Sailing along the River Nile at Aswan in Southern Egypt

The Southern Egyptian City of Aswan.

Aswan is a peaceful Egyptian City located by The River Nile in Southern Egypt - apart from touring, Aswan is excellent for a few days holiday.

Ways if travelling to Aswan in Southern Egypt.

The two main ways of getting to Aswan are to fly in from Luxor and/or Cairo or to go at a somewhat slower pace by using a Nile Hotel Boat. There are quite a few flights from Cairo on Egypt Air - since this is pretty much the only airline allowed to operate the route the fares are a little expensive (around LE1500 Cairo-Aswan return at the time we travelled) - the flight takes around 70 minutes. It would seem necessary to pre-book your flights quite early on since the aircraft are quite heavily used and some flights are business class only - far more expensive of course. Aswan's airport is a small set-up and arrival is a fast process with quite minimal checking of documents. Aswan itself is only 18kms away and there are plenty of taxis waiting for your business - LE60 is plenty enough for the trip which should only take around 35 minutes as the city is not busy with traffic most of the time.
Nile Cruise boats moored at Aswan in Egypt. Aswan by The Nile - really beautiful and peaceful. The River Nile at Aswan - great for bird watching and cruising. The River Nile at Aswan
Quite a few people get to Aswan as part of a Luxor-Aswan or Aswan-Abu Simbel hotel boat cruise - along the river in the city it's not unusual to see 10 or more of these boats moored. Quite how good it is to travel on these hotel boats pretty much depends on how much you are willing to pay. Several people we talked too had arrived this way and said their cabins were terribly small - and to be on the boat was pretty expensive. A big complaint was the cost of mineral water which at LE22 a litre was around LE19.5 overpriced - quite upset several people we met. Of course one great benefit if you take a Nile Cruise as far as Abu Simbel is to see the site from Lake Nasser - at night with the temples all lit up it makes an incredible sight. Note these were prices as of our visit and will have risen by now.
You can get a car and driver from Luxor to Aswan - the route is completely open with no convoy type controls in place. There are also Egyptian Railway services from Cairo via Luxor to Aswan but foreigners can only travel on a few specific trains so this may not be too flexible and it's not much cheaper than flying (Government Monopoly thrives in Egypt). Anyway most of the trains go at night and certainly in our case we would like to see the countryside along the River Nile as part of our trip.
Aswan really is a very pleasant city to stay in for a few days or for an even longer holiday.Quite apart from the fact that Aswan is conveniently located near enough for various sightseeing excursions and day trips to ancient sites such as Abu Simbel, the Temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu, the River Nile is beautiful and scenic as it passes through the city. There is not a great deal of hassle from beggars and/or locals touting for your business and it's not bombed out with lots of traffic and noise - a welcome relief after a few days stay in Cairo for instance. Even the air quality is pretty good - something not apparent in most of Egypt's cities unfortunately.
A felucca enjoying the wind on the River Nile at Aswan. Aswan Feluccas on The River Nile in Southern Egypt. El Gezirah? Mosque? TV station?  Aswan City, Egypt St Michaels Cathedral in Aswan, Egypt Aswan - St Michaels Cathedral.

Money Exchange/ATMs in Aswan Egypt.

There are ATMs along the Corniche el Nile at the Arab African International Bank, MISR bank and the National Bank of Egypt - plus one inside Aswan Airport. Quite a few of the better hotels have money exchange facilities and you can also change currency at the Thomas Cook travel agency which is located at 59 Abtal El Tahrir St., (Isis Island ferry end of El Corniche). It's worth noting that the exchange rates on offer in Aswan are pretty much "market" rates rather than "tourist" rates (this was true in Cairo as well) and a much better rate than that on offer at Heathrow for instance.

Aswan Hotels.

There are a variety of hotels in Aswan - some really cheap and they look it - however hotels are considerably less expensive than those found in Cairo for instance. For around LE450 a night you can get a nice room (2 people) with a Nile View and with breakfast thrown in - we stayed on Isis Island and found it really good. Peaceful of course as the hotel is all that's on the island and did they ever have a really good breakfast there - especially the made to order omelettes. As with all hotels you should avoid any type of room service requests or touch the contents of the mini-fridge.

On a pontoon on the Nile - Sal-a-Din restaurant, Aswan

Aswan Egypt - Eating Out - cafes/restaurants in Aswan.

We had not booked evening meals at our hotel so we had to find sustenance in the City - for once in Egypt this was not a real problem. There are several to chose from - fairly basic places most of which were floating on barges/pontoons on the Nile itself - but the food was good and quite inexpensive. We tried these which are situated along the Kornaish:
Aswan Panaroma (excellent rice pudding but no alcohol and closes at 9 p.m.), Emy, Aswan Moon and the Salah al - Din which serves beers and probably offered the best food of the above.
Go along the Kornaish and then turn into Sharia Abu Zid road (next to the Bank Of Misra) and a little way up the road and having passed to roads on the left you will find on the left El-Masry. This quite basic restaurant offers variously priced fixed menus - starters, bread, soup, main dish with rice and a vegetable dish, a desert and Egyptian coffee. This works best if there are 4 or more of you because you then get more variety of vegetables etc and can share it around. Typical price for 4 people was around LE200 including a soft drink each - no alcohol was served.
Markets in Aswan. Aswan's 2km long Souk (market) is situated on the Sad Zahglol street which runs parallel with the Kornaish El Nile main road. The market opens for business during the afternoon but really gets going in the evening when it's a really colourful and very busy scene. As with many large Egyptian markets the various types of items for sale are split into sections - for instance you get a spice area, food, fruit and veg, clothing, suitcases and bags, souvenirs, gold jewellery and then silver etc. Although you are not hassled by the traders expect to be constantly approached by the shop owners to look inside their shops stalls. This applies particularly around the Souk's spice area - where the aromas are incredible - you often will be asked to go into the shops and try and identify various spices and so on.
Aswan Souk - Egypt. Fruit and veg market area in Aswan. Spice shop at Aswan Market (or Souq). The spice market at Aswan in Egypt. Before opening time - Aswan's quiet Souq area.
The owners of the shops are of course convinced that they will subsequently succeed in selling you something - it's all done with lots of smiles and part of the scene of course.
Please visit our Resources Page for other destinations for which we have travel and holiday guides - Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Myanmar, India, New Zealand, Cyprus, lots of Greek Islands, The Algarve and several Canary Islands
Also many Topics about England - Wild Flowers, National Trail Walks, Churches plus quite a few canals including The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Oxford Canal, The Grand Union Canal, The Regents Canal - also two rivers and about walking The Thames Path.
Email Us via the above-mentioned Resources Page and also find there our website privacy policy and Cookie use.