Located in central Egypt, Luxor is home to the second most visited tourist site in the country – the magnificent Karnak Temple. Luxor is where King Tutankhamun’s tomb was first discovered in 1922, setting the world ablaze with ancient Egyptian lore – and this was before social media!
Why Visit Luxor With Kids
Luxor is a place where the imagination is stretched every day as you and your kids explore the vibrantly decorated temples – many still colourful to this day – and colossal columns so ginormous in scale that they reduce you to ant-sized proportions.
Once known as the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor was the great capital of Upper Egypt during the New Kingdom. Must-see attractions in Luxor include the Temple of Luxor, the Karnak Temple Complex, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Valley of the Kings, and the Valley of the Queens.
The city of Luxor with all its monuments was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and to this day, more archaeological discoveries continue to be unearthed. The Nile River divides the city into the East Bank and the West Bank with tourist attractions on both sides.
With all these valleys filled with ancient architectural wonders, you can see why Luxor is often referred to as the “world’s largest open-air museum”, making Luxor a wonderful place to visit with kids.
Children will revel in wandering in and out of intricately decorated columns, exploring ancient tombs, and seeing a multitude of mummies.
Best Time To Visit Luxor With Kids
The best times to visit Luxor with kids are from November to April.
However, keep in mind that the winter season (December to February) can get very busy as it’s the most pleasant time to travel, weather-wise. Hotel prices will also be at their highest during this time. Winter temperatures average 22°C (71.6°F) during the day and 5°C (41°F) at night.
The shoulder seasons from March to April and from October to November will have smaller crowds and more affordable hotel rates.
It can still get hot during the day, so it’s a good idea to plan outdoor activities for the early mornings or late afternoons.
Summers are unbearably hot and humid and with almost all of Luxor’s sites being outdoors, it would be extremely uncomfortable to visit from May to September. The average high in the summer is 40°C (104°F).
How to Get to Luxor From Cairo and Hurghada
Luxor is located in the very centre of the country and is considered part of Upper Egypt.
From Cairo, you can get to Luxor via the following:
- Plane – the flight time is about 1 hour and costs around US$140 one way.
- Boat – you can now cruise Cairo to Luxor (and even continue to Aswan!). The Cairo to Luxor Nile cruise takes 12 days but includes sightseeing while onboard, starts at around US$3500). There is only one sailing each month and none in the summer.
- Car – it will take 11-12 hours to go by road and costs will vary.
- Train – this journey will take about 10 hours and costs around US$5-10 one way.
- Overnight Sleeper Train – takes about 10 hours and costs around US$84-$126 one way.
- Bus – takes about 11-12 hours and costs around US$10-20 one way.
From Hurghada, you can get to Luxor via the following:
- Private Car with driver – this will take around 4 hours and costs around US$150-200.
- Taxi – this also takes about 4 hours and costs around US$50 one way.
- Bus – takes 4 hours and costs around US$10-15 one way.
How To Get Around In Luxor With Kids
You can get around Luxor with kids using a hired car with guide, taxi, bike and even horse-drawn carriages.
On the East Bank, you can even walk to all of the sites now that the Avenue of the Sphinxes has been restored.
Guide And Driver
We recommend getting around by private driver and guide for a hassle-free and convenient experience.
All of your transportation is taken care of and you get to tour the archaeological sites and museums with a knowledgeable Egyptologist. You’ll also avoid uncomfortable encounters with aggressive street vendors.
Travelling by taxi is convenient but oftentimes, drivers will try to overcharge tourists as there are no standard meter rates. Be sure to agree on a price before entering the vehicle.
Most rides will cost between 10 and 150 EGP (about US$0.50 to US$10) depending on your negotiation skills.
You can also negotiate hiring a taxi for a day which is especially useful if you are visiting the West Bank as the sites are very spread out. Ask for your driver’s Whatsapp number and you can text him when you’re ready to go to another site.
Note that Uber, Lyft and Careem do not operate in Luxor.
With older kids, bicycles are another convenient way to get around the city.
Many Luxor hotels will rent bicycles for a fee, or you can hire a bike at any of the bike shops on the East and West Banks. Make sure you ask if the price is per hour or per day, and also be sure to ask for a bike lock, and check tire pressure and brakes.
Calèche: Horse-Drawn Carriages
These horse-drawn carriages – which are also called hantours – are known for quoting high prices and some handlers treat their horses poorly. However, they can offer a nice way to see the city.
You’ll of course want to bargain for a fair price; expect to pay around 5 EGP (about US$0.50) for trips that are less than a mile and 20 to 100 EGP (US$1 to US$6) per hour for longer rides.
Top Things To Do With Kids in Luxor
The Nile River divides Luxor into two parts: the East Bank and the West Bank.
The East Bank is the location of the main city and a few tourist sites. Luxor’s downtown area is filled with modern buildings and amenities.
The West Bank is where the ancient Egyptians built their tombs and temples to honour the dead.
Note that many sites charge an additional fee for cameras and video (but phone photography is usually free).
Luxor has five main attractions on the East Bank and they can all be visited in a day. Karnak Temple is certainly not to be missed.
It is possible to walk to all the sites on the East Bank although smaller children will need encouragement or be carried.
Luxor Temple, Luxor Museum and the Mummification Museum are all located within a few minutes walk of each other.
And Karnak Temple is now linked to Luxor Temple by a 2.7 km Avenue of Sphinxes. If you don’t stop for photos or read the many descriptions, it would take about 45 minutes to walk The Avenue.
Karnak Temple is the second most visited attraction in Egypt, after the Pyramids of Giza, and arguably the largest religious complex in the world (some say that Angkor Wat holds this title).
Without a doubt, this is one of the best things to do in Luxor with kids and should not be missed. Children will have lots of space to roam and will be in awe of all the massive monuments.
Construction of Karnak Temple began in the Egyptian Middle Kingdom and continued right through to the New Kingdom, spanning a period of 2000 years. The complex was expanded and renovated by nearly every Pharaoh ruling in Thebes. That’s around 30 Pharaohs contributing to its construction and trying to outdo each other!
Karnak was abandoned around 356 AD when Constantius II ordered the closing of all pagan temples within the Roman Empire. A few of Karnak’s temples were converted to Christian churches, but much of the site was left for ruin.
As the main attraction in Luxor, and second most visited in Egypt, it can get very busy so we recommend arriving early (it opens at 6 AM) or visiting later in the day. This way you can avoid most of the tour groups that arrive on day trips. And just like the Pyramids of Giza, there is an evening sound and light show that the kids might enjoy.
There are lots of “officials” around the complex. If you are not part of a large tour group, you can expect to be approached by them offering to take your photo with an expectation of a tip.
Open 6 AM to 5:30 PM. You can easily spend two to three hours here.
The Avenue of the Sphinxes
The Avenue of the Sphinxes is a 2.7 km (1.7 mile) long avenue that connects Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. It was reopened to the public in November 2021 after 70 years of restoration work.
The avenue is believed to have been flanked by over 1300 sphinxes and ram-headed statues. Sphinxes are a symbol of Amun, the Egyptian god of air.
It’s an impressive walk to see the nearly 600 restored sphinxes and ram heads. If you don’t stop to take pictures, it will take about 45 minutes to cover the 2.7 km.
Of course, with children, it will always take longer. Be sure to bring snacks and little bribes to encourage the kids along, it’s truly worth it in the cooler winter months.
Luxor Temple was built around 1400 BC. Unlike other temples in Luxor which are dedicated to a god or a deified pharaoh, Luxor Temple was believed to be where many of the pharaohs were crowned.
During the Christian era, the temple underwent a transformation into a church, while in the Islamic period, the Mosque of Abu el-Haggag, dedicated to a revered holy man, was built inside the complex grounds.
Luxor Temple is one of the most popular places to visit (or re-visit!) at night when the area is beautifully lit up.
Open 6 AM to 9 PM. Plan to spend about one hour here.
Luxor Museum is considered one of Egypt’s best museums to visit. It’s not too big nor too overwhelming, and expertly tells the story of ancient Thebes. It also has excellent bilingual information in Arabic and English.
Not to be missed are the two royal mummies of Ahmose I and what is believed to be Ramses I. Also on display are some artefacts from the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
Open 9 AM to 2 PM and then 5 PM to 10 PM. Expect to spend about an hour here.
This small museum explains the processes behind the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification in great detail and can get quite graphic.
The exhibits include actual mummies of humans and animals. Older kids might enjoy the tools that they used during the process including a spade used to dig out the brains.
You can see everything in the museum in about 30 minutes.
Open 9 AM to 1 PM and then 5 PM to 8 PM. Ticket window closes one hour before closing time.
The West Bank is home to some of the most impressive sites and attractions in Luxor. It truly is a treasure trove of tombs, temples and monuments.
Not to be missed are the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Valley Of The Kings
A visit to the Valley of the Kings is one of the best places to visit in Luxor if not all of Egypt. This is where the modern myth of Egypt began with Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
The Valley of the Kings was the royal burial ground for pharaohs from the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties (the New Kingdom of Egypt). Construction began around 1539 BC and continued for another 500 years. The most famous pharaohs buried here are Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Seti I, and Tuthmosis III.
To date, over 60 tombs have been discovered, but your ticket only allows you to visit 3 as they rotate which tombs are opened.
To see the more famous tombs of Tutankhamun (tomb KV2), Ramses V & VI (tomb KV9), or Seti I (tomb KV 17), you will need to buy separate tickets. The royal tombs of these pharaohs are so intricately and vibrantly decorated that they are just breathtaking. Most have withstood the test of time and are still very well-preserved.
For kids, descending into the depths of the tombs can be an exciting adventure and they will love the colourful hieroglyphics.
This is a very popular place to visit so if you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend heading here first thing in the morning or after 2 PM when the tour busses start to leave.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM. Expect to spend a minimum of two hours here.
Valley of the Queens
The Valley of the Queens is the counterpart of the Valley of the Kings, where the wives of the pharaohs were buried.
There are over 90 tombs on the site but the most spectacular one, that of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II, is not included in your entry ticket and must be purchased separately.
The tomb of Queen Nefertari was discovered in 1904 and is probably the best-preserved and most vibrantly decorated of any Egyptian tomb. The walls and ceilings are covered with intricate and highly detailed scenes to celebrate Nefertari’s legendary beauty.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM. Ticket holders are only allowed 10 minutes inside Queen Nefertari’s tomb.
Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
At the cliffs of Deir el-Bahari, you can pay homage to Queen Hatshepsut who was the only female pharaoh in the history of Ancient Egypt.
She came to power during the New Kingdom after the death of her father, Tuthmose I, and her half-brother and husband, Tuthmose II. She ruled for about 20 years during the 15 century BC.
This temple has a much different appearance than other temples in Egypt and the exterior facade is more reminiscent of Greek or Roman architecture.
The temple complex is laid out on three grand terraces rising from the plain and the terraces are linked by ramps. Along the west side of each terrace is a raised colonnade.
Inside, the complex is richly adorned with statues, reliefs, and inscriptions.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM. Expect to spend one to two hours here.
The Ramesseum (Mortuary Temple of Ramses II)
The Ramesseum is the memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramses II (also known as Ramses the Great). It was built in a similar structure to other temples of its time but is unique in that the rectangular floor plan was altered to incorporate an older, smaller temple – that of Ramses II’s mother.
An enormous statue of Ramses II once stood here, at the height of 17.5 metres (57 feet). It is now lying on the ground, broken into several large pieces.
Many come to see this fallen statue which inspired the 19th-century poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, to write the famous poem, ‘Ozymandias’.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM.
Mortuary Temple of Ramses III at Medinat Habu
The Mortuary Temple of Ramses III is often overlooked so there are fewer crowds. But it is one of Egypt’s most impressively decorated temples. This temple complex was modelled after the Ramesseum and is much better preserved.
Ramses III was the second pharaoh of the 20th dynasty, and also the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom.
The temple is unique for having a Syrian-inspired gate and some of the best-preserved reliefs ever found such as those showing the defeat of the Sea People during the reign of Ramses III.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM. You can easily spend an hour here.
Deir el-Medina (Valley of the Artisans)
The artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived here, in an ancient village called Deir el-Medina. Tombs were built here for some of the most prominent artisans – the talented craftsmen who carved and decorated the magnificent tombs.
This site is an often overlooked attraction in Luxor – most favour the larger more impressive tombs of the pharaohs – but it’s worth a visit if you want to see wall paintings depicting everyday Egyptian life.
Similar to the Valley of the Queens, these tombs are much smaller and less ornate than those in the Valley of the Kings.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM.
Tombs of the Nobles
At this site, you will see countless holes in the ground, on the hillside, seemingly everywhere.
These are the Tombs of the Nobles – the tombs of people with influence but who were not royal. More than 400 tombs have been found, and more are still being discovered and unearthed.
If you’re short of time, head straight to see the Tomb of Sennofer and the Tomb of Rekhmire. Sennofer was an overseer during the reign of Amenhotep II and Rekhmire was the pharaoh’s vizier.
Both have incredibly detailed paintings depicting scenes from the men’s daily lives of work and of family life.
Open 6 AM until 5 PM.
Colossi of Memnon (Temple of Amenophis III)
These massive twin statues of Amenhotep III have been greeting visitors to the West Bank for millennia since 1350 BC.
The North Colossus is the famous “musical statue,” which attracted many visitors here during the Roman Imperial period.
The statue once emitted a musical note at sunrise and so gave rise to the myth that Memnon was greeting his mother, Eos. The sound ceased to be heard after the statue was restored.
If travel fatigue sets in, you can make a quick drive-by photo stop after visiting the Valley of the Kings.
Replica of Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Howard Carter’s House
Howard Carter is the British archaeologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in November of 1922. This modest mud-brick house is where Carter lived during the long search for Tutankhamun’s tomb.
All of Howard Carter’s furnishings have been left on display including his camera, personal items, and photographs.
In the garden here, you can also visit an exact replica of the Tomb of Tutankhamun from the Valley of the Kings. So exact in detail that they even replicated the dust from the tomb.
Open 9 AM to 5 PM.
Additional Things To Do in Luxor
Sunset Felucca trip
If you’ve had your fill of temples and tombs for the day, there is no better way to relax in Luxor than to cruise the Nile on a felucca. Feluccas are traditional wooden sailboats dating back to ancient Egyptian times.
Taking a sunset felucca trip along the Nile is a very popular thing to do when visiting Luxor with kids.
You’ll have no problems chartering a felucca. There are boat captains looking for customers all along the Nile-side Corniche Road in downtown Luxor. This is Egypt, so be ready to negotiate.
Boat rides are normally charged by the hour and expect to spend around two to three hours on a sunset sail.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
A hot air balloon ride is yet another immensely popular activity in Luxor to do with kids but do note that you’ll have to get up very early. However, the trip is so magical that it’s worth it.
The hot air balloon rides take off just after sunrise and float over the West Bank, giving you a birds-eye view of Luxor’s temples and tomb sites.
The flight time is around 45 minutes but do expect the entire tour experience to take around three hours from hotel pick-up and drop-off.
There are a variety of balloon tour operators in town and make sure to pick one that is highly rated. The tours generally use large baskets that carry around 24 passengers plus the pilot. They don’t take kids under 6.
You can expect to pay around US$50 per person.
How Long Do You Need In Luxor With Kids?
To see and do all the attractions listed here, we recommend a minimum of three days. Especially if you want to do a hot air balloon ride and a felucca cruise.
However, if you have less time, you can still visit some of the highlights.
If you have only one day in Luxor, start your morning on the West Bank.
Begin with the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Medinat Habu (Temple of Ramses III), and a drive-by photo of the Colossi of Memnon.
If you are doing well on time and your kids are still standing, consider visiting the spectacular tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens. Many believe it’s worth the ticket price of 1500 EGP (US$80). You are only allowed a maximum of 10 minutes inside Nefertari’s tomb.
Then in the afternoon, head to the East Bank and visit Karnak Temple and after, take a few pictures on the Avenue of the Sphinxes. If you still have time, visit Luxor Temple.
If you have two days in Luxor, we recommend breaking up the itinerary above and spending one day on the East Bank and the next day on the West Bank.
If you have three days (or more!) in Luxor, you can visit everything on this list.
Spend one day on the East Bank and then two full days on the West Bank.
The Luxor Pass
If you plan on visiting all the sites on this list, then look into getting the Luxor Pass to save yourself time and money.
The Luxor Pass is a single ticket that includes all of the archaeological sites on the West Bank and the East Bank of Luxor. It allows visitors multiple entries to sites and museums and is valid for five days.
There are two versions of this pass:
- The standard Luxor Pass includes all of the sites on the East and West Banks, EXCEPT FOR the tombs of Seti I and Nefertari. This standard pass costs US$100 for adults and US$50 for students under 30 years with a valid student ID card.
- The premium Luxor Pass includes all of the archaeological sites on the East and West Banks, INCLUDING the tombs of Seti I and Nefertari. This premium pass costs US$200 for adults and US$100 for students under 30 years with a valid student ID card.
You will need two passport photos and two photocopies of your main passport page. And you can only pay CASH in US dollars or Euros that are in excellent condition.
You can purchase the Luxor pass at the ticket offices at Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. They are not available for pre-purchase online.
Where to Stay in Luxor with Kids
The East Bank has more modern hotel options but there are some lovely and friendly family-run hotels on the West Bank.
We recommend staying on the West Bank if you plan on doing many of the sights there. This way you can easily reach the tombs and temples bright and early.
Be sure to look for a hotel with a pool so you can cool off and relax after a long day of sightseeing.
East Bank Hotels:
- Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa
- Jolie Ville Hotel & Spa – Kings Island
- Sofitel Winter Palace
- Steigenberger Nile Palace Luxor – Convention Center
West Bank Hotels:
You can also stay on a cruise ship, essentially a floating hotel, and book a multi-day Nile cruise.
There are many cruise operators that do the route between Luxor and Aswan, you can also cruise between Cairo and Luxor with the option of continuing on to Aswan.
All tours and excursions are normally included in your cruise package but always double-check.
More on Visiting Egypt with Kids
We have a great selection of articles to help you plan your dream trip to Egypt with your family.
We’d recommend starting with our guide “Planning a Family Trip to Egypt“, then for diving into more of the detail, things to do, and how to plan your days we also recommend you check out:
- The ideal 7-day itinerary for Egypt with kids
- Is it “safe” to travel to Egypt with kids?
- Top attractions for kids in Cairo (beyond just the pyramids!)
- Where to stay in Giza for the best Pyramid views
- A day trip to Alexandria from Cairo
- Exploring Aswan and Abu Simbel Upper Egypt with Kids
- Red Sea resort towns to try for a relaxing Egyptian vacation
- Baksheesh! Dealing with the tipping culture in Egypt
- An Egypt family packing list for all seasons
We’d also highly recommend for family a trip to Egypt to prepare yourself with a few Egypt fact books before you go (and keep one in your day bag if you can!).
The guides and Egyptologists you’ll encounter on your trip do a superb job bringing history to life – but the facts and timelines can get a little overwhelming (for the adults, let alone the kids!)
Have you explored Luxor with kids? Are there any other attractions you’d recommend as family-friendly you’d add to this Luxor family itinerary? Join the conversation over at our Facebook group “Family Travel Middle East“.
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