Aswan is located in the south of Egypt, some 680 km (425 miles) south of Cairo, just below the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser. Compared to Cairo and Luxor, Aswan is a far more relaxed, if smaller, alternative as a traveller's destination.
An average of six return flights a day are maintained by Egyptair between Aswan and the Egyptian capital Cairo. One morning flight also exists between Luxor and Aswan, the lower frequency reflecting the cities' greater proximity and practical alternatives like train and taxi.
Aswan is compact enough to negotiate primarily on foot. For weary feet or for some of the more far flung attractions (like Philae, the High Dam and the unfinished obelisks) there are other options that include taxis and horse-drawn carriages. Note that to access the sights on the river islands or on the West Bank, you will need to cross the river by motor boat or felluca.
The souqs (markets) in Aswan are refreshingly exotic without the same level of high-pressure selling found in some tourist towns further north - see below in Buy
Aswan Town and the East Bank
The River and Islands
NB: As of August 2004, Aswan has had its telephone exchange upgraded and an additional "2" must now be added to old 6-digit telephone numbers..... The format for overseas callers, for example, should now be +20 97 2xxx xxx. Mobile phone numbers are unaffected by this change.
Aswan is the ideal base for trips to the nearby attractions of the Aswan High Dam and the temple of Philae. A taxi-driven tour to these sites, including a visit to the unfinished obelisks, should cost about £30-40 for a small group.
Further afield lies Abu Simbel.