If you are a seasoned traveler, you probably know that visiting during the right time of year can be a total game changer. The best season to visit Egypt depends largely on your own preferences, so reading this article about the pros and cons of each season will hopefully help you make up your mind.
Like any tourist destination, most visitors to Egypt ideally want to visit during a time of year when the weather is pleasant and most conducive to being outside, visiting the sights, and enjoying the natural beauty of the country. Despite what many may believe, Egypt is not always hot and humid, but instead offers a range of temperatures, including some very mild and pleasant conditions especially during the winter months.
Given the many different regions of the country, and the specific climates in each area, the best time to visit Egypt is a broad question, depending on which areas you plan to visit during your time there. With this in mind, let’s look at not only the best seasons to visit the country as a whole, but also when to visit specific popular regions and tourist destinations, to help you better plan out your trip to take advantage of the weather.
Most travelers want to visit Egypt when the weather is pleasant. Pexels/Andreea Ch.
The most popular time to visit Egypt is from October to April, when temperatures are generally more moderate and better for exploring the sights and being outdoors. However, since everyone generally has the same idea about visiting when it is the nicest outside, December and January are the peak tourist season in the country.
The Karnak Temple in Luxor. Canva/nodostudio.
So, with the pleasant weather come major increases in crowds, especially at the most popular destinations in the country like the Pyramids of Giza, the Temples of Luxor, and Abu Simbel. Similarly, the famous Red Sea resorts significantly hike their prices due to the demand at this time. So, while the weather may be at its best for you to visit, the crowds will also be at their worst.
While there isn’t necessarily a bad time to visit Egypt, summer offers several reasons to consider making your trip during a different season.
For one, the temperatures at in-land locations reach scorching levels (remember, much of the country includes desert climates), making any outdoor excursion very unpleasant and, in some cases, outright dangerous for visitors. Given Egypt is a country with a variety of attractions that involve exploring and walking around outside, this can be a major impediment to truly enjoying your experience in the country.
Temperatures can reach scorching levels in inland destinations.
Another factor during the summer months are the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and the Eid al Fitr festival, which marks the end of Ramadan. Some of the most popular attractions in the country close early to commemorate Ramadan, which can leave you unable to see some of the most impressive sights during your visit.
See also: Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor
On top of this, many local businesses and shops will close during these holidays as well, meaning you will not be able to enjoy the culture as you would during other seasons.
While July and August are probably too hot even for visitors looking for cheap tourist options and lesser crowds, the shoulder season months of June and September, while still hot, will offer visitors discounted rates when compared to the peak tourist months over the winter.
The shoulder seasons are a good time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. Canva/Donyanedomam.
For budget-conscious travelers, this can give you a great combination of savings AND the ability to still experience some of Egypt’s most important and impressive sights during your visit.
Given the country’s location on the banks of the Red and Mediterranean seas, but also with large sections of desert climate, the weather in Egypt is typically dry, hot, and sunny throughout the year. The inland areas of the country experience very little precipitation, and even areas along the coasts will only see rain intermittently.
See also: A Local's Guide to Cairo
Areas closer to the sea coasts will experience mild daytime temperatures during the winter, with the average temperature in Cairo around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures in the 50s and even lower. Meanwhile, in the midst of the summer, temperatures rise to the mid 90s and higher, with humidity exacerbating the heat. This is why the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt during the summer season are generally the resorts clustered along the Red Sea.
Meanwhile, even during the more mild months, some of Egypt’s most famous attractions are located in desert locales that remain hot, sometimes brutally hot, even if you find milder temperatures in the cities or closer to the Nile River. For example, locations like Luxor or Aswan in southern Egypt can be dangerously hot to visit during the summer months, which means you may be limited to early morning or late day sightseeing.
The Khamsin wind is an annual weather feature during March and April. Photo: Canva.
One more important weather feature to note is the Khamsin wind, an annual weather feature during March and April that can lead to intense sand and dust storms as the wind traverses the desert. While this may sound exotic and mysterious to a tourist, it is not that way in person and can ruin a trip, especially to some of the more exposed desert tourist sites.
Egypt’s famous Red Sea resorts offer guests all of the attractions of waterfront resorts, with some among the most luxurious in the region, if not the world.
Like any waterfront resorts, these locales are best visited during hot weather, so visitors can enjoy the full range of water and beach-related activities that these venues provide.
Sharm-el-Sheikh by the Red Sea.
Given the intense heat of summer, as well as cheaper airfare and lodging prices due to the significantly lower number of visitors to the country during these months, we highly recommend visiting the Red Sea from June to September. Not only can you get a great deal on a beautiful room on the water, but you can fly in and out of the country for that much less – saving you more money to spend at the resort and on attractions during your trip.
This depends on what you have more patience for, uncomfortable weather conditions or long lines and crowds. Given the winter’s mild and pleasant temperatures, the best time for outdoor sightseeing in Egypt is generally from November through the spring, but be ready for massive lines in Giza and at other major attractions.
The pyramids of Giza is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Canva/Paknhyushchyy.
If possible, to get the best combination of weather and less crowding at these sites, try to time your visit in the early spring (while remembering the note about the khamsin wind) or the later fall (October and early November). These seasons generally avoid the worst of the summertime heat, as well as the biggest crushes of visitors during the winter months.
See also: Pyramids Private Guided Tour
While it’s important to remember, as said earlier, that some seasons will always be hot for much longer stretches of the year than others, here are some general tips for packing appropriately for the weather in Egypt.
Given the mild temperatures at both day or night, you can feel comfortable with longer pants, dresses, and shirts. You may still want some warmer clothes for desert excursions, including shorts or short-sleeve shirts, but you can pack for more mild and springtime temperatures.
Remember, even with milder weather, sunscreen is a smart idea – with very little rain throughout the year, and especially inland, you can still get a nasty sunburn, especially if it feels deceptively cool outside.
Shoulder seasons (Fall/Spring)
While temperatures are not as oppressively hot as they are during the summer months, you can still expect daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s, with hotter weather in the desert areas.
We recommend largely light, loose-fitting clothing or shorts and shortsleeves, to avoid overheating. This is especially important if you plan to visit a number of the desert attractions and spend more of your time in the sun.
Pack to stay cool! The daytime temperatures in places like the western desert can soar to 105–110 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that if you need to be out in mid-day temperatures, you need to dress to stay cool and minimize sweating and overheating.
Sunscreen is also an obvious must – and if you do schedule excursions during the mid-day periods when the heat is most intense, be sure to stay hydrated and bring plenty of water.
For some of the biggest events happening in Egypt, we have broken it up by season:
Spring (March-May): The Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children (March), Ismailia International Film Festival (April), Cairo Fashion Week (April), Moulid of Abu el-Haggag (May), Sham al Nessim (April)
Summer (June – September): Ramadan (May-June), Eid al Fitr marking the end of Ramadan (June), Wafaa Al Nil (September)
Fall (October – November): Cairo International Film Festival (November), 100 Kilometer Pharaonic Race (November)
Winter (December – February): Coptic Christmas (January), West Bank Marathon (late January/early February), Abu Simbel Festival (February 22nd), Cairo Art Fair (February)