Discover the Perfect Time to Experience Egypt at its Finest
The tourism industry in Egypt varies throughout the seasons. The intense heat of July and August makes visiting temples a daunting task, leaving only the bravest to endure the scorching temperatures. However, the mild winter brings in an influx of tourists to relax on the beaches, admire the pyramids of Giza, and sail the Nile.
For those seeking a happy medium, the fall and spring seasons offer a less crowded travel experience with manageable daytime temperatures. This is a great time to delve into Luxor's Pharaonic treasures, as the pleasant weather during the winter months makes exploring ancient ruins enjoyable. Travelers who enjoy outdoor adventures can also explore the Sinai or Western Desert without the influx of crowds and can bask in the winter sun while learning to dive in South Sinai and along the Red Sea coast. However, colder temperatures are to be expected during winter evenings in Cairo and Alexandria, so make sure to pack warm clothing.
Peak tourist season in Egypt runs from mid-October to February, so be prepared for higher accommodation prices, especially between Christmas and New Year. However, visiting during shoulder season (March to May and September to early October) can be a great way to avoid the crowds without breaking the bank on accommodations. Additionally, travelers who are sensitive to heat should consider visiting during March, April, or October. Be aware that spring sometimes brings dust storms that can disrupt flights.
During the low season (June to August), temperatures soar, with Luxor's temples and tombs opening at 6 am to accommodate early bird visitors before it gets too hot. Expect to hear a sarcastic "Welcome to Alaska!" in Aswan during this time. Unless you're a tough traveler, it's best to avoid the Western Desert entirely. However, the summer months are fantastic for serious divers who head to Sharm el-Sheikh and the Red Sea coast. The warm sea conditions and fantastic underwater visibility make it worth enduring the intense heat on land. Casual divers need not worry, as Egypt can be dived year-round.
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Bucking the trend of the low season, summer sees a surge in domestic travel along the Mediterranean coast, with a sizeable chunk of Cairo migrating to the beaches. While Alexandria still experiences scorching temperatures, there's at least a breeze to provide relief.
Is it possible to travel during Ramadan in Egypt?
The dates for Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, shift yearly in accordance with the lunar calendar.
If planning a trip during Ramadan, note that most tourist spots, shops, and services operate on reduced hours. Non-tourist eateries and cafés often only open after sunset. While non-Muslims aren't required to fast, visitors should exhibit respect for those who do by refraining from openly eating or drinking on the street.
For those seeking adventure, Egypt's Red Sea Coast promises a plethora of options, from deep-sea diving and kite surfing to desert escapades. Check out the link for more details.
January: a perfect time to head to the beach
January proves an excellent time for Northern Europeans fleeing grey skies. They flock to the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh and the Red Sea coast, basking in the pleasant daytime climate. Those traveling to Alexandria or Cairo should come prepared for occasional rain.
Key events: Egyptian Marathon, Cairo International Book Fair
February: the superior month for hiking in Sinai High Mountains
If you're looking to tackle the Sinai High Mountains or explore the oases of the Western Desert, February marks the prime time for outdoor excursions. Temperatures are less chilly after dark, providing an optimal hiking experience.
Key events: Ascension of Ramses II (also known as the Sun Festival)
March: sandstorm season arrives
With the onset of the khamsin winds laden with sand, travel plans may be interrupted. Flights can be delayed, feluccas may be unable to sail in Aswan, and limited visibility may curtail sightseeing. It's advisable to build in additional days to your itinerary to accommodate any disruptions.
Key events: D-Caf
April: ideal for a felucca ride
Despite the continued khamsin gusts, April presents an almost-perfect month for Egyptian travel. The warm evenings make overnight trips on feluccas from Aswan or camping in the White Desert a delight.
Key events: Ramadan, Sham Al Nassim, 3alganoob music festival
May: the month for budget-conscious travelers
May is terrific for travelers on a tight budget, with plenty of package deals available. Gather your friends and explore Egypt without breaking the bank.
Image credit: zbruch / Getty Images
At the Nile-side temples, as the temperature starts to climb, the crowds thin out. This is the time to grab a good package-deal to resorts dotted along the beaches at Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna and Marsa Alam.
Key events: Eid Al Fitr, Moulid of Abu Al Haggag
June: Low Season
Egyptian schools shut for summer sometime in late-June. So, Egyptian families flock to the beaches of Alexandria and Marsa Matruh. By the end of the month, the heat becomes unbearable, making sightseeing an extremely sticky affair.
Key events: International Cairo Biennale
July: The Hottest Month
If you can’t stand the heat, July and August are not for you. But for those who can brave the searing temperatures, crowds are few and expenses low during these months. The only exception is the coast, where temperatures are much milder. Mid-summer is also the time for mangoes!
Key events: Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
August: Egyptian Vacation Season
August is the peak domestic-tourism season. Expect beach areas, especially on the Mediterranean, to be crowded. To avoid disappointment, book your train tickets a few days early.
September is the prime season for combining land- and water-based experiences © 10 / Getty Images
September: Prime Diving Season
The weather becomes more bearable, making a full day of exploring enjoyable. Late-September and October are perfect for combining land- and water-based activities, especially for casual or newbie divers.
October: The Ideal Month to Travel to Egypt
October is one of the best months to visit Egypt. The light along the Nile is soft, clear, and ideal for photography in Luxor and Aswan. Besides, during this time, the date harvest is in full swing in the Western Desert oases.
Key events: Cairo Jazz Festival, Birth of Ramses at Abu Simbel, El Gouna Film Festival, Moulid of Sayyid Al Badawi
November: Perfect for Camel Treks and Hiking
November is the time when large tour groups start streaming back into the country. However, this is an ideal time to escape to the desert for camel treks and hiking. In Cairo, the weather is great for long strolls to discover the city’s madrassas and mosques.
Key events: Cairo International Film Festival, Arab Music Festival
December: Cruising the Nile
December is the peak season for Nile cruises, therefore, prices are exorbitant. Divers should note that sea conditions can be choppy on boat dives, but shore dives are generally fine. Also, keep wet weather gear handy if you plan to visit Cairo and Alexandria.
You might also like: Experience Egypt’s Epic History, Tapping into the Gentler Pulse of Egypt in Aswan, Discover Egypt’s Best Foods and Where to Find Them.
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