For a leisurely journey, choose a felucca (Nile sailboat) available near the ferry landing and at intervals along the corniche. Book it for an hour or two, take a picnic, and meander along the Nile’s lush, still untouched banks powered only by wind and currents. Prices vary depending on the number of occupants.
The pharaohs sometimes visited their Nile-side temples by royal barge, and boat traffic along the river remains the most dramatic way to reach the monuments. Since 1869, when Thomas Cook and Son launched their Upper Egypt excursions, steamships were popular with those who wished to travel in style, and see the sites at a comfortable pace. While some of today’s cruise ships are nearly as well-appointed as the royal barge, there are packages to suit every budget, offering itineraries of varying lengths. Several jewellike monuments are located on the banks of the river between Luxor and Aswan, including the Temple of Khnum at Esna, the Temple of falcon-headed Horus at Edfu, and the temple of the crocodile god Sobek at Kom Ombo. All may be visited by car from Luxor, as well as by cruise ship to Aswan, south of Luxor, whose attractions also merit an extended stay.
From Aswan you may embark on a 3-4 night Lake Nasser cruise to Abu Simbel, visiting the monuments of Nubia along the way.