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Planning a trip to Luxor? And, wondering how to spend 2 days in Luxor?
Follow this guide for the perfect 2-day itinerary in Luxor.
Day 1 in Luxor
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor
The Valley of the Kings
The Temple of Hatshepsut
The Colossi of Memnon
Start off your 2-day itinerary in Luxor with the sunrise hot air balloon ride.
Hands down, it was a bucket list experience for me. I do not think there is nothing more spectacular like watching the sunrise while taking in the majestic views of the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut, splendid Temples of Karnak and Luxor and floating above the glittering river Nile.
If you are interested, then make sure to review my post Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor – A Bucket List Experience. 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.
- Finally, check out my pictures. Even now, they take my breath away!
Next, head to the Valley of the Kings.
The Valley of the Kings is a valley nestled on the west bank of the River Nile at Luxor. For a period of nearly 500 years, from the 16th to the 11th century BC, known as the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, the Valley of the Kings was home to the tombs of the Pharaohs.
The Valley of the Kings contains some 63 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.
First of all, make sure to review my post: The Valley of the Kings – Top Tips for Visiting to find out:
- What tombs are currently open
- Where are the open tombs located and how to get to them
- How much does it cost to visit the tombs in the Valley of the King, and much more.
Second, you will need to decide which tombs you are going to visit. For me, it was the hardest decision to make. Obviously, I wanted to see them all! I managed to see nine tombs. I bought two general tickets and in addition, I purchased three extra tickets.
To help you out decide which tombs to visit in the Valley of the Kings, check out my post: 7 Best Tombs to Visit in the Valley of the Kings. And, if you are short on time, and money, then find out which three tombs are an absolute must-see.
Next, head to the Temple of Hatshepsut. It is located no more than 10-15 minutes from the Valley of the Kings.
The Temple of Hatshepsut, also known as Djeser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies), is a mortuary temple built by Pharaoh Hatshepsut and dedicated to herself and god Amun.
The Temple of Hatshepsut is built into a cliff face and consists of a series of terraces lined with columns that can be reached by long ramps.
All in all, the temple grounds are vast and there is so much to see. I suggest that, first, you should review my post: Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor – Top Tips for Visiting to make yourself familiar with the ground, first and second level.
Then, find out more about Hatshepsut. To be honest, I have been really fascinated with Hatshepsut and as a result, I read everything that I could to find about her.
Interestingly, Hatshepsut had herself crowned as the pharaoh of Egypt becoming a co-ruler of Egypt with Thutmose III. Hatshepsut’s major accomplishment was opening and expending the trade routes. Her expedition to the Land of Punt is beautifully documented in the section of the Temple of Hatshepsut called the Punt Colonnade.
Besides trade, Hatshepsut oversaw an immense period of building across Egypt. Needless to say, she was probably one of the most prolific builders in the Egyptian history.
Now, here is the most interesting part: Hatshepsut’s successor, Thutmose III had almost all of the evidence of Hatshepsut’s rule erased. It included all of her images on the temples and monuments. Find out why, read my post: Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.
Finally, since there is so much to see at the Temple of Hatshepsut, I compiled a list of 7 Unmissable Things to See at the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Finally, finish off your first day of the 2-day itinerary in Luxor with a quick stop to see the 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. The Temple 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. The repeated flooding caused an extensive water damage to the temple. It is estimated that by the 19th Dynasty, the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III was in ruins. An earthquake in 27 BC further contributed to the damage. Lastly, the pillaging of stone and statuary for reuse in other projects left the temple in a complete ruin.
Now, the Colossi of Memnon is famous for singing every morning at dawn. Find out what caused the singing and why it stopped. Read my post: Colossi of Memnon – A Must-See Attraction in Luxor.
All in all, we are done with the spectacular first day of the 2-day itinerary in Luxor. Time to head back to your hotel. Read on, or scroll to the end of this post to find out where I stayed in Luxor and why I loved it.
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Day 2 in Luxor
The Luxor Temple
The Karnak Temple
The Sound and Light Show at the Temple of Karnak
Start off your second day of the 2-day itinerary in Luxor with a visit to the Luxor Temple.
Construction of the Luxor Temple was begun by one of the great builders of ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh Amenhotep III.
Pharaohs Tutankhamun, Horemheb, Merenpetah, Seti I, Ramses III, Ramses IV, Ramses VI and even Alexander the Great incorporated many many more small additions to the Temple of Luxor. However, the major expansion effort took place during the reign of another great builder of ancient Egypt, Ramses II.
The Luxor Temple was dedicated to Amon, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons.
I wrote a post: Luxor Temple – 11 Unmissable Things to See, so check it out before you go. My favorite was the Processional Colonnade of Amenhotep III. It literally took my breath away!
Karnak is a massive Ancient Egyptian temple complex. It the heart of it lies the Temple of Amun, dedicated to the king of the gods. In addition, there are a number of smaller temples, chapels and sanctuaries dedicated to other deities. Moreover, there are endless halls, a sacred lake, pylons, colossi and obelisks.
The grounds of the temple complex are vast and it takes time to walk from one section to the next. I would definitely recommend reserving at least three to four hours for your visit to the Karnak Temple.
Since there is so much to see, I compiled a list of 9 Unmissable Things to See at the Temple of Karnak, plus I put together a Guide to Egypt’s Most Epic Temple – Karnak Temple. Check it out before heading to the temple. It includes a map with a location of things that you absolutely must see. In addition, it covers: the opening hours, cost of the entrance tickets, and talks about why Karnak was so important and why it is so famous now.
The Sound and Light Show at the Karnak Temple 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.
In addition, the entrance ticket allows you to see the temple complex beautifully illuminated. You will be amazed how incredible the temple complex looks at night with the structures and statues lit up.
Moreover, check out the cost of the entrance tickets and purchase them online. Also, the shows are done in different languages. Make sure to check the schedule before you buy the tickets.
How to Get Around in Luxor
With a Private Guide and a Driver
Honestly, having a driver and a tour guide is the best option of visiting all the sights in Luxor. This option gives you the total flexibility. You can decide how much time you need to see everything at the each place. Plus, having a knowledgeable guide by your side is absolutely priceless!
Now, if you are staying in one of the hotels in Luxor, your hotel will be more than happy to arrange for you a driver and a guide. Needless to say, this is an expensive option, but it is all worth it.
On a Tour
You can ask your hotel for a bus tour that stops at all major attractions in Luxor. It is probably one of the least expensive options. But, it does not give you much flexibility.
Another option is to just book a taxi and head to all the major attractions. You will always be able to hire a guide right at the entrance to each place.
Where to Stay in Luxor
I stayed at Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa and I loved it and I am recommending it. By the way, I am not getting paid for this recommendation. The hotel is modern, spacious, beautifully decorated and meticulously maintained. The hotel grounds are in pristine order.
I used the hotel spa and it was excellent. By the way, the use of spa facilities is complimentary. In addition, I had all my meals at the hotel. There were more choices for dining, then I could possibly manage to try.
Last but not least, make sure to head to the infinity pool overlooking the River Nile.
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And check out my post: Luxor Bucket List – 18 Must-Have Experiences in Luxor, Egypt