Sitting on the banks of the Nile River, Aswan is one of Egypt’s oldest cities. It was once an ancient military base, though today it’s a laid-back city with a lively riverfront scene. If you’re looking for an offbeat alternative to Cairo or Luxor, Aswan is a fantastic city to explore. Spend your days admiring ancient ruins, relaxing at riverside restaurants and visiting the colourful Nubian villages that dot the western banks of the Nile.
Things to do in Aswan
Thanks to its ancient roots, Aswan is dotted with historic attractions. Start with the Ruins of Abu on Elephantine Island's southern tip. They date back to around 3,000 BC and offer a fascinating glimpse of Egypt’s Old Kingdom.
Carved into Aswan’s cliffs, the Tombs of the Nobles are another historic highlight. If Egypt’s past has you captivated, a visit to the Nubia Museum is a must. Spotlighting history, art and culture, the museum displays relics dating as far back as 4,500 BC.
Just outside the city is the Unfinished Obelisk, one of Aswan’s most fascinating archaeological sites. While it was never completed, the Unfinished Obelisk is still one of the heaviest granite pieces ever carved by ancient Egyptians.
In downtown Aswan, you’ll find a great selection of restaurants serving up delicious Egyptian cuisine. Sharia as-Souq is a great place to stock up on souvenirs, selling everything from Nubian talismans and Sudanese swords to colourful spices and fragrant perfumes.
Getting around Aswan
Microbuses cruise Aswan’s road, with plenty of taxis also available. If you’re travelling as a group, all-day taxi tours offer great value for money. Public ferries make regular trips to Elephantine Island and the Tombs of the Nobles. For a novel way to get from A to B, why not consider a camel ride or a horse-drawn carriage?