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The 7 best things to do in Aswan

Located along the banks of the Nile, a visit to Aswan will take you back thousands
of years. Famous for its quarries of granite for the creation of obelisks and
statues, it was also a hub of trade and commerce even in these remote fringes of
southern Egypt.

Unfinished Obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk

Had it not been for a crack to appear during construction, this granite monument
would have stood 120 feet high. The site also shows the ancient use of stone
carving techniques.

Nubian Museum
Photo: Vyacheslav Argenberg @ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Nubian Museum

The museum showcases a panorama of local history, with exhibits that include
6,000-year-old pottery and horse armoury found in tombs from the 5th and 7th

Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island

The ancient town of Abu, located at the southern end of the island, was once a
trading and economic center. The island's name also reflects its former role in
ivory trade.

Sehel Island

Sehel Island

Many travelers, who arrived here in ancient times, left inscriptions in stones to
record historical events. The Famine Stela tells of a seven-year drought and

Abu Simbel Temples

Abu Simbel Temples

Two temples - the Great Temple and the Small Temple - comprise the complex on
the banks of the Nile. Construction took 20 years to complete during the reign of
Ramesses II.

Temple of Isis at Philae

Temple of Isis at Philae

Though the original site lays under Lake Nasser, the ancient temple on a small
island reflects the popularity of the Cult of Isis that was favored throughout the
Roman Empire.

Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo

Built during the Ptolemaic Dynasty, this 'double temple' has duplicated rooms, such
as halls and courts, for two different gods: the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon
god Horus.

Planning Your Aswan Visit

How many days to spend in Aswan?

You can spend four days visiting the attractions of Aswan, but add another day if
you plan to travel to the Abu Simbel Temples.

Getting around

For the adventurous type, there are minibuses and vans to travel through the city.
If you ever take a taxi, always set the price before getting in. You can take a felucca,
a typical boat on the Nile, to reach Elephantine Island and other sites on the
western bank of the river. The Temple of Kom Ombo is 28 miles from Aswan, and
you can reach it by taxi or on an organized tour.

Getting to Abu Simbel

When traveling independently, it's best to arrange transportation by coach to the site, which is about 3.5 hours south of Aswan. Keep in mind that the journey begins very early in the morning. Alternatively, you can fly on EgyptAir. Some people decide to stay the night in order to see the sound and light show.

Where to stay in Aswan

Many visitors stay on Nile cruise boats that arrive in Aswan. However, you'll find
large hotels along the river, with a couple on the little islands. There are smaller
accommodations in and around the city center, also known as the Corniche.

Good to know

  • Language
    Modern Standard Arabic
  • Currency
    Egyptian Pound EGP (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
  • Best time to visit
    From October to May, the temperatures will dip down to manageable heat, unlike the summer months that can be unforgivingly hot. The closer to Christmas and New Year's, the higher the prices and greater the crowds, so plan accordingly.

Things to Do in Aswan

Cities in Egypt

Other Sightseeing Options in Aswan

Want to discover all there is to do in Aswan? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Aswan

It was our best trip ever!!!! Super fun and magical!!!!

Best trip ever. Our guide, Hany was wonderful and will hopefully be a friend for life. He was so awesome in handling all the details. His knowledge of the history and culture of Egypt was excellent. He worked with me on seeing things I wanted to see specifically. His drivers and vehicles were great and always on time. The cruise was lovely. We had so much fun on board. The rooms were fine, the staff was great and the food was good. You could always find something you liked. We saw all of the sites promised and more and never felt rushed. It was at the end of the tourist season, so there weren't many tourists around. It was hot, but fine if you left the ship early, wore a nice cool hat and had sun screen and water. It never bothered us because it was almost no humidity. We also were there during Ramadan. It was great to be there then. I just felt sorry for the Egyptians because we were eating and drinking when they couldn't. Loved the Nile. Can't wait to come back!!!!!!!

Michal was a great, fun and informative host. Great cruise

Michal was a great, fun and informative host - he's a keeper!! Great cruise - friendly staff - awesome rooms. Only suggestion I would have for travellers, it to rather do 2 nights and leave on the third day, as the boat doesn't move after the second night and it is very hot with not much to do

My guide was the highlight of my trip for sure.

Such a beautiful country and culture. Rabi Zika was our fabulous guide and made the trip for us. He was so knowledgeable in answered every question and more. Those who can request him should. The history is important to know while you are viewing some of the worlds greatest treasures. Thank you Rabi again for your time and services.

A relaxing, entertaining and informative cruise

Overall the cruise has been a good experience. Our guide was very well informed about Egyptian history, especially the sites we visited, and was good at articulating that information to us. The stories behind these venues, both mythical and real, really helped us paint a picture about who and why they were built. She also seemed to have good connections with both cruise and site staff, which helped us move through and get to good places quickly. She was also a great person to talk to and helped us switch our plans at least a couple of times. The cruise itself also had good accommodations and the food was delicious. The timings for pickup, drop offs and sail times were also followed punctually. I am very pleased with the cruise and give it a 5/5 stars.

From the moment I booked I had a good feeling!

Our guide service immediately reached out with a welcoming and informative reply. When we arrived every thing was taken care of. Our guide was smart, witty and showed us a good time. The boat was clean and the food was delicious. Thank you!

4-Day Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor Reviewed by Bill, 01/20/2018