Aswan dam

A guide to visiting Aswan, Egypt

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(Last updated on: 13/01/2022)

Egypt is an incredible country. It has such a vibrant history, so much culture and plenty of fantastic buildings to admire. If you’re thinking of going to Egypt and you’re trying to work out which cities to put on your list, consider Aswan. Here’s everything you need to know before you go…

Where is Aswan?

Aswan is a city in southern Egypt. It lies on the Nile River, and it is the strategic and commercial gateway of southern Egypt. There is so much to see and do in Aswan – with villages, gardens, markets and more, as well as the nearby Aswan Dam, you will have so much fun if you choose to visit Aswan as part of your trip to Egypt.

Aswan has its own airport. This is Aswan International Airport, also known as Daraw Airport, 16km from the city itself. It is classed as a ‘minor international airport’. Flights from Europe tend to go via Cairo and then on to Aswan itself.

Aswan dam

Another great way of visiting the area is on a Nile cruise. See the incredible history of Egypt on a small, comfortable boat with gourmet dining, plenty of space to relax, and on-board entertainment. They are such a unique and fun way to travel!

Depending on your nationality and length of stay, you may need an Egypt visa. Fortunately, these are pretty easy to get and if you use a company like the process is simple and easy!

What is the weather like in Aswan

There’s one word for Aswan – warm. January is the coolest month which an average temperature of around 15.3°C and no rain, while June-August are the warmest months. They all have an average daily temperature of around 33°C. 

August and October are the two months when it is most likely to rain, but it’s never a lot! November through February are the most humid months – between 32 and 42% humidity. Make sure you pack your SPF and something to keep you cool, like a portable fan, and you’ll be good to go.

See Aswan from above here!

Things to do in the city

There is seriously SO much to do in Aswan. Like most of Egypt, it has a rich and colourful history as well as beautiful scenery and plenty of culture.

Aswan dam

The Nubian Museum is listed as the best thing to do in Aswan according to Lonely Planet. You can learn all the history of a culture that was practically wiped out by the construction of the Aswan Dam, as well as how the Philae and Abu Simbel temples were saved.

Going to see the Aswan Dam itself is a must. The views are incredible and if you’re interested in engineering, then you’ll be fascinated. The dam creation was controversial, though. It caused the displacement that you’ll learn about in the Nubian Museum, and you can do a guided tour of the Aswan Dam.

Aswan dam

No trip to Aswan is complete without visiting the spice market. Sharia al-Souq is the perfect place to pick up nutmeg, cloves, bergamot and cinnamon as well as plenty of souvenirs. You can take home fabric, jewellery and more.

Easy trips from Aswan

You can visit Philae Temple, which stands alone on an island in the Nile. Most people don’t make the effort to see this stunning temple, so it is always a peaceful visit. You can hire a boatman to take you to the temple. There are Christian church ruins on the site, which is Philae Temple’s new home following the construction of the high dam. It is definitely worth making the trip!

TOP TIP: the return felucca journey to Philae Temple should cost 120 LE. Bear this in mind to avoid being overcharged!

Another little boat journey: Elephantine Island. It is beautiful, with traditional Nubian villages – you’ll find locals chatting on to their neighbours as children run away the streets of brightly painted buildings and walls. Love a bit of street photography, or just want some unexpected snaps for the ‘gram? Then visiting the island is ideal for you.

You can also head out to see Abu Simbel, around 280km from the city. One of Egypt’s greatest temples, you should not miss seeing Abu Simbel. It’s simply awe-inspiring. You can book a day trip out to the temple easily.

Places to stay in Aswan

Basma Hotel Aswan is a lovely place to stay. Not far from the Nubian Museum, there is a pool, free WiFi and free parking. An airport shuttle can be arranged, family rooms are available and there is a bar & restaurant too. Special dietary requirements can be adhered to, and there are various activities on offer. A great place to stay in Aswan!

Ekadolli Nubian Guesthouse is on the other side of the Nile, offering the perfect view of Aswan in traditional Nubian accommodation. There is a restaurant, breakfast buffet and bar. With plenty of brightly decorated outdoor space and beautiful views, this is lovely if you’re looking for somewhere to relax while in Aswan.

Aragheed Nubian Guest House is another place for traditional-style accommodation. With BBQ facilities, free parking, live music and so much more as well as a friendly atmosphere, travellers love it here. Airport transfers can be arranged, the views and incredible and there is even a rooftop chill-out area!

If you want to stay on the aforementioned Elephantine Island, then the Mövenpick Resort is perfect. A stunning luxury hotel with a pool, tennis court and gym as well as free WiFi, BBQ facilities and romantic views, it is just incredible. If you are visiting Aswan for a special occasion or just fancy a bit of luxury, then this is ideal.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about visiting Aswan! It is an incredible city with so much to see, do and explore – and one that should definitely be on your list when considering a trip to Egypt.

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