Luxor was built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, and the magnificent monumental architecture and its excellent condition make Luxor one of Egypt's greatest tourist destinations. For many hundreds of years people have been visiting the temples of Luxor, Karnak, Hetsgepsut and Ramses II. The Nile has feluccas and old barges that shuffle between the luxury hotel ships of the Hilton and Sheraton that cruise between Cairo and Aswan.
This area is suited for Egyptologists and those interested in ancient history, monuments and cultures, Luxor is a "must". It is also a winter resort with genuine sunbathing weather, the wondrous temples and tombs an added bonus. The extremely hot summer months constitute low season.
The accommodation here consists of hotels outside the centre which are quieter with more relaxing settings, those nearer the centre are more convenient for sightseeing without transport. Standards are not as high as elsewhere, so a 4-star is probably the lowest category acceptable to most tourists. 3-star hotels used by tour operators will usually provide clean, very simple accommodation with little charm and few facilities. The majority of hotels have security guards and electronic alarm gates at the entrance.
In all, the Luxor experience is a typically Egyptian combination of awe-inspiring sights, genteel, old-world hospitality and bustling, colourful, often run-down commercial areas. The constant hard-sell techniques of vendors and the indefatigable offers of tourist services, taxi, caleche, felucca trips and general guiding services can be wearing but the general feeling is one of welcome and street crime is not evident, especially since security was dramatically increased after the massacre of tourists visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut in 1997. .
There is the possibility of terrorist attacks on tourists in Egypt, Foreign Office advisory notices offer the latest official advice and should be consulted before booking.
Luxor is situated in east-central Egypt, which is 310 mls as the crow flies, but 416 mls by road south of Cairo. The area is 125 mls N of Aswan, 170 mls SW of Hurghada and 4 mls NW of Luxor airport. It is set on the east bank of the River Nile in completely flat terrain. There are Splendid views across the river to a cultivated flood plain on the west bank and the impressive bare hills of ancient Thebes beyond, where the tombs and mortuary temples of the pharaohs are located.