With warm and top-notch hospitality service and perennial charm, Aswan invites travelers to immerse themselves in a world of quaint architectural marvels and modern delights, creating everlasting memories. Before planning your trip to Aswan, Egypt, consider the list of things to do in Aswan for a captivating and enriching travel experience. Venture around the vibrant city of Aswan starting from the ancient wonders to the colorful markets to dig into the rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes that create a tapestry of experiences that reveals the Egypt’s best kept secrets to the visitors to their wonder.

Things to Do in Aswan: Pamper Yourself with Nubian’s Hospitality

Things to do in Aswan

Often considered as the Jewel of the Nile, Aswan is a picturesque city situated in the southernmost part of Egypt. Best known for its stunning natural landscapes, ethereal beauty, rich cultural history, and ancient monuments, you will find ample of amazing things to do in Aswan for an invigorating experience. Aswan never fails to offer a perfect blend of traditional Egyptian life and a serene atmosphere that makes it a go-to destination for the people across the world seeking to relax and have a wholesome experience. Ranging from touring around the ancient religious temples to taking a leisurely boat ride in the evening complemented by the sunset views on the Nile River, Aswan has numerous treasures for you to unfold.

Let’s have a glance at the top 8 things to do in Aswan for a remarkable holiday experience.

  1. Boat Ride to Philae Temple
  2. Visit Elephantine Island
  3. Go on a Felucca Boat Ride on Nile
  4. Have Dinner at 1902 Restaurant
  5. Visit the Nubian Village
  6. Explore the Unfinished Obelisk
  7. Day Trip to Abu Simbel
  8. Shopping at Aswan Souq

1. Boat Ride to Philae Temple: Appreciate the Ideal Symmetry

Boat Ride to Philae Temple

Best known as the Pearl of Egypt, Philae Temple is located on an isolated serene island which can be accessed by a scenic boat ride that takes less than 10 minutes and one of the famous things to see in Aswan. Sailing across the ripples of blues, you will witness the distant Egyptian masterpiece shrouded in mystery that will transport you back to the days of Ptolemy’s reign. Dedicated to Goddess Isis and the home to her remnants, the Philae Temple is considered as the UNESCO World Heritage site, and it attracts millions of visitors every year. It is adorned with vibrant inscriptions, stone carved windows and outstanding hieroglyphics. Never forget to miss out on the phenomenal light and sound show at Philae Temple for a pleasurable experience.

Address: Aswan First, Aswan Governorate, Egypt

Famous For: Important Egyptian Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Opening Hours of the Temple:

7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (October-May)

7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (June to September)

Night Show Timings: 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (varies based on seasons)

Entry Fee: 100 EGP (For light & sound show: 45 EGP)

Boat Riding Fee: Depends on the number of people

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2. Visit Elephantine Island: Pay a Tribute to the Historic Cult Centre

Visit Elephantine Island

Perched on the First Cataract of the Nile River, Elephantine Island or Jazirat Aswan is a small rustic, yet picturesque island which is drenched in old majestic ruins and one of the best places to visit in Egypt. These ruins still echo the fascinating stories of the island and its indigenous people who built a temple dedicated to Khnum converted the land into a world of temples. Often considered as the center of ivory trade in the early times, it's a surreal retreat for visitor’s delight. Elephantine Island is a haven to tiny hamlets like Nubian, Koti, and Siou where you can dig into the traditional authenticity. You can also visit the major landmarks on the island like Aswan Museum and Botanical Garden, and Ruins of Abu for an enriching historical tour.

Located On: Nile River

Famous For: Tranquility & Ancient Ruins

Opening Hours of the Island: Open for 24 Hours

Best Way to Reach: Ferry from Aswan

Best Time to Visit: Nov to Feb

Must Visit Attractions: Aswan Museum, Ruins of Abu, Aswan Botanical Garden, Ancient Landmarks on Elephantine, Koti, & Siou Villages

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3. Go on a Felucca Boat Ride on Nile: Sail Through a Historic Past

Felucca Boat Ride on Nile

Cruising on a traditional Egyptian boat namely Felucca can transport you to the wonderful city of Aswan for an immersive experience which can be added considered as one of the best activities in Aswan. Watch the sunset over the Nile and adore the rich history of the city that will transport you to the world of ancient Egypt. Relax and unwind during the ride and visit the Botanical Garden to witness the varied flora species which were imported from all over the world by Lord Kitchener. Never forget to visit the Aga Khan Mausoleum located on the hilltop overlooking the mesmerizing views of Aswan city. You can witness an isolated hilltop, yet a serene one which is dotted with a series of magnificent tombs of the Nobles.

Types of Felucca Cruises: Half Day, Full Day Cruises, Night Stay Cruises

Duration of the ride: 2 to 3 hours & 6 to 7 hours

Boat Ride Fee: Starts from 794 EGP (Varies according to the size of the group)

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4. Dinner at 1902 Restaurant: Time for A Fine Dining Experience

Dinner at 1902 Restaurant

Feast on the exotic dishes exquisitely handcrafted with love at the sky high domed 1902 Restaurant which is itself a treat to your eyes and can be added to the list of things to do in Egypt. Delight yourself with the celebration of French inspired fusion cuisine blended with the local Egyptian flavors that results in a very sophisticated outcome to drool over. Moreover, the classic restaurant features a total of four red and white traditional door-key arches, finely elevated by the intricate decor of mash Rabiya and stained glass. Never forget to indulge in a decadent dining experience at the famous restaurant of Aswan, which was opened to celebrate the first Aswan Dam.

Location: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel

Address: 3VJQ+W2Q, Abtal El Tahrir Street, Sheyakhah Oula, Aswan 1, Aswan Governorate 1240836, Egypt

Opening Hours: Opens from 7 p.m.

Famous Cuisine: French & Egyptian Cuisine

Best Dishes to Try: Royal Breaded Shrimp, Smoked Duck Salad, Veal Fillet, Pigeon Ravioli, Chocolate Delice

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5. Visit the Nubian Village: Experience the Essence of Ethnicity

Nubian Village

Explore the picturesque streets of Nubian Village engulfed in colorful walls filled with geometric shapes and vibrant hues that symbolize deeper meanings which can be considered as the top things to do in Aswan. Enlighten yourself with in-depth historical and cultural insights of Nubian’s lifestyle that has shaped Egyptian history. The most interesting fact about the Nubian culture is the petting of crocodiles by the community to keep a trespasser away and these are showcased in every household for touristy purposes. You can stop by any house and the family will greet and offer you a cup of tea with warmth and spend some time with the pet crocodile which is the most highlighted part of the village. Shop some souvenirs for an intriguing cultural affair.

Located in: Nagaa Suhayi Gharb, Egypt

Address: 3V67+GMH, Unnamed Road, Aswan 1, Aswan Governorate 1240702, Egypt

Opening Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Best Known for: History & Culture

Things to Do in Nubian Village: Heritage Walk, Camel Ride, Visit the Crocodile House, Felucca Ride, Visit the Nubian History Museum, Shopping

How to Reach there:

Nearest Airport: Aswan International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Aswan Railway Station

(You can directly hire a cab either from Aswan’s airport or Railway Station to the village)

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6. Explore the Unfinished Obelisk: Pay a tribute to the Incomplete Masterpiece

Unfinished Obelisk

Considered as one of the most significant landmarks in Aswan, the Unfinished Obelisk is a granite monument which was never completed and abandoned long years back in the quarries of Aswan. This archaeological finding which is 41 meters tall and weigh more than 1200 tons is itself considered as a mystery to unfurl Egypt’s history and one of the top places to visit in Aswan. Appreciate the masterminds behind this architectural wonder which will make you redefine grandeur and glory by setting newer standards. Indulge yourself in extracting the mysteries of this enigmatic monument ranging from the colossal size to the reasons of abandonment for an enriching historical experience.

Address: Sheyakhah Oula, Aswan, Aswan Governorate 1241771, Egypt

Opening Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry Fee: 80 EGP (It might vary according to time)

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7. Day Trip to Abu Simbel: Embrace Egypt’s History

 Day Trip to Abu Simbel

Considered as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Abu Simbel is a historic site of Egypt that houses two colossal rock-cut temples that dates to the 13th century BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II of 19th Dynasty. These Abu Simbel temples are the living testament of the exuberant glory and pride of the ancient Egyptian civilizations. This second largest tourist attraction in Egypt after the Pyramids witness an Egyptian phenomenon, Solar alignment over the grand temple which is observed on 22nd February and 22nd October annually. A must-visit to this sacred destination will give a thousand reasons to admire the vibrant grandeur of Egypt and exploring these temples is one of the best things to do in Aswan.

Location: Aswan Governorate, Egypt

Address: Abu Simbel, Aswan Governorate 1211501, Egypt

Known For: Historical Sites & Temples

Opening Hours: 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Major Attractions: Abu Simbel Temples

How to Reach: You can directly travel by car from Aswan to Abu Simbel, which is a 3-hour drive.

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8. Shopping in Aswan: Bring A Few Egyptian Memories with You

Shopping in Aswan

Visiting an offbeat destination in Egypt and experiencing the vibrant Nubian culture and traditions during your Aswan tour, shopping should be added to the list of things to do in Aswan for a memorable experience. Shopping in Egypt is the best way to unfold the country's rich culture. The bustling streets of Aswan’s markets will lead you to a world of wonders and magnificence showcased through art and literature. Aswan has got some of the best hidden secrets and Nubian treasures starting from the colorful apparel, antiques, artefacts to the huge array of spices like bergamot, saffron, karkaide, pepper, cloves, and nutmeg. Don’t forget to buy some of the best marvelous tomb paintings to elevate your comfort corner at home.

Major Markets for Shopping: Hanafi Bazaar, Sharia- El Shouk, El Sadat Street, Nubia Tourist Book Centre

Famous Things to Buy: Traditional Swords, Silk Kaftans, African masks, Spices, Traditional Long Robes, Sandalwood, Papyrus Art, Perfumes, Jewelry, Books on Nubian Culture & Heritage

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Being regarded as the mesmerizing destination of Egypt that captivates visitors for its everlasting appeal and enhances the list of things to do in Aswan. Starting from visiting the architectural and religious masterpieces like the Philae Temple and Abu Simbel Temple to the soothing beauty of the Nile River, Aswan offers a handful of experiences for every type of traveler catering to their preferences. Never forget to explore the Nubian villages, sailing on traditional feluccas, and appreciating the rich grandeur of the High Dam are a few of the highlighted activities awaiting visitors for a notable experience. Start booking your Egypt tour packages with us for a wonderful Egyptian getaway.

Things to Do in Aswan FAQ’s

Q1. What is Aswan famous for?

Aswan is famous for the ancient archaeological excavations that represents Egypt’s rich history and culture. It is also an offbeat tourist destination that amazes the tourists with the colorful marketplaces, extravagant felucca boat ride and cruise experiences, and the serene, mesmerizing views of the Nile River. The Nubian village is also a highlighted attraction in Aswan for preserving the rich Nubian culture and traditions.

Q2. Is 2 days enough to explore Aswan?

Yes, 2 days is ideal to explore Aswan and cover the major attractions in Aswan including the temples and the massive archeological findings. After spending a day with a full-fledged city tour, you can plan a day trip to Abu Simbel as well to explore the temples.

Q3. What are the top 5 attractions in Aswan Egypt?

Aswan, being sprawled on the riverbank of Nile River, is the home to numerous ancient temples, museums, and archaeological treasures. You can witness the unparallel beauty of the Nile River by sailing on a Felucca Boat. The top 5 attractions in Aswan Egypt are:

  1. Philae Temple
  2. Nubian Village & Museum
  3. Elephantine Island
  4. Unfinished Obelisk
  5. Monastery of St. Simeon
Q4. What are the top 5 adventure activities to do in Aswan Egypt?

Since Aswan is a historic city that upholds the true spirit of Egypt, you can hop around the historical masterpieces with the animal rides and boat rides for an extravagant experience. The top 5 adventure activities to do in Aswan Egypt are:

  1. Felucca Boat Ride on Nile
  2. Hot Air Balloon Ride
  3. Night Nile Cruise
  4. Boating to Nubian Village
  5. Camel Ride Tour in Nubian Village
Q5. What are the top 5 shopping markets in Aswan Egypt?

Aswan has plenty of options for shopping where you can find a plethora of traditional handicrafts, apparel, accessories, spices, and perfumes. You can find the top picks in these markets for an everlasting shopping experience. The top 5 shopping markets in Aswan Egypt are:

  1. Aswan Market
  2. Sharia El Souk
  3. Cleopatra Palace Perfume Bazaar
  4. Patience & Faith Bazaar
  5. Hanafi Bazaar
Q6. What are the top 5 restaurants in Aswan Egypt?

Aswan has got some of the best restaurants to dig in to the flavorful local and international cuisines. With the breathtaking views of the river, you can enjoy a wholesome meal in the opulent restaurants. The top 5 restaurants in Aswan Egypt are:

  1. Aswan Market
  2. Sharia El Souk
  3. Cleopatra Palace Perfume Bazaar
  4. Patience & Faith Bazaar
  5. Hanafi Bazaar
Q7. What is the best time to visit Aswan?

The ideal time to visit Aswan is during Winter and Spring in between the months of October to May for a comfortable and pleasant travel experience. You can avoid visiting Aswan during summer from the months of June to August.

Q8. When is the best time to go on a Felucca Boat ride in Aswan?

The best time to go on a Felucca boat ride is before sunset. You can watch the sunset over the majestic Nile River while sailing to the unknown, yet beautiful lands full of mystery. Taking up a Felucca boat ride is the most highlighted activity to be carried out if you are visiting Aswan.