Aswan
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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
centuries.

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
famine.

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
    +20
  • 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

Top Attractions in Aswan

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What people are saying about Aswan

My friend and I greatly enjoyed this tour. Our guide, Sameh, was very knowledgeable. Sameh would take us through the sight explaining different parts of the structure then give us time to explore and look ourselves. There was always more time for things we took an extra interest so we didn't feel rushed. Sameh is a native to Southern Egypt and his knowledge of what felt like everything around us was impressive. We our 2 females traveling solo in Egypt and felt safe and comfortable with this company, no hustle or pressure. If you are looking to tour this area, I would recommend this one. It's private, it will be your party members, guide, and driver. There was much more freedom at the sights as we were not part of a large tour bus being herded like sheep. Sameh also chooses excellent places for lunch, fresh, Egyptian style and authentic. We can't thank him for the experience.

Very Good! The Egyptian Partner company was Ocean Air Travels Egypt. -clear, timely communication -they use nice cars for transport -drivers nice and timely -cruise/tour program was great -guide...we were lucky to get a personality we liked. I observed many others and have had others but for this duration we were very pleased to get one matching our chemistry. -cruise was great; food, service, cabin -cruise food: menus predominantly western style was very good however need a greater percent of Egyptian/ Middle Eastern selections on a daily basis. Demand is evident on the 'Oriental Dinner Night" where everyone is extremely excited about the menu. If say, 30% of the menu items were Egyptian it would benefit guest experience AND lower food cost for the operator. -I am a consultant for Asia-Pacific hospitality based in Tokyo

Our guide Ahmed Abass was wonderful. His knowledge of the ancient Egyptians is exceptional. He was friendly and accommodating, slowing the pace of the tour to suit our needs. He was full of helpful hints and cannot be recommended enough. The cruise was good. Apart from a few minor niggles like a poor aircon and the odd smell of diesel when the boat is still it is a good experience. It does need more sail time as your are sat in Aswan and Luxor for a full day and a half each. The food was good, combining Egyptian and western well. The transport to the sights are all in modern cars.

Amazing experience from the beginning to the end. Amazing boat with good food, great staff, nice sundeck and spacious room with a great view. The experience was greatly enhanced by our amazing guide Ahmed. His english was very good, making it very easy to understand and enjoy the temples, tombs and their stories. He even bought us breakfast when we accidentally woke up late and missed breakfast. We highly recommend him if anyone is looking for a guide.

You can't understand Egypt if u don't book this experience. Our vacation would have been half without that. The service in the boat was really good and 100% above average of Egypt but it could have been better though. The buffet could be bigger. Especially the desserts were not that good. Egyptologist and transfer were perfect.