In this guide I’m helping you choose from 3 incredible temples, to visit on a day trip from Luxor. If you want to visit any temples and tombs in Egypt, you have to go to Luxor. And then you’ll have your pick of over 10 temples and tombs to see. So, if you’re on a time limit, what do you see?!
Luxor is one of the most incredible places to visit in Egypt. It’s basically an open-air museum of temples, ruins, and ancient Egyptian artifacts. If you’re looking to plan your trip, start here with my post about the top things to do in Luxor.
I want to help you choose which of these 3 temples you should visit on a day trip from Luxor. Each one is unique in its own way, so choosing between them can be difficult. I’ll help you determine based on what each temple has to offer as well as the costs to get there and the time you need.
Luxor already has so much to see, so you can really only start thinking about day trips if you have plenty of time in the city. However, these temples tend to be a bit quieter, they are off the beaten path and really worth visiting.
If you only have a few days around Luxor, you going to have to choose when it comes to visiting these beautiful and unique temples, each just a day trip away.
Let’s get right to it.
3 Unique Temples You Should Visit from Luxor
The Dendera Temple Complex
Dendera was my favorite temple in all of Egypt (that’s a big statement, I know). I loved it because of the color preservation as well as a famous Egyptian painting of Nut, the Goddess of the Sky who controls the rising moon and setting sun, that spans the length of the temple. It’s my favorite painting in Egyptian history.
Dendera is one of the most well-preserved temples in all of Egypt. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s covered by the sun. The temple’s ceiling is still intact, allowing for the colors to be bright and beautiful. The entire time I was there, I couldn’t stop staring up at the ceiling. The blues were so bright, they helped you to imagine what the temple really would have looked like during ancient times.
It’s also very close to Luxor and the entire visit can cost you less than $40 USD. An amazing price to pay to see a temple so well preserved and quiet. When I was there, only one group of tourists passed through. Otherwise, I had the entire complex to myself.
Dedera is just an hour and a half from Luxor, it’s easily reached with a taxi if you don’t want to take an organized tour. I hired a taxi for the day and he waited while I visited.
I paid £500 EGP (including a tip) which is $30, well worth the price for driving you there, waiting while you visit, and bringing you back to your hotel/hostel. The entrance to Dendera is £50 EGP or $3 USD.
It’s open from 7 AM to 5 PM, and when I went, we left Luxor at 8 AM, arriving at the temples just after 9:30 AM. I stayed for 2 hours before heading back to Luxor.
The Temple of Horus at Edfu
Edfu is the most popular option for travelers looking to see more temples while in Luxor. River Cruises along the Nile often stop at Edfu, making it more trafficked than Dendera.
The Temple of Horus at Edfu’s 36m-high pylon (gateway) is almost identical to the Temple of Philae in Aswan. That being said, if you’re making a decision about what to see while you are in Luxor, and you are going to Aswan as well, I suggest skipping Edfu and instead of visiting one of the other temples I’ve suggested.
It’s fairly easy to visit Edfu, as it is more commonly visited by travelers. With Dendera, your best option is to take a taxi but with Edfu and Kom Ombo, you have more choices for your travel. Of course, you can still take a taxi but it will likely cost you double what I paid to go to Dendera.
Edfu is a great option for travelers that want to marvel at the incredible stonework of ancient times. The gateway is guarded by two huge granite statues of Horus as a Falcon. Its roof is also still intact which means it’s quite stunning to walk through. On the west side of the temple, you can climb 242 stairs to a lovely view over the Nile and on the east side, you can find the remains of the Nilometer, a tool that was used to measure the Nile and plan the crops.
It’s possible to take the train, heading towards Aswan, and hop off once you reach Edfu. The other option you have is plenty of buses that will take you there and back.
Edfu is further away. It’s going to take you 2 and a half hours to get there from Luxor. It’s open October-May 7 am-4 pm, June-September 7 am-5 pm and entrance is £140 EGP or just under $9 USD.
The Temple of Kom Ombo
Lastly, let’s take you to the Temple of Kom Ombo. Kom Ombo Temple is an unusual double temple located in the town of Kom Ombo. It’s a 3 and a half hour journey from Luxor, making it the furthest you can visit from the city. And if you’re going to Aswan, it’s a great place to stop en route.
Why Kom Ombo?
Kom Ombo is unusual since it is a double temple and perfectly symmetrical in its design. It has two identical entrances, two connected halls with identical reliefs of two gods on them, twin chambers, and twin sanctuaries. The Eastern half of the temple is dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god (the god of the Nile and creator of the world), and the Western half is dedicated to Horus, the falcon god.
The temple is not nearly as colorful as you’ll see at Edfu or Dendera, but some of the original colors still remain.
The best way to get to Kom Ombo is going to be on the train heading towards Aswan. You can take the train leaving Luxor and then after visiting the temple, return to Luxor or continue your journey south, to Aswan.
It’s open from 9 AM to 5 PM and costs £100 EGP or $6 USD to enter.
Traveling through Egypt
Traveling through Egypt, I found myself always overwhelmed by the amount of history and culture there. If you’ve read my other posts about Egypt, you know that growing up I was a huge history nerd and ancient Egypt was my favorite topic. I spent months writing everything in hieroglyphics and I read every book in the library about the history of Egypt. If you want to learn more about Egypt – start with this book!
On my trip, I wanted to see as much as possible, so choosing between these temples was not an easy decision. At the end of the day, if you are pressed for time, I would recommend you visit Dendera. It’s easily accessible and affordable and the colors were some of the most well preserved that I saw in Egypt.
It’s also visited much less, meaning that you won’t have to deal with crowds at Edfu and Kom Ombo. There’s still a chance you could wander the history of Dendera completely alone. (Something I value when you’re constantly surrounded by the masses of tourists at other attractions in Egypt.)
At the end of the day, each of these 3 temples you should visit from Luxor is unique in its own way! But I hope this guide helps you decide what to prioritize if you are short on time.
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