Egypt is blessed with a whole lot of sunshine and very little rain. Generally, the hottest months are June through to August, and the coolest month is January. Rainfall is almost non-existent, except on the coast – when it does happen it's during the winter months (December–March). During summer (June–August), daily temperatures can reach 40°C – perfect for snorkelling and soaking up the sun on the beaches of Sinai, but can be pretty demanding for some in the crowded streets and souqs of Cairo.
Along with the weather, there's a few other things to consider when planning an Egyptian adventure, and choosing the best time will make your visit the most comfortable and rewarding it can be.
When to visit to beat the heat (and the crowds!)
Crowds come in flocks usually at the start and end of summer (late May–June and August–early September), but visiting just outside of these times is ideal to escape some of the crowds and the brunt of the sun's heat. March–early May and late September–November are great times to see the best that Egypt has to offer without worrying about the weather.
But when's better – spring or autumn? If you can take your pick, then the months of autumn are generally better, because spring brings the khamaseen – a hot sand wind occurring irregularly in the first half of the year. Don't let that put you off, though! It's not a constant sandstorm, but rather short blasts that can last a couple of hours. Skies are quite dusty in spring, and usually blue skies all round in autumn.
When to visit to experience Islamic tradition
The majority of Egypt's population is predominately Islamic, so there are certain religious events during the year that can affect your travel plans no matter where you are in the country. One such time is Ramadan, the dates of which change but usually fall in April or May. During the ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is observed by Muslims across the world as a time of spiritual rejuvenation and for this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. There may be some interruptions to your travel schedule, including reduced opening hours at restaurants, markets and stores, but the chance to see Ramadan in action is an insightful and fulfilling experience. Witness as hundreds or thousands of worshippers descend on local mosques for evening prayers then spill out into city streets to enjoy their iftar (breaking of the fast) meal. Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, is a three-day festival in Egypt to celebrate the end of fasting, and many people get out on the streets to gather with family and friends. While there may be a different pace to the day during this time in Egypt, it's definitely a positive eye-opening cultural experience.
When to visit to cruise the Nile
You'd think that heading down the Nile would mean river breezes and cooler temperatures any time of the year. Think again. Some of the places you'll stop by along your cruise – Luxor and Aswan – get mighty hot in the depths of summer, often reaching above 45°C (113°F)! Most Nile cruise vessels are air-conditioned, but some old-school feluccas rely on mother nature's air conditioning. Some of the more high-end boats have pools too, which are ideal for those hot afternoons cruising past the sun-kissed landscapes. Consider the facilities on your boat and your tolerance to heat, but as a rule of thumb, spring and autumn provide the ideal mild to warm temperatures, perfect for cruising down one of the world's most iconic rivers.
Our tours in Egypt