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The Perfect 2 Days in Aswan Itinerary

Aswan, a picturesque city located along the Nile River in southern Egypt, is a destination that offers a perfect blend of ancient history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. With only two days to explore this enchanting city, it is essential to make the most of your time. From exploring ancient temples and cruising the Nile to shopping at local markets and indulging in delicious Egyptian cuisine, our 2 days in Aswan itinerary will guide you through the best experiences. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of Egypt’s most charming cities.

Check out our 8, 15 and 21 day Egyptian itineraries here

Map of Aswan
Map of Aswan

After cruising from Esna (south of Luxor) for 5 nights on Nour-el-Nil’s Dahabiya cruise we arrived in Aswan ready for our next two days of adventures.  Our journey in Egypt so far had taken us from Cairo to Alexandria and then to Luxor. We had chosen to use the services of Egyptian Edu Travel as we wanted to have a private driver and Egyptologist to accompany us on our Egyptian journey.

If you are interested in travelling on a private tour with guide and driver we can recommend it. Why? We were not rushed from site to site, we could depart the hotel and arrive back when we wanted to. We have an experienced driver and Egyptologist who assisted us with tickets, toilets, tipping and local knowledge.

We have a special offer for our readers – if you book your travel through Egyptian Edu Travel and quote TTT2024 there is a 5% discount available.

Contact email: [email protected]

In this article I will also give you options if you want to book your own private tours and transfers.

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2 Days in Aswan Itinerary

Day One

  • Aswan Botanical Gardens by local Felucca
  • Monastery of St Simeon
  • Agha khan Mausoleum
  • Nubian Village

Day Two

Philae Temple – the best temple in Aswan to visit and the most popular

Options to visit: the High Dam, Kalabsha Temple, Nubian Museum and Arch-Angels Michael Coptic Cathedral

Day One – Aswan Itinerary

Felucca ride to Aswan Botanical Gardens
Felucca ride to Aswan Botanical Gardens

After checking in to the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan it was a short walk to the Marina to join our guide and our trip on a felucca past Elephantine Island to the Aswan Botanical Gardens. (You can read our review here of the Old Cataract Hotel Aswan)

Aswan Botanical Gardens
Aswan Botanical Gardens

Aswan Botanical Gardens was once known as Kitchener’s Island.  Kitchener was the commander of the Egyptian Army in the 1800s. He had a passion for tropical plants and he filled the 6.8-hectare island with exotic species from Africa, India and the Far East. You can only reach the island by Felucca or private boat.

You do need to enter from the North Garden, although there are two other entrances.  There is a small entrance fee to be paid. If you have come by Felucca ask the captain to pick you up at the south end. It is a peaceful and relaxing walk through the gardens.

Opening hours: 7 am to 5 pm daily (6 pm in Summer)

Monastery of St Simeon
Monastery of San Simeon

It is a short journey to visit the desert Monastery of St Simeon by a local felucca or speed boat. On arrival at the port, there is an option for a camel ride to the mud and stone monastery or you can walk as we did. It is uphill and quite hot even in November. Make sure if you are going to walk that you have proper walking shoes and that you have water, a hat and wear sunscreen.  The Monastery was originally built in the 7th century and rebuilt in the 10th century by the Coptic monks before being abandoned in the 13th century. To return to your boat you can either walk down a different path (which is a lot easier than walking up) or return by camel.

Camel to Monastery of St Simeon
Camel to Monastery of St Simeon

Opening hours: 8 am to 4 pm daily (5 pm in Summer)

Aga Khan Mausoleum
Aga Khan Mausoleum

As you head towards the Nubian Village you will pass by the Agha Khan III Mausoleum. He was Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah and died in 1957. The Mausoleum overlooks the winter home of the Agha Khan III. Made out of pink sandstone the construction started in 1956 and was completed. by 1960. It was commissioned by the Agha Khan’s wife Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. Following tradition a red rose is laid daily on his tomb. It is a spectacular sight as you pass by both the Mausoleum and the Villa from your boat on the Nile. Unfortunately, the Mausoleum is now closed to tourists.

Nubian Village
Nubian Village

The colourful Nubian Village positioned on the west side of the Nile is worth a visit. It may feel a little touristy but once you get past that feeling you will enjoy what the village has to offer. Part of our visit to the Nubian Village was to enjoy tea on the rooftop in one of their very colourful homes.

Spices in the market at the Nubian Village
Spices at the market at the Nubian village

On the way to the house, we stopped at a spice shop, where we learnt about the teas and spices on display. The village has many spice and tea shops, and the aromas will guide you.

Nubian market
Nubian market

Our guide helped us understand Nubia’s history and their role in Egyptian history, local culture and traditions. They are such warm and welcoming people.  The Nubia language comes from a mix of Arabic, Berber, Turkish and Greek.

Inside the Nubian family home
Inside the Nubian family home
Rooftop of Nubian family home
The rooftop of the Nubian family home

We enjoyed traditional Mint tea on the rooftop of the Nubian family home with our guide. The views were spectacular from here over the Nubian Village and the Nile.

Day Two Aswan Itinerary

A major drawcard to spending time in Aswan is to visit Philae Temple which was originally located on the Island of Philae. When the Aswan Dam was constructed between 1898 and 1902 some of Philae’s temples were submerged in water.  Tourists visiting the Temple during this time had to view the ruins from their boats.

When the High Dam was constructed between 1960 and 1971 Philae Temple was relocated to the Island of Agilika. Fortunately, UNESCO stepped in to assist in the relocation to Agilika Island.

Boat to Philae Temple
Boat to Philae Temple

How do you get to Philae Temple? A 15-minute boat ride from Philae Marina is required and drops you at the dock on the southern end of the island. You enter through the oldest part of the complex – Kiosk of Nectanebo. The first pylon guards the entrance and is beautifully decorated with reliefs dating back to the 4th century BC.

What can you see at the Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika?

Philae Temple Complex
Philae Temple Complex

The Temple of Isis (Philae Temple), the Kiosk of Nectanebo II, The Kiosk of Trajan, the Gate of Hadrian, the Temple of Hathor, Augustus and Imhotep.

Kiosk of Trajan
Kiosk of Trajan

The Birth House is dedicated to the birth of Horus, son of Isis.

Birth House columns
The Birth House columns fluted and decorated

After entering the Kiosk of Nectanebo you wander through the courtyard where you can admire the colonades before entering the Temple of Isis which dates back to Nectanebo I who ruled from 380-362 BC. You will see the Birth House and its reliefs depicting the early life of Horus. The ancient hieroglyphs in the Gate of Hadrian are said to be the last written by Ancient Egyptians.

You then enter through the 2nd pylon and into the inner temple.

Isis Altar and stone carvings inside Philae Temple
Isis Altar and stone carvings inside Philae Temple
Stone carvings inside the Sanctuary
Stone carvings inside the Sanctuary

You can also enjoy the Temple of Hathor located on the east side of the island.

Opening times: Mondays to Sundays 7 am to 4 pm (October – May) / 7 am to 5 pm (June – September)

I would recommend the use of a guide to make the most of your visit to the Philae Complex.

These are the options available for the rest of the day: the High Dam, Kalabsha Temple, Nubian Museum and Arch-Angels Michael Coptic Cathedral.

The temple of Kalabsha is located west of the High Dam. It was relocated here in 1970 after the flooding of Nubia. The temple is dedicated to Marul who was known as the Fertility God.

Open from 7 am to 4 pm.

The Arch Angels Michael Coptic Cathedral can be visited on your own. For more information on the Cathedral click here.

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We chose not to do anything more on Day 2 as we wanted to enjoy our time at The Old Cataract Hotel before driving to Abu Simbel the next morning.

For more Aswan tours to book on your own:

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How to get to Aswan

Flights are available from Cairo to Aswan as well as from Abu Simbel and Luxor. For the latest fares and schedules click here.

Cairo to Aswan by train takes between 13 – 14 hours. Luxor to Aswan by train is around 3 hours.

By bus from Cairo is an overnight journey. For bus prices click here.

For private airport transfers click here.

General Travel Information for Aswan Egypt

Travel Insurance

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Aswan Hotels

The Old Cataract Hotel
The Old Cataract Hotel

We chose to stay at The Old Cataract Hotel for the experience. Staying in the original building on the first night and then moving to the newer building for the 2nd night. Such a wonderful experience. Service was superb, a great choice in the buffet breakfast and at the restaurants in the evening. Late afternoon they run a free tour in the Old Cataract telling stories of past guests such as Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie. If their suites are available you can view them in the tour. The views at sunrise and sunset are amazing with the feluccas sailing along the Nile.

You can read our review here of the Old Cataract Hotel

For more choices of Aswan Hotels click here

Aswan Weather
When is the best time to visit Aswan?

The best time to visit Aswan is during October to May. If you can avoid the summer season between June and September where the temperatures are in the high 30s it is advisable.

Visa for Egypt

You can arrange for a visa on arrival for USD25 or you can use the services of a visa agent such as our partner ivisa (there is a cost for the application).


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2 days in Aswan

2 days in Aswan


2 days in Aswan


Where to next?

How to spend 2 days in Abu Simbel

Cairo in 3 days

Alexandria in 2 days

Luxor in 4 days




Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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