Exploring the Ideal Time to Travel Egypt: Unveiling Seasons, Festivals, and Activities
Are you dreaming of palm-fringed beaches, mysterious ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural festivals? Look no further than Egypt! From the scorching heat of summer to the mild, pleasant shoulder seasons, and even the cool winters, there's a perfect time to explore this beautiful country. In this article, we'll take you on a journey through the seasons in Egypt, so you can discover the best time to travel in Egypt and experience the wonders this country has to offer. Get ready to dive into a world of mesmerizing sights, enchanting festivals, and the unforgettable charm of Egypt!
Seasons In Egypt
Egypt enjoys favorable weather and climate throughout the year. However, it is primarily a dry country with minimal rainfall. Therefore, it is advisable to pack an umbrella for protection against the heat rather than the rain.
The two main seasons in Egypt are Summer and Winter, although there is also a hint of spring and autumn with occasional rainfall between the two seasons.
If you come from a colder country, the winter months in Egypt will not pose any significant challenges. You may need to wear a jacket, but the winters here are generally mild, especially in the southern regions.
Winter begins around October, but you will feel the colder winds more prominently from December to February. The temperature can drop to 18 degrees Celsius, which is not considered very cold compared to western standards. The maximum temperature during this time is around 26 degrees Celsius, allowing you to comfortably wear shorts or dresses without feeling too cold.
During winter, the daytime temperatures are pleasant, but the nights can get significantly colder.
January is the month when occasional rain showers may occur, although they are usually brief and not constant.
If you visit Egypt in winter, you can enjoy festivals such as the Abu Simbel Sun Festival on October 22 and February 22. Even though the weather is generally bearable, it is recommended to pack sunscreen, winter clothing, sunglasses, and hats.
Unlike winter, the summer months in Egypt are a different story altogether. As mentioned before, the temperatures in winter are already high, but they skyrocket during the summer.
Summer in Egypt is scorching, with temperatures ranging from 30 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius, and sometimes even reaching 50 degrees Celsius. The summer season lasts from May to September, with August being the hottest month.
During summer, the daytime can be extremely hot, but the temperature becomes cooler and more pleasant as the sun goes down. Many people avoid visiting Egypt during this time due to the extreme heat, which also means that the popular tourist sites are less crowded.
If you decide to visit Egypt in summer, you can take advantage of the beautiful resorts along the Red Sea coast. You might even find great deals on accommodations as there are fewer travelers during this season. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, bathing suits, sunglasses, and water bottles.
Spring And Autumn
Egypt experiences spring in March and April, and autumn in October and November. If you prefer pleasant weather, it is advisable to plan your trip during these seasons.
At the end of March and into April, the 'Khamsin' wind blows from the desert in the south, causing hot air to circulate. However, the temperatures during spring range from 11 to 28 degrees Celsius, and in autumn from 21 to 33 degrees Celsius.
The pleasant daytime weather during these seasons allows for various activities and day trips. Additionally, spring and autumn fall between Egypt's high and low tourist seasons, so you can take advantage of discounted tours.
It's worth noting that there may be occasional sandstorms in March.
Summer in Egypt
From June to September, the southern regions and the desert experience extremely high temperatures, while Cairo faces increased pollution.
As a result, the coastal areas provide a respite from the heat. Therefore, it is advisable to plan sightseeing activities during the early morning or evening hours.
Shoulder season (March—May, September—early-October)
Best time to avoid the crowds
Traveling during the shoulder season offers the best of both worlds. Major tourist sites are less crowded, and you may find discounted accommodation options.
However, daytime temperatures can still be hot in May and September, so it is recommended to visit in March, April, or October if you are sensitive to heat or traveling with young children.
Note: Dust storms occasionally occur in spring, which may affect flights.
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Winter in Egypt
The winter months in Egypt are from October to February. During this time, the weather is mild with sunny days and cool nights.
In the peak winter months, the Nile Valley enjoys pleasant temperatures, while Cairo may be overcast and chilly. The southern part of the country experiences cool Mediterranean air.
In desert regions, temperatures can drop to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) during nighttime.
Places and Activities In Egypt
Egypt offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. The country is filled with hidden gems that are waiting to be uncovered. Listing all the places would be a lengthy task, but here are a few highlights that you can include in your itinerary:
Giza: The Pyramids of Giza are a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Allocate a full day to explore these magnificent structures.
Cairo: Experience the vibrant and bustling city of Cairo. Visit historical buildings, mosques, churches, and libraries. And don't forget about the excellent shopping opportunities.
Luxor: Explore the Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings, and take a felucca ride to Banana Island. Luxor is an ideal place to stay in Egypt.
Aswan: Often overlooked by visitors, Aswan is a picturesque city with numerous historical sites, including the breathtaking monuments of Abu Simbel.
Sharm-el-sheikh: Located between the Sinai Peninsula desert and the Red Sea, this resort town is perfect for a summer getaway. Enjoy the beautiful beaches, snorkeling, and swimming. The reduced tourist traffic during this season may also result in great deals at resorts.
Mount Sinai: Also known as Jabal Musa, this destination offers stunning scenery. You can hike the trailhead at the monastery car park or climb the Steps of Repentance.
Alexandria: Egypt's second-largest city situated on the Mediterranean coast. Visit the legendary Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Antiquities Museum, or simply relax on Mamoura Beach.
Hurghada: This beach resort town is known for scuba diving, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Explore the old town, El Dahar, with its traditional Egyptian coffee shops and souks.
Nile Cruise: Experience ancient Egypt's outstanding temples on a Nile cruise, which allows you to explore the country along the Nile River.
Siwa Oasis: Escape the hustle and bustle of Egypt's cities and enjoy the peaceful oasis of Siwa. Explore the Shali Fortress, tombs of the Mountain of the Dead, and take a dip in the salty lakes.
Festivals And Events In Egypt
Egypt is a country with both secular and religious traditions, leading to various festivals throughout the year. During these festivals, you can immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the warmth and hospitality of the Egyptian people.
Some notable festivals and events include:
- Cairo Jazz Festival
- Birth of Ramses at Abu Simbel
- El Gouna Film Festival
- Moulid of Sayyid Al-Badawi
In addition, there are religious holidays celebrated in Egypt, such as Coptic and Orthodox Christmas, Muharram, Moulid El Nabi, Sham El Nessim/Easter, Sinai Liberation Day, the month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Fitr. Please note that the dates for these festivals may vary as they follow the lunar calendar.
To ensure a well-balanced trip, consider booking tours through local tour companies in Egypt.
If you want to make the most of your visit to Egypt, plan your trip during the shoulder months. With countless places to explore and a wide range of activities to enjoy, proper planning is essential. For more information on Egypt, visit Atlys.
Can I travel during Ramadan in Egypt?
The dates for Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, change annually based on the lunar calendar.
If you are traveling during Ramadan, be aware that tourist sites, shops, and services may operate shorter hours. Non-touristic restaurants and cafes often open only after sunset, and it is essential to be discreet and show respect for those observing the fast.
Visitors are not expected to fast, but it is polite to refrain from eating and drinking openly in public during daylight hours.
January is the best time to head to the beach
Northern Europeans escape the gray skies of their home countries and flock to the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh and the Red Sea coast. Most areas of the country experience pleasant daytime weather, although rain is possible in Alexandria and Cairo.
Key events: Egyptian Marathon, Cairo International Book Fair
February is prime hiking season in Sinai High Mountains
February is an excellent time to explore the Sinai High Mountains and oases of the Western Desert for outdoor adventures. The temperatures are less chilly after dark.
Key event: Ascension of Ramses II (Sun Festival)
March is sandstorm season
March brings the sand-loaded khamsin wind, which can result in sandstorms. These sandstorms may disrupt travel, including flights, felucca sailing in Aswan, and potentially impact sightseeing due to low visibility. It is advisable to add a few extra days to your itinerary in case of any disruptions.
Key event: D-Caf
April is the perfect time for a felucca trip
April is a near-perfect month for traveling in Egypt, with fewer days affected by the khamsin wind. The warmer evenings make it an ideal time for overnight felucca trips from Aswan and camping in the White Desert.
Key events: Ramadan, Sham Al Nassim, 3alganoob music festival
May is for budget travelers
May brings rising temperatures and fewer crowds at the Nile-side temples. It is an ideal time for budget travelers, with potential package deals available for resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna, and Marsa Alam.
Key events: Eid Al Fitr, Moulid of Abu Al Haggag
June is low season
June marks the beginning of the low season in Egypt. Egyptian schools close for summer break, and families head to the beaches of Alexandria and Marsa Matruh. By the end of June, the heat becomes intense, and visiting inland sights can be extremely sweaty.
Key event: International Cairo Biennale
July is the hottest month of the year
July and August are the hottest months in Egypt, making it challenging for those unaccustomed to searing temperatures. However, this time of year offers thinner crowds and lower costs, except along the coast where temperatures are cooler. The mango season is in full swing during July.
Key event: Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
August is vacation season for Egyptians
August is the peak domestic tourism month in Egypt. Beach areas, especially along the Mediterranean, are crowded with Egyptian families. It is advisable to book trains a few days in advance if planning to travel during this period.
September is prime diving season
September marks the beginning of prime diving season in Egypt. The weather becomes more bearable for spending a full day engaging in outdoor activities. Late-September and October are particularly suitable for combining land and water-based adventures, especially for casual or newbie divers.
October is the ideal time to travel to Egypt
October is widely regarded as one of the best months to visit Egypt. The light along the Nile is soft and clear, making it perfect for photography in Luxor and Aswan. Additionally, 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 is a good time for camel treks and hiking
Large tour groups begin returning to Egypt in November, making it an ideal time for desert activities such as camel treks and hiking. The cooler weather also makes it enjoyable to explore Cairo on foot and discover its madrassas and mosques.
Key events: Cairo International Film Festival, Arab Music Festival
December is for cruising on the Nile
December is the peak period for Nile cruises, resulting in higher prices. Divers should be aware that sea conditions can become choppy for boat dives, although shore dives are generally favorable. It is advisable to bring wet weather gear for Cairo and Alexandria.
You might also like: Experience Egypt’s epic history, Tapping into Egypt’s gentler pulse in Aswan, Egypt’s best foods and where to find them.
This article was first published in August 2021 and updated in March 2022.
Whether you're seeking a sun-soaked beach getaway or a culturally immersive experience, Egypt has it all. From the scorching summers that offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures to the bustling festivals and events that showcase the vibrant spirit of this ancient land, there is a perfect time for every traveler to explore Egypt. The shoulder seasons of March to May and September to early October provide comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to visit historical sites such as the pyramids or take a serene Nile cruise. And for those seeking a unique cultural experience, traveling during Ramadan allows you to witness the country's rich traditions and indulge in delicious iftar feasts. So, whether you decide to visit during the sunny seasons or immerse yourself in the cultural festivities, Egypt promises an unforgettable journey.
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