Wonderful Highlights of a River Cruise from Luxor to Aswan in Egypt

One of our favorite things that we did during our trip to Egypt was to take a cruise down the Nile River from Luxor in the north to Aswan in the southern portion of the country. It is definitely not just one of our favorite memories of Egypt, but is probably one of our best travel memories overall. Even though the overall cruise is only a few days, the sights that you’re able to see are simply amazing. You have the choice of every type of cruise from luxury to economy, but we went with a mid-range cruise, which was still wonderful. We also had a private Egyptologist that took us to the various places where we stopped, which is a must in our opinion since there is so much to learn about the history and culture.

Karnak Temple Complex at Dusk
Empty Tomb in the Valley of the Kings
Hatshepsut Temple
King and Queen Together in the Luxor Temple
Obelisk Reaching Toward the Sky in the Karnak Temple Complex

We spent two days in Luxor, first visiting the east bank of the Nile to see the Karnak Temple Complex. Karnak Temple is considered the second most visited site in Egypt behind the Great Pyramids of Giza and is certainly a perfect place to start the cruise down the Nile River. We even went back to Karnak that first night to see a light show that took you through the temple after hours with an audio narrative describing more of the history. In addition to Karnak Temple, we also visited Luxor Temple, which is also very interesting and Egypt is in the process of restoring the water feature between Karnak and Luxor Temples that is lined with sphynx statues. That night the cruise ship makes its way across the Nile to the west coast where a full day was ahead of us. We visited the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon, and also went to an alabaster factory where we purchased a couple of items.

Worker at the Alabaster Factory
Statue of Horus at the Temple of Horus
Both of the Colossi of Memnon Statues
Lotus Columns in the Temple of Kom Ombo
Sunset Over the Nile River

From there we enjoyed an afternoon cruise where we were able to see beautiful sunsets over the Nile River. At night we arrived in Edfu, which would start our third day of the tour. From our cruise ship, we were taken by horse-drawn carriage to see the Temple of Horus. It was certainly a great start to the day. We then returned to the ship where we continued down the river to our next stop of the day, which was at the Temple of Kom Ombo. This would be our last night on the cruise ship as the following day we would tour sites in Aswan before flying back to Cairo.

People in the Background Provide Scale to the Obelisk in the Quarry
Entrance to the Temple of Isis
Looking Out From the High Dam
Walking Down to the Tomb Chamber in the Valley of the Kings
Taking a Cruise Ship Down the Nile River in Egypt

On the final day, we focused on the sites within the city of Aswan, which is most known for its historic High Dam. As with the rest of our time in Egypt, the real highlight were the historic sites that we visited including seeing the ancient granite quarry that still has a partial obelisk carved into the stone. We took a small boat out to see the island of Philae where the Temple of Isis was relocated in order to save it from flooding. Although it was hot wherever we were in Egypt, the temperatures in Aswan were the highest, reaching as high as 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44 to 45 degrees Celsius).

Standing Inside the Karnak Temple Complex
View of the Temple of Isis from the Boat
View of the Temple of Kom Ombo
Riding in the Carriage Through Edfu, Egypt
Colorful Column

It was definitely an incredible, if not overwhelming, experience to see all of those wonderful places. It is possible to extend the tour or to spend more time in Luxor, but we found the full four days to be quite enough as there was so much to see and absorb as it was. Just sitting on the upper deck of the cruise ship and seeing the shoreline of the Nile or even watching the local children swimming and playing in the water gave us time to absorb what we had seen. We would highly recommend anyone visiting Egypt consider taking one of the Nile River cruises between Luxor and Aswan.