Luxor, located in Southern Egypt, sits on the River Nile on top of the site of the ancient ruined Egyptian city of Thebes. Here, you’ll be amazed at the history and culture contained in the incredible temples (Karnak and Luxor), monuments and tombs which are all found either within the modern city of Luxor or in close proximity. With all these ruins and temples on your doorstep it is easy to understand why Luxor has gained the title of the ” world’s greatest open air museum”.

On the opposite side of the Nile, on the west bank lies the Theban Necropolis which is where the ancient Egyptians buried their royalty in majestically places such as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.

Luxor is much bigger than many people initially think. What many consider as Luxor is actually three different areas which are the City of Luxor on the east bank, Karnak to the north and Thebes on the west bank of the Nile.

Luxor holiday so not just be soley about the temples, ruins and monuments take time out and enjoy the romantic atmosphere with a relaxing stroll down to Nile.  The Nile, the longest river in the world, was and is the lifeline of Egypt and this romantic river is an attraction in itself. One of the best ways to enjoy the Nile is to take a feluca, a traditional wooden sailing boat, to Banana Island.

Luxor Hotels

Luxor has a wealth of hotels to to cater every demand. From the famous 5 star Winter Palace Hotel to numerous 3 and 4 star hotels there is a hotel which will suit every pocket. If you are lucky you may even pay budget accommodation prices and get a 5 star luxury hotel.

As with many tourist destinations in Egypt you’ll find that hotels and supporting tourist industry are willing and ready to make your stay in Luxor as pleasurable and memorable as possible.

Luxor Shopping

Luoxr is not the place to go for large shopping malls. Instead you’ll find a more traditional approached to shopping in the bazaars, souks and stalls where you can discover the true joy of finding a treasured souvenir or bargain or both! The best places to go shopping are the Salah el din Square, Television Street, the Nile Shopping Centre (stalls which line the banks of the Nile close to Luxor Temple).

A favourite place for souvenir hunters to go is the Sharia al-Lokanda. In and around this street you can soak up the atmosphere or eat in one of the many restaurants, cafes or explore the bazaars and find the perfect memento, obviously after haggling for it! The Fair Trade Centre in Luxor is certainly worth a visit. It is a non-profit organisation where you can buy handcrafted souvenirs etc made by craftsman for a fair price.

Don’t limit your shopping experience to Luxor itself. Why not explore the surrounding village on the west bank? One such place is El Gezira which is perhaps the best place to go to buy alabaster – the regions most famous product. When buying alabaster examine it carefully for flaws and cracks if it has too many reject the piece as they will easily break especially in transit. When a piece is made the figure or vase is dipped in hot wax which fills the cracks and voids in the stone and is then polished which give the alabaster an amazing wet appearance and highlights the stones natural beauty.

While out exploring the villages of the west bank, don’t miss a trip to the Nefertari Papyrus Institute for hand painted papyrus. You may find that many stalls throughout the region claim to be selling of papyrus but in actual fact they are fakes made from banana leaves. To check it is not a fake hold the papyrus up to the light, if you can see the fibres running horizontally and vertically through the paper then it is probably papyrus. Another check to do is check if the papyrus is brittle so roll the paper out before buying it, real papyrus is not brittle, that’s why it lasts so long!

Luxor Entertainment

Luxor is not really a nightlife destination so don’t go expecting to dance away all night. That said Luxor does have a lot to offer at night. River cruises, light and sound shows, even a relaxing stroll in the town or down my the river.

Of course you’ll find the ubiquitous Brit Bar and even some nightclubs. However, unlike Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada, Luxor offers a more traditional and relaxing way to enjoy the nights.

The light shows in the temples, especially Karnak are certainly worth visiting. Although don’t go filled with great expectation, after all it is only a light and sound show. If you do this you’ll enjoy it for what it is, an experience!

Luxor Weather

Luxor in the summer can be extremely dry and hot with temperatures reaching an egg frying 42°C – scorchio but in the evenings the temperature can dip to 24°C. In this period Luxor can be plagued with hot winds blowing in from the desert making things rather uncomfortable. Perhaps the best time to visit Luxor is during the winter months where daytime temperatures are a more reasonable 25°C however the nighttime temperatures of around 6-10°C can make things a wee bit uncomfortable so bets take a jumper or jacket at night. Perhaps the bets thing about going in this time of year is that you can sit outside enjoying the heat of the sun, sipping a cool beer or coffee in the full knowledge that it will be heaving it down back home! Ah the delights of being smug. As for rain – none!

Luxor Visa

An Egyptian Visa is required for Luxor and this costs £15 (2008). A visa can be obtained at the airport or by post or person via the Egyptian Consulate. Many people have complained about being ripped off by tour reps, so if you are worried about this then your are probably better to contact the Egyptian Consulate for more information about visas. You should also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months before entering Egypt.