Alternative activities in Luxor with Kids
Africa,  Destinations,  Egypt,  Travel

6 Best Alternative Things to do in Luxor with kids

Yes the temples and historical wonders are amazing, but if you are visiting Luxor with kids you are going to want to have some alternative activities in your itinerary to keep everyone happy.

Welcome to Luxor!

Luxor, almost 700kms from Cairo sits in upper Egypt (this confused us for a while but think of up river!). It’s a city straddling the banks of the Nile River and is possibly your best chance to living out any Indiana Jones fantasy’s you may have. This open-air museum is teeming with ancient wonders and at times it can feel like you are going to trip over some undiscovered. Once known as Thebes, this ancient city was the capital of the New Kingdom, beyond the history, there is so much to explore.

We spent a month living in the West bank village and want to share why Luxor is a great place to stay with kids.

Luxor with Kids

Luxor surprised us.  We knew the history was going to be amazing but we were surprised with how much there was to do, we discovered the hidden gems that made our trip truly unforgettable.

The East Bank:

The ‘bustling’ heart of Luxor, this is the ‘city’ where you will find the tour groups, the big hotels, the shops and the restaurants. Busy streets, and lively waterfront promenades entice visitors from around the globe. But, you’ll also find the Luxor Temple and the sprawling Karnak Temple complex, monuments to the city’s former glory and architectural marvels in their own right.

West Bank:

Welcome to village life. Here the pace is slow and time seems to stand still. With an immense amount of archaeological sites to explore (I have no idea how long it would take to see everything), there is also a great selection of activities to keep you and the kids entertained.

Crossing the Nile:

Getting between the two is easy enough with ferry boats and motorboats providing transportation between the East and West Bank of Luxor for a small price. This is a fun activity in itself, often the friendly captains will let the kids take the wheel. Time your crossing at sunset for a spectacular sky and the on to see the temples by night.

Crossing the Nile in Luxor
Crossing the nile on the colourful boats is all part of the experience in Luxor.

Luxor- the history

Pull up a camel, everyone, it’s time to step back in time – and we mean way back! The West Bank in Luxor is an archaeological wonderland, bursting with must-visit ancient ruins.

Honestly, you’re wandering through dusty, sun-baked landscapes, stumbling upon tombs, almost bumping into colossal statues and it does feel like you might just discover something there yourself. The historical stuff is everywhere!

For that Indiana Jones moment, the Valley of the Kings reigns supreme. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the main reason’s people visit Luxor. Head there early to meet the tour groups. Read our post on visiting the tombs. This place is mind blowing. From small things like how bright the colours are to, seeing King Tut’s tomb in real life. We didn’t actually go in, all the treasures are in Cairo in the museum, his mummy is there but the tomb itself is tiny, you can see a pretty good replica to the Howard Carter Museum.  

Equally jaw-dropping is Medinet Habu, the funerary temple of Ramesses III. Here, reliefs of battle scenes might surprise you if you look close enough (think taking a man’s prized possession in victory!) 

Remember though, it’s not just the larger sites that hold the enchantment. The smaller, lesser-known tombs like those of the workers in Deir el-Medina can be equally captivating and you will very likely have the whole place to yourself to explore.

Once you’ve had your fill of the pharaohs (or you can’t cope with any more ‘mummy’ related jokes), settle into village life and check out our other recommended activities.

Top activities as voted by the kids

Horse Riding in Luxor’s West Bank

When we ask our kids what their favourite activities are, horse riding is always in the top 5. Interestingly, before Egypt, they had never actually ridden a horse so we could say we made a dream come true! The best thing, horse riding in Egypt is a fraction of the price of other places. For 6GBP Our kids were taken on an hour ride through the local village, farms and fields.

On the East Bank, you will see the horse men, offering rides around Luxor. It’s pretty clear the horses are not treated particularly well. When we rode in Luxor, we always went to Luxor Stable. Nobi the owner is incredibly accommodating and is great with kids (despite his sometimes grumpy face). While horse riding is a fun-filled activity, it’s also a safe one. We had local guides accompany us along the route, but also an opportunity to take care of the horses at the end, cleaning stables, grooming and feeding.

There are also camels and donkeys too!

Top Tip: Don’t forget to carry sun hats and suncream, as the Luxor sun can be quite strong during the day! 

So anyway, after a month of living in the West Bank village of Luxor, our kids can claim to know how to ride a horse, we didn’t bankrupt ourselves sending them to ride and Jak still doesn’t like horses.

Cost: 250-400 EGP

Horse riding in Luxor with Kids
The kids loved riding around the neigh-bourhood, sorry couldn’t resist 😝

Pottery in Luxor

During our stay in Luxor’s West Bank village, we decided to try our hand at the local tradition of pottery making. Potter communities in Luxor are known far and wide for their traditional techniques and unique designs inspired by their rich cultural heritage. 

Workshops are held by local pottery masters who are patient, incredibly talented, and speak a decent bit of English to guide you through this process.

Important tip: Book your pottery sessions advance as these workshops get snapped up quickly, especially during peak tourist season. Plus, booking ahead gives you time to prepare if you’d like to try out specific designs.

  • Did you know? The traditional Egyptian pottery is made from clay sourced from the banks of the River Nile.

Cost: 200EGP at Komsan Abdo

Volunteering at an Animal Charity in Luxor

If your family is made of animal lovers, then spending time volunteering at an animal charity in Luxor’s West Bank is an option. It’s a great chance to give back to the community, when you volunteer your time to these local organisations that provide care for injured and neglected animals. 

The Brooke Animal Hospital is one place where you can get involved. This wonderful charity does such crucial work with horses, donkeys, and mules. Remember, when Camels had their rest day, these creatures were the Uber of the ancient world! Be ready for some hands-on experience mucking in with the locals. 

Another lovely organisation is Luxor’s Animal Care Egypt (ACE). This charity primarily focuses on street animals and strays, providing much-needed veterinary care and love.

Key Tips:

  • Always remember to bring a bottle of water when you’re volunteering – Luxor’s West Bank can get pretty hot during the day, and staying hydrated is key.
  • Contact the organisations prior to arrival to see what is needed and if you can help.
  • If you have any special skills, like veterinary knowledge or experience working with animals, make sure to let the charity know! You never know where your skills might come in handy.
Luxor with kids volunteering

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Luxor- maybe of all our travels. We have written a more detailed post here.

Never mind those grumbles when the alarm clock beeps ridiculously early (mostly from me, I admit!). You’ll understand why it’s worth it when you’re floating high above the ground, witnessing the world waking up.  

Top Tips for a Hot Air Balloon Ride 

  1. Booking in Advance: Luxor’s balloon rides are quite popular, so book in advance to secure your spot. Some service providers offer online booking.
  2. Comfortable Clothing: Remember to wear comfortable clothes, taking into account the early morning chill and the heat that gradually increases as the sun rises.
  3. Camera: Do not forget your camera!

Sailing the Nile

If you find yourself in Luxor without hopping aboard a boat (felucca) to explore the Nile, you’re definitely missing out! End your day with an unforgettable family trip on a traditional Egyptian Felucca, cruising the waters of the world’s longest river. The West Bank of Luxor offers lots opportunities for a relaxing and scenic boat trip.

What to Expect?

Picture-perfect sailing that perfectly blends excitement with serenity. With nowhere to go and all the time to get there, you can enjoy the cool river breeze tousling your hair. You’ll be treated to breathtaking views that truly showcase Egypt’s rich culture and natural beauty. An added bonus, head there for a sunset cruise to witness the raw beauty of the west bank.

Not a bad way to travel hey, Sailing in the Nile in Luxor.

Papyrus making

Taking a papyrus making class in Luxor offers a hands-on experience in the ancient Egyptian art of creating papyrus paper, the material used for centuries in the region. Here’s what you can expect:

Starting with a brief history of papyrus making with a demonstration of the traditional process, including selecting, slicing, layering, pounding, and smoothing the papyrus reeds to create sheets.

After the demo, you get to try each step yourself. You can make a small sheet of papyrus and decorate it with hieroglyphics or your own designs—a personalised souvenir of your experience and a link to ancient Egypt.

Where to Find Classes:

Options include Sondos Papyrus, Karnak Papyrus Shop, and Mousa Papyrus

Tips: Book in advance, especially during peak season. Expect to get a bit messy.

Cost: Prices range from 600EGP to 900EGP


A Family Guide to Luxor’s History

Our month-long stay in the West Bank village of Luxor gave us lots of opportunities to explore and discover an incredible array of historical gems. As the ancient Egyptians believed, the west was the realm of the afterlife, and thus, its full to the brims with history.

Valley of the Kings 

Start your journey into the history of Luxor in the Valley of the Kings, a burial ground for some of Egypt’s most powerful rulers. With over 60 tombs to discover, it’s like walking through a history book it might feel a little overwhelming choosing what to visit, you can read about your options here.

Temple of Hatshepsut 

Next, you can head to the Temple of Hatshepsut, famously known as the queen who wore a beard. As the most well-preserved of all of Egypt’s ancient funerary temples, this monument offers an incredible snapshot into the past. A bit of trivia here – Hatshepsut was one cheeky queen who had her statues made with extraordinarily skinny waists.


Head to the  Ramesseum, the memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II. Known more to some by his Hollywood name, Ramesses the Great, the Ramesseum houses the remains of an impressive colossus statue, once standing a whooping 17m tall.

So there you have it, an exclusive guide to one of Luxor’s biggest draws. The Nile might just be a river to the world, but to Luxor, it is the epicentre of life and prosperity. To us, it was the babbling background score to our month-long stay in the West Bank village of Luxor.

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Meet the author

Lisa is the founder of Boston Tribe Travels. She has lived and travelled abroad for the last 15 years, visited more than 30 countries and has done most of that with her husband and two children. As a full time travel family, they like to travel slow, worldschool and seek new adventures. From living in Borneo for 5 years to backpacking South America, Lisa shares a wealth of travel experience to empower more families to travel and learn together.