(Last updated on: 02/04/2020)
Everyone’s heard of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt – but there’s another site you should add to your bucket list: The Valley of the Queens.
We loved visiting the Valley of the Queens on our travels through Egypt so today I will share with you what we learnt from our visit. Here’s everything you need to know when visiting the valley of the Queens…
Where is the Valley of the Queens?
You’ll find the Valley of the Queens on the Nile’s western bank, in Upper Egypt. It is close to the modern city of Luxor, and not far from the Valley of the Kings. It is an isolated valley, likely chosen because of its proximity to Thebes as well as the Valley of the Kings and the workers’ village of Deir el-Medina.
What is the Valley of the Queens?
Simply, the Valley of the Queens is where the wives of the pharaohs were buried. In ancient times it was known as Ta-Set-Neferu, which translates as the place of beauty.
The main wadi contains the majority of the tombs. There are 91 of these. The Valley of the Queens is also home to the Valley of Prince Ahmose, the Valley of the Rope, the Valley of the Three Pits and the Valley of the Dolmen. These extra valleys add another 19 tombs, all dating back to the 18th Dynasty.
There is also a sacred grotto at the entrance of the Valley of the Queens. It is dedicated to Hathor, and is said to have been associated with rejuvenation of the dead.
Who was buried there?
There many tombs. They date from between 18th and 20th Dynasties, and a wide variety of women are buried there. They included…
- Princess Ahmose
- Queen Sitre
- Hebiri (head of the stables)
- Queen Nefertari
- Princess-Queen Tyti
- King Amenhotep’s wife, Henut, and daughter Ti
- Queen Iset Ta-Hemdjert
- Princess Merytre
- Two of Ramesses II’s daughters, who he also went on to marry: Nebettawy and Meritamun, both known by the title of Princess-Queen
There are many other tombs, and many other women – princesses and queens for the most part – were buried at the Valley of the Queens.
Visiting the Valley
There are a variety of ways to visit the Valley of the Queens. If you are staying in Luxor, you can easily get the ferry across the Nile to the western bank and jump in a taxi, or head there by foot if you’re up to the walk.
It costs 35 EGP to visit the Valley of the Queens, or 20 EGP if you are a student. Extra fees are applicable for certain tombs such as Nefertari, Ay and more.
Most guided tours around the area will include the Valley of the Queens. These tend to be available from Luxor or Hurghada. If you are on a Nile Cruise, chances are you will be able to pick an excursion that includes the Valley of the Queens.
If you are staying in the Cairo area, consider a few-day trip to the west bank to see the valley and all of the other sites in the area. It is a 7 hour drive via the Asyuit Desert. You can also fly from Cairo to Luxor in around one hour, which is much quicker but can be pricey. Trains are another option – sleeper trains bring you into the city overnight, so you don’t feel as though you’re wasting too much travel time. You can find out more about train travel in Egypt here.
Other sites to see near the Valley of the Queens
There is plenty to see in the surrounding area. A huge majority of Ancient Egyptian history is near the Valley of the Queens. Some sites include…
- The Valley of the Kings – where the pharaohs themselves were buried.
- Valley of the Artisans
- Ramesseum – the mortuary temple of Ramses.
- Temple of Karnak
- Luxor Temple
- Medinet Habu – 18th Dynasty temple and the great Temple of Ramses III.
- Colossi of Memnon – two enormous twin statues.
- Mortuary Temple of Seti I
Read also: 10 fascinating Egyptian pyramid facts
You can also visit the Luxor Museum, which is home to many Ancient Egyptian artefacts. Also in the area is Howard Carter’s house, where the archaeologist lived during his time in Egypt, complete with a replica of King Tut’s tomb. As well as this, consider visiting Habiba Hand Weaving, to see fabric being hand-woven in front of you. You can purchase any that takes your fancy, too.
Places to stay nearby
Luxor has a multitude of places to stay, and it’s not too far from the Valley of the Queens. Here are some of the best options…
For a bit of luxury, there’s a Hilton Resort & Spa in Luxor. It has a pool and spa facilities, a bar and restaurant as well as other places to get food, with a variety of different sized rooms depending on your needs. There is free WiFi and free parking, as well as the opportunity for airport transfers. The hotel is a short ferry ride from the west bank, with easy access to the Valley of the Queens from there.
Memnon Hotel is on the west bank itself; it is only 10 yards from the viewpoint for the aforementioned Colossi of Memon, and free WiFi and parking are available on site. There is daily housekeeping, a bar and restaurant, and the rooms are non-smoking.
If there’s a large group of you, it might be worth looking into hiring a villa. Shahhat House is a traditionally decorated villa that sleeps six, located on the west bank of the Nile which means it is within easy reach of the Valley of the Queens and other historical sites. Parking and WiFi are free, the kitchen means you are free to eat whenever you want, and there is plenty of outdoor area to relax in.
For a full range of accommodation options for your travels dates, use the map below.
So there you have it – a guide to visiting the Valley of the Queens in Egypt. While it’s not as famous as its king-counterpart, it is still worth a visit and you’ll often find it to be quieter and less overrun by tourists. Walking around, you can truly soak up some real-life ancient history.