Most visitors to Amarna come as part of a tour group. The basic itinerary then is a drive from Et-Till along the asphalt road to the foot of the cliffs for a visit to the northern rock tombs, the North Tombs, nos. 3 to 6. Commonly the tour then returns to Et-Till by a northern detour to take in the North Palace. Rock tombs 1 and 2 are passed on the way. The tombs lie part of the way up the cliff face and are reached after a steep ascent provided with sets of modern steps.
A more extended tour continues along the asphalt road that runs southwards from the North Tombs and parallel to the cliff. After 2 kms a turning to the left leads directly to one of the Boundary Stelae, the one known as ‘U’. This was carved high in the cliff, but a modern staircase leads to the foot of the stela. As it continues, the asphalt road loops around a headland and then turns eastwards to follow the floor of a long winding wadi, of scenic beauty in itself, to the side valley in which lies the Royal Tomb, prepared for Akhenaten and some of his family.
From Et-Till the Central City and the South Tombs are reached by an agricultural road that is sometimes of asphalt and sometimes of packed sand, gravel and dust. To begin with it runs not far from the edge of the cultivation as it passes actually along the line of a major ancient road through the city. The Central City starts just beyond the southern edge of the modern village and its large cemetery. The focal point for visitors is the Small Aten Temple, with its brick pylons and restored column, which acts as a landmark. A visitor route has been laid out with numbered markers, starting from in front of the temple.
The road continues southwards, past the remains of ancient brick houses mostly on the east side of the road. Just before the village of El-Hagg Qandil, a turning to the east heads directly towards the South Tombs, passing through a modern agricultural scheme.
The road to the South Tombs leads directly to no. 25, of the god’s father Ay, the most southerly of the group. The tombs are set much closer to the general level of the desert plain, and so require less climbing. They are also more spread out, however, and reachable along soft sandy tracks that can only be walked.
In order to protect the fragile mud-brick houses and other archaeological remains the SCA and Tourist Police do not encourage visitors to wander freely in the city, and the same is true for the outlying sites of the Workmen’s Village and Stone Village. These are especially vulnerable to damage from all-terrain vehicles, as are the still largely undisturbed tracts of desert that surround them. People wishing to visit parts of Amarna other than those on the standard tourist itineraries should seek permission first from the SCA administration in Cairo.