Top-Rated Aswan Attractions You Should Not Miss

Aswan is on the southernmost part of Egypt and is one of the driest and hottest places in the country. But apart from its temperature, this city offers an experience that is filled with culture, Egyptian history monuments and an enchanting Egyptian daily life. When you are embarking on the tourist cities in Egypt, Aswan is one which you cannot miss. The following are the top rated Aswan attractions you must keep in your bucket list.

Elephantine Island

With lots of palm tree plantations and bright mud-brick residences, this island is one of the major Aswan attractions. Reaching its southernmost tip of the village, you will find the ruins of Abu and Aswan museum. The ruins signify the most ancient settlement in the city and also have the temple of Khnum of the old Kingdom and also the Temple of Satet. In the museum, you will find an amazing collection of exhibits that has historical finds from the Roman era. On the eastern side of the ruin you can go down the flight of steps to reach Aswan's nilometer. This was used by the ancient people to measure the rise and fall of the water in Nile and also help to predict the flood and get a successful harvest. Upon the exploration of the ruins, you can go towards the Northern side to roam around the back streets of the village - Siou and Koti. The farmers living here have been cultivating and doing animal husbandry and fisheries. Officially known as Aswan botanical gardens, you can take a row boat to Kitchener’s Island.

Nubian Museum

This Aswan attraction is one of the best museums of Egypt and for anyone who has an interest in the culture of ancient and modern Nubia, cannot miss this place. It has brilliant collection of artifacts from Kush Kingdom and plenty of photos of Abu Simbel and Philae Temple. You can also find collections such as statue of Ramses II, the head of the Shpatka, a statue of Amenras, the black granite head of Tahraqa, ethnographic section displaying Nubian handicrafts and folk art.  The Fatimid cemetery is just behind the museum and is also one of the must see places.

Open from: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm

Nubian Museum, Aswan
Nubian Museum

Abu Simbel Temple
Abu Simbel Temple


Abu Simbel Temple

The place was built by Ramses II and is now UNESCO rescue project. You can see the great temple of Ramses II you and the temple of Hathor along the bank of Lake Naseer. There are mini bus tours available from Asman to take you here.

Opens at 7:00 am


Philae Temple

It is one of the sacred temples of Isis and is a beguiling monument for those who are interested in art and history of ancient Egypt (See also Aswan History). This is also a rescue project of UNESCO. The main part of the Philae complex is the center where the ancient Isis cult was worshipped. There are taxi services available which can take you to this Temple and can be a complete day tour as a part of the Abu Simbel trip.

Open from: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

Philae Temple, Aswan
Philae Temple

Unfinished Obelisk
Unfinished Obelisk


Unfinished Obelisk

The northern Quarry of Aswan has unfinished obelisk and is one of the major Aswan attractions you cannot miss. This is a 4 meter wide and 41 meter long wide stone and it is thought to be an abandoned one because there was a crack in the rock. It is thought that once completed the obelisk would weigh 1168 tons.  You can walk to the northern Quarry area from the Downtown of Aswan starting from the east of Nubian museum.

Open from: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm


High Dam

This is one of the most controversial building projects of modern Egypt. It started the construction in 1960 and took almost 11 years for completion. The dam, which is about 98 thick in its base and 40 meters wide at the top has an average capacity of 135 billion cubic meter water reserve and with the maximum capacity of 157 billion cubic meters. It has put an end to the flood that was caused by Nile River every year which according to many has affected the fertility of the land on the banks of the river. The place can also be visited upon hiring a taxi from the Downtown of Aswan.

Monastery of Saint Simeon

This is one of the most photogenic monasteries you will find in Egypt. It is on the west bank of Nile River and has sand dunes neighboring the monastery. Founded in 7th century, the place was abandoned by the people during the 13th century because of lack of water supply. This is one of the best preserved and also one of the largest Coptic monasteries in Egypt.

Open from: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm


Tombs of the Nobles

Here you will find a series of tombs which have been cut out of the west bank cliff where the governor's priests and other people of the Elephantine Island's are buried. There are steep staircases which you can access to see each of these tombs.  The first term is Tomb number 25 and 26 where you will find governors Sabni and Mekhu. Going up, there is Tomb 31 that belongs to Prince Sarenput II and is also one of the best and largest preserved Tomb you will find in necropolis. Tomb 34 is of Harhuf and it has inscriptions about the trading expeditions in Nubia.

Open from: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (summer), 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (winter)


Kalabsha

This is also group of temples and is a rescue project of UNESCO which is now on the bank of Lake Naseer. It is one of the best preserved of the three temples that was initially here and also is youngest than the rest. It is of the time of Roman Emperor Augustus and is one of the most important monuments that you will find in Aswan. To the Northwest is the temple of Beit el-wali, which translates to house of the Holy man and was also built by Ramses II. You can find a transverse chamber, a vestibule and a sanctuary along with some lively historical reliefs. You can hire taxis to visit the place from Aswan and is usually combined with the trip to Philae.

Open from: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Read more about 5 Most Famous Temples in Aswan


Aga Khan Mausoleum

On the top of the west bank cliff, this mausoleum was constructed to preserve the Tomb of Sultan Muhammad Shah (1877 to 1957).

Open from: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm.


Souq Area

This is one of the top Aswan attractions for those who love to hunt for souvenirs. From perfumes to spices, basketry to scarves, you can find a lot of Egyptian items sold by the local vendors. The opening and closing times are not fixed.


See more attractions in Aswan:

Kom Ombo Temple     Agilkia Island     Gebel El-Silsila Sandstone Quarry

6 Most Popular Things to Do in Aswan