Once in a Lifetime Family Adventure to Luxor, Egypt

Advisor - Lisa Van Brunt
Curated By

Lisa Van Brunt

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  • Egypt

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Archaeological

  • Bucket List-Worthy

  • Kid-friendly

air balloons float in yellow sunrise over ancient desert ruins
Curator’s statement

My twins have been studying Ancient Egypt in school and I decided to capitalize on their excitement and booked our spring break trip to Egypt. Egypt is consistently ranked on travel top 10 lists as an "up and coming" destination, and it did not disappoint! Luxor is known as the world's open air market, is rich with history that appeals to kids and adults alike, and is an essential stop on any Egyptian itinerary. Luxor is located just a short flight from Cairo in the north, Aswan in the south or there are direct flights from many European cities. Many Nile cruises start or end in Luxor.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa

Facing the West Bank, this family-friendly luxury resort and spa rests on the edge of the River Nile.

Fora Perks
  • Breakfast daily

  • Preferred rates

Four Seasons Hotel Luxor

Set to open in 2025, featuring 200 guestrooms and suites, each with views of the Nile River and the Valley of the Kings and Queens.

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Advisor - Lisa Van Brunt

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Day 1: Arrive in Luxor

aerial view of a valley with an ancient desert city of ruins

You will likely be arriving in Luxor mid to late morning after a long flight(s). Take some time to settle in to your hotel. Indulge in a spa treatment or relax at your hotel pool, watching the sunset from the pool deck or on a felucca boat. Alternatively, if you had a power nap and have some energy to spare, head to Luxor Temple for the evening light show and catch a glimpse of what you have in store tomorrow.

Day 2: Tombs and Temples

staired entrance to a temple in a desert

Today is a busy day and I highly recommend getting an early start (by 8am the latest) to get ahead of the heat and tour groups.

  • Tip: We hired a private guide (Egyptologist) and driver in advance but you can also join a tour group. I do NOT recommend driving yourself.

The day starts on the West Bank (about a 40 min drive from the East Bank hotels) at Valley of the Kings. At any given time, 11 tombs are open and they rotate approximately every 6 months. With your entrance ticket, you can enter any 3 of the "general" tombs. You also have the choice to pay extra to enter the tombs of King Tut (not worth it but you can enter the first section for free), Ramses V/VI (worth seeing) and SETI I (worth seeing).

  • Tip: Decide ahead of time if you will pay extra for any of these 3 as you can only buy the tickets at the entrance. Also, it's hot/stuffy in the tombs with little shade outside so dress appropriately with good footwear as the tombs descend in/ascend out.

Next, head to Queen Hatshepsut's Temple just a short drive away to explore before heading to the Colossi of Memnon for a quick 5 min stop.

By now you'll be ready for lunch and a chance to cool off and rehydrate. After lunch, head back to the East Bank to Karnak Temple. Your guide will take you to the Avenue of the Sphinxes which leads to the awe-inspiring entrance of this magnificent sprawling temple.

End your day at Luxor Temple. You have the option to walk 1.5 miles between the 2 temples but my advice is to drive. Luxor Temple is also outdoors, and equally stunning, but it's smaller and easier to navigate at the end of a long day. I highly recommend visiting both, but if you can only see one, I'd go with Karnak Temple.

  • Tip: This is an ambitious day so if you have younger children or are on a multi-generational trip with older adults I'd suggest splitting this day into 2.

Day 3: Up, Up & Away

colorful air balloons float through the sunrise over grass and desert land

Today starts very early with a 3:45-4am hotel pick up. Trust me - it's worth it (and that's coming from someone who loves to sleep)! The early wake up call is for our sunrise hot air balloon ride over the West Bank. I can not begin to describe how incredible this adventure is (even my child afraid of heights ended up loving it). This is a MUST DO activity in my opinion and was definitely a top highlight on our 9 days in Egypt.

  • Tip: Position yourself on the outside of the basket, ideally in the front or back for the best pics.

When back at your hotel, have breakfast and then head north to Dendera Temple (we checked out of our hotel as Hurghada was our next stop). Dendera Temple is off the beaten path with few tourists making the extra effort to venture here. However, if you do, you will be rewarded with one of the best preserved temple complexes of ancient Egypt. The preserved color and etchings were beautiful! This temple is a hidden gem and was one of our favorites. We only had a driver on this day (no guide) and were easily able to explore and navigate this smaller complex.

  • Tip: Don't miss the "hidden" staircase (there are 2) to the roof.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 3 Days Off-the-Beaten Path in Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Advisor - Lisa Van Brunt

Travel Advisor

Lisa Van Brunt

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Egypt.