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How to Spend 1 Day in Aswan

How to Spend 1 Day in Aswan

Aswan beckons with age-old temples, medieval ruins, lush gardens, and colorful Nubian villages, all set against a stunning River Nile backdrop. While there’s much to see, with careful planning you can cover the city’s ancient history and rich culture in one day. Check out our tips for squeezing the most from a 24-hour stay. 

Morning: Top Sights

Begin with a roundup of Aswan’s three highest-profile sights. Set out on a half-day tour to the Aswan High Dam, built in the 1960s to prevent the Nile’s annual floods, before heading for the ancient granite quarry that still holds the Unfinished Obelisk. Marvel at this enormous pillar, still half-hewn from the rock but abandoned 3,500 years ago due to a large crack in its stone. Next, ride a boat to the island Temple of Philae, an exquisite complex dating from 690 BC and dedicated to the goddess Isis. 

Afternoon: Ruins, Gardens, and Museums

With Aswan’s top sights in the bag, this afternoon is ideal for casting your sightseeing net wider. Perhaps take a felucca boat cruise to Kitchener’s Island and stroll around its shady botanical gardens, or ride a camel to the 7th-century St. Simeon’s Monastery. Alternatively, head to Lake Nasser to roam the water’s-edge Kalabsha Temple. Other options include the Nubian Museum and its repository of household artifacts and monuments dating from the seventh century BC, or motorboat trips to Nubian villages on the banks of the Nile or Soheil Island to learn about this ancient ethnic community.

Evening: Lights, Sights, and Dinner

Come dusk, it’s time to relax and focus on Aswan’s scenery and cuisine. The Sound and Light Show at Philae Temple is an evening showstopper, so book an admission ticket that includes convenient round-trip hotel transfers. Marvel at the illuminations as you walk through the temple, and admire the lights reflected in the island’s waters. For something gentler, take a horse-and-carriage ride through Aswan, trotting along its Nile-side boulevards as the sun sets. Otherwise, sit down for a home-cooked dinner at a local Nubian family home, relaxing in the courtyard and learning about their way of life over staples such as Nile perch and roast chicken.

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5 Tours and Activities

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Private Tour: Philae Temple, Aswan High Dam and Unfinished Obelisk

Private Tour: Philae Temple, Aswan High Dam and Unfinished Obelisk

star-4.5
11
This private tour of the Philae Temple, Aswan High Dam and unfinished Obelisk showcases three of Aswan’s most popular sites. Travelers will get an up close look at the dam that divides the Nile from Lake Nasser, marvel at the sheer size of the unfinished Obelisk and revel in the natural beauty of Philae Temple’s island home.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$116.58
Price varies by group size
From
$116.58
Price varies by group size

Philae Temple Sound and Light Show with Private Transport

Philae Temple Sound and Light Show with Private Transport

star-5
6
Be dazzled by a magical sound and light show at the Philae Temple on this 1.5-hour trip from Aswan, with private round-trip transfers included. Travel to the beautiful ancient temple, set on an island in the Nile, and admire its spectacularly lit walls, pylons and court lit by a kaleidoscope of lights and lasers projections. See the illuminations reflected in the lapping waters, and walk through the floodlit halls and colonnades as the powerful commentary tells tales of the temple’s history and pharaohs past.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$76.56
Price varies by group size
From
$76.56
Price varies by group size

Aswan City Private Tour by Horse Carriage

Aswan City Private Tour by Horse Carriage

Sit back and take in the beauty and bustle of Aswan on a private horse-drawn carriage ride. Settle aboard a comfortable, open-top carriage and relax as you clip-clop through the city’s streets, gardens and walkways. Gaze out over the river waters and banks on a ride along the Nile Corniche, take in colorful street markets and shady, palm-dotted gardens, and gain fascinating glimpses into everyday Egyptian life. Your ride includes bottled water and hotel pick-up and drop-off.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$35.00
Price varies by group size
From
$35.00
Price varies by group size

Private Tour: The Nubian Museum

Private Tour: The Nubian Museum

star-3.5
3
Explore the Nubia Museum with an Egyptologist on a private, 1.5-hour tour, and discover Aswan’s most stunning artifacts. Learn the history of the Nubian culture as you browse displays of models, mummies and treasures recovered by teams of archeologists during the construction of the High Dam. Take in traditional Nubian architecture, then stroll the museum’s manicured garden and scale model of the Nile River Valley. 
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$57.42
Price varies by group size
From
$57.42
Price varies by group size

Private Tour: Kalabsha Temple on Lake Nasser

Private Tour: Kalabsha Temple on Lake Nasser

star-5
2
Explore the beautiful but often-overlooked Kalabsha Temple on the shores of Lake Nasser on this 3-hour private tour from Aswan, with an Egyptologist guide. Travel by air-conditioned minivan to this stunning water’s edge temple, originally built in 30 BC, and dismantled and relocated here in the 1960s after the building of the Aswan High Dam. View the pylon, court, hall and sanctuary and ogle the richly carved Egyptian and Roman-themed reliefs as your knowledgeable guide unlocks their fascinating secrets and symbolism. Ideal for ancient history buffs!
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$67.86
Price varies by group size
From
$67.86
Price varies by group size