Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is the site of one of Egypt’s most remarkable and magnificent temples built over 2000 years ago in 1300 BC.

Abu Simbel is the site of one of Egypt’s most remarkable temples; not just because it was built over 2000 years ago in 1300 BC, or solely for its magnificence and beauty, but because it was also saved from destruction in the 1960’s.

Situated 280 kilometres south of Aswan in the Nile valley at Abu Simbel, is the Great Temple built by the powerful pharaoh Ramses II, and no visit to Egypt is complete without a visit to this incredible site. The impressive entrance is made up of four gigantic statues of Ramses himself, hewn from the mountainside. The largest ever built in Egypt, the statues were created to impress upon the Nubians to the south his power and greatness.

Nearby is a smaller temple, dedicated to the god Hathor and Ramses’s wife Nerfertari.  The façade is decorated with four 10m high statues of the king and his queen.

In the 1960’s the Egyptian Government announced the construction of the Aswan High Dam. Due to their location the temples would have been swamped by the rising dam waters so they were carefully moved, block by block in an incredible feat of engineering. The blocks were fitted back together against a specifically constructed artificial cliff, 65 metres higher and 200 metres further back than the temples’ original location.

The whole project took almost 4 years to complete and was so precisely measured that, twice a year, in February and October, the rising sun penetrates all the way to the Great Temple’s inner sanctuary, just as it did when originally constructed.

Location

Why should I visit Abu Simbel?

  • To explore one of Egypt’s most awe-inspiring temples
  • The incredible statues of Ramses II
  • A marvel of modern engineering due to its relocation after the construction of the Aswan High Dam
  • A beautiful location on the shores of Lake Nasser

When is the best time to visit Abu Simbel?

Like most other hotspots within Egypt you can visit at any time of year. Due to the high temperatures over the summer months (May to September) it is definitely more pleasant to visit during the cooler months of October to April. Visitor numbers are higher during this time, particularly during the Christmas/New Year period.

Talk to our Egypt Expert

Our resident Egyptologist, Hany grew up in Giza and spent his childhood years marvelling at the pyramids. This inspired him to study Egyptology at the University of Cairo before going on to lead tours across the length and breadth of Egypt. His favourite place to visit is the Valley of the Kings, and he loves the colours, decorations and stories that are inscribed within the tombs.

Hany Elkatouri

Egyptologist and Product Team Member

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Abu Simbel FAQ

How do I get to Abu Simbel

Most travellers visit Abu Simbel from Aswan via a short 45 minute flight, spending a few hours at the temple during the morning. On arrival in Abu Simbel, you will be met by one of our representatives and taken on a private, guided tour of the temple (approximately 1.5 hours), before returning to the airport for your flight back to Aswan.

Egypt Overview

Why should I visit Egypt? 
Egypt is a destination in itself; offering travellers a mouth-watering combination of ancient history, diverse cultures, awe-inspiring architectural wonders and relaxing river cruising. This exotic destination is also perfect for sun-seekers with warm, dry days for most of the year. The scenery is unique, with the mighty Nile River creating swathes of lush greenery amid vast expanses of stark desert. 

What is the climate in Egypt?
Cairo has a milder climate than the southern part of Egypt; however temperatures between May-Oct may reach 30°-36°C. The rest of the year is warm to mild, and it can get quite cold on winter nights. Although fairly hot all year round, Luxor and Aswan experience their most extreme temperatures from June-August (30°-45°C). Nights are cool in winter and hot in summer (24°-26°C). 

What can I combine Egypt with? 
Egypt is best combined with neighbouring Jordan and Israel. Both countries compliment a visit to Egypt with further historic Middle-Eastern sights such as PetraBethlehem and Jerash. A little further afield, the United Arab Emirates and Oman are other popular destinations to visit. Alternatively Egypt can be combined with a safari in Tanzania – perfect during the months of December to March.   

How to get to Egypt? 
There are regular flights between Egypt’s capital Cairo and the Middle East as well as many major European cities. The country’s chief carrier – Egypt Air – also fly to North American cities including New York and Toronto. Egypt Air also offer internal connecting flights to major hubs including LuxorAswan and Abu Simbel.      

US – There are plenty of options to choose from when travelling between North America and Egypt. Egypt Air offer direct flights to Cairo from both Washington DC and New York. Alternatively European airlines to consider with just one stopover include British Airways, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.  

Europe – Egypt is easily reached with direct flights between Cairo and almost every European airlines major carrier. Alternatively Egypt Air fly to over 20 cities across Europe.    

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