Sooner or later, every vacationer in Egypt's Red Sea destinations of Marsa Alam or Hurghada is faced with the question whether to take a day trip to Luxor. In the end, the only reasonable answer to the question of whether to go or not is: Yes! Let me show you why.
Here's a trip report of my journey from the coastal paradise of Marsa Alam to the awe-inspiring wonders of Luxor, known as the world's largest open-air museum.
Let's dive into the enchanting tales of ancient Egypt and explore the magnificent temples and tombs that have stood the test of time.
This post contains selected affiliate links, which help to keep this blog up and running. Should you make a purchase or booking after clicking one of these links, I may receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
The Journey Begins
The adventure commences (early!) in Marsa Alam, a haven for sun-seekers and diving enthusiasts. In my case, pick-up from the Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort was at 3:30 am. Please note that pick-up times vary and depend on the location of your hotel. Most bus tours follow a very similar itinerary.
While the distance between Marsa Alam and Luxor may seem significant, the costs associated with this awe-inspiring full-day expedition seem rather fair.
As of January 2023, most operators charge around 100-150 EUR for the day trip to Luxor, including transfer by bus from the hotel, lunch in a restaurant on the shores of the Nile, and all entrance fees.
While I booked directly with a travel agency at the hotel, you may also check out this tour at getyourguide.com. The tour covers the same itinerary I write about here and has received very good ratings from fellow travelers.
From your hotel, you embark on an air-conditioned vehicle, leaving behind the shimmering shores of the Red Sea and heading north towards Luxor. The scenic journey provides glimpses of the changing landscape, transitioning from coastal beauty to desert landcapes to the fertile Nile Valley.
The East Bank
Upon arrival in Luxor around 10:00 am, you first explore the East Bank of the Nile, where the vibrant city of Luxor thrives. The first stop is the majestic Karnak Temple Complex, a vast network of temples and sanctuaries dedicated to various deities.
Stroll through the iconic Hypostyle Hall, marvel at towering columns, and let your imagination wander amidst the ancient ruins.
Next, you get to cross the Nile in small boats and visit the renowned Luxor Temple, a testament to the grandeur of ancient Egyptian architecture. Immerse yourself in the historical significance of this sacred site, once the center of religious festivals and processions.
The West Bank
Now, it's time to cross the Nile again, this time venturing to the West Bank, where the Valley of the Kings beckons. The first stop is the magnificent Tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh whose golden treasures captivated the world.
Discover the mysteries that lie within the well-preserved chambers and marvel at the intricate murals that depict ancient Egyptian mythology.
Continuing the exploration, you visit the Valley of the Queens, a burial ground for ancient Egyptian queens and royal children. Admire the stunning tombs adorned with colorful frescoes, offering glimpses into the lives of these revered women.
Next, you make our way to the mesmerizing Temple of Hatshepsut, dedicated to Egypt's first female pharaoh. Built during the 15th century BCE, the temple is a testament to Hatshepsut's reign, a remarkable period in ancient Egyptian history.
Carved into the cliffs, this architectural marvel blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings.
Ascend the terraces and soak in panoramic views of the rugged landscape, while learning about Hatshepsut's extraordinary rule and her role in shaping ancient Egypt. I still fondly remember the panoramic view from the temple’s terrace as the sun slowly began to set.
A day trip to Luxor from Marsa Alam is a remarkable journey through time and has left me speechless several times throughout the trip.
From the grandeur of Karnak Temple to the serenity of the Valley of the Kings, Luxor offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the splendors of ancient Egypt.
Again, depending on where exactly you're staying in Marsa Alam or Hurghada, travel times will vary. But please note that this really is a (full!) day trip, as the tour may take 14-18 hours.
This should not keep you from taking this day trip to Luxor. It is just something to keep in mind. In the end, I wouldn’t want to have missed this experience!