Aswan Egypt is, along with Luxor, one of the main tourist destinations outside of Cairo. Aswan travel is usually on the itinerary of anyone doing Nile River cruises, as most of these are done between Luxor and Aswan. However, it is quite a large city, and there are many hotels. Because of the attractions the city has other than as a cruise embarkation and disembarkation point, many visitors will fly to Aswan Egypt for a day two from Cairo. The city has a delightful location as this is a quite broad area of the river with many islands, and almost always the sails of traditional felucca sailboats dot the river as they carry visitors to the various islands.
The Nubia Museum and the Unfinished Obelisk are two must-see sights for any holiday in Aswan. The Nubia (that's what southern Egypt was called in ancient times) Museum houses priceless archeological treasures that were rescued in the 1960s to prevent this part of ancient Egyptian history from being sumberged when Lake Nasser was created with the building of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s. A massive construct, the current dam was begun in the late 1950s, though dams have stood on this spot for more than 1,000 years. Aside from the sheer impressive scale of the site, the Aswan Dam also has a fascinating history to tell of: Its construction became part of the arms race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. as King Nasser, who controlled Egypt at the time, looked to both nations to help finance the project. Another monumental engineering project related to the dam was the piece-by-piece moving of the magnificent Temple of Abu Simbel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO put out the appeal to save this most amazing of Egypt's great temples, and engineers from around the world (including both the United States and the Soviet Union, working side-by-side) answered the call. The temple now lies on the shores of Lake Nasser far to the south, almost on the border with Sudan.
If you’re in the mood for more water-based activities in Aswan Egypt, the islands that dot the stretch of the Nile that runs adjacent to the city make for a good few days of exploration. These include Sehel Island, Elephantine Island, and Kitcheners Island. Each island has its own distinct charm, and they prove a valuable addition to the attractions of Aswan itself. Sehel Island, for example, boasts exceptional handicrafts, with its beaded jewelry, a particular draw for visitors.
Meanwhile, Elephantine Island offers the chance to visit the local Nubian hamlets of Koti and Siou, as well as the series of temples dedicated to Sati, Khnum, and Pepinakht-Heqaib. Over on Kitchener’s Island, Aswan travel is all about visiting the lovely botanical gardens, which feature a stunning array of birds and plants. The slow pace of life and happy-go-lucky attitude on these islands only adds to the impression that a holiday in Aswan is bound to be relaxed and more laid-back than in the bustling and noisy city of Cairo.
While on a holiday in Aswan, don’t miss the chance to pick up some high-quality Nubian handicrafts for great value in the various souks (markets) that are found in the city. The pressure to buy here is much less than in other places, though the handicrafts do cost a little more than in other areas of the country. Even if you’re not buying, these souks are atmospheric, character Aswan attractions, and they aren’t to be missed.
Getting to Aswan is simple thanks to the planes that arrive at its international airport, along with the many trains and buses that come into local stations here. Once arrived, one of the great things about a holiday is Aswan is that most of the city is quite easy to navigate by foot, which also sharply differentiates it from Cairo. If you don’t fancy the exertion, however, there are plenty of other options for Aswan travel around the city including cabs, ferries across the Nile, and romantic horse-drawn carriages, and there are plenty of excellent local hotels as well.