Ultimate Guide to Discovering the Best Time to Travel to Egypt: Unveiling Top Destinations and Exciting Activities Year-Round
Are you ready to immerse yourself in the ancient wonders of Egypt? If you've ever dreamed of exploring the pyramids, cruising along the Nile, or unravelling the mysteries of the Sphinx, then listen closely. This article will be your ultimate guide to discovering the best time to travel to Egypt, revealing the top places to visit and activities to experience throughout the year. So, whether you prefer the vibrant energy of the high season or the tranquility of the low season, get ready to embark on a journey like no other in the land of pharaohs and legends.
Places and Activities In Egypt
Egypt offers a plethora of incredible destinations to explore. From hidden gems to well-known attractions, the options are endless. While it would be impossible to list them all, here are a few notable places to consider when planning your itinerary.
Giza: The Pyramids of Giza are a must-visit for history enthusiasts like myself. These impressive structures require a full day to truly appreciate.
Cairo: Explore the bustling city of Cairo, where you can visit historical buildings, mosques, churches, and libraries. Don't forget to indulge in some shopping during your visit.
Luxor: Considered one of the best places to stay in Egypt, Luxor offers attractions such as the Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings, and a relaxing Felucca Ride to Banana Island.
Aswan: Often overlooked, Aswan is a picturesque city with numerous historical sites, including the magnificent Abu Simbel monuments.
Sharm-el-sheikh: This resort town, situated between the Sinai Peninsula desert and the Red Sea, is ideal for summer visits. Relax on the beautiful beaches, go snorkeling, and enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters.
Mount Sinai: Also known as Jabal Musa, Mount Sinai offers breathtaking scenery and the opportunity to explore the camel trail and the Steps of Repentance.
Alexandria: Egypt's second-largest city, located on the Mediterranean Sea coast, is home to the legendary Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Antiquities Museum. You can also soak up the sun at Mamoura Beach.
Hurghada: Known for its scuba diving, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, Hurghada is a popular beach resort town. Don't miss the chance to explore the old town, El Dahar, with its traditional Egyptian coffee shops and souks.
Nile Cruise: Experience Egypt's ancient temples on a Nile cruise, allowing you to see some of the country's most remarkable sights while journeying along the Nile river.
Siwa Oasis: Escape the hustle and bustle of the cities and enjoy the tranquility of Siwa Oasis. Explore the Shali Fortress, visit the tombs on the mountain of the dead, and take a refreshing dip in the salty lakes.
January in Egypt offers beautiful winter sun weather with mild temperatures. While there might be some rain in Cairo and Alexandria, most days are sunny and warm throughout the country. Additionally, if you enjoy Christmas festivities, you'll particularly love visiting Egypt in January, as the Coptics of Egypt celebrate Coptic Christmas on January 7th. This celebration includes candlelit midnight masses and traditional feasts, adding a touch of festive magic to your visit.
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Best for: comfortable temperatures, Abu Simbel Sun Festival
February brings great weather with slightly warmer temperatures during the day, while the evenings may require warm layers. Although still crowded, this month is perfect for exploring the Pyramids and Luxor's Temples. Additionally, if you time your trip well, you can witness the Abu Simbel Sun Festival at the Temple of Ramses II on February 22nd. This event aligns with the sun illuminating the temple's holiest chambers, accompanied by traditional Nubian dance, street food, and live music.
March is a stunning spring month with temperatures rising to a comfortable 25°C during the day. It's an excellent time to visit the beach and spot dolphins off the Dahab coral reef, which is possible from March until November. Towards the end of March and throughout April and May, the Khamsin Wind can bring hot air, dust, and sandstorms for a few days. Despite occasional flight disruptions, these weather conditions usually don't cause major disruptions.
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Best for: dwindling crowds, enjoying the coast, Sham El-Nessim
April marks the transition to warmer weather, with daytime highs ranging from 77 to 86°F. The khamaseen wind continues, although not as intense as in March. This is an ideal time to visit the coast, enjoy quieter beaches, and engage in snorkeling activities. You might also have the opportunity to experience Sham El-Nessim, a celebration observed by all faiths in Egypt. This festive occasion involves feasting on salted fish, painting eggs, and playing games along the Nile.
Best for: exploring Aswan, cruising the Nile
In May, Egypt experiences hot and sunny days with pleasant evenings. As the wind calms down and temperatures haven't peaked yet, it's an excellent month to explore Aswan, the southernmost city in Egypt. Make sure to visit the beautiful Temple of Isis and learn about Nubian village life. You can also embark on a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailing boat, and enjoy a scenic sail down the iconic Nile. With fewer boats on the water in May, you'll have front-row seats to breathtaking sunsets.
Best for: fewer tourists, enjoying the Red Sea coast
June marks the beginning of the sweltering summer heat in Egypt. The daytime temperatures can reach 95 to 104°F. However, the upside of traveling during this month is that there are fewer tourists at famous landmarks like the Pyramids and Valley of the Kings. If you don't mind the heat and prefer a less crowded experience, this is a good time to visit. For a refreshing retreat from the heat, head to Hurghada on the Red Sea coast, where you'll find slightly cooler temperatures and a pleasant sea breeze, although it can be busy.
Best for: Eid Al Adha, small crowds and minimal queues
July is characterized by sweat-inducing temperatures, so it's advised to consider your tolerance for heat before planning a trip. However, if you're willing to wake up early and enjoy cooler evenings, you can take advantage of the smaller crowds at popular sites, which are typically overcrowded during other months. Additionally, July is an interesting time to visit Egypt due to the celebration of Eid Al Adha, a major four-day Islamic festival featuring prayers and meat feasts.
Best for: history buffs wanting to soak up the magic of Egypt
August is known for its intense heat, making it one of the quietest months in Egypt. Despite domestic travel being popular during this time, most tourists head to the beaches and resorts along the coast. This means that landmarks and museums have fewer visitors, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Egypt without worrying about long queues or crowds. However, do note that August temperatures can be extremely hot, so be prepared.
Best for: diving and snorkeling, Coptic New Year, Milad un Nabi
September brings relief from the summer heat, especially towards the end of the month, as domestic vacationers return home. It's an excellent month for diving and snorkeling, particularly at the Red Sea Marine Park in Hurghada, where you can explore magnificent reefs. September is also packed with notable events, such as the celebration of Milad un Nabi, which honors the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, and Coptic New Year, a festive time for Christians in Egypt.
October is considered the prime month to visit Egypt, offering pleasant weather, fewer tourists, and a wide range of activities. With cooling temperatures, it's the ideal time to explore ancient tombs, temples, and cultural sites. Cruising the Nile during October provides warm weather with average highs of 30°C and comfortable evenings. The soft light along the Nile also creates picturesque opportunities for photography. Additionally, October hosts remarkable events such as the Cairo Jazz Festival, the El Gouna Film Festival, and the Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, where the temple's interior sanctuary is illuminated twice a year.
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November brings cooler temperatures, ranging from highs of 28°C to 15°C at night. Tourism starts to pick up during this month, making it an ideal time for exploring ancient ruins and seaside cities comfortably. You can enjoy the winter sun by heading to South Sinai along the Red Sea Coast, where activities such as snorkeling, diving, and basking in the sun are available. November also offers cultural events like the Cairo International Film Festival and the Arab Music Festival.
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December brings cooler temperatures and increased crowds, as it is the peak tourist season in Egypt. Hotel and cruise bookings should be made well in advance. Daily temperatures reach around 20°C, dropping to a brisk 6°C in the evenings. This comfortable weather allows visitors to explore Egypt's iconic attractions without discomfort. However, it's important to pack warm layers for the colder nights.
High season (mid-October—February)
Best time for exploring without the sweat
During the high season, which lasts from mid-October to February, you can explore Luxor's abundance of Pharaonic treasures without the discomfort of heat. The weather offers blue skies and pleasantly warm temperatures during the day, making it enjoyable to spend long days exploring ancient ruins.
This period is also popular for venturing into the Sinai or Western Desert for outdoor adventures or enjoying the winter sun along the Red Sea coast.
Keep in mind that temperatures can get colder than expected, especially during the winter nights in Cairo, Alexandria, and other areas. Packing warm clothing is recommended.
Due to the high demand, accommodation prices are typically higher during this season, especially between Christmas and New Year.
Monuments like Ramesses VI tomb in Valley of the Kings are less crowded now © Shutterstock / Jakub Kyncl
Shoulder season (March—May, September—early-October)
Best time to avoid the crowds
Traveling during the shoulder season, which spans from March to May and September to early October, offers the best of both worlds. Major monuments are less crowded, and there are often discounted accommodation options.
May and September can still have hot daytime temperatures, so those sensitive to heat or traveling with young children may prefer visiting in March, April, or October.
Note that occasional dust storms may occur during spring, which can lead to flight disruptions.
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Low season (June—August)
Best time to dive in the Red Sea
Low season in Egypt, which takes place from June to August, brings sweltering heat, with average high temperatures reaching 108°F (42°C). However, if you're an early riser, you can still explore Luxor's temples and tombs before the heat becomes oppressive.
This season is ideal for serious divers who are willing to endure the hot land temperatures for the reward of calm seas, warm water, and excellent underwater visibility along the Red Sea coast. Casual divers can still enjoy Egypt's diving sites throughout the year.
It's worth mentioning that summer is the peak domestic holiday period along the Mediterranean coast, attracting crowds seeking beach getaways. Although Alexandria can be hot, the presence of a breeze makes the experience more pleasant.
Rising temperatures mean travelers head to Egypt's coasts in summer © zbruch / Getty Images
In conclusion, Egypt offers a treasure trove of experiences all year round, making it a destination that can suit every traveler's taste. Whether you want to explore ancient ruins, cruise along the Nile, or soak up the sun on the pristine beaches, Egypt has it all. While high season may be ideal for shorter queues and milder temperatures, shoulder season brings pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Even during the low season, Egypt charms visitors with its unique cultural heritage and warm hospitality. So, no matter when you go, you can be assured of a fascinating journey through time and tradition in this captivating land of wonders.
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