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How to spend a day in Luxor

Millions of visitors flock to Luxor to explore the fascinating architecture, culture and religious beliefs of ancient Egypt. It's also an amazing place for a day trip during your Egyptian holiday and is just a seven-hour drive and ferry journey away from several popular coastal resorts in the lively Sharm el Sheikh region.

Originally the city of Luxor was called Thebes and was the capital of ancient Upper Egypt. Over thousands of years it transformed into one of the largest known religious centres in the Egyptian world. Later it was dedicated primarily to the worship and celebration of the ancient Egyptian God Amun-Ra.

Ancient Egyptians believed that a range of gods were responsible for producing successful harvests, so it was vital that everyone from the pharaoh down paid homage to them. It's for this reason that Luxor became such an immensely important and opulent city. There is something interesting to see at almost every turn in Luxor, but here's a list of the top highlights so you know where to head first on your trip.

Explore the vast open-air museum at the Temple of Karnak

Made up of a mix of temples, huge pillars and ceremonial buildings, The Karnak Temple complex was once a bustling spot that was in constant use throughout the year.

It's also the site of an ancient observatory where precise mapping of the stars and planets were calculated.

The sheer size of the monuments and buildings is stunning, so taking photos is a must. There are also displays and reconstructed images to help you visualise this fascinating site as it would have looked during opulent religious events.

See Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings was the exclusive resting place of pharaohs for almost 500 years from the 16th to the 11th century BC. Its elaborate tombs were designed to remain secret, giving no hint of the immense riches they contained. Building the tombs was regarded a sacred duty to ensure that the pharaohs went into the afterlife with everything they would need.

Over the centuries the majority of the tombs were robbed, but beautifully hand-painted hieroglyphs remain, giving those who come here a fascinating insight into ancient Egyptian life. This is also where you can see Tutankhamun's tomb – although a relatively minor pharaoh, his fame came from his incredible recovered relics.

Walk along the stunning Avenue of the Sphinxes

Stretching for one and half miles, The Avenue of the Sphinxes is a walkway of huge human headed sphinxes. It is believed that there were around 1,350 sphinx statues along this route which connected the Temple of Karnak with the secular city of Luxor.

The purpose of the avenue was purely religious and only used once a year during a ceremony that celebrated the marriage of the ancient Egyptian gods Amun and Mut. Those who walk along this long-standing path will be following in the footsteps of ancient history.

Take in the amazing artefacts at the Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum is located overlooking the West Bank of the mighty River Nile, which is as vital to Egypt today as it was in ancient times. The majority of relics and artefacts on display were found in the Luxor area, particularly from the sites of ancient Thebes.

You'll find fascinating exhibits of pharaonic art, religious and everyday items as well as stunning statues, which were found as recently as 1989 buried beneath the floor of Luxor Temple. There is also an annex dedicated to the history and culture of Egypt's Golden Age, which spans from the 1550 to 1070 BC.

As well as the wealth of history and culture in Luxor there are also exotic souks to explore and opportunities to experience the modern side of Egypt. Whatever you choose to see and do on your day trip to Luxor it's likely to be an amazing holiday experience.

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