is more than six hundred kilometres from Cairo, so taking a taxi isn’t possible. Instead, you can choose from a couple of options. I opted for the simplest of all. I took a flight from Cairo to Luxor after exploring Cairo. Taking a flight is the most expensive option, but also the fastest and the most comfortable. I ended up paying a hundred and fifty dollars for it.
Alternatively, you can also take a train. It departs every evening from Cairo and arrives in Luxor in the morning. This way, you won’t really be wasting a lot of your time. You can check out various carriages and book the one that suits you best. Ticket prices can vary depending on which carriage you book. It can be as cheap as ten dollars or more than a hundred.
Another option is buses. There are plenty of good companies that offer excellent services. Most of these buses stop every three hours or so for snacks and bathroom breaks. It usually takes around twelve hours for the trip, which is decent. The cost of a ticket ranges from fifteen to twenty-five dollars. This is the best option if you are travelling on a budget.
Where to stay in Luxor?
After reaching Luxor, it’s time to choose a place to stay at. There are many options to choose from, and the best part is that all of these are fantastic! You can experience great hospitality, comfort, and top-class amenities, depending on how much you are willing to spend.
So, there are East and West Banks in Luxor. East Bank is more inclined towards touristy things like the major international hotels and restaurants. Also, life in the East Bank is busier. If you choose accommodation in the West Bank, you will be closer to the locals and most of the major sites in the city. There will be less hassle and more tranquility here, and maybe, that’s why it is referred to as “the side of the dead.” Mostly, tourists tend to stay on the East Bank but spend a lot of time on the west. And if you may ask me, I wouldn’t mind choosing either of them because there is a ferry option available 24/7 for 2EGP. So, it is easy to cross, either way.
I will mention some of my favourite hotels in Luxor. On the other hand, you can choose hostels and dorms if you are on a tight budget.
Nefertiti Hotel Luxor
Address: Al-Sahaby Lan, Opposite Luxor Temple, Luxor City Centre, Luxor
Price: 240EGP/night ($15)
Nefertiti Hotel is one of the well-known hotels in Luxor. So, I decided to spend my first couple of days here. It is ideally located, and getting around the city is a piece of cake. The rooms were spacious and had an air conditioner. The staff was helpful too and is available 24-hours a day. There are a variety of drinks and dishes served on the rooftop, which taste delicious! You can smoke shisha on the rooftop and make some friends, too, while you’re at it.
Address: West Bank, Al Aqaletah, Luxor
Price: 550EGP/night ($35)
Djorff Palace is one of the best places that you can choose to stay in Luxor. The hotel is massive and has an Egyptian vibe. It also has an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, and a garden. Rooms are very comfortable, and all the necessary facilities are available here. They also provide excellent continental breakfast for free! The staff is friendly and can give you a hotel tour if you ask. You can opt for this place if you wish to stay like an Egyptian.
Address: Gezira El Bairat, West Bank, Al Bairat, Luxor
Price: 220EGP/night ($14)
As I usually prefer to travel on a budget, I decided to spend a day or two in Amon Hotel. It is a cosy place with homely vibes, surrounded by a tropical garden. The rooms are air-conditioned, clean and very comfortable. They also serve complimentary breakfast. You can have it either in your room or in the garden if you want to. The best part is that the hotel can also arrange trips and safaris at your request. I
Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa
Address: 13 P.O. Box, El-Karnak, Luxor
Price: 750EGP/night ($48)
Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa is one of the most affordable luxury hotels in the city. I decided to spend a night here and check it out myself. It is ideally located and getting to places wasn’t a problem. Hilton Hotels are known for their top-class services and friendly staff, and this place is no exception! As this is a luxury hotel, all modern comforts like television, slippers, bathtub, gym, swimming pool, spa, and many others are available here. My stay here was fantastic! If you are okay with spending a little extra money, you should definitely check this out.
What to see in Luxor?
After checking into my hotel, I took a little nap and went out to explore places. I must say, there is a lot to see in the city and you will never fall short of places to explore—historical sites, tourist attractions, palaces, pyramids, temples, tombs, museums. I will tell you about some of the places that you MUST see in Luxor. If all of this doesn’t excite you, you can always do some non-touristy things here, just like I did!
I decided to go to this beautiful architecture without a guide and didn’t face any problem. It did take a couple of hours to complete the tour, but it was totally worth it. It was built more than two thousand years ago, and the history of this place is fascinating. The reason for its popularity is that it is believed to be a place of worship where God Amun would interact with people directly.
I am someone who is really interested in knowing about the history of a place. I had already visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and decided to visit Luxor Museum too. Even though this isn’t as extensive as the one in Cairo, the collection of antiques here makes this place a must-visit. The Kamose stela, crocodile God Sobek, mummies of Ahmose I and Ramesses I, statues of Amenhotep, and Amenhotep III are some of the most interesting ones.
Valley of the Kings
No trip to Luxor is complete without visiting Valley of the Kings. Being one of Egypt’s most popular tourist attractions, it is the final resting place of kings from the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. It houses around sixty-three tombs, out of which at least twenty contain the actual remains of pharaohs. The tombs are opened on a rotational basis to preserve them from decay. I bought a separate ticket for KV62, which is where the tomb of Tutankhamun is present.
Hot air balloon ride
Visiting tourist attractions and historical sites is excellent. However, indulging in some adventurous activities while exploring places is even better. I was hesitant to take the ride at first, but I set aside all my fears and went for it. The tour started from the West Bank at dawn. After take-off, we went over the Valley of the Kings and the green farming fields. The views were simply stunning, which cannot be explained in words! Even though the flight time is around 45 minutes, the tour took about 3 hours from being picked up at the hotel and dropped back.
You cannot skip this place from your itinerary even if you stay in Luxor just for a day! Located on the East Bank of the Nile in the city, it is pretty convenient for you to pay a visit to this temple if your accommodation is on the East Bank. It is open for visitors from 6 am in the morning till 10 pm in the night. So you can pay a visit here either early in the morning, just before you leave for Cairo, or in the late evening after your day tour of the sites on the West Bank. I’d recommend you visit the monument in the morning as soon it is open, so you can click portraits amidst the beautiful pillars without too many people bothering you!
Located near the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank of the Nile, Hatshepsut temple is one of the mesmerising architectures in the country! The story of Queen Hatshepsut is quite intriguing since she was the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Egypt. The temple looked like a movie set from Hollywood! And, ladies, please carry a pair of sunglasses, lather a good amount of sunscreen on your exposed parts, and take a MASSIVE water bottle in your backpack because there will be a lot of walking and climbing of stairs involved. And there is no place unexposed to the searing heat surrounding the temple!
Where to eat in Luxor?
I was starving after exploring all these places. I mean, anyone would be! So, I decided to visit a restaurant and try out some local Egyptian food because I love trying new delicacies. The challenging part was finding places to eat. But don’t worry, I will make the job easier for you. I will mention some of the best restaurants that you can visit in the city. On the other hand, you can also visit cafes if you do not wish to have a full-blown meal.
Aisha is one of the best restaurants in Luxor that serves authentic Egyptian food and also some English food. So, I decided to visit it. The staff was amiable, professional, and quick. It was pretty busy due to its popularity. But finding a place to sit shouldn’t be a problem on most weekdays. I had spicy beef shawarma—my taste buds worshipped me—it was one of the best food I had in Egypt!
Nile View Restaurant
As it is located on the banks of the River Nile, getting here is easy. The reason I chose to visit this restaurant is the excellent reviews I read online. Upon reaching, I was amazed by the stunning views. They serve Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant is very basic and has a homely vibe to it. All in all, it’s a great restaurant if you’re exhausted after your long day tour—which is bound to happen—and want to have dinner with great views.
Al-Sahaby Lane Restaurant
This is a posh restaurant and also one of the most popular in Luxor. They offer a wide variety of cuisines, including Egyptian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and vegan dishes, all of which are delicious. While you can visit the restaurant for lunch or dinner and have a great time, I recommend that you go for some snacks or for dinner before sunset and for views from the rooftop. Trust me, it looks beautiful! Not only can you click some pictures of the sunset, but also of the food, which is artistically served.
When it comes to budget-friendly restaurants in Luxor, this one is right up at the top. I didn’t know that it existed until I came across it when I was super tired and hungry after my souvenir shopping. And I am glad that it caught my attention! The owner is the chef of the restaurant, and he is very friendly. The food is delicious, fresh and I totally loved it. Also, everything is reasonably priced here, which is like the icing on the cake!
What to expect from Luxor?
Spending a couple of days in Luxor is enough to explore most places. However, you can also spend three days if you wish to explore it in great detail. No matter what you decide, you will have a memorable time and take back memories to cherish for a lifetime.
If you want to explore some more places, click here and check out every major attraction in the country. Also, make sure that you have Luxor in your itinerary after Cairo. That’s just my suggestion, and you can always do what works best for you. Most importantly, do not forget to have fun and make the most of your time. Happy travelling!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.