Depart your central Luxor hotel or Luxor river port by minivan and drive to the Temples of Karnak on the Nile’s East Bank.
As you travel, hear how Luxor stands on the 4,000-year-old site of Thebes, Egypt’s ancient royal capital, and how Karnak is the largest of its temple complexes. Discover how this vast collection of buildings was developed by more than 30 pharaohs, including Amenhotep IV and Ramses II.
On arrival, walk along the Avenue of the Sphinxes to the gateway, and then explore inside with your Egyptologist guide. Hear how the huge pylons at the entrance were constructed, and marvel at the courtyards and sanctuaries beyond. The deeper you go into the complex, the further back you step, with the oldest ruins dating back more than 3,000 years.
Gaze in awe at the showpiece Hypostyle Hall, crowded with 134 massive columns that tower above you like an ancient forest. Crane your neck upwards and learn about the ingenious methods used to raise them by the long-ago Egyptians. See the sacred lake where pharaonic offerings were purified, and then enjoy free time to stroll around the site at leisure.
Continue to Luxor Temple, an ancient temple in the center of Luxor laid parallel to the Nile. Hear how it was built in around 1,400 BC, and added to by Tutankhamun, Ramses II and even Alexander the Great.
Admire the two colossal statues of Ramses at the entrance, and the granite gateway obelisk whose original counterpart now stands in Paris’ Place de la Concorde. Then, head inside to gawk at the richly carved inner sanctuaries, papyrus columns and courts. Peep inside the atmospheric anterooms, including the chapel dedicated to Alexander the Great, who rebuilt the room in his name.
When the time comes, finish your tour with a drop-off at the start point.