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5 unforgettable experiences on the Nile in Egypt

Updated: Feb 1

The Nile was the heart of ancient Egypt. There is no better place to soak up the atmosphere than on a boat trip. The temples of Karnak and Luxor will take your breath away. Visit the dead in the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut.

Egypt Nile sunset sailing ship

1. River cruise

Ship ahoy!

For most visitors to Egypt, a cruise on the Nile is just as much a part of Egypt as the Pharaoh and the pyramids.

On our Egypt trip we didn't go on a classic Nile cruise, but rather sailed on the Nile for two days in a traditional sailing ship - also called a felucca.

We spent the first night with a local Nubian host family. The house is built in traditional Nubian style, with a sandy courtyard where the family gathers for meals and from which the bedrooms lead off.

The second night we all slept together on deck.

There was no luxury with either option, but there was the opportunity to get to know the country and its people away from other tourists. Above all, the evening trip from the Nubian village into the desert under the starry sky was an experience and the sunset on the sailboat was also spectacular.

Click on a photo to see it larger:

Temple rush in Luxor

Luxor itself is a small town in Egypt that is located directly on the Nile - with a large bazaar that invites you to shop.

My tip is to treat dealers in a friendly manner and with humor.

I always avoid going into stores because then I find it more difficult to get out without buying something. Personally, I had no problems, although fellow Australian travelers felt harassed.

2. Walk through the tall columns of Karnak Temple

The Karnak Temple is probably the most impressive monumental work of the ancient pharaohs. One of the world's most famous temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of approximately 200 years.

During a tour of the huge temple complex with its impressive pylons, obelisks and chapels, I admire the Great Temple of Amun.

What I like best - my star sign is Aries - is the Rams Road.

A forecourt lined on both sides with ram sphinxes, i.e. lion bodies with ram heads.  

3. Experience the Luxor Temple at sunset

The 2 km long Avenue of the Sphinxes connects the Karnak Temple with the Luxor Temple in the heart of the city of the same name. It is the only temple that can be visited after sunset. I highly recommend this, because the lighting atmosphere at this time is almost mystical.

My tip: The view from the roof terrace of the Al Sahaby Lane restaurant is spectacular.

From here you can see the Luxor Temple and the Nile. The food is also very good (address at the end of this blog entry).

4. Descend to the dead in the Valley of the Kings

In the Valley of the Kings, more than 60 pharaohs are buried under huge rocks, many of them richly decorated with reliefs and paintings.

How I envy the explorers who once found these tombs.

Each grave consists of a tunnel that leads deep into the mountain. At the end of the tunnel is the burial chamber in which the sarcophagus and the king's burial treasure were kept.

Some graves have side chambers and side shafts. Most of the graves had already been looted when they were discovered.

In 1922, however, explorer Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun.

This grave had not yet been looted. The grave goods and gold treasures were still there. The golden coffins containing the mummy of the dead king were also intact. This treasure discovery was a sensation. Today the grave treasures are on display in the Cairo Museum. But Tutankhamun was not a great ruler who ruled for a long time. How big must the treasures in the tombs of the great rulers have been?

For me the hieroglyphs are like modern art. I find it incredible that everything is still so well preserved after 3,500 years.

Egypt Pharaoh Hatshepsut Temple
5. Visit Hatshepsut - the only female pharaoh
For me, one of the most flamboyant personalities of ancient Egypt is Hatshepsut

- she was the only female pharaoh. She was actually only intended to be a regent for her stepchild, who was not yet old enough to govern, but as is the case with people in power, she had problems letting go.

Not far from the Valley of the Kings lies their (reconstructed) Temple - a breathtaking columned structure nestled against high cliffs that form a spectacular natural amphitheater. At first glance, the facility looks as if it was designed by a modern Bauhaus architect. Everything is square and very clearly designed. But in ancient times the temple was colorfully decorated and its forecourt was probably planted with trees. The legendary Hatshepsut had this mortuary temple built to express her importance and honor her ancestors.

After her death, the temple was destroyed and her name and face were struck demolished. Apparently some powerful men didn't want women in their ranks.

Also read my other blog posts about Egypt


  1. The pyramids of Giza in the sunset

  2. the rock temple of Abu Simbel on the border with Sudan

  3. the Islamic old town and the Khan al-Khalili bazaar in Cairo

  4. Luxor with its temples, the Nile and the Valley of the Kings

Traditional Egyptian food boat trip


Non-stop flights are available from Lufthansa< /u> and E gypt Air from about 370 €.


Taking a taxi is possible with Uber. The best thing to do is download the app. This makes it possible to track who picked you up, especially if you order it at the hotel reception.

A single cabin costs $130.

Accommodation on the night train is in two-bed cabins that are comfortable and air-conditioned. Bedding is provided and there are Western-style toilets in each carriage. The overall cleanliness of the train may not be up to the standard you are used to - especially towards the end of the journey. A simple dinner and breakfast are included and served on board. If you have special requests, you better bring them with you.

If you have strong nerves you can, for example, at book a rental car from €140 per week. However, be warned: Cairo is one of the busiest cities in North Africa and notorious for its traffic congestion and air pollution. I wouldn't recommend a rental car just for Cairo.


Egypt Luxor Temple aerial shot night illuminated

The view from the roof terrace of Restaurants Al Sahaby Lane is spectacular. From here you have a direct view of the Luxor Temple and the Nile. The food is also excellent.

Al Sahaby Street, Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate 85951, Egypt

We slept in Luxor Emilio Hotel. The hotel itself is nothing special, but if you have a room with a view of the Luxor Temple (I would pay attention to that!), the amenities don't really matter. There's even a rooftop swimming pool.

Youssef Hassan Street, Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate 1362514, Egypt


I have  Intrepid Travel the 15-day package trip “Explore Egypt” booked for €1,283:

In hindsight, I would probably choose another trip because Hurghada was too cold for me in January and I didn't really find the Alamein military museum near Alexandria that exciting. From the itinerary it sounds Egypt Experience - in retrospect - better.

From €1,740


The paths around the ruins are often rocky. Comfortable footwear is therefore essential. It is particularly hot in Egypt between June and September, but I always recommend a sun hat and sunscreen. Avoid plastic waste and bring your own water bottle and fill it with boiled water. There are kettles in almost all hotels.

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