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5 Best Day Trips from Luxor, Egypt -
You Do Not Want to Miss (with MAPS and PHOTOS)
There is a lot to do in Luxor. And, you could easily spend a few days exploring this incredible place.
However, sometimes it is nice to take a break from the busy city life and discover some places around it. There are plenty of rewarding and easy day trips from Luxor.
Plus, Luxor makes a great home base to explore southern Egypt.
Here are 5 great day trips from Luxor!
The Temple of Khnum at Esna
The Temple of Horus at Edfu
The Temple of Kom Ombo
The Temple of Hathor at Dendera
The Temples of Abydos
Day trip from Luxor to the Temple of Khnum at Esna
Image Credit: Hatty 321 via Flickr
The city of Esna is located 55 kilometers south of Luxor. It takes about 1 hour to reach Esna. All in all, the Temple of Khnum at Esna is one of the easy day trips from Luxor that can be accomplished in a few hours.
Image Source: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME
The temple was erected in the Ptolemaic Period and decorated mainly in Roman times. It was built in honor of god Khnum, as well as his consorts Menhit and Nebtu, their son, Heka, and also the goddess Neith.
The temple sits below the present ground level. So far, only the Hypostyle Hall has been excavated and it is well preserved. Other parts of the temple are still buried beneath the surrounding buildings of the city of Esna.
Image credit: Hatty321 via Flickr
Once you reach the temple, make sure to take a good look at the front wall of the Hypostyle Hall. It has 6 columns joined by screening walls with beautiful reliefs.
Next, continue on and step inside the Hypostyle Hall. You will be amazed by how stunning it is.
The Hypostyle Hall consists of 24 impressive columns arranged in six rows. The lotus leaf capitals of the columns are elaborate and exquisitely decorated. In addition, if you look closely, you will notice that they all have different decorations.
The side walls of the Hypostyle Hall are finely decorated as well. You can see the reliefs showing Roman emperors wearing traditional Egyptian clothing and performing religious ceremonies. The back wall of the Hypostyle Hall have reliefs depicting god Khnum.
Khnum was one of the earliest-known Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile.
Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter’s wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers’ wombs.
He later was described as having molded the other deities, and he had the titles “Divine Potter” and “Lord of created things from himself”.
Day Trip from Luxor to the Temple of Horus at Edfu
The Temple of Horus at Edfu is located 109 km south of Luxor. It roughly takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach the city of Edfu.
Just want to give you heads up, that when I went to Edfu, once I reached the city limits, I had to take a horse drawn carriage to get to the temple. I was told that the streets leading to the temple are so narrow, that cars or buses are not permitted on these streets. It was not an inconvenience, instead it made it as one of the more interesting day trips from Luxor.
Image Source: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME
As my guide told me, the Temple of Horus at Edfu was built during the Ptolemaic Period. Specifically, it was started in 237 BC by Ptolemy III Euergetes and finished some 180 years later, around 57 BC by Ptolemy XII Auletes. The temple was dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus.
Once you get to the temple, take your time and notice the entrance to the temple. It is composed of an impressive Pylon.
The front of the Pylon is decorated with reliefs of Pharaoh Ptolemy XII defeating his enemies.
Next, cross the Pylon and turn around. The back of the Pylon has some amazing reliefs depicting Happy Reunion feast, in which Horus of Edfu is united with Hathor of Dendera.
And , then, take your time and enjoy the magnificent Courtyard surrounded by columns with open papyrus capitals.
Next, continue to the majestic Outer Hypostyle Hall made up of twelve columns in two rows.
Furthermore, beyond the Outer Hypostyle Hall lies the second, smaller, yet even more impressive, the Inner Hypostyle Hall. It has twelve columns which are lined up in three rows.
Eventually, you will reach the Naos. It is the oldest part of the Temple of Horus at Edfu. It was built by Nectanebo II.
Today, you can still see a black monolithic block engraved with the cartouche of Nectanebo II. As my guide told me, the shrine contained the sacred barks of Horus and Hathor which were used in processions. As well as, the statue of Horus.
For more details of what else to see at the Temple of Horus at Edfu, how to get there, and how much are the entrance tickets, made sure to read my post: Why Temple of Horus at Edfu Needs to Be in Your Egypt Itinerary.
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Day Trip from Luxor to the Temple of Kom Ombo
The Temple of Kom Ombo is a stunning temple located 166 km from south of Luxor. It takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach the temple grounds. It is one of the longer day trips from Luxor, but it is so worth the extra time required to get there.
Image Source: Map data ©2020 Mapa GISrael, ORION-ME
I was lucky to get the Temple of Kom Ombo right before sunrise and managed to capture some stunning images of the temple. Make sure to check them out before you go: 9 Epic Things to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo.
Interestingly, the Temple of Kom Ombo is a double temple dedicated to two triads of deities.
The eastern half of the temple is devoted to the triad consisting of the crocodile god Sobek – god of the Nile and creator of the world, his wife Hathor, and their son Khonsu.
The western side of the temple is assigned to second group consisting of the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder) – god of the sky and protector of the king, his wife Tasenetnofret, and their child Panebtawy
For me the most impressive sections of the Temple of Kom Ombo were the Courtyard and the Hypostyle Hall.
Next, make sure not to miss the reliefs of the ancient Egyptian calendar. The reliefs are located on the inner section of the outer enclosure wall.
The calendar represents a yearly schedule of events specifically related to the Temple of Kom Ombo. It acted as an agenda for priests and priestesses at the temple. It helped to schedule and organize the services and rituals.
My guide showed me how to decipher the hieroglyphs of the calendar. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to understand how the calendar worked. By the way, check out my post and learn to read the hieroglyphs as well.
Another fascinating relief that you should not miss at the Temple of Kom Ombo is the one depicting the medical and surgical instruments used in the ancient Egypt. You will be able to clearly see forceps, medicine bottles, prescriptions, curettes, weighing scale, cupping glasses, and many others. So make sure to read my post and find out more details.
Finally, right next to the Temple of Kom Ombo is a Crocodile Mummy Museum that you should not miss. The museum is fascinating!
I was very impressed how well the Crocodile Mummy Museum was organized and signed.
Day Trip from Luxor to the Temple of Hathor at Dendera
The Temple of Hathor at Dendera is located 78 km north of Luxor. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the temple traveling from Luxor. Needless to say, it is one of the best day trips from Luxor that you should not miss.
Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Mapa GISrael, ORION-ME
The Temple of Hathor was founded by Ptolemy XII in 54 BC. However, the majority of the construction happened during the reign of Queen Cleopatra VII.
The Hypostyle Hall is probably one of the most impressive structures I have seen in Egypt. It consists of 18 massive columns that are supporting the ceiling. Each column has a four-sided capital which depicts the cow-eared goddess Hathor. Unfortunately, every one of the images of the goddess was vandalized.
The ceiling of the Hypostyle Hall is absolutistly amazing. First of all, it is well preserved and the colors are still extremely vibrant.
The ceiling is divided into 7 sections with incredible engravings of astronomical figures.
The one relief that really captured my attention depicted the image of the sky goddess Nut who swallows the sun disk every evening in order to give birth to it at dawn.
Finally, make sure to stop by the Chapel of Osiris and take a look at the ceiling of the chapel. It has a relief of a famous disk called Zodiac of Dendera.
As my guide told me, the disk is unique because it is the first known depiction of the starts in the form of a zodiac in Egypt.
Day Trip from Luxor to the Temples of Abydos
The Temples of Abydos are situated 174 miles north of Luxor. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach the temple complex.
Image credit: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME
Abydos was the center of worship of Osiris, the god of the dead. In addition, it was a necropolis and a place of pilgrimage. Once, at least ten temples were part of the complex. Today, only three of these temples remain. They include the Temple of Seti I, the Great Osiris Temple, and the Temple of Ramses II.
The Temple of Seti I was built by both Seti I and his son Ramses II. The construction began in about 1300 BC. Today, you enter the temple through the Courtyard which leads to the First and then the Second Hypostyle Hall.
The Second Hypostyle Hall has some of the most amazing reliefs. They rank among the finest achievements of Egyptian sculpture.
The Second Hypostyle Hall boasts the famous Abydos Pharaoh List. It is located in the south section of the Hypostyle Hall. The list contains the names of 76 pharaohs. It begins with the first pharaoh of Egypt, Menes, and continues to Seti I. The name of my most favorite Pharoah Hatshepsut was omitted. As well as, the name of the Pharaoh Akhenaten.
Another interesting feature inside the Temple of Seti I are the mysterious hieroglyphs.
To me they do resemble the modern day machines like a yacht, submarine, fighter plane and helicopter.
IWhat do you think?
Once you are done exploring the Temple of Set I, head to the Great Osiris Temple.
Much of the temple is is ruins. The excess to the temple is limited. However, it is still worth a look.
Finally, make your way to the Temple of Ramses II. Unfortunately, today not much is left of the temple. However, you can still see the remains of the columns and a door frame make of pink and black granite.
That’s quite a list, right?
Now, if you only have time for one day trip from Luxor, where should you go?
My Number 1 Day Trip from Luxor
If you only have time for one day trip from Luxor, then I would recommend combining the the visit to the Temples of Abydos with a visit to the Temple of Dendera.
Image Credit: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME
First of all, start your day super early. I am talking about 5 or 6 am. Next, head directly to the Temples of Adybos. It will take you about 2.5 hours to reach the temple complex. And, about 2-3 hours to explore the temple grounds.
Once you are done exploring the Temples of Adybos, head directly to the Temple of Dendera. It will take you about 1.5 hours to get to Temple of Dendera from the Temples of Abydos. Again, plan on spending about 2 hours at the Temple of Dendera. Once you are done, head back to Luxor, which should take you about 1.5 hours.
In addition, I want to recommend a couple more trips from Luxor that would require either overnight accommodations or taking a flight instead of driving. The first one is: Gebel el-Silsila and an absolute must-see place: Abu Simbel.
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