Cruise on the Nile. What is worth seeing?

A cruise on the River Nile is one of the most interesting ways to visit the country's main tourist attractions, located outside of the seaside resorts. In Victorian times it was the only way to visit the greatest remains of the ancient world. Modern tourists, of course, have many more options to choose from, but a cruise has a touch of romance and an aura of mystery that make this form of relaxation still popular with many tourists.

A cruise ship, during the cruise the Nile River

The Nile cruise is still one of the best and easily accessible ways to visit the most important monuments of ancient Egypt during one holiday. This is partly due to the tradition and the fact that the first tourists visiting these areas got to see them from the deck of cruise ships. These nineteenth-century cruises are associated with the elegance of a bygone era and its discreet luxury. However, the popularity of cruises is also due to practical reasons, because most of the most important temples and buildings are in the immediate vicinity of the river, which makes reaching them from the water much easier. The ships sail mainly at night, when you can sleep peacefully and rest after an eventful day. However, you can also use the evening to collect additional great memories, as at night temples and buildings are beautifully lit, creating a unique spectacle against the dark sky. During the day you will have the opportunity to admire the vast landscapes, which in many places have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

Peasant with a cow on the banks of the Nile River

A cruise ship is not only a great means of transport, but also a place for wonderful relaxation. While sailing, you can fully indulge in the pleasure of admiring the landscapes and monuments, without having to use road transport and standing in traffic jams, which Egypt is almost as famous for as the pyramids. Comfortable, air-conditioned cabins with private bathrooms, bar and deckchairs on board are just some of the amenities that await you during such an expedition.

Interior of the cabin on a cruise ship

Most cruises on the Nile start in Luxor and visit the most famous places, such as Esna, Edfu and Kom Ombo, to arrive at the port of Aswan. On average, the cruise lasts a full four days, which gives enough time to visit the greatest attractions of the ancient world accumulated in this part of Egypt and use the rest of the vacation to explore other parts of the country. Whilst onboard your cruise ship, you will also get the opportunity to sail on a felucca, which is a beautiful, traditional sailing boat that you will see up & down the river. This is possible when in Luxor or Aswan.

Traditional sailing boats called felucca on the Nile River in Aswan

Places worth visiting during the Nile cruise

Egypt is home to an impressive number of tourist attractions a significant amount of them are accumulated on the banks of the River Nile, between Luxor and Aswan. Some of them, such as Abu Simbel, where there are the temples dedicated to the deities of Re-Horachte and Hathor, are located at a distance from the shore. After embarking your cruise, you can always decide whether you want to take a trip to these monuments or if you would prefer to relax in comfortable surroundings on board.

Tourists in front of the entrance to the temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel

Cruise ships usually depart from Luxor and sail up the Nile, ending the course in Aswan or traveling in the opposite direction. Regardless of which port the cruise begins from, the ship always calls at the marina allowing guests to admire the most important monuments and the most interesting places.

Luxor is a city located on the right bank of the Nile, in the place of the southern part of ancient Thebes. It is recommended to see here one of the most important monuments of the ancient world: the main temple of Thebes, i.e. the temple of Amun, along with the associated cult districts of the god Montu and the goddess Mut. On The left bank of the Nile were Western Thebes, or the ancient necropolis, divided into several districts. In the Valley of the Kings almost all rulers of the New Theban state ruled in 1550-1070 BCE were buried. Here you will find the famous tomb of Tutankhamen, the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut and Colossi of Memnon.

Statue of Ramses II with his wife in the courtyard of the Temple of Karnak

After leaving Luxor, the ships head to Edfu, located on the west bank of the Nile, where there is a temple complex dedicated to the god Horus. It is undoubtedly one of the best preserved and most beautiful sacred buildings from this period. Construction of the temple began in 237 B.C.E., and works were only completed around around 60 B.C.

The first pylon of the Horus temple in Edfu

Further up the Nile is the city of Kom Ombo with a beautiful temple erected in 187-40 BC. located right on the banks of the Nile. The southern part of the temple is dedicated to the god of fertility, Sobek. The northern part was erected in honor of the god Horus called the Elder. The temple is unique because all the elements placed along the main axis are perfectly symmetrical. 

Tourist photographs the ruins of an ancient Egyptian temple in Kom Ombo

After arriving at the port of Aswan, bus trips to the Great Aswan Dam and to the picturesque island of Philae, located at the height of the First Cataract of the Nile, are organized. In ancient times there was a center of Isis worship. The ancient Egyptians believed that the island of Philae was the first piece of land that emerged from the waters of Chaos, which is why they attached such importance to this place. The Temple on Philae was one of the last functioning places of worship of Egyptian beliefs. It was closed at the order of Emperor Justinian only in the middle of the 6th century. In 1979, monuments from the island of Philae were entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Tourists visit the temple of the goddess Isis on an island in Aswan

A cruise along the River Nile will give you the amazing opportunity to visit the wonderful monuments of Ancient Egypt & will also allow you to relax & take in the breathtaking scenery along the river in comfortable surroundings. With busy days, sightseeing & lazy evenings, relaxing, this is the perfect way to spend your holiday!

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