Visiting the Valley of the Kings: A complete guide

Jun 8, 2020 | Africa, Egypt, Global travel

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(Last updated on: 06/06/2020)

If you like history, then visiting Egypt is probably already on your bucket list. There is SO much history to see and explore in this beautiful African country. From pyramids to pharaohs, ancient Egyptian history is full of stories and colour and monuments. And one of the best bits of Egyptian history is the Valley of the Kings. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting…

Valley of the Kings

What is the Valley of the Kings?

The Valley of the Kings is an Egyptian valley full of rock-cut tombs. As the name suggests, these tombs belonged to the various kings of Egypt. They were buried there between the 16th and 11th centuries BC – powerful people of the New Kingdom, royalty and more. There is an east valley and a west valley. Most of the royal tombs can be found in East Valley.

Probably the most famous Valley of the Kings burial was Tutankhamun. King Tut, The Boy King – whatever nickname you know him by, most people have heard of him. His gold mask, created circa 1323 BC, is one of the most well known pieces of art in the world. You can see it now at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo as part of your trip to Egypt.

The Valley of the Kings is now a popular tourist site. Every year, history-lovers flock to the archaeological site to see what remains there and visit the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

See some of the tombs in this video.

Who was buried there?

There were so many people buried at the Valley of the Kings. Here are just some of them…

  • Merenptah
  • Ramesses VII
  • Amenmesse
  • Seti II
  • Tia’a
  • Amenhotep II
  • Thutmose IV
  • Tutankhamun

Where is the Valley of the Kings?

The site is located in modern day Luxor. This is a city in Upper Egypt (the south of the country) and it is the capital of the Luxor Governorate. Often labelled as the world’s best open-air museum, Luxor is jam packed with ancient ruins, incredible monuments and fascinating history.

Luxor lies on the River Nile, and can easily be visited as part of a Nile cruise. The Valley of the Kings is on the West Bank of the Nile, opposite the city itself – Luxor city is located where ancient Thebes was.

Luxor has its own international airport (LXR). It lies just 6 km away from the city, and you can fly here from Brussels, Heathrow, Paris CDG, Kuwait, Milan, Cairo and some other airports. The drive from the airport to the city takes just 15 minutes.

Visiting the site

If you want to visit the Valley of the Kings, you just need to head to the West Bank. There is a ferry across the Nile from Luxor, and then you can hire a taxi to take you to the valley and to other sites on this side of the river. You can hire a taxi for the whole day, with a driver who will ensure you get to see everything you want. Ask at your hotel if they can recommend anyone, or at least what price you should expect to pay.

TOP TIP: you could also hire a bike on the West Bank, if you are looking to cut costs down and see this part of Egypt in a different way.

There are plenty of guided tours of the Valley of the Kings available. These tours generally include transport, and often combine this site with other famous locations that will likely also be on your list. This is a great way of ticking some things off, and not having to faff about with planning everything yourself. Always a good idea if you are on a short time frame!

The entrance fee for the Valley of the Kings is 240 EGP. There are various discounts available – under 5s get in free, while kids up to 12 get a 50% discount. If you have a student ID card, it is with taking it with you as this often qualifies you for a discount (if you’re under 30) too.

The site is open from 6 am daily, closing at 4 in the winter and 5 in the summer.

Valley of the Kings map

This map serves a guide to the most famous tombs located at the Valley of the Kings. You will also be able to get paper maps when visiting. There are often tour guides who congregate near the entrance, so if you want someone to take you around the site then this is worth looking into. It will cost you, but it can be worth your while!

Where to stay

If you are looking to stay somewhere that is close to the Valley of the Kings, choose accommodation on the West Bank itself. You can also choose to stay in Luxor, if you want more of a resort feel. There are plenty of options…

West Bank accommodation

Villa Kaslan Apartments are a small group of apartments on the West Bank. The Valley of the Kings is just 2.2 miles away, and each apartment has its own kitchen, bathroom and outdoor space. There is a pool, free WiFi and free on-site parking; transfers to/from the airport can be arranged too. The apartments have air conditioning, a TV and dining space. Previous guests loved the friendly staff, cleanliness and the lovely food.

New Memnon Hotel, just 1.2 miles from the Valley of the Kings, is a great choice. With a rooftop bar and restaurant, air conditioned rooms with private bathrooms and free WiFi, you’ll have everything you need. Nearby parking is free, family rooms are available and housekeeping is daily. With outdoor space to enjoy and so much within easy reach, it’s no surprise this hotel has great reviews. Previous guests have raved about the food, and ambience and the staff.

Luxor accommodation

Booking.com

Around 3 miles from the Valley of the Kings, on the other side of the river, is the Mercure Luxor Karnak. A well-known hotel brand, you know what you’re getting with a Mercure stay. There is a large pool as well as a kids pool, and there are 7 restaurants and bars here. Rooms are large with balconies, air conditioning and private bathrooms. WiFi and parking are free; there is plenty of entertainment and spa facilities are available too.

Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa is the one for you if you’re looking for luxury on your trip to Egypt. The Valley of the Kings is around 2.5 miles away (with a river crossing) and the hotel itself is gorgeous. With hammocks and two infinity pools, a luxurious spa and incredible Nile views, you will be in your element. For those wanting to combine history and exploration with a touch of glamour, look no further!

The Valley of the Kings is an incredible archaeological site with so many fascinating tombs to visit. Anyone interested in ancient Egyptian history should have this on their bucket list!

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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