Egypt Aswan

22nd April 2024

10 Best Things to Do in Aswan: The Ultimate Travel Guide (2023)

Are you looking for the best things to do in Aswan? If so, we’ve got you covered in this blog post.

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we know exactly what things to do in Aswan to make it a more incredible destination that will leave you awe-struck and craving for more.

Whether you’re an avid history enthusiast or a nature lover seeking breathtaking landscapes, our firsthand knowledge from our last visit to this place will ensure you have an unforgettable experience.

Get ready to dive into the rich history, captivating culture, and things to do in Aswan, as we take you on a journey you won’t soon forget.

5 Interesting Facts about Aswan

1. Aswan is home to the iconic Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis.

2. The Unfinished Obelisk, a colossal granite structure, gives insight into ancient Egyptian stone-cutting techniques.

3. Aswan’s West Bank offers an opportunity to embark on an adventurous camel trek, traversing the desert landscape.

4. The Nubian Museum showcases the vibrant culture and heritage of the Nubian people.

5. Exploring Aswan’s tranquil waters on a felucca, a traditional wooden sailing boat, is an experience not to be missed.

Best Things to Do in Aswan

1. Boat Trip to Philae Temple

A boat trip to Philae Temple is one of the best things to do in Aswan. As the boat gracefully glides through the tranquil waters of the Nile, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views and a sense of serenity.

The temple itself is a testament to the skill and artistry of the ancient Egyptians, with intricately carved reliefs and towering columns.

Exploring this sacred site, you’ll unravel the fascinating history and mythology associated with the temple, transporting yourself to a bygone era of pharaohs and deities.

  • Location: Philae Temple is located on the island of Agilkia in the Nile River near Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The boat trip to Philae Temple allows visitors to experience the beauty of the Nile and reach the ancient temple, which is famous for its remarkable architecture, intricate carvings, and historical significance.

2. Felucca Ride to Elephantine Islands

Sail away on a delightful felucca ride to the enchanting Elephantine Islands, nestled in the heart of the Nile.

Feel the gentle breeze caress your face as you embark on this traditional wooden sailboat, navigating the tranquil waters with ease.

The journey unveils a picturesque landscape adorned with lush greenery, ancient ruins, and charming Nubian villages.

As you bask in the soothing rhythm of the river, you’ll witness the interplay between nature and history, immersing yourself in the timeless allure of the islands and their rich cultural heritage.

  • Location: The Elephantine Islands are situated in the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: A felucca ride to the Elephantine Islands offers a scenic journey along the Nile, passing through picturesque landscapes and Nubian villages, and allows visitors to explore the island’s ancient ruins, temples, and rich cultural heritage.

3. Unfinished Obelisk

Step into the realm of ancient stonecraft as you encounter the awe-inspiring Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan. This colossal monument, hewn from solid granite, stands as a testament to the ambitious engineering prowess of the pharaohs.

Towering above, the obelisk bears witness to the ingenuity of its creators, despite being abandoned in an incomplete state.

Stroll around this open-air museum, marveling at the sheer size and intricacy of the obelisk, while pondering the mysteries surrounding its abandonment.

It serves as a captivating glimpse into the ancient techniques and craftsmanship of the Egyptian civilization.

  • Location: The Unfinished Obelisk is located in a granite quarry in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The Unfinished Obelisk is renowned for its massive size and the insight it provides into ancient Egyptian stone-cutting techniques. Although it remains unfinished, it offers a glimpse into the monumental projects undertaken by the ancient Egyptians.

4. Camel Trek on Aswan’s West Bank

Embark on a mesmerizing camel trek across the enchanting West Bank of Aswan, where time seems to stand still.

Mounting your trusty camel companion, you’ll traverse the vast desert landscapes, immersing yourself in the raw beauty of the surroundings.

As the sun bathes the dunes in a golden glow, you’ll witness the ever-shifting sandscapes and encounter ancient tombs and archaeological sites along the way.

The rhythmic swaying of the camel, coupled with the silence of the desert, creates a sense of tranquility and adventure, offering a unique perspective of Aswan’s timeless allure.

  • Location: The camel trek takes place on the West Bank of the Nile in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: Camel treks on Aswan’s West Bank allow visitors to explore the desert landscapes, encounter ancient tombs, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty and tranquility of the area, providing a unique perspective on Aswan’s cultural and historical heritage.

5. Nubian Museum

Delve into the vibrant tapestry of Nubian history and culture at the Nubian Museum in Aswan.

This architectural gem is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Nubian people, showcasing their rich heritage through a captivating collection of artifacts, artworks, and historical displays.

From intricately designed jewelry to ancient pottery and vibrant textiles, the museum offers a comprehensive insight into Nubian traditions and their profound connection with the Nile.

Wander through the galleries, soaking in the vibrant colors and storytelling exhibits that celebrate the diversity and legacy of the Nubian civilization.

  • Location: The Nubian Museum is located in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The Nubian Museum is renowned for its extensive collection of artifacts, artworks, and displays that celebrate the vibrant history and culture of the Nubian people. It offers visitors an opportunity to learn about Nubian traditions, architecture, and their close connection with the Nile River.

6. Felucca Ride on River Nile

Embark on a blissful felucca ride along the iconic River Nile, immersing yourself in the timeless beauty and tranquility of this legendary waterway.

Aboard the traditional wooden sailboat, you’ll feel the gentle caress of the wind as you glide through the calm waters, admiring the breathtaking scenery that unfolds around you.

From picturesque riverbanks adorned with palm trees to ancient temples and bustling riverside communities, every moment on the felucca promises a captivating glimpse into the living history and vibrant culture that thrives along the banks of the Nile.

  • Location: The felucca ride takes place on the iconic River Nile in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: A felucca ride on the Nile allows visitors to experience the timeless beauty of the river, witness stunning landscapes, and explore riverside communities, temples, and historical sites, offering a memorable journey along one of the world’s most famous waterways.

7. Tombs of the Nobles

Journey into the ancient necropolis of Aswan and discover the captivating Tombs of the Nobles. Carved into the rocky hillsides, these elaborately decorated tombs offer a fascinating insight into the lives and beliefs of Aswan’s elite from centuries past.

Marvel at the intricate murals and reliefs that depict scenes of daily life, religious rituals, and mythological stories, transporting you to a bygone era.

With each tomb offering its unique charm and historical significance, you’ll be enthralled by the artistry and cultural richness preserved within these timeless chambers.

  • Location: The Tombs of the Nobles are located in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The Tombs of the Nobles are known for their intricate decorations, including murals and reliefs depicting aspects of ancient Egyptian life, religious beliefs, and mythological stories. They offer valuable insights into the lives and customs of the nobility in Aswan’s past.

8. Temple of Kom Ombo

Unveil the dual beauty of the Temple of Kom Ombo, a unique and awe-inspiring sanctuary situated on the banks of the Nile.

Dedicated to the gods Sobek and Horus, this ancient temple reveals a remarkable architectural symmetry, with twin entrances, halls, and sanctuaries mirroring each other.

Explore the intricate reliefs and hieroglyphs that adorn the walls, narrating stories of ancient myths and historical events.

From the sacred crocodile mummies to the stunning views of the river, the Temple of Kom Ombo offers a captivating journey into the depths of Egyptian spirituality and cultural heritage.

  • Location: The Temple of Kom Ombo is situated on the banks of the Nile River in Kom Ombo, near Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The Temple of Kom Ombo is renowned for its architectural symmetry and dual dedication to the gods Sobek and Horus. It features captivating reliefs and hieroglyphs that depict ancient myths and historical events, providing a fascinating glimpse into Egyptian spirituality.

9. Bird Watching at Aswan Botanical Garden

Escape into a serene oasis of nature at the Aswan Botanical Garden, where the lush greenery and diverse birdlife create a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Stroll along the garden’s winding paths, surrounded by vibrant flora and the symphony of bird songs that fill the air.

From graceful herons to colorful kingfishers, the garden offers a chance to observe a variety of avian species in their natural habitat.

Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or a nature lover seeking tranquility, the Aswan Botanical Garden provides a delightful retreat into the harmonious coexistence of humans and birds.

  • Location: The Aswan Botanical Garden is located on Kitchener’s Island in the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The Aswan Botanical Garden is a haven for birdwatchers, featuring diverse flora and fauna, including a variety of bird species. It offers a tranquil setting for observing and enjoying the beauty of birds in their natural habitat.

10. Aswan High Dam

Witness the monumental engineering triumph of the Aswan High Dam, an impressive structure that harnesses the power of the Nile and protects the surrounding areas from flooding.

Standing tall amidst the arid landscapes, the dam showcases human ingenuity and technological advancement.

Explore the visitor center to learn about the dam’s construction and its impact on the region’s agriculture and economy.

As you gaze upon the vast expanse of the dam, its turbines silently transforming water into energy, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the fusion of nature and human innovation in this grand feat of infrastructure.

  • Location: The Aswan High Dam is situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt.
  • Famous for: The Aswan High Dam is a significant engineering feat, known for its role in controlling the Nile’s flow, generating hydroelectric power, and providing irrigation water. It has had a profound impact on the region’s agriculture, economy, and overall development.

Best Time to Visit Aswan

The best time to visit Aswan is during the winter months, specifically from October to April. During this period, the weather is pleasantly warm and comfortable, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F).

The scorching heat of the summer months subsides, creating a more enjoyable environment for exploring the city’s attractions and engaging in outdoor activities.

Additionally, the winter months are considered the peak tourist season, so you can expect popular sites to be bustling with visitors and a vibrant atmosphere throughout the city.

It is advisable to check the specific weather conditions and plan your visit accordingly to ensure a pleasant and memorable experience in Aswan.

How to Reach Aswan

1. By Road

Aswan is well-connected by road, and reaching the city by car or bus is a convenient option. The road network in Egypt is extensive, and major highways connect Aswan to various cities across the country.

If you’re already in Egypt, you can hire a private car or take a bus from neighboring cities like Luxor or Cairo. The journey offers scenic views of the Nile and the surrounding landscapes, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the region along the way.

2. By Train

Traveling to Aswan by train is a popular and comfortable option. The Egyptian National Railways operates regular train services connecting Aswan with major cities like Cairo, Luxor, and Alexandria. The train journey provides an opportunity to relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the Nile Valley.

There are different classes of train compartments available, including sleeper cars for overnight travel. It’s advisable to book your train tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred travel dates and seating arrangements.

3. By Air

For those seeking a faster mode of transportation, Aswan has an international airport, Aswan International Airport (ASW), which is well-connected to domestic and international destinations. Several airlines offer direct flights to Aswan from Cairo and other major cities in Egypt.

If you’re arriving from abroad, you can opt for connecting flights via Cairo or other major hubs. Once you arrive at the airport, you can easily reach the city center by taxi or pre-arranged transportation services. It’s recommended to check flight schedules and book your tickets in advance to secure the best fares and convenient travel timings.

Where to Stay in Aswan

  1. Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan: This iconic 5-star hotel offers a luxurious and unforgettable stay on the banks of the Nile River. With its elegant colonial-style architecture, impeccable service, and stunning views of the river and Elephantine Island, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan provides a truly enchanting experience.
  2. Mövenpick Resort Aswan: Located on the Elephantine Island, Mövenpick Resort Aswan offers a serene and tranquil retreat away from the bustling city. The resort boasts comfortable rooms, lush gardens, a swimming pool, and a private beach along the Nile.
  3. Anakato Nubian Houses: For a unique and cultural experience, Anakato Nubian Houses provides traditional Nubian-style accommodations on the West Bank of the Nile. These charming mud-brick houses offer a glimpse into Nubian heritage and architecture.

Where to Eat in Aswan

  1. Felfela Aswan: Known for its vibrant atmosphere and authentic Egyptian cuisine, Felfela Aswan is a popular restaurant among locals and tourists alike. The menu includes traditional Egyptian dishes such as falafel, koshari, and grilled meats, all prepared with flavorful spices and served in generous portions.
  2. Nubian Village Restaurant: Situated on Elephantine Island, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience with traditional Nubian dishes and live music performances.
  3. Mena House Restaurant: Located in the Mena House Hotel, this restaurant offers a delightful dining experience with a stunning view of the Nile River. The menu features a variety of Egyptian and international dishes, prepared with fresh and high-quality ingredients.

Travel Tips and Suggestions

  • Visit the temples early in the morning to avoid crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and lightweight clothing, as Aswan can get hot during the day.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you and drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Bargaining is common in Aswan’s markets, so feel free to negotiate prices.

Conclusion – Things to Do in Aswan

In conclusion, there are various things to do in Aswan, the mesmerizing city along the Nile, that invites you on a remarkable journey. Explore ancient temples like Philae and Kom Ombo, indulge in serene felucca rides, and discover the Nubian Museum’s vibrant heritage.

Don’t miss the engineering marvel of the Aswan High Dam and the tombs of the nobles. Venture to nearby attractions like Abu Simbel Temples and Edfu Temple. Aswan is your gateway to history, nature, and cultural wonders.

Plan your trip now and immerse yourself in Aswan’s hidden gems.

FAQs – Things to Do in Aswan

What are the must-visit ancient temples in Aswan?

Two must-visit ancient temples in Aswan are the Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, and the Kom Ombo Temple, featuring a unique double design honoring Sobek and Horus. These temples are architectural marvels that offer a glimpse into Egypt’s rich history.

How can I explore the beauty of the Nile in Aswan?

To experience the enchanting beauty of the Nile in Aswan, hop on a traditional felucca for a relaxing and scenic ride. Enjoy the gentle breeze and take in the picturesque views of the city and its surroundings. It’s a perfect way to unwind and connect with the river’s serene ambiance.

What makes the Nubian Museum worth visiting?

The Nubian Museum in Aswan is a treasure trove of Nubian culture and heritage. Through its exhibits and artifacts, it showcases the vibrant traditions, art, and history of the Nubian people. It’s a fascinating journey that provides insights into a unique and often overlooked part of Egypt’s cultural mosaic.

Are there any thrilling activities for adventure seekers in Aswan?

Adventure seekers in Aswan can embark on an exciting camel trek on the city’s West Bank. Traverse the rugged desert terrain, soak in breathtaking panoramic views, and immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the surroundings. It’s an exhilarating experience that adds a touch of adventure to your visit.

What are the top dining options in Aswan?

Aswan offers a delightful culinary scene with a range of dining options to satisfy every palate. Some top dining choices include:
The Terrace Restaurant:
Koshary Abou Tarek:
Feryal Garden:
Sofra Restaurant:
Nubian House Restaurant:
The Nile Peking:
Aswan Moon:

Can you recommend any traditional Nubian villages to explore near Aswan?

When in Aswan, exploring traditional Nubian villages is a must. One such village is Gharb Soheil, located on the west bank of the Nile. It offers an authentic experience with its colorful houses, friendly locals, and vibrant Nubian culture. Another village to visit is Garb Aswan, known for its beautiful handicrafts and Nubian hospitality. Additionally, a visit to El Nabatat Island allows you to explore the lush gardens and traditional Nubian houses. These villages provide an immersive cultural experience, where you can interact with locals, learn about their traditions, and witness the unique architecture that defines Nubian villages.

Are there any festivals or cultural events held in Aswan throughout the year?

Yes, Aswan hosts several festivals and cultural events throughout the year. The Aswan International Festival of Culture and Arts showcases local and international talent, while the Nubian Folkloric Festival celebrates the rich Nubian heritage. The Abu Simbel Sun Festival, held in February and October, features a captivating alignment of sunlight on Ramses II’s statues. Additionally, Aswan celebrates traditional religious festivals, such as the Moulid of Sayyid Al-Badawi and the Nubian New Year’s Eve. These vibrant events offer a unique glimpse into the cultural richness of Aswan and are not to be missed.
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