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The top 10 things to do in Luxor with kids

When on a family road trip through Egypt with kids, Luxor must be on your list of places to visit. Luxor is considered by many to be the world’s largest open-air museum. Many of Egypt’s most beautiful temples can be found in this city in Upper Egypt. It’s also the starting or ending point of a Nile river cruise. It’s hard to pick just 10 things to do in Luxor with kids. That’s why, after offering up the top 10, I will leave you with a few extra tips.

Why Luxor is a great choice for a family visit

Your family will explore beautifully decorated temples with columns so big and high, it’ll make you feel like an ant. There’s so much to do that children will love, like exploring the Karnak temple and the Valley of the Kings. And what about a hot air balloon ride excursion over the city? Spend 3 days in Luxor and see and enjoy everything this majestic and ancient city has to offer. One day in Luxor isn’t nearly enough.

Evening view of the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt
Luxor and the Nile river - Egypt

Almost 500.000 people live in Luxor. During the Age of the Pyramids (the Old Kingdom), Luxor was considered to be a very important city. And during the Egyptian Empire (the New Kingdom) it was the capital of Egypt. Not known as Luxor, but as Thebes. Luxor is now the capital of Upper Egypt and its name can roughly be translated to The Palaces.

The city of Luxor is divided into the East Bank and the West Bank, with the Nile river being the borderline between the two. The East bank (where the sun rises) is filled with religious temples. The West bank (where the sun sets) is all cemeteries and mortuaries.

The entire city with all of its monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To this day archaeological discoveries continue to be unearthed. While visiting the city you’ll see many of them partially excavated. Especially in Luxor’s West Bank. There are so many temples for kids to enjoy in Luxor. They’ll feel like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft.

Kid friendly food in Egypt

Now let’s talk food. You can find fresh fruits everywhere, also ones that can rarely be found in Europe, the US or Canada, for instance. Pita bread is also a winner with kids. Fill it up with falafel or shawarma or dip it in hummus or baba ganoush, it’s all delicious.

When you’re on a Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan, you’ll find all these dishes and more, like flavorful rice dishes and tasty lentil soups. But also western dishes like pasta and fries.

Is it safe to visit Luxor with kids?

At the sights you’re absolutely safe. If not with a tour guide, you’ll probably run into some annoying touts, but that’s it. Just watch your bags and pockets, but you should do that anywhere in the world.

Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor - Egypt

If you want to explore Luxor’s city centre, do it in daylight. It’s extremely busy in this area and you’ll need to keep an eye out on your kids. Not only because the traffic is insane, but also because of the large crowds. It’s easy to get lost in the crowds and you definitely don’t want to take the risk of losing a kid, if only for a second, when it’s dark. So save the city exploration for the mornings, when it’s not as hot and a little less crowded. And leave your valuables in your room.

When to visit Luxor

The same advise I gave in my article about Cairo with kids, also goes for Luxor. Avoid a visit to Luxor from May to September. It will be extremely hot during these months. If you do opt to go during this time of year bring lots of sunscreen, hats and reusable water bottles with a filter system. And do all the sightseeing in the early hours of the morning.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re not in Luxor during Ramadan. Lots of tourist sites, shops and services operate shorter hours. Many local restaurants not aimed at tourists will only open after sunset. And that’s even more so in Luxor, than it is in Cairo. In 2023 Ramadan wil start late march and last until late april.

The best time to check out these 10 things to do in Luxor with kids is winter, while it’s peak season. The downside to this time of year are the high prices and huge crowds. Make sure to book well in advance.

Try spring (March and April) or autumn (September and October). A little less crowded and with cooler temperatures. If you’re visiting Luxor in the spring or autumn, you should still pre-book accommodation. If you want to embark on a Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan, this is also the best period. Because it’s even warmer in Aswan, cooler temperatures on you multi day cruise are much needed.

How to get to Luxor

Fly

You’ll probably start your family vacation in Egypt in the capital Cairo. My family and I like to use Expedia for international flights, like our return flight from The Netherlands to Cairo. They usually have some great deals available. But always make sure to double check the prices at the website of the airline to make sure you get the best deal.

For domestic flights, like the one from Cairo to Luxor or Cairo to Aswan, we use 12Go. They offer flight tickets, but also train and bus tickets.

Train

If you need to get to Luxor from other Egyptian cities, like Alexandria or Cairo, you can either fly or take a train from these places. Just make sure you get tickets for an air-conditioned train. You can book all train tickets via 12Go.

Getting around Luxor

While it isn’t a big city, you can’t visit the best 10 things to do in Luxor by foot. It’s all very much spread out. Local transport isn’t available. When you’re not on an all inclusive Nile cruise, or with your own guide and driver, you should either take a taxi or rent a car.

Driving yourself is no problem outside of the city centre. The roads are good and getting to the sites on the West Bank is a breeze. I would advise to use a taxi on the East Bank though, because traffic is insane in the centre of Luxor and around Karnak and Luxor temples.

Now it’s time to get to the good stuff. This is the complete guide of the best 10 things to do in Luxor with kids.

10 things to do in Luxor with kids

Strutting your stuff on the Avenue of Sphinxes

Explore the Luxor Temple after dark

Go on a sunset felucca trip

Count the pylons at Karnak Temple

Feel like royalty in the Valley of the Kings

Stand in between the Colossi of Memnon

Visit the Luxor Museum

Take a hot air balloon ride over Luxor

Climb the stairs at the Temple of Hatshepsut

Start your Nile river cruise

Strutting your stuff on the Avenue of Sphinxes

Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor - Egypt

After years of renovation, the 2.7km long Avenue of Sphinxes finally re-opened in November 2021. It was completed in 362 BC and it was used once a year during a festival called Opet. That’s when the Egyptians paraded along it, carrying statues of the Gods Amun and Mut to re-enact their wedding. And as the name suggests, it’s filled with sphinxes. On either side of the avenue. It really is an impressive sight to see.

The Avenue of Sphinxes connects the two most important temple complexes in Luxor. The Karnak and Luxor temples. While this is a nice walk that starts and ends in ancient Egypt while you parade through modern Luxor, it is a long one. You get a great look of the Avenue of Sphinxes from both Luxor temple as Karnak temple. Pick one entrance and walk part of this avenue to get a good feel.

With your ticket for either one of the temples you get access to this avenue. You can see it as a bonus, one of the free things to do in Luxor with kids.

Explore the Luxor Temple after dark

Obelisk at Luxor temples in Egypt
Pillars in Luxor - Egypt

One of our favorite things to explore was the Luxor temple. We visited it twice. Once during the day and once at night. Visiting it at night, in the dark, felt really special. The whole temple complex is beautifully lit. And you could really get a good look at all the hieroglyphics.

The site closes at 10pm and when you visit Luxor in spring or autumn it will be dark somewhere between 5pm and 6pm. This is not only an ideal time for kids that have to go to bed around 7pm, but also because most of the cruise guests are getting ready for dinner. It will be less crowded and if you time it right you’ll also get to enjoy the sunset first. Luxor temple at night is a true highlight!

Luxor temple complex in Egypt

Luxor Temple by day

While an evening visit to the Luxor temple can’t be missed, don’t forget to visit it during daytime as well. We missed a few things at night, that we did spot the next morning. It’s not a huge complex, so you’ll only need about an hour to visit it for the second day in a row.

Brief history of Luxor

The Luxor Temple is important since it was the largest and most significant religious center in ancient Egypt. Way back when Luxor was still called Thebes. This temple is considered The Place of the First Occasion. As the god Amon experienced rebirth during the pharaoh’s annually reenacted coronation ceremony. It was also briefly a burial site for pharaohs.

The Luxor Obelisks

While you can only spot 1 obelisk at the Luxor Temple on the left side of the portal, there used to be 2. They were carved to stand on either side of the portal of this temple built in honor of Ramesses II. So where did the other one go? If you’ve ever visited Paris before, then you probably already know the answer. It was moved to the Place de la Concorde in 1833.

It wasn’t stolen by the French, although we can’t claim they didn’t try. The first person who wanted to move the obelisks to France was Napoleon. At last, France got its way, because Egypt decided to gift them with both obelisks. In 1840 the French gifted Egypt with a mechanical clock, now known as the Cairo Citadel Clock.

After the first obelisk was moved to France, moving the second one proved to be an unavailable sum of money. The second one remained in Luxor and in the 1980s Mitterand finally retracted the French claim of the second obelisk.

Go on a sunset felucca trip

Sunset felucca ride in Luxor - Egypt
View of the Luxor temples from the Nile - Egypt

Next on this list of best 10 things to do in Luxor with kids is a very relaxing event. A felucca ride! You can find 100s of felucca’s all along the river Nile and the best places to take a ride on the river are Cairo, Aswan and Luxor. Our sunset felucca ride in Luxor was our favorite one. Not just because we could see the sun set. Also because we got an amazing view of the historical city. We loved sailing by the Luxor Temple.

It was so nice to get away form the hustle and bustle of the city. We even got to enjoy a cup of mint tea. It was a magical ride!

Count the pylons at Karnak Temple

Pillars at the Karnak temple complex- Egypt
Karnak temples in Luxor - Egypt

The top thing to see in Luxor with kids is without a doubt Karnak Temple. If you only have time to visit one temple in Luxor, make it Karnak. Karnak is the second largest religious site in the world. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is number 1. If Angkor isn’t on your bucket list yet, check out the post I wrote about it and it will be!

Let’s get back on topic. Karnak Temple is also the most visited site in Egypt, right behind the Pyramids. It seems the ultimate number 2, doesn’t it? Anyway, it deserves all the praise in the world and your kids will also view it as a highlight. While visiting too much temples can be boring for them, this one is most definitely not.

Visit it in the early morning, when it’s not that hot yet and your family will enjoy roaming around the site for hours. Top tip: it opens at 6am and the tour buses arrive between 10.30am-11.30am, so be there around 8am and you’ll beat the crowds.

Obelisk at Luxor temples in Egypt
Scarab at Karnak temple complex in Luxor - Egypt

This isn’t a site you should visit without a tour guide, or temple guide book. There’s so much to see here that you will definitely want to know more about. You won’t find plaques filled with information in multiple languages here.

Brief history of Karnak

Karnak is derived form the Arabic word Khurnak, which means fortified village. It was originally designed to house the God Amun, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu. But, building on the temple continued for over 2000 years and more than 30 different pharaohs added their own twist to the constructions, evidently changing the original intent. Including the pharaoh they call the Building Pharaoh, Ramses the Great. He’s also responsible for the built of the amazing temples of Abu Simbel.

Hide and seek amongst the columns of Karnak

The highlight of this temple complex is the Hypostyle Hall, an area of 5000 m2 with 16 rows filled with more than 130 pylons. Most of them are about 10 meters tall, but 12 of them are 20 meters tall with a diameter of over 3 meters. It doesn’t get more impressive than that. You can easily play hide and seek here. Just be mindful of other visitors ;).

Karnak Temple is definitely one of the best ancient Egyptian sights to visit with kids!

Feel like royalty in the Valley of the Kings

Walking towards the Valley of the Kings in Luxor - Egypt
Carts that drive you to into the Valley of the Kings in Luxor - Egypt

When visiting Egypt’s temples and tombs, a trip to Luxor’s Valley of the Kings cannot be missed. It’s another Luxor highlight for families. It contains dozens of tombs of ancient Egyptian royal rulers. The tombs were built when pharaohs didn’t want to be buried in pyramids anymore. They wanted a more hidden burial place to prevent robbers from stealing all the treasures that were buried with them.

You get admission to 3 of the 23 tombs with your ticket. The other 40+ tombs are not open to visit. You can visit more than 3, but you’ll have to pay extra.

Access is easy for kids of all ages. Small “trains” will bring you to the site. Inside the tombs large ramps and a few steps here and there will lead the way. Banisters along the route make it extra safe and easy.

Inside the tomb of a King

The tombs are all beautifully adorned and in some of the tombs the colors are still very vivid. The further down you go the more beautiful the walls and ceilings are, simply because the light doesn’t get there. All the way at the end of the tomb (or sometimes hidden in the centre, to fool tomb raiders) you’ll find the burial chamber. The large stone sarcophaguses can be found here, but the coffins themselves cannot. They were either stolen or can be found in Egyptian museums.

Inside tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt

Which tombs in the Valley of the Kings should you visit?

I can only tell you about the 3 that we visited. Our guide, from Egypt Eye Tour, advised us to see the most significant and beautiful ones. After some research on the internet, after our trip, I have to say that he did a great job. He truly picked the best ones. Which were the tombs of: Ramesses IV, Ramesses IX and Mernaptah. The last one was our favorite, because of all the beautiful decorations and preserved colors.

King Tutankhamun’s tomb

We didn’t visit Tutankhamun’s (aka King Tut) tomb. It isn’t that special, compared to the others. Not much decoration on the walls and ceiling. And it’s quite small. He wasn’t a really important pharaoh, because he died real young and didn’t get the chance to rule for long. He is arguably the most famous one, though. And that’s probably because his tomb was discovered relatively intact in last century its 20s.

You can find most of his treasures, like his coffin and funerary mask, in Cairo. They can be admired at the Grand Egyptian Museum, when it opens in November 2022. If you’re visiting Egypt before that and visit the current Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square, know that loads of its treasures are already transferred to the new museum. For instance, King Tut’s treasures.

Getting to the Valley of the Kings

Since your accommodation is probably located on the East Bank of Luxor, it will take you about an hour by car to get to the Valley of the Kings. 15 to 30 minutes to get to the bridge that will get you to the West Bank and once you’ve crossed it will take half an hour to reach the Valley of the Kings. It’s a beautiful scenic drive.

Stand in between the Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon near Luxor in Egypt

Next on this list of best 10 things to do in Luxor with kids is a short and easy stop. Right on the road to the other big sights on Luxor’s West Bank you’ll find the Colossi of Memnon, or Memnonia. It’s no more than a quick photo op, but it would be a mistake to miss them.

The two statues that are representing Amenhotep III, are over 3400 years old. Standing right in front of these huge quartzite sandstones makes you feel so small. How did they make them? It’s amazing!

Behind them, you’ll find the remains of Amenhotep III’s tomb. It got ruined through flooding and there’s not much left to see and explore.

The statues themselves are also damaged, due to an earthquake. This resulted in a weird phenomenon, the northern statue started to sing. Every morning at dawn it produced a weird high pitched sound. Unfortunately the Colossi of Memnon don’t “sing” anymore. After the damage to the statue got repaired, the noises stopped.

One of the Colossi of Memnon in Luxor - Egypt

Visit the Luxor Museum

The Luxor Museum - Egypt
Statue of Horemheb and Atum at the Luxor Museum in Egypt

Located halfway between the Karnak and Luxor temples is the Luxor Museum. It’s relatively small, but great for a visit with kids. You don’t need more than 1,5 hours to see it all. Here you can spot some of the treasures from King Tut’s tomb (although the best things can be found in Cairo), royal mummies and a statue of Tuthmosis III that was excavated from the Karnak Temple complex.

There’s no parking lot here, so either walk, bike or take a cab.

It’s open from 9 till 9, but closes for 2-3 hours from around lunchtime. Whether its 2 or 3 hours cannot be said. I guess it depends on their mood. Visiting a museum is always a great activity when it’s most hot out. The airco is a welcome surprise at that time of day. If you arrive around 3pm or 4pm, you can be certain the museum is open again and avoid the hottest time of day.

Take a hot air balloon ride over Luxor

Hot air balloons in Luxor - Egypt

Get a bird’s eye view of Luxor from a hot air balloon. Every day at sunrise, in good weather, the balloons take off from the West Bank. It will take about 40-70 minutes, depending on the wind. The views you will get when soaring over the city will be breathtaking and kids will love it.

You can book your hot air balloon ride via Get Your Guide.

Some kids are sensitive to sounds, do know that at moments when the gas burner fires up, it will be very loud. The experience as a whole is very quit and serene. But be aware that in between those moments the firing up can be scary for sensitive or younger kids.

We didn’t go on a hot air balloon tour while in Luxor, because my son wasn’t up for it. But I have done it multiple times myself and let me tell you: it’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

Climb the stairs at the Temple of Hatshepsut

The majestic Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor - Egypt

We already talked about a valley for kings, but let’s not forget about the ladies. You can also visit the Valley of the Queens (more on that later) and of course a visit to the Temple of Hatshepsut can’t be skipped while in Luxor with your family.

Queen Hatshepsut

Let’s start with some facts about the only female pharaoh in Egypt, Hatshepsut. She was actually the queen of a pharaoh, Thutmose II. When he died his successor was only a baby and Hatshepsut took the title of regent to her nephew Thutmose III. She made all the decisions and ruled ancient Egypt, until she decided that being a regent wasn’t enough.

One day she decided that she was the pharaoh and started dressing like one. She wore male clothes and even wore the pharaoh beard. Pharaohs always wore fake beards, because they didn’t like facial hair. So, she also started wearing a fake beard. Like the men before her.

Beautifully decorated columns at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor - Egypt

Nowadays she’s often referred to as one of the best pharaohs. She wasn’t interested in war, but instead wanted to expand the economy and make peace deals to make better trades.

FUN FACT: Hatshepsut was actually buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. That’s girl power!

Hatshepsut also built many monuments throughout Egypt. Like two beautiful red granite obelisks at the Karnak temple and the Djeser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies) Temple for god Amon. The latter is better known as the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. The one I’m writing about here.

Explore the temple of Hatshepsut

This temple is a funerary temple located within the northern monastery, called Deir el-Bahari. It’s is considered to be the greatest ancient Egyptian achievement. And with all the magnificant buildings we can still visit in Egypt today, that is a bold claim.

The temple tells the story of her life and has 3 levels. The second level is the most impressive with beautifully decorated walls telling Hatshepsut’s story.

Start your Nile river cruise

Egypt Nile cruise with kids - blog post

One thing you can’t skip when in Egypt is a Nile River cruise. The best cruise is the one between Luxor and Aswan. It will give you the chance to see as much of Upper Egypt’s glorious history and visit beautiful cities like Aswan, Edfu and Luxor.  End your family trip to Luxor by embarking on a Nile cruise to see it all!

The Nile cruises depart from Aswan or Luxor and are one way tours. Make sure you pick a family friendly one on either a cruise ship, felucca or dahabiya. The latter being the most eco friendly option.

This is the last of the best 10 things to do in Luxor with kids. I end this post by adding a shorter itinerary, in case you’re pressed for time. And if you have the luxury of spending 4 days in Luxor, scroll further down for some extra tips.

2 days in Luxor with kids

If you want to see all 10 things to do in Luxor with kids you’ll need 3 days. You can also rush it and do it in 2, but I wouldn’t recommend that, because your family will be worn out the moment you leave the city. Let’s make a shortlist in case you only have 2 days in Luxor

5 things to do in Luxor with kids

If you only have 2 days in Luxor and can’t visit all 10 tips, then prioritize visiting these 5 top things in Luxor.

  • Karnak Temple
  • Valley of the Kings
  • Temple of Hatshepsut
  • Sunset felucca trip
  • Avenue of Sphinxes
Temple of Queen Hatshepsut near Luxor in Egypt

Fun things to do in Luxor with kids

Are you spending more than 3 days in Luxor, then you’re very lucky. While I already listed the top 10 things to do in Luxor with kids, there is more on offer. Let me leave you with a few extra travel tips to add to your ultimate Luxor itinerary.

Valley of the Queens

Like Valley of the Kings this is a burial site with over 90 tombs. Not only royal queens are buried here, but also princes, princesses and noble wife’s.

Mummification Museum

In this museum you’ll learn more about the mummification process, that took about 70 days. You get to check out tools and equipment used to preserve the body. And check out some actual mummies.

El Souk

Near the Luxor Temple you’ll find a souk filled with spices, leather and jewellery. Vegetables and fruit are also on offer. Fun if you and your kids want to try fruits they don’t sell at home. Don’t forget to haggle!

Ramesseum Temple

If you’re not already templed out in Luxor you can visit the temple of Ramesseum. The highlight is a 17 meter seated statue of Ramses II. Unfortunately only fragments of it are left.

About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

Get FREE ebook The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road TripBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook group


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About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

Get FREE ebook The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road TripBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook group

Get my FREE eBook!

The Ultimate Beginners guide: Planning a Family Road Trip

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