The Karnak Temple complex in Luxor is one of Egypt’s biggest and most famous ancient buildings (especially the temple of Amun).
Karnak was a huge religious monument built by many pharaohs over the course of 1,500 years of history, and even today you can still see a lot of the original statues, columns, and hieroglyphs in amazing condition.This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
Where To Stay
History Of Karnak Temple
Construction of the Karnak Temple complex started more than 4,000 years ago (around 2,055 BC) and continued for almost a millennium until the Romans took over Egypt in the late years BC.
Karnak was a place of worship built to honor Egyptian gods like Amun and Osiris. Off and on, Egyptian rulers kept adding new buildings over the centuries, making it even bigger and more impressive as time went on.
It became an important temple city and one of the biggest religious buildings anywhere in the world (although the Angkor Wat in Cambodia beats it out for total size).
Karnak began to decline after the city of Thebes (now Luxor) was sacked by the Romans in the 1st century AD.
Today, Karnak is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Egypt, after the pyramids of Giza.
Visiting The Karnak Temple Complex
Karnak is a huge temple complex covering more than 80 hectares (200 acres), so there’s lots to see here.
Fake guides will insist on showing you ‘photo spots’ or inscriptions to look at, but then demand a tip (baksheesh). Just ignore them or politely say you’re not interested. It’s all part of the Egypt experience.
All in all, if you’re an Egyptian history lover you could spend hours exploring Karnak, but because of the Luxor heat I whisked through in about 1 hour.
Come early in the day if you want to avoid the worst of the heat!
Best Things To See
Some of the best statues and sphinxes can be found near the entrance, in the Great Court between the first and second pylons. There’s a towering figure of Ramesses II and rows of small ram-headed sphinxes.
Don’t miss the hieroglyphs and giant obelisks either. One of these is the tallest obelisk still standing anywhere in the world.
But the highlight of the whole temple for me was the Hypostyle Hall, which is the biggest room of its kind on Earth. Dozens of these huge columns are still standing, and walking through the hall makes you feel like a dwarf.
Hours & Entrance Fees
- Hours: 6 AM – 5:30 PM
- Entrance Fee:* 200 EGP
- Students: 100 EGP with ID
*If you buy the Luxor Pass, this is one of the temples included in the pass.
How To Get There
Karnak Temple is located on the east bank of the Nile River, in the city of Luxor, Egypt.
The Cairo International Airport (CAI) has 1 hour direct flights to the Luxor airport (LXR) for around $90 USD or less, or you can take a 9 hour day train for around $10 or so. You can shop for flights to Luxor at Skyscanner.
Once you’re in Luxor, it’s easy to find a driver to take you to Karnak and back. It’s a bit far to walk from the town center, especially with the Luxor heat and rabid touts.
Best Karnak Temple Tours
If you would rather go with a vetted tour company and skip the hassle of arranging everything yourself, there are several companies that offer tours to Karnak and other temples in Luxor.
Here is a Luxor day tour package of either the West Bank or East Bank, including popular sights like the Colossi of Memnon, Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings/Queens, Karnak Temple, and more.
We’ve used this company for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.
More Egypt Travel Tips
Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed these travel tips for visiting Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt.
Don’t forget to check out my Egypt Travel Guide and complete list of the best things to do in Egypt!
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