Aswan a must-see tourist destination in Egypt, Famous for beautiful scenery along the Nile and the Nubian Culture that still a strong influence in southern Egypt. Its quarries provided the granite used so many sculptures and obelisks.
Take a traditional Felucca to Kitchener’s Island (Botanical Gardens) and spend a peaceful afternoon there. After, sail down the Nile to the ancient island of Philae where the magnificent Temple of Philae is sure to enthrall.
When back in downtown, walk to see the Unfinished Obelisk, which would have been the largest if completed. Then visit the nearby Nubian Museum.
Start another day by visiting the breathtaking colossal landmarks of the Abu-Simbel Temples; there is an enchanting sound and light show at night there. Don’t forget to take a stroll in Aswan’s souq (market) where little colorful shops sell almost everything.The Roman structure of the Kalabsha Temple in Nubia and the Tombs of the Nobles on the west bank of the Nile are not to miss.
Located about 899 km south from Cairo, Aswan is a serene Nile Valley destination where the Nile is more majestic than anywhere else, flowing through granite rocks, and round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants.
It is considered as an all-time favorite winter destination. Moreover, you’ll be surprised to see how many monuments and sites this small city has to offer. Consider sailing to the temple of Philae, seeing the Agha Khan Mausoleum and taking an excursion to St. Simeon Monastery. Egypt’s sunniest southern city is the perfect destination to stroll and relax in a magical cultural setting: wander down the broad walkway, locally known as the corniche, to watch feluccas slowly sailing the Nile then stop at one of the floating restaurants to enjoy Nubian music and freshly caught fish.
Aswan offers a splendid view of the Nile and is a great starting point for a Nile cruise. Aswan also offers a rich cultural experience; you will get to know Nubian culture and shop for spices, henna tattoos, souvenirs and African handmade goods at the Aswan souk. The word Aswan derives in fact from the Ancient Egyptian word Soun meaning souk or trade. It has earned its name thanks to the city strategic position, on the trade route linking the North of Egypt to its South. Since Ancient times, Aswan has also been known for its environmental therapy: burying the aching parts of your body in Aswan sand gives valuable results and can help relieving you from stubborn ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, joint edema and skin inflammation. The town climate is also known to have great relaxing and rejuvenating properties.
Philae Temple (Also Called Isis Temple)
If you do one thing in Aswan, it should be to visit the beautiful Philae Temple.This beautiful temple complex is one of the most picturesque in all of Egypt. It sits on Aglika Island just south of the old Aswan Dam and you must ride a water taxi to the island to get to the ruins. The temple was moved to its current location following the construction of the High Dam, which threatened to submerge it permanently.
The careful reconstruction at the current site carefully completed, painstakingly preserving the original appearance and layout of the complex and even landscaping the island to match its former location. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, The temple has several shrines and sanctuaries such as Trajan Kiosk or Pharaoh’s Bed. Philae Temple or Isis temple is one of the best-preserved Ptolemaic temples in Egypt.
Ticket Prices for Philae Temple 2021:
- 180 EGP per adult
- 90 EGP per student with (valid ID)
- Hours of operating: 7 am to 5 pm June to September
- 7 am to 4 pm October to May
- Sound& Light Show: Every day in the evening
The Unfinished Obelisk
The Unfinished Obelisk is a rare opportunity to consider what this process might have been like and just how difficult it was to shape and carve the great stone blocks that make up Egypt’s many monuments.
This huge obelisk would have stood 140 feet in height, the largest even in Egypt. It was to be carved from the Red Aswan granite that decorate many of Egypt’s greatest monument and for which the city is famous. This greatest of all of Egypt’s monoliths, however, was never finished. At a late stage in its formation, a flaw in the rock was discovered and it was abandoned.
As a result, it remains in one of Aswan’s ancient quarries, fully formed and carved on three sides, but still anchored to the bedrock on the fourth. Archeologists believe that this obelisk was intended for karank, but instead it has remained in the quarry, a curious testament to the difficulties of carving in stone, for the last several thousand years.
Cost: 80 EGP per adult, 40 EGP per student (valid ID)
Felucca Ride On The Nile River
This one of the best thing to do in Aswan, especially at the sunset, is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two in Aswan. Take a relaxing ride on an Egyptian sailboat in Aswan and to enjoy the river breeze, a fantastic sailing experience around Elephantine Island and a visit to the famous Botanical Gardens in Aswan.
Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel
The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel, also known as the Old Cataract Hotel, is one of the finest and most famous historical and luxury hotels, built in the late 19th (1899) century atop a granite hill at the Nile River edge in Aswan, Egypt.Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel Death on the Nile while staying here; part of the movie was filmed at the hotel.
This is on the top of list and the best place to stay in Aswan.
We highly recommend The Terrace Restaurant in the hotel for great lunch or dinner or just a drink, the food and the drinks are wonderful and the views over the Nile River are even better.
Important Note: To get table with a view of the Nile, make your reservation in advance, even for lunch or drink
Prepare yourself for a particularly overwhelming sightseeing experience: the Aswan High Dam is truly impressive. The Dam is 3600 meters long, 980 meters thick at base and 111 meters tall (at its highest point). The waters of Lake Nasser, the world’s largest man-made lake, have amassed behind it. It provides irrigation water and electricity for the whole of Egypt and Located 13 km south of Aswan.
The Dam was constructed in 1960s. Egyptian leader Nasser wanted to build the dam in order to end the flooding of the Nile River and to bring more electric power to Egypt.
The Nubia Museum in Aswan houses finds made during excavations carried out as part of UNESCO’s International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia, threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s. Besides showcasing many of the more than 3,000 objects found during the excavations, the Museum serves as a focal point for Nubian history and culture, its collections presenting the history of Nubia from prehistory to the present day.
Qubber El-Hawa (Tombs Of Nobels)
The rivers cape of Aswan is dominated by the sand-covered hills of the West Bank which is strewn with rock-cut tombs of high-status officials of the Old and Middle Kingdom. At the crest of the hill is the domed tomb of a Muslim prophet which gives the hill its local name, Qubbet el-Hawa or ‘Dome of the Winds.The illuminated view of the northern hills of the west bank of the Nile is a truly magical one, not to be missed. From Aswan, you’ll have front row seats to witness this particularly beautiful and inspiring panorama.
The tombs belong monarchs (governors), keepers of the gate of the south and other dignitaries of ancient Elephantine. Six of them are open to the public.
Tombs of Mekhu & Sabni (NO 25 & 26)
The adjoining tombs of the father and son Makhu (Tomb No 25) and Sabni (Tomb No 26)
Both overseers of Upper Egypt, date from the extraordinarily long reign of the 6 th dynasty pharaoh Pepi II (2278-2184 BC).
Tomb of Sarenpt II (NO 31)
The largest and finest tomb of Qubbit el- Hawa .Sarenput was the local governor and commander of the frontier garrison of the south under the 12 th dynasty pharaoh Amenmemhat II (1922-1878 BC)
Tomb of Harkhuf (NO 34)
A governor of the south under Pep II.
Tomb of Hekaib ( pepinakht No 35)
Hekaib also known as Pepinakht, was the overseer of foreign soldiers during the reign of Pepi II.
Tomb of Sarenput I (No 36)
Sernput I was the grandfather of Sarenput II and was a regional governor during the 12 th dynasty.
The island lies opposite central Aswan, just north of the First Cataract. A recent building boom has changed its nature, but it remains calm and essentially rural.
Located within view of the High Dam, Kalabsha Temple is often the first stop for any cruise on Lake Nasser. It was moved to this spot from its originally location 30 miles to the south after the construction of the dam.
Construction of the temple was begun at the end of the Ptolomaic Dynasty and actually completed under the rule of the Roman Emperor Augustus. The result is an interesting combination of imagery that includes Egyptian and Roman themes with images of Roman emperors and pharaohs worshipping with the Egyptian gods. The temple was dedicated to the Nubian god Mandulis. It has a large pylon, which is connected to the rest of the complex by a wall, creating a closed space. There are stairs to the roof, offering a great view of the lake and back up to the High Dam.
Day Trips From Aswan
Abu Simbel Temple
They are undisputedly one of the world’s most breathtaking monuments, and Egypt’s second most visited touristic site after the pyramids of Giza.
Abu Simbel is one of Egypt’s most striking monuments. These twin temples were built by Ramses II over 3.000 yearss ago.
To get from Aswan to Abu Simbel, you can go by land or by plane .For full details on how to arrange your day trip read our Guide to Abu Simbel
Kom Ombo & Edfu Temple
Kom ombo Temple Dedicated to Sobek and Horus the Elder, the Temple of Kom Ombo has two identical entrances, hypostyle halls and sanctuaries. The symmetry of the temple layout is a tribute to the mythical link the two gods shared. Built on an outcrop at a bend in the Nile where crocodiles used to gather in ancient times, the temple is a testament to the importance Ancient Egyptian priests placed in the natural cycles and crocodiles of the Nile. Visit the temple to see mummified crocodiles, clay coffins and spectacular reliefs on the walls.
Temple of Horus, is considered to be one of the most beautiful and preserved Temples in Egypt.
The well preserved Ptolemaic Temple of Horus is the second biggest temple in Egypt. Second only to the Temple of Karnak in sheer size, the temple was one of the last attempts by the Ptolemaic dynasty at building in the style and grandeur of their predecessors. Construction on the site took about 200 years. Well preserved hieroglyphs have shed light on the practices of the cult of Horus and associated temples. The temple is believed to have been built on the site of the great Horus-Seth battle.
One-Day Itinerary for Aswan
Start your day by visiting Philae Temple, but if you want to enjoy the temple with no crowds then you need to start at 8 am.
Next, head to the High Dam of Aswan then end your tour by visiting the Unfinished Obelisk
We recommend if you can afford it, have lunch at the Terrace restaurant at the Old Cataract Hotel.
In the afternoon, enjoy cruise on the Nile River by Felucca.
Where To Stay In Aswan
The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel. If one is going to stay in Aswan, we felt there was nowhere else one should stay.
The Mövenpick Resort Aswan. The Mövenpick is another, more affordable, 5* resort in Aswan and the only luxury hotel on Elephantine Island! You need to get a boat over from the docks to reach here.
There is an old and a new wing of this hotel. Some rooms have a Nile view, some a partial view and some not at all. The rooms were boutique and very comfortable.There is a pool, a huge complimentary breakfast buffet and you can dine in Aswan’s highest restaurant for dinner.