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Top attractions in Aswan

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

    1. 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

    2. 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

    3. 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

    4. 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

    5. 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

    6. 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

    7. 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 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.

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

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 38 reviews

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

We enjoyed this 5 days 4 nights Cruise from Luxor to Aswan. You can taste the Egyptian culture along the river cruise! Ramzy is a nice guide, he treated us drinks along our journey. Always cheerful and explain history of Egypt on spot of historical sites. An extra favour he helped, finding us an adapter for charging our phones! Really appreciate that! Tickets for the attractions are not included, the price of ticket is cheap, and tipping is required for some transportation. The basic ticket of the Valley of the Kings can visit 3 tombs, you can buy extra tickets for special ones. We know that when we exit, so check it out if you want to know more.

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.