Are you planning on spending 3 days in Luxor to enjoy an authentic Egyptian experience? Then you are in the right spot.
The famous city that is spread across both banks of the Nile is full of ancient treasures. More than you could ever imagine!
However, it can be hard to plan a trip without some first-hand knowledge about the area. Luckily for you, I have just returned from a trip to Luxor – and I’m ready to spill the beans.
This blog will help you organize your short trip to Luxor to ensure you experience the full charm of the city, at a slow pace. In includes the most important historical and cultural highlights – some of which date back thousands of years.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- 3 Days in Luxor Itinerary – At a Glance
- Day 1 – East Bank Tour
- Day 2 – West Bank Tour
- Day 3 – River Nile Cruise, Night Market & Authentic Dinner
- Places to Stay in Luxor
- Is 3 Days Enough in Luxor?
- How to Get Around Luxor
- Is Luxor Safe?
- Conclusion: 3 Days in Luxor
- About the Author
3 Days in Luxor Itinerary – At a Glance
☀️ Day 1: East Bank Tour (Karnak Temple, Mummification Museum, Luxor Museum)
☀️ Day 2: West Bank Tour (Hot Air Balloon Ride, Sight-Seeing West Bank)
☀️ Day 3: River Nile Cruise, Night Market & Authentic Dinner
The ancient landmarks of Luxor are split pretty evenly across the East Bank and West Bank of the Nile. Therefore, dedicating a day to each side of the Nile will allow you to take your time.
As well as the famous temples in Luxor, there are several museums, that are just as important in displaying the vast history of Egypt. They should not be missed out on the itinerary.
And of course, the river Nile needs some attention during your three days in Luxor. You cannot visit Egypt without taking a boat ride on the famous river.
Following my trip to Luxor, this itinerary is based on an authentic travel experience at a slow pace. It is tried and tested and I can totally recommend it.
Day 1 – East Bank Tour
Luxor feels like an attack on your senses when you arrive. So, I recommend taking some time to get your bearings together.
When I first meandered down the main street, I witnessed a whirlwind of horses and carts, tuk-tuks, and motorbikes all whizzing by, leaving a trail of chaos in their wake. It feels like they go by at 100 miles per hour.
Touring the East Bank on day one of your Luxor trip is ideal. Most of the landmarks are within walking distance. Some others are a very short taxi ride away.
This means that you can take your time and head towards the different sights at your own pace as you explore the city. It also gives you some time to become accustomed to Luxor’s unique vibe.
Morning: Karnak Temple
The Karnak Temple is an iconic landmark in Egypt. Its history dates back to 2500 BC, when its construction started. It went on to take many centuries to complete.
During antiquity, the temple was thought of as one of the most important religious sites.
The Great Hypostle Hall is the largest hall in any temple worldwide. It has 134 huge columns covering the area. As of today, the columns still stand tall and strong.
The architectural prowess is marvelled at around the world. A photo next to the giant carved columns makes for a great profile picture.
As I walked in between the columns, I was in awe of the grand scale of them. I was thinking: “How could an ancient civilization have the skills to build such magnificent structures?”
The small details carved into the columns caught my attention. You can see the ancient languages which dominated Egypt thousands of years ago.
Make sure you explore the full complex. Is is the largest of its kind throughout history, and it has four main areas. The precincts of Amun-Re, Mut, and Montu are super impressive.
Visiting in the morning avoids the crowds, and the midday heat in Luxor.
Top tip: If you want an epic experience, head to the Karnak Temple for sunrise: it offers some unique views.
Afternoon: Mummification Museum & Luxor Museums
As well as the famous temples, Luxor is home to several cool indoor museums I recommend visiting. They offer a brief escape from the Luxor hustle and bustle – and the heat.
The Mummification Museum is on the banks of the Nile, on the main corniche. It offers lots of interesting facts about the mummification process in Ancient Egypt.
My favorite exhibits in the museum were the mummified animals on display. I especially liked a baboon, which looked juicy, but deformed!
Animals were sacred in ancient times. So, they were often mummified. You can also see mummified crocodiles and cats there.
I had always wondered about the steps involved in the mummification process. And this museum displays it in detail. From the removal of important organs to the way the ancient civilizations kept the mummies juicy – you’ll learn it all.
It felt like an unexpected history lesson!
Just a half mile down the corniche is the Luxor Museum. It is another fascinating museum, displaying artifacts from all the different periods in the history of Egypt.
The museum is home to a colossal statue of Amenhotep III. It stands at over 7 meters tall – it is truly impressive!
Depending on the time of your visit, you may catch an exhibition on Ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, I missed out, as I visited in low season.
Tip: Make sure to check out the exhibitions in advance. Plan your 3 days in Luxor trip according to what you want to see.
Evening: Luxor Temple and Avenue of Sphinxes
Time for another temple – who would have thought it! I never got tired of exploring the landmarks in Egypt, especially when they are as magnificent as the Luxor Temple.
It was constructed back in 1400 BC, in dedication to the three gods, Amun, Mut, and Khonsu.
Although some parts of the Temple hae disappeared now, it is still one of the most well-preserved temples in Egypt.
You can see iconic features at its entrance. There is a tall Pylon and six enormous statues of Ramses. Two of them are seated, with the remaining standing.
You only realize the scale of these when you are standing beside them. I was in awe!
Tip: I suggest you visit with a tour guide. I learned some fascinating facts about the temple through our local mate ‘Hassan’, a chilled guy who knows his stuff!
Another notable area of the temple is ‘the Avenue of Sphinxes’. It once connected the Luxor and Karnak Temple. It was pretty cool standing in the avenue, imagining what it would have looked like all of those years ago.
Day 2 – West Bank Tour
On day 2 in Luxor, it is time for the West Bank. It is home to some of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
You will see the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and the Temple of Hatshepsut. They all offer unique experiences to visitors.
My tip: To enjoy the full experience, it is recommended that you visit them by land and air.
Morning: Take a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
Taking the hot air balloon over the West Bank archaeological sites is a truly unique experience. It is one of the main reasons why Luxor is a popular choice in Egypt.
You will have to wake up early, especially if you are staying in the East Bank. You will be required to take a boat over the Nile and a bus to the launch site. All of this before sunrise. However, the rewards are great and your tiredness will be replaced by pure awe.
As you ascend over the famous temples at the peace of dawn, you will see the true beauty of the monuments from a bird’s eye perspective.
A 45-minute flight will take you over the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Valley of Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and of course the mighty Nile!
Afternoon: Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut, and Valley of the Queens
As special as the hot air balloon ride is, it doesn’t take you into the heart of Ancient Egypt like a visit on the ground does.
I recommend that you visit at least two of the famous West Bank sites. This way you can admire the well-preserved temples up close.
You will find original statues, hieroglyphics, and even a tomb with the mummy of King Tutankhamun lying in it. This alone makes the trip to Luxor worthwhile and is a highlight of this 3 days in Luxor itinerary.
I opted to visit the Temple of Hatshepsut and Valley of the Kings and both blew me away. There were some absolutely mesmerizing moments in both landmarks.
I loved the slow walk up the approaching steps to the multi-floored Temple of Hatshepsut. It really built the suspense. I also loved a couple of minutes in solitude with King Tut’s mummy in his original tomb. A bucket list activity ticked off!
The Temple of Hatshepsut is built into the cliff, which is a unique feature amongst the many temples in Luxor. You can explore the whole place at your own pace, or join an official tour.
Tip: The benefit of a tour of the West Bank is the transport is covered with a hotel pickup and drop off. Also, you’ll have an expert explaining the array of Ancient facts.
Although it is hard to remember all the information, you can still find out some amazing facts while on-site. Quite the experience!
The Valley of the Kings is home to over 60 tombs of many of the pharaohs from ancient times. You can visit around 8, if I remember correctly.
You get 3 tombs included with your main entrance ticket. Also, you have the option to purchase additional tomb entries. The tomb of Seti I is the most well-preserved tomb and is abundant in bright colors. I’ll let you decide which ones you fancy!
After your early start and busy day exploring, you will just want to chill out in the evening, to save some energy for another fun day on your third day.
Day 3 – River Nile Cruise, Night Market & Authentic Dinner
A day of relaxation and culture is on the menu for day 3 in Luxor. You can sample some authentic local cuisine in a beautiful restaurant. Make sure you take your time and really immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Luxor.
Morning: River Nile Cruise
Egypt is famous for its felucca rides on the Nile. This makes for a nice relaxing start of your day, although agreeing on the price might not be so relaxing, trust me!
You can organize a Felucca ride anywhere on the banks of the Nile in Luxor. You literally can’t walk 50 yards without a local offering you one…
Tip: If you want a fixed price, then booking a tour in advance will save you some time and energy negotiating with the locals. When haggling, I found that the ‘final price’ wasn’t always the final price, and the locals tried their luck until the moment you walked away.
Afternoon: Dine at Sofra Restaurant
Sofra Restaurant is the perfect spot to try some authentic Egyptian food. This needs to be on any Luxor itinerary.
Located on the East Bank, the restaurant has a rooftop terrace with a relaxed ambiance and amazing service.
I would recommend the Daoud Basha (meatballs named after a king, how cool), and the Tagin Ferakh Bil Khodar (tagine-cooked chicken and vegetables).
Top Tip: Visiting in the afternoon avoids the crowds and offers an escape from the Egyptian heat. If you do plan on visiting on an evening make sure you book in advance, as it is a very popular restaurant.
Evening: Visit Luxor Night Market
Bazaars and souks are an aspect of Egyptian culture that dates back thousands of years. The local and tourist markets throughout Egypt both offer a very lively atmosphere.
The Luxor night market is quite the experience, for good and bad reasons. On the positive side, you interact in a fun way with the charming locals, take part in the ‘haggle’ culture, and even enjoy tea with them. This was a really fascinating aspect of my trip to the market, as I waited for my souvenir to be prepared (a papyrus bookmark with my name in hieroglyphics).
Unfortunately, the locals have no filter and can push the fun and games too far. They shout, heckle, and whistle at tourists as they pass by.
This can be intimidating, especially if you are on a solo adventure. For this reason, I would say a short visit to the market on your last evening is more than enough to grab your souvenirs and have a taste of the local culture.
Places to Stay in Luxor
Staying on the east bank in Luxor is a smart move for a bunch of reasons. First off, it’s where the action is!
You’ve got the city vibe with markets, cafes, and shops. Then, there’s the convenience factor – most of the top sightseeing spots, like the Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple, are right there.
Transport is easy too since you’re in the middle of everything.
And when the sun goes down, you’ve got more options for dinner and entertainment. It’s like you’ve got the best of Luxor at your fingertips!
Plus, if you want to explore the west bank, it’s just a quick ferry or cab ride away.
Here are a couple of hotel recommendations for Luxor:
Luxury Hotel Recommendation: Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa
For a luxury experience, chill out at the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, right by the Nile. They’ve got cool rooms that let you wake up to awesome river views. Their spa is all about pampering, and the infinity pools? Totally Instagram-worthy.
At the Hilton Luxor, it’s all relaxed vibes and the employees are ready to make your stay great. You can pick from comfy regular rooms or level up to a suite with views of the Nile.
You can hit up their spa for some chill-out time. And when you wanna soak up the sun, there are these amazing pools and super cozy cabana hammocks by the river.
Plus, they’ve got seven spots to grab a bite or a drink, with all sorts of tasty food from around the globe.
Budget Hotel Recommendation: Bob Marley Hotel & Restaurant
The Bob Marley Hotel & Restaurant is a great option in Luxor if you are on a budget. It is located on the East Bank within walking distance of the shops, restaurants, and temples.
The rooms are air-conditioned and well maintained with a private bathroom. There are also fridges on each floor to keep your water chilled in the high temperatures in Luxor (quite useful!)
The host is a cool guy and helps sort tours for you, along with answering all questions.
I often came down to reception to hear him singing a random song or two. This offered a nice vibe every morning.
Is 3 Days Enough in Luxor?
There is no doubt that Luxor could keep you entertained for as long as you wanted. However, 3 days is enough time to see the city’s highlights and feel the atmosphere of the city at a slower pace.
If you wanted to see all of the West Bank sites on the ground and in the air, then you could add an additional day to your itinerary.
There are many historic places in Egypt, so staying strict with your 3-day Luxor itinerary enables you to head down the Nile and visit Aswan and Abu Simbel, which offer a different travel experience.
How to Get Around Luxor
Luxor is spread across both banks of the Nile, so your transport options will differ depending on your plans.
Most places situated on the East Bank are reachable by foot.
If you are physically restricted, or the temperatures are at inhumane highs, these are some other options. You’ll also need those if you are headed for the West Bank.
Taxis are regularly available throughout Luxor and iconic in design, with a mixture of white and blue.
They are usually old cars as well, this really surprised us!
Don’t expect a fixed price for any journey though, so either be prepared to haggle or choose to walk!
My Advice: I would not recommend you consider driving while you are visiting Luxor, or any other Egyptian city. There are no rules on the roads, therefore, it is free for all. You are best off paying a little extra to allow a local to navigate the tricky roads for you.
Horse and Cart
Another interesting but risky choice!
Similar to the taxis, you should not expect a fixed price. You can expect to be overcharged, as they are a tourist trap. My hotel host gave me a warning about the scams that often catch tourists.
Don’t let their heckling, whistling and shouting lure you in.
A good option for a short journey. With some good haggling skills before you hop on the quirky mode of transport, this can be a reasonable price.
Make sure you agree the price before entering the vehicle, which goes for any transport throughout Egypt. The locals have a tendency to play games when it comes to money!
Is Luxor Safe?
Luxor is relatively safe, especially in areas frequented by tourists.
Crime rates are lower compared to big cities, but petty theft like pickpocketing can happen. Keep your valuables close and stay aware of your surroundings.
Traveling as a woman, it’s smart to dress conservatively to respect the local culture and maybe avoid unwanted attention.
Joining a group or hiring a reputable guide can also give you an extra layer of security and local insight.
Do you need travel insurance in Luxor? Yes, travel insurance in Luxor is highly recommended. Unsafe roads, petty theft and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy. EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.
Conclusion: 3 Days in Luxor
There you have it, an authentic 3 day itinerary for Luxor – one of the most historical cities in the world.
I am pretty sure that you will be fascinated by Ancient Egypt, just like I was. One thing’s for sure, you definitely will be after coming face to face with the grand temples, quirky locals, oh, and the mummy of the greatest pharaoh of them all, King Tutankhamun!
Use this 3-day Luxor itinerary as a guide to ensure you tick off all of the city’s highlights – and get an authentic feel for the city. Enjoy your trip!
About the Author
Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.
She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.