Best Times to Take a Nile Cruise (Aswan–Luxor)

Best Times to Take a Nile Cruise (Aswan–Luxor)

By Edward | Updated Dec. 5, 2023

Spring and autumn cruises are best, since you get warm sun, comfortable nights, and comfortable touring weather. For ideal temperatures we suggest that you go in the fall between the end of September to the end of November, or go in the spring from March to early May.

Summer is too hot for many and winter is too crowded for optimal cruise enjoyment. Seasonal weather analysis follows, best seasons first.

The weather is about the same in Luxor and Aswan because these two cities are only about 180 kilometers or 112 miles away from each other in a straight line. You could drive the distance in a little more than 3 hours. Aswan is further south and is generally a little warmer.

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Spring Cruises (March to Early May Suggested)

Cruise ship on Nile River, EgyptCruise ship on Nile River, Egypt

In big contrast from the cold chills of January and the blasting heat of August, in March and April, in Aswan, the days are comfortable, dry, and sunny. Daytime temperatures are about 31°C (88°F) or above, and at night, the temperatures drop to a comfortable low of about 13°C (55°F). There is 0% chance of rain.

In May, the temperatures become like summer. There is also a little more rainfall in Aswan. In Luxor, the weather ranges between a 39°C (103°F) and a low of 22°C (72°F). This is ideal weather for swimming in cruise ship pools. Note, there are larger tourist crowds around Easter.

Read more on: How to Plan Your First Trip to Egypt — 7 Easy Steps

What to Wear in Spring

During the days, remember that the solar radiation is intense. The sun shines off the water and from the cliffs or dunes along the shore. So, when you are on deck and go on excursion, try to cover your skin with loose and thin cotton fabric. Wear sunglasses and a sunhat. In the evenings, a light jacket should be enough. 

Moisturizers and keeping hydrated are needed in the desert areas around Aswan and Luxor, as humidity is very low and it will feel dry. Cairo has more normal humidity, for if you cruise that far.

Read more on: When is the Best Time to Visit Egypt?

Autumn Cruises (October and November Suggested)

Fall is a good cruising season as well. In the daytime in October, temperatures might reach a high of about 37°C (98°F), and then the temperatures continue to fall in November. The nightly lows might reach 21°C (69°F) in October. There is 0% chance of rain.

What to Wear in Autumn

During daytime, remember that the solar radiation is intense. Try to cover your skin with loose and thin cotton fabric or sun cream. Wear sunglasses and a sunhat. In the evenings, a light jacket should be enough. Again, keep well hydrated, and consider lip balm and moisturizer.

Suggested reading: How Much Does It Cost to Travel in Egypt?

Summer Cruises (June–September) — Maybe Too Hot

Nile River off the coast of Luxor, EgyptNile River off the coast of Luxor, Egypt

June, July, and August are much the same: dry, sunny and with average highs of 42°C (108°F) and lows of 25°C (78°F). It is hot, dry, and breezy. Most foreign tourists do not like the heat of Egyptian summers. If you like dry heat, then you might enjoy a summer cruise. The highs are in the 40s °C (middle 100s °F) and the lows at night are comfortable in the middle 20s °C (70s °F).

Septembers are hot. The highs in September are still hot at around 41°C (105°F), but the nights are comfortable with lows of around 23°C (74°F).

What to Wear in Summer

Again, remember that the solar radiation is intense, and employ the protection mentioned above to protect your skin: clothing, hat, sun screen... Lip balm, moisturizer, and good hydration are highly advised.

Recommended reading: What to Wear in Egypt: For Women and For Different Seasons

Winter Cruises (December, January, February) — Very Popular

Cruise ship on Nile River, EgyptCruise ship on Nile River, Egypt

We suggest avoiding December, January, and February since they are too popular. For example, in January, the highs are a cool 24°C (75°F). This is cool for sunbathing and for outdoor sightseeing. The most pleasant weather is also the peak season when many travelers choose to travel to Egypt. Avoid the busy holidays of Christmas and New Year, because it is a high tourist season for cruises and may cost you more.

See our handpicked itineraries for various durations: 5 days, 7 days, 10 days, 12 days, 14 days and 21 days...

What to Wear in Winter

Remember warm clothes for cruising in winter, especially coats and trousers for going on deck in the evenings and early mornings. There is less need for sun protection. Moisturizers and keeping hydrated are still needed in desert areas around Aswan and Luxor.

Humidity is higher in the winter, rising to 40%, but this is still on the dry side for most people, so take care of skin hydration as needed.

Sights along the Way between Aswan and Luxor

Main Attractions in Aswan

Gorgeous Scenery of Aswan, EgyptGorgeous Scenery of Aswan, Egypt
  • The Aswan Dam: It is a 20-minute drive south from Aswan. The dam is about 111 meters (364 feet) tall and 3 kilometers (2 miles) wide. It is one of the biggest dams in the world.
  • Philae Temple and Abu Simbel: These two temples were moved to their present locations when the Aswan Dam was built.
  • Kom Ombo: About 23 miles north of Aswan is a stone temple that was built in the period 180–47 BC. It is a stop for Nile cruises.

Read more on: The Top 10 Egyptian Monuments (From Pyramids to Temples)

Main Attractions in the Temple of Edfu

As you are sailing north from Aswan, about 64 km (40 miles) north of Kom Ombo or 124 km (77 miles) north of Aswan, you can reach the Temple of Edfu. Boats dock and horses and carriages offer rides for customers. Some cruises stop both at Kom Ombo and Edfu. The Edfu necropolis is about three kilometers (2 miles) west of the west bank of the Nile.

Edfu is in an out of the way area about 115 kilometers (60 miles) south of Luxor, so seeing it by cruise boat is convenient. The Temple of Edfu and the Temple of Dendera are the most complete and the best-preserved ancient temple structures in Egypt.

Read more on:The Temple of Edfu: How to Visit It

Main Attractions in the Temple of Dendera

Temple of DenderaTemple of Dendera

The Temple of Dendera is about 1½ hours from Luxor by road, about 60 km (40 miles) away. It is also visited by tourists during a Nile cruise, since it is only about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the Nile. If you take a cruise between Luxor and Aswan, many tours will also feature a trip to Dendera because it is very impressive and takes up an area of two city blocks. There are many things to see including a Roman Gateway of Domitian and Trajan, a Roman Mammisi, and the main building in the complex. It is noted for having original paintings and inscriptions that are still clear and colorful.

Recommended reading: The Temple of Dendera - How to Visit It

Main Attractions in the Temple of Esna

Further north along the Nile is the Temple of Esna. It's located about 100 meters (110 yards) west of the west bank. It is one of the newer temples that tourists visit. The temple was completed during the reign of Emperor Decius (249-–251 AD). There is a hall of columns, and recent archaeological work has uncovered some art and images that can now be seen. Most cruise boats stop there, except some tours traveling south from Luxor. It is about 55 minutes from Luxor by vehicle.

Main Attractions in Luxor

Ancient ruins of historical Karnak temple in Luxor, EgyptAncient ruins of historical Karnak temple in Luxor, Egypt
  • Luxor Temple: It is thought that construction started in the 14th century BC. The construction was continued by Ramses II. There are huge pylons and obelisks. The Luxor Temple is about 3 km (2 miles) from Karnak Temple. Both Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple are on the east side of the Nile.
  • Karnak Temple: It is a big collection of ruins, ancient buildings, statues, and obelisks that were built over a thousand-year period. It is a huge place. The Hypostyle Hall consists of 134 columns. Ramses II is thought to have built most of the hall. The Obelisk of Hatshepsut is the second biggest of all the ancient Egyptian obelisks, and it is about 30 meters (98 feet) tall. The historical inscriptions are important. The conquest of Israel is listed in detail.
  • Hot Air Balloon: This is a great way to get a grand view of the whole Valley of the Kings at one time. There, you see the Queen Hatshepsut mortuary in front of a big cliff. If the winds are right, you see the Colossi of Memnon too. These flights usually leave at or before dawn, and they last about an hour. People enjoy seeing the whole region including the sugarcane fields.

For ballooning, the best time of year is from November to March . The mornings are cold in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and the higher altitude and breezes are cold. Be sure to bring a good warm coat and warm hat if you are flying in the cold weather.

For more information, see Tips for Taking the Hot Air Balloons in Luxor.

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Duration for Nile cruise: 4–7 nights

Tour suggestions: 

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