The best time to visit Egypt is between October and April when daytime temperatures are comfortable and nights are cool, but you’re still guaranteed sun. The conditions are perfect for exploring chaotic Cairo or venturing into the desert.
As a mostly dry country, Egypt is blessed with lots of sunshine and very little rain. The hottest months are June through August, and the coolest is January. Rainfall is almost non-existent, except on the coast – and when it does happen it’s between December and March. Highs can reach 40°C during summer, which can be quite demanding in crowded streets and souqs, but great for snorkelling off the beaches of Sinai.
Along with the weather, there’s a few other things to consider when planning an Egyptian adventure. Ultimately, the best time to visit depends on the experience you want, so we’ve put together this guide to help you.
When to beat the heat (and the crowds!)
Tourists come in flocks between November and February, but visiting just outside these months in spring (March/April) or autumn (September/October) is ideal if you want to dodge intense heat and large crowds. But when’s better – spring or autumn? If you can take your pick, autumn is generally better as 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 relatively short blasts that can last a few hours.
Can I visit Egypt during Ramadan?
As a predominantly Islamic country, Ramadan is one of the most significant events. Held over a month (the dates change each year), Ramadan is a time of spiritual rejuvenation. Fasting occurs from sunrise to sunset, and restaurants, cafes and markets may reduce their opening hours. Non-Muslims aren’t expected to observe the fast, but you should exercise common sense, like avoiding drinking and snacking in the street.
Despite a bit of disruption and a slower pace, it’s an eye-opening and fulfilling cultural experience. You’ll witness hundreds or thousands of worshippers visiting local mosques for evening prayers before taking to the streets to enjoy iftar (the breaking of the fast meal). You may also get to experience Eid al-Fitr, a lively three-day festival to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
When to visit to cruise the Nile
Cruising the Nile means river breezes and cooler temperatures all year, right? Think again. Some places you’ll visit – like Luxor and Aswan – get mighty hot in the depths of summer, often topping 45°C (113°F)! Most cruise vessels are air-conditioned, but some old-school feluccas rely on mother nature’s air conditioning. Some high-end boats have pools, which is ideal for hot afternoons cruising past the sun-baked landscapes.
Consider the facilities on your boat and your tolerance to heat, but as a rule of thumb, spring and autumn provide the ideal temperatures to experience one of the world’s most iconic rivers.
Best for: great weather and exploring the sites
January is the ‘coolest’ month. Daytime highs linger in the low 20s and sunshine is plentiful, so it's an excellent time to explore ancient sites or peruse busy souks without melting in the heat. Evenings and early mornings can be chilly, so you’ll need a warm fleece and a scarf. Northern Egypt is usually cooler and storms occasionally hit the Sinai Peninsula, but it’s rare. Just note that January is the height of the peak season, so expect throngs of tourists and longer queues.
Best for: comfortable temperatures, Abu Simbel Sun Festival
Great weather rolls into February, with slightly warmer temperatures when the sun goes down (though you’ll still need warm layers for the evening). It’s still swamped with tourists, but the weather lends itself to exploring the Pyramids and Luxor's Temples. February is one of the coldest months in Europe, so an Egypt trip could be the perfect way to get some winter sun!
If you time it well, you could align your trip with the Abu Simbel Sun Festival, a bi-annual event at the Temple of Ramses II on 22 February and October. The ancient architects of this incredible temple designed it so that for only two days, the sun would align perfectly to illuminate the temple's holiest (and usually dark) chambers. Join locals to celebrate with traditional Nubian dance, street food and live music outside the temple.
Best for: comfortable weather, thinning crowds
March is warmer than January and February, but not so hot that you’ll sweat buckets. As a shoulder month, you’ll have fewer tourists to share the wonders of Egypt's ruins with (and fewer floating heads in your selfies!). The khamaseen (a hot, dry wind) usually starts in March and can occasionally cause sandstorms. Bear in mind that it can get rather dusty and your travel plans may be disrupted, so be prepared to change your plans for a day or two.
Best for: dwindling crowds, enjoying the coast, Sham El-Nessim
While still considered spring, things start heating up in April, and you can expect daytime highs between a bearable 25 to 30℃. The khamaseen is still blowing, though it’s not as intense as March. With rising temps and crowds thinning out even more, it’s an ideal time to head for the coast to enjoy slightly quieter beaches and snorkelling.
You might also get to experience Sham El-Nessim which which is celebrated by all faiths in Egypt. Join locals to welcome the arrival of spring by feasting on salted fish, painting eggs and playing games along the Nile.
Best for: exploring Aswan, cruising the Nile
May sees hot, sunny days and balmy evenings. With the wind calming down and temperatures yet to peak, it’s a great month to head to Aswan – Egypt's southernmost city – to explore the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) and learn about Nubian village life. From here, you can jump aboard a felucca (traditional Egyptian sailing boat) to sail down the iconic Nile. There aren't usually as many boats in the water in May, so you’ll get front-row seats to the sunset.
Best for: fewer tourists, enjoying the Red Sea coast
June marks the start of the sweltering summer heat. The sun can be oppressive during the day, with temperatures hitting 35 to 40℃. If you don’t mind waking up earlier to explore and getting sweaty, the upside is that there’ll be fewer tourists at the Pyramids, Valley of Kings and other famous landmarks. For a reprieve from the heat, head to the glittering waters of Hurghada on the Red Sea coast where you'll find slightly cooler temps and a light sea breeze – just be prepared for it to be busy.
Best for: Eid Al Adha, small crowds and minimal queues
Sweat-inducing temps continue in July, so perhaps steer clear if you don’t cope well with the heat. That being said, you may enjoy a July trip if you want to discover all the must-see sites which are usually swarming with tourists (it's one of the quietest months). It’s best to wake up early and make the most of the evenings when the temperature drops. July is also an interesting time to be in Egypt with Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), a major four-day Islamic festival involving prayers and meat feasts.
Best for: history buffs wanting to soak up the magic of Egypt
August is hot (like, really hot), and so it's one of the quietest months. With practically no queues at all the landmarks and museums, you can take your time and don't need to worry about holding up the line when you get fixated on something fascinating (it'll happen a lot!). Just note that August is the peak season for domestic travellers, but they usually flock to the beaches and resorts along the coast.
Best for: diving and snorkelling, Coptic New Year, Milad un Nabi
The summer heat subsides in September (especially towards the end of the month), and domestic holidayers head home. Mid-September marks the start of the best snorkelling and diving conditions - head to the Red Sea Marine Park in Hurghada where you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel one of the most magnificent reefs.
It’s also a busy month in the events calendar with Muslims celebrating Milad un Nabi, a public holiday held in honour of the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, and Christians celebrating Coptic New Year (celebration of martyrs).
Best for: snorkelling, cooler weather, Simbel Sun Festival, Siyaha Harvest Festival
Crowds begin arriving at the end of the month, but it’s not too packed. The southern regions might still be too hot for folks unaccustomed to the heat. For an immersive cultural experience, head to the Siwa Oasis in Siyaha for the full moon harvest festival where you'll witness dancing, chanting and a nighttime prayer circle. October also sees the second event of the bi-annual Abu Simbel Sun Festival at the Temple of Ramses.
Best for: snorkelling, Cairo International Film Festival, Arab Music Festival
Things are in full swing again now that the weather is more manageable. The conditions are perfect for long days exploring historic sites or getting lost in Cairo’s maze-like streets. It’s a bustling time to be in Egypt with the Cairo International Film Festival, attracting worldwide film lovers. Music buffs might also like the Arab Music Festival at the Cairo Opera House.
Best for: Nile cruises, a lively atmosphere, exploring in comfortable temps
December is one of the busiest months in Egypt. It’s not too hot during the day, nights are cool and the streets are buzzing. Despite the masses of tourists, there’s loads going on and transport and activities are generally more accessible than other times of the year. Whether you want to lounge on the beach, ride camels through the desert or cruise down the Nile, you can do it all in December.
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