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Ideal duration: 2 - 3 Days

Best Time: Oct - May Read More

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"The City That Lives in its Ruins"

Aswan Tourism

Aswan is the southernmost city in Egypt, along the river Nile bank. Known as 'Sono', it was once the commercial center of Egypt and houses 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date. It is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of craft and folk art. Popular amongst history geeks, Aswan lives as a cemetery for the Nubian kings who once ruled this province. Aswan is surrounded by the golden desert and emerald islands and has been rightly regarded as the 'Land of Gold' for decades. It houses several ancient sites, like the Philae temple complex on Agilkia Island near the landmark Aswan Dam.

Aswan is often regarded as one the most beautiful riverine cities and is an ideal place to relax by the corniche. Several islands are located in close proximity to this Egyptian marvel, including Kitchener's Island, Agilkia island and Elephantine Island. Legends say that the Elephantines were the origin of the river Nile. The monastery of Simon and ancient tombs of Egyptian rulers like the mausoleum of Aga Khan are other popular tourist spots that one should not miss out on when in Aswan.

Far more relaxed than Cairo and Luxor, Aswan is a great retreat for those who like a little bit of history and country-style vacations. In addition, it has preserved its heritage well in monuments such as the International Symposium of Sculpture, the Aswan Folk Troupe, and the Nubian Museum. Now developed into an urban town, Aswan boasts a rich cultural side with over 50 folk dances, art forms and literature.

For people who enjoy a more urban holiday, Aswan has got visitors' popular traditional felucca cruises that would take you in the middle of the turquoise waters with their contrasting white sails. In addition, the downtown area of Aswan has several bars and rooftop restaurants offering delightful meals and entertainers at night. One of the most popular things in Aswan is to go for a desert hike. The trail around the western bank of the river Nile is particularly famous among tourists.

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Must Know Before You Travel to Aswan

  • Aswan is compact enough to walk everywhere you go.
  • Fellucas and boats are available for visiting sights around the west banks and islands around town. However, be prepared to get into serious negotiations since the people overcharge tourists.
  • The public ferry to the Elephantine islands is LE 5 for international tourists.
  • Cruise ships between Luxor and Aswan move throughout the day.
  • Budget stays are available in the city center. Look around the Shari al Souk region and Tombs of Nobles for luxury hotels.
  • Aswan is generally a safe city, but it is suggested to be more careful around the souk area from pickpockets.
  • Alcohol is generally not available in the city. Instead, visitors can get it from duty-free shops while checking out of the airport.

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Shopping in Aswan

Sharia as-Souq, Egypt's most attractive souq, occupies nearly half of the city. Compared to other cities, there is much less pressure to buy, and it is more stunning and exciting. Visitors can purchase henna powder, t-shirts, perfume, spices, robes, statues, baskets, Sudanese swords, live produce, cuisine, fruit, and veggies. Next, Hanafi Bazaar, home to some authentic Nubian treasures, is the oldest shopping centre in Aswan. This area is well known for 18 K gold products. Finally, the best place to purchase papyrus artwork in Aswan is on El Sadat Street. The replicas of the tomb murals sold in numerous souvenir stores along the street make perfect gifts to take back home.

Suggested Itinerary for Aswan

Day 1: Start your day at the monastery of St. Simeon, a 17th-century marvel. You can hike up to the ruins if you like. Next, move on to the Philae temple, a much-loved spot in Aswan. The temple sits on its island along the Nile. Cherish this excellent site as you head for a quiet brunch at an old Nubian restaurant. After lunch, head to the Nubian Nation Museum and learn about the rich culture of Aswan and the surrounding areas. Finally, explore the vintage souks of Aswan as you head towards the Feryal Garden Corniche and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Finally, stop for a lavish dinner and prepare for Day 2.

Day 2: Start your day at the Abu Simbel complex. If you take a heritage tour, you must start at 5 in the morning to make the most of this site. Watch the sunrise from this epic monument that now lives in ruins. Next, head to Elephantine island for lunch and explore the area before moving on to the Nubian Village. Finally, end your day by watching the Light and Sound Show at Philae Temple.

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Elephantine island in Aswan
Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan

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