Sometimes when your eyes catch outstanding breath-taking beauty, you might visualise the scenery as a painting.Beautiful sceneries are present all around the world; however you do not need to travel to entertain your eyes, especially with the increasing prices of plane tickets. Egypt can host you to enjoy an unforgettable winter vacation in one of its ancient cities, the city of Aswan. If you choose Aswan as your holiday destination during the winter, MEO will be delighted to give you tips on how to plan your trip in the city of the pharaohs.
The first step is to reach Aswan, located 852.82 km from Cairo, you need to plan for a comfortable trip. If you fly from Cairo airport to Aswan, it will take you almost one hour and twenty minutes.
Your second choice is the sleeper train, it is very comfortable, you can book your own cabin and it’s much cheaper than the plane. The train ticket costs almost 700 LE for a round trip and you can take the train either from Ramses train station or Giza train station, the estimated time is from 13 to 14 hours to reach Aswan.
A series of hotels are located on both sides of the Nile and some hotels are even located on islands in the middle of the river, such as Movenpick Resort Aswan and Pyramisa Isis Island Resort. Small boats are available, free of charge, to transit you to and from the hotels.
If you have a smaller budget, there are a series of hotels located by the side of Aswan railway station, like Marhaba hotel, its daily rate for a double room can cost EGP300.
Now after checking in, you might be looking forward to tasting some mouth-watering Egyptian food; a highly recommended restaurant called Dokka is located on an island 10 minutes from the Old Cataract hotel by boat. The restaurant has a wide variety of Egyptian dishes and the prices are very reasonable, a main meal ranges from EGP 120 to EGP 150. A Nubian bazar is also located on your way out, where you can pick up souvenirs including Egyptian fabrics and colourful shawls.
Most museums close at 5 pm, except for the Nile Museum and the Nubian museum, which has night shifts for tourists until 8pm. As for the Philae temple, it has the famous sound and light show, starting from 6pm, the show is presented in English and the price is EGP 200.
A unique island in Aswan that you cannot miss is Elephantine Island, located at the heart of the River Nile. Ahmed Hamato, working as a tour guide in Aswan, clarifies that the island’s name is derived from the word elephant, as some of the big rocks that surrounds the island have the shape of an elephant. Some of the rocks have also some Pharaonic scriptures on them.
The island has three main touristic sites; Aswan museum, Aswan Botanical Garden and Qubbet El Hawa.
Aswan museum is an open-air museum with one main hall that displays some Pharaonic antiquities of various dynasties. The other hall is a small villa where British soldiers used to stay during the British occupation, however it is closed for restoration work. The second touristic spot is Aswan Botonical garden or Kitchener’s Island named after British Lord Kitchener who owned it. The garden embraces an endless number of rare trees, many of which were imported from India. The garden also has the beautiful Royal Palm and Sabal Palm tree. Inside the garden there are several booths that sell souvenirs, along with Egyptian spices and local drinks.
The third touristic spot on the island is called Qubbet El Hawa. It is a big mountain hill, where you can visit the noble tombs of the Egyptian dynasties, along with seeing some Coptic scriptures and drawings over the big rocks.
After finishing your tours, you might watch the sunset while chilling on a felucca in the heart of the river Nile and think about an early dinner. If you are thinking about a royal dinner, you cannot miss grabbing your dinner at the terrace of the iconic Old Cataract Hotel. Built in 1899 as a travellers house, this hotel is a must seen spot in Aswan. You just have to call first to book your dinner, and if you want to take a tour inside the hotel, you are supposed to send an email; tours are done before 6 pm.
If you want a local dinner in Aswan, then Gharb Soheil is your destination! It has the Nubian village with its various restaurants that serve grilled food and tagines. It also has many Nubian houses where its inhabitants host guests for drinks and henna drawings and watching small and big crocodiles!
After, this long day, you will return to your hotel with the souvenirs your bought or with the spices that are sold in the Nubian village and you will feel happy, chilled, after savouring Egyptian food and the beauty of this fertile exotic land; you just can’t miss spending a least a day in Aswan!