Located on the western bank of the Nile about 60km (37 miles) north of Luxor, this magnificently preserved temple of Hathor is a popular day-trip option and a standard river cruise stop. Though it has a passing resemblance to a lot of other monuments in Upper Egypt, the temple in Dendera is, in fact, a lot younger than most. It was founded in 54 B.C. by Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII. The hypostyle hall here is worth a visit in and of itself. Eighteen massive columns, with capitols representing Hathor, support a ceiling 18m (59 ft.) above the floor. Seek out the Chapel of Osiris and have a look at the famous Zodiac of Dendera on the ceiling. The disc is unique not only because it is the first known representation of the stars in the form of a zodiac in Egypt, but also because it shows a very detailed arrangement of the night sky that allowed for precise dating of the construction of the temple.
There are lots of ways to get to the temple, which is about 2km (1 1/4 miles) from the town of Dendera and about 8km (5 miles) from Qena. The two best ways are either to hire a taxi for the day from Luxor (LE200-LE400/$36-$73/£19-£37) or take a day cruise. The boats usually leave at 6am and return at 6pm. The round trip should cost LE220 to LE440 ($40-$80/£20-£41), depending on the class of the boat, and can be booked at any of the travel agents around the Old Winter Palace. It's also possible to take the train to Qena and take a taxi from there.