This one day itinerary will show how to see the highlights of Luxor in Egypt on a rental bike! Mind you, two days at the very least would be better. This would give the East and West Banks their own deserved day each. But, if you find yourself with just 24 hours and don’t mind getting around on two wheels, here is how to see the highlights of Luxor on a one day trip, renting and riding a bike.
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Luxor: One Day Self-Guided Rental Bike Itinerary
Luxor is home to possibly the greatest open-air museum in the world. If you’re travelling to Egypt, you must add Luxor to your itinerary. The Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens were awarded UNESCO World Heritage site stature in 1979. Karnak Temple is actually considered the second largest ancient religious site in the world after Angkor Watt in Cambodia. The place is truly mind-blowing. The history, the culture, the ambience – visiting Luxor is an unforgettable experience.
Luxor One Day Itinerary Details
The sheer amount of archaeological sites to see in Luxor was admittedly initially overwhelming and seemed near impossible to squeeze into a day trip. So you’ll need to prioritise, be organised and start early if you’re following Luxor one day trip itinerary. But, it’s all worth it. It’ll be one of the most incredible travel days all your life! Just be prepared to be hassled and harassed for most of the day by locals trying to sell their services. It just comes with the territory.
This one day Luxor itinerary is possibly the most detailed of its kind. But, as mentioned, having at least two days (2 days in Luxor itinerary) would actually be more ideal. You’d simply divide the East and West Bank over two days.
I had actually initially planned to only go to Cairo to visit the Pyramids and the White Desert on our trip. This was because I only had five days in Egypt. But, I realised that going to Luxor in Egypt was really a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was a must-see place. It had to be done! So I committed to this packed-out day trip itinerary in Luxor with under 24 hours to see it all. If you’re in our situation, I hope this travel guide helps.
MOOD Coffee: I arrived very early to our accommodation at around 7am from Luxor Airport. After dropping off some things I went to find breakfast. Walking along the Nile River, MOOD Coffee seemed the closest cafe that was open early. They delivered a cheap and filling Egyptian-style breakfast. Now that I was full, it was time to start this day trip itinerary, getting around Luxor on a rental bike!
Bike Rental For a One Day Luxor Itinerary
Bicycle Rental Mohamed Setouhy is the first stop. Here, rent a bike for the day for E£30 ($2USD). The people working here are honest and trustworthy. A rarity here! I actually struck up a nice conversation with one of the workers there. As part of the Luxor bike rental, I gave them my driver’s license as a deposit. When I arrived there to drop the bike off later in the day, the owner was in possession of my driver’s license but had ducked away from the shop. It was about a 10 minute wait until the licence was dropped off by the owner’s son. But the worker present at the shop gave us a seat and made sure I was comfortable. He spoke about how important tourism is to Luxor.
Like any bike rental, try it before you buy it – Luxor bike rental is no different! Certainly, make sure the lock works. Admittedly, I wasn’t given a helmet, which is pretty unusual for bike hire. But sometimes in Egypt, anything goes! If you’re thinking that biking in the desert will be too tough, rest assured that the terrain is very flat. So even with the heat, if you’re reasonably fit, you’ll have no trouble biking around. Plus, if you enjoy exercising like me, biking will be lots of fun.
Extra Tips For Renting a Bike in Luxor
You’ll be biking for most of the day. So I recommend you wear a decent backpack. which has supportive straps for the chest and hips. Make sure you do not store your wallet or phone in your pocket as it can easily fall out. That’s why I recommend a travel wallet or money belt/pouch. This should be placed in the backpack as you cycle.
1. Colossi of Memnon
Certainly, use the map provided above to help guide you. Alternatively, use Maps.me. Your first archaeological site is Colossi of Memnon and only around 10–15 minutes away from the Luxor rental bike store. The site is casually positioned on the side of the road. There are two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III that have stood there since 1350BCE. There is no entrance fee needed to visit this place. Unfortunately, there was some restoration work being completed. That’s obviously great to keep these sites being maintained. But way to ruin my photo!
Thereafter, you’ll need to head to the close by ticket office (located next to the Nour El Gourna Hotel). Here, you’ll buy tickets for Habu Temple. The price is usually around E£60 ($4USD). If you have more time to explore the West Bank, you can buy tickets for other temples here, including Ramesseum Temple (E£60/$3.80USD), Temple of Seti I (E£60/$3.80USD), Merenptah (E£40/$2.50USD), Isis Temple (E£80/$5USD) and the Nobles Tombs. There are varying prices for various Nobles’ tombs. I was recommended Temple Seti I and the Nobles Tombs. They are both less touristy, but still very well-preserved sites with the latter having exceptional hieroglyphs.
2. Habu Temple
This temple is the most underrated temple in Luxor and one of the best temples you’ll visit on this day trip. I can certainly testify to that. It wasn’t too crowded at 9am. The site was absolutely awe-inspiring. The archaeological and artistic magnitude and brilliance is genuinely hard to put into words. Indeed, Habu will be one of your favourite temples in Luxor. It was hard to pull myself away. But knowing there were many more sites to see, I headed off around 10:30am.
Unfortunately, I would not have time to see the Valley of the Queens (including the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut). For those with more time, the entrance fee of E£80/$5USD and the additional Queen Nefertari ticket of E£1,000/$66USD can be bought at the site itself.
3. Valley of the Kings
Afterwards, you’ll visit the Valley of the Kings on this Luxor day trip. This is where the greatest pharaohs lay to rest in peace. Plan to arrive around 11am and give yourself a couple of hours to explore. Basically, a general entry ticket bought at the site is around E£240 ($15USD). This includes three tombs of your choice. Which ones to choose? This was a very difficult decision. But Merneptah and Ramesses IV are two definite must-sees. Thuthmose III is a solid third option. You can also buy a ticket to see the famous Tutankhamun for E£250 ($16USD) at this time. Perhaps seeing Tutankhamun is why you’re here in the first place!
One of the advantages of visiting independently was being able to explore the Valley of the Kings at my own pace. I was certainly short on time. But I felt even less rushed than many of the tour groups I saw. They were hurriedly whisked in and out of the temples! Seeing Tutankhamun was quite a surreal experience. But I can’t get over how outstandingly preserved the colour of the grand ceilings and graphics at Merneptah and Ramesses IV was. Unbelievable!
Afterwards, you’ll head to the West Bank ferry terminal. Board the ferry over to the East Bank to explore there for the afternoon. Bikes are allowed on the ferry. But do be considerate of the locals. Grab a quick shawarma or falafel on your way.
Head straight to Karnak Temple from the East Bank ferry terminal. This takes about 20–25 minutes of cycling. The entrance fee is around E£200 ($12.50USD). The other major site to see on the East Bank would be Luxor Temple which is actually also open at night. So it would make sense to visit afterwards.
4. Karnak Temple
The Karnak Temple is the largest of the sites in Luxor and was considered the most important religious site in Ancient Egypt. I could only manage two hours here but another hour or two would be ideal. The temple is enormous. It took around 2,000 years to complete. Construction began in 2,000BCE! The highlight of the visit would be Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re. It comprises 134 enormous decorated pillars arranged into 16 rows. Some of the columns are up to 21 metres tall with a diameter of over three metres. Getting lost here is a must!
5. Avenue of Sphinx
Linking Karnak and Luxor Temples is the Avenue of Sphinxes. Although you can’t seem to enter, you will have decent views of the fascinating pathway from Luxor Temple, which will be the last ancient site to visit today on this day trip.
6. Luxor Temple
The Luxor Temple is another magnificent temple on the West Bank. The entrance fee is around E£160 ($10USD). Given this busy Luxor day trip, you’ll probably arrive at around 4–5pm. I explored the area for around two hours before hunger got the better of me! Constructed around 1300BCE, the site now sits interestingly in the heart of town. Thankfully, this doesn’t take away from its grandeur. Notably, the statue of Ramses II is incredibly striking.
For those sensible enough to have more than 24 hours, I hear that Luxor Museum is worth a visit and is also around E£160 ($10USD).
Luxor One Day Self-Guided Rental Bike Itinerary Recap
Exploring Luxor by rental bike is an amazing cultural and adventurous experience. Should you spend more that just one day here though? Absolutely, yes! But if you only have a day trip to spare, this itinerary will help you see the highlights of the East and West Bank in Luxor. Of course, inevitably, you’ll have a hectic day. But it’s definitely worth it! To that end, I highly recommend exploring Luxor, with a renal bike!
For a trip to Luxor in Egypt, a tourist visa is compulsory. You can buy at the border for $25USD. If you like to be prepared though, an e-Visa is easily bought online in advance. Stupidly I made a typo on the request form. Thankfully, I was emailed to simply update the information provided and resubmit. No extra fees. Even with this, the application took only three days to process from when I initially submitted it.
Getting to Luxor in Egypt
Because people generally fly into Cairo, you’ll likely need to travel to Luxor from there. The most common options would be to fly or catch a train or bus.
Being short on time, I chose an efficient one hour flight from Cairo to Luxor for $55USD per person with Egyptair. Using Skyscanner, you should be able to find fairly cheap flights. If you have more time and want the cheapest route, consider Go Bus. The route usually costs $15USD but takes at least 12 hours.
The Overnight Train to Luxor
The train option is the most complicated. The journey will take nine hours. To save on a night’s accommodation and make the most of your time in Egypt, an overnight train is possible. But it’s quite expensive at around $110USD. There is a misconception that foreign nationals can only travel by train on this particular overnight service. It is true that the Cairo train ticket office will not sell tourists regular daytime trains due to government restrictions. These have been in place since the 2009 terrorist attacks, supposedly so the government can assure the safety of tourists. However, this smells of a money-making scheme to get tourists to take the more expensive service.
To get around these restrictions, it is possible to book a standard domestic day train either online, using the self-service machines at the station or even simply getting on the train and paying on board. The daytime train is also around 9 hours, but will cost only $15USD.
Getting From the Airport to Luxor
There is no Uber in Luxor. So you’ll need to get a taxi. Be mindful that in Egypt, locals will always, and I mean always, try and overcharge you. A friendly, confident and assertive demeanour can help when negotiating prices in Egypt. Perfecting your disgruntled walk away to have them begging for you to come back may also assist! The price should be no more than E£50 ($3USD).
Once you’ve left the airport, the taxi driver will then try to convince you to choose them as your tour guide. They’ll then offer you a package. A courteous but firm no thank you or la shukran (Arabic) will not work. We went around in conversational circles for about 10 minutes. Finally, I told the driver that my favourite hobby was cycling. I would consider no other option other than riding a bike. He finally stopped the sale pitches!
Taxi to Accommodation in Luxor
More on the taxi: Your accommodation location, in regards to whether it’s located on the East or West Bank, will determine where you need to be dropped off. If located in the East Bank, you’ll simply be dropped off at your accommodation. The ride should take around 15 minutes.
Bu, if your accommodation is on the West Bank, the drive will be around 40 minutes as they will need to go a long way to cross the Nile River. In this case, the taxi will be closer to E£100 ($6USD). But the driver will pitch hard for at least E£200 ($12USD). Avoid this unnecessary negotiation by getting dropped off at the ferry crossing on the East Bank. You’ll then board the local ferry across the Nile for E£5 ($0.30USD). Most accommodation in the West Bank will be close to its equivalent ferry terminal. Simply walk to your accommodation from there.
Accommodation in Luxor
You’ll find Luxor has really cheap accommodation, including cheap rates for entire apartment flats. As mentioned, be wary of whether your accommodation is located on the East or West Bank before booking! Places on the West Bank are generally cheaper as most people tend to think that staying on the East Bank is more convenient. Personally though, given this one day itinerary, the West Bank in Luxor is fine.
I stayed at the Nile Sunrise Flats for $12USD/night in a huge apartment with a nice balcony for sunset. The flats were only a five minute walk from the West Bank ferry terminal.
My crazily short itinerary would have me on a late-night flight to Cairo. Airfares were $55USD per person with Egyptair.
Other than visiting Luxor in Egypt, you should consider visiting Aswan further south if you have time. Indeed, just one day in Aswan would be fantastic. There, you’ll find additional ancient sites. To get there, a train is your best option taking around three hours. The price is no more than $2–3USD.
Of course, if you have more time in Luxor or are happy to pay a little extra for a tour, we’ve heard the hot air balloon ride is incredible. Certainly, flying over Luxor and enjoying an amazing birds-eye view of the temples would be a memorable experience. We’ve heard awesome things about GetYourGuide’s Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Valley of the Kings.
If you only have time to explore Luxor in one day, are based in Cairo and want someone to organise the trip for you, then a tour would be a good option. Consider GetYourGuide’s From Cairo: Day Trip to Luxor by Plane. We’ve heard this day trip to Luxor from Cairo is fantastic. All the stress and time planning are taken care of! Otherwise, Luxor is popularly explored as a day trip from Hurghada. GetYourGuide’s From Hurghada: Luxor Valley of the Kings Full-Day Trip is one of the most highly-rated tours in Egypt! Certainly, if you’re looking for an awesome Luxor day trip from Hurghada, this tour is the one!
Five Travel Essentials For Biking Around Luxor
For a more comprehensive travel essentials list, please check out the Ultimate Packing Checklist. It’s a great general summary of everything you’d need for a trip. For even more information check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack – you’ll be exploring all day so you’ll need a reliable backpack to store your belongings.
- Karrimor 1L Clear Water Bottle x 2 – make sure to pack plenty of water. Cycling is the desert will have you feeling thirsty in no time!
- Phone with GPS for maps – for self-exploration, a phone with GPS makes life a lot easier.
- Anker PowerCore Portable Charger/Power Bank – it’s a long day, so make sure to charge your phone when possible.
- Ray-Ban Polarised Clubmaster Square Sunglasses – the sun shines bright in Luxor!
Consider downloading an online map before you set out. This will make life so much easier when navigating around Luxor. For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help on the day and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.
Bonus Luxor Travel Tips
- Rent a bike in Luxor: group tours can be expensive. Sometimes they won’t even cover the costs of the entrance fees. So you may as well hire a bike and explore at your own pace.
- Catch the local ferry: although there are quicker ways to cross the Nile such as a speed boat, you will only ever need to wait a maximum of 15–20 minutes to get the ferry. It only takes around 10–15 minutes to cross. Also, it is oh so cheap at E£5 ($0.30USD) per trip.
- Haggle: a necessary evil in Egypt. I usually detest the thought of haggling, but with practice, you’ll come to not mind it as much. Don’t get upset or take haggling personally. It’s all part of the experience!
So there you have it – a one day itinerary, getting around Luxor by rental bike! If you have any questions about Luxor bike rental for a single day trip, please leave a comment below.