Originally posted on October 23, 2019 @ 11:27 am
If you’re wondering about the best time to visit Egypt, this guide is for you.
I’m a solo female expat based in Egypt since 2016 and I’ve experienced all seasons as well as done all the major tourist attractions.
I can really give you an authentic overview of the best seasons for each travel purpose, not like some other travel bloggers who only visited once for a week or two.
If you’re still unsure whether you want to travel to Egypt or not, here are the Top 10 reasons that might convince you.
I’ve also linked to many of my other insider information blogs throughout this article for you to find out more about all the main destinations in Egypt.
What’s the best time to visit Egypt
For Pyramid Visits, Scuba Divers, Nile Cruisers, and Desert Hikers
There is a reason the Ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun.
The southern city of Aswan is the third sunniest place on Earth, with over 3,863 hours of sunshine every year.
Egypt has an African desert climate with only two seasons. A strikingly hot summer blends into a mild chilly winter, with little spring or fall weather.
If you’re used to rainy, overcast days then you are in for a real surprise! Weather in Egypt is arid and dry, with little to no rainfall.
You’ll never need an umbrella, but if you’re visiting lots of outdoor historical sites you may want one to protect you from the sun 😉
The Pyramids of Egypt are the only Ancient Wonder of the world still standing in the modern era.
They are a must-see destination for world travelers, and if you choose to visit Egypt you cannot miss them.
The Pyramids are an outdoor-only attraction. You may think there are advantages to coming in the summer; maybe the kids are out of school or its your only vacation time.
As a resident of Egypt for a few years, I can say that you will be HOT and I don’t recommend it!
Temperatures climb over 100° F (38°C) easily, so if you’re going to brave the summer heat make sure to take a large supply of water and stock up on sunscreen.
The best time to visit the Pyramids would ideally be from October throughout the winter until around April.
There are also amazing night time activities at the Pyramids, such as the Pyramids Light Show. October to April this show begins at 7pm, and May to September at 7:30pm.
If you go during the winter, make sure to bring a jacket as the temperatures can drop to 50° F (10°C), though the average temperature in the winter is about 59° F (15°C).
Cairo itself is a bustling city full of activities, with gardens and museums to discover.
If you’re planning a trip that will be mostly indoors, you can absolutely visit in the summer, as most places like this will have air conditioning.
If you plan on a garden tour, or want to visit local churches or mosques, I suggest coming in the cooler months.
Best Time to Do a Nile Cruise
It’s quite easy to book a Nile Cruise, which can take you from one end of Egypt to the other.
A cruise from Cairo all the way down to Aswan takes around two weeks though, which is why most ships just go up and down the Nile between Aswan and Luxor for 4-5 days, this is where all the main attractions are.
If you want to visit Aswan and Luxor, the site of many historical temples and tombs, it is an idyllic way to view these cultural treasures.
Some travel operators will even meet you at Cairo Airport, where you will transfer to a smaller airplane and fly to Luxor.
You will spend your days seeing amazing locations, and your nights floating on the Nile (some afternoons you’ll be cruising as well).
The ancient sites are numerous with temples, grand burial sites, and even a mummification museum.
Since most of the activities are outdoors, you’ll want to avoid doing a Nile Cruise during the summer months.
Aswan and Luxor are in the south of Egypt where the heat is even more intense, with summer temperatures reaching over 104° F (40°C).
There is little shade and most of the most interesting statues and sights are directly under the hot Egyptian sun.
The best time to take a Nile cruise is from November to March. I went in October and it was bearable, but I’m used to the sun.
Even if you go in the coldest of winters, the temperatures usually fall in the 70s F(20°C), which is perfect for roaming the “open-air museums”.
If you’re interested in swimming in the Nile, aim for fall. The water will still be warm enough to enjoy, but you won’t bake under the sun. It’s not the cleanest river, though.
Best Time to Scuba Dive in Egypt’s Red Sea
Egypt’s Red Sea Coast has amazing beaches and resort towns which cater specifically to tourists who are looking to go scuba diving.
If you’re interested in marine life, like dolphins and sharks, the best time to visit the Red Sea of Egypt is June and July. Though it is very hot, you will have the best chance of seeing amazing aquatic animals.
If you want to spend time in the water as well as on land, you should visit Egypt between September and March when temperatures cool off.
The water temperature can vary a lot from season to season, as well. The water will not be as warm in winter, but April and May will see water temperatures around 22°C.
In Marsa Alam, the water can be mid-80s F (28°C) in the hottest part of the summer, but I think a fall visit to the beaches is perfect.
I’ve spent time at the beaches in all seasons, and the water is just fine for swimming through most of the year.
If you’re sensitive to the cold, you might want to put on a thin wetsuit in winter. For diving, you will definitely need one unless you go in July/August/September or are not getting cold easily…
Some of the best places to go scuba diving in Egypt are the following:
- Sharm El-Sheikh is not only the best scuba diving destination in Egypt, but one of the best in the entire world. Marine life is buzzing and big creatures like sharks, dolphins and manta rays stop by frequently, especially in Summer. Check my scuba diving guide to Sharm El Sheikh for more information about the best dive sites etc. I also have a guide for snorkeling in Sharm.
- Dahab is a paradise for most people, locals and expats alike, and has been my home since 2006. It’s a mix of traditional Bedouins and foreigners living peacefully without any hotel- or restaurant chains, just a simple life by the beach with lots of street art and street dogs & cats. It is home to the world-famous Blue Hole, a dive site that every scuba diver should have experienced at least once. Here’s my scuba diving guide to Dahab.
- El Gouna is a gorgeous, European-standard town with surprisingly good diving opportunities just north of Hurghada. It’s a relatively new town, only about 30 years old, and custom-made for awesome vacations. It is clean and organized with prime restaurants, hotels, and dive centers. This is where Egypt’s elite owns vacation homes and keeps their yachts – Egypt’s St. Tropez. Here’s my scuba diving guide to El Gouna – it shares many dive sites with Hurghada, I’m still working on the Hurghada diving guide. If your timing is good, you can also attend the El Gouna Film Festival which usually takes place in September.
My most popular scuba diving blogs:
Scuba vacations are a great affordable adventure in Egypt!
If you’re not a scuba diver, there are also amazing snorkel and swimming opportunities. For more specific information check out my other articles linked above.
Best Time to Hike Mt. Moses and Visit the Sinai Desert
If you plan to visit Mount Moses and the Sinai Desert, be prepared.
While the city of Cairo has indoor activities that may provide you with Air Conditioned respite from the heat, the desert will give you no such luxuries.
You can also take the more direct route up the 3,750 rocky “Stairs of Repentance” to the monastery on the peak.
There are two paths to summit Mount Moses. You can climb a 2.5 hour winding trail, or hire camels for the journey.
Here are 8 Things You Need To Know Before Climbing Mount Sinai as well as my guide to St. Catherine, the monastery, and other hikes around the area where I give more details about the climate all-year round.
While the best time to visit Egypt’s mainland (Cairo, Luxor, Aswan…) would be the winter, remember that in the desert temperatures can drop almost 20° C from day to night.
I highly recommend that you take your climb up the peak of Mount Sinai in Spring, when the desert begins to bloom.
In winter, the temperatures can drop below 0°C with the possibility of snow on the mountains. For more information, I have a guide to Climbing Mount Sinai here.
For hikes other than summit climbing, and if you don’t intend to sleep in the desert, the winter is absolutely perfect as it doesn’t get so hot during the day.
High Season and Low Season in Egypt
As with all other destinations, Egypt obviously gets more crowded during the holiday seasons.
It mostly depends on the European school holidays, as most tourists who come to Egypt are from Europe due to the short distance (ca. 4-5 hour flights) and much better climate down here.
Don’t expect to see empty beach towns during these peak seasons for Easter, Summer, October, and Christmas.
As a final note, you should also check out when the Holy Month of Ramadan falls.
Ramadan is a month-long religious ‘holiday’. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and most daytime activity is suspended.
Stores may be closed during the afternoon, and restaurants will be packed exactly at sundown for the fasting break.
The best time to visit Egypt will change depending on this holiday, as the beach towns along the Red Sea and North Coast will be filled with Egyptian tourists and hotels mostly booked long in advance.
So, what’s the best time to travel to Egypt after all?
Overall, it is very hot in June, July, and August and quite cool in December, January, and February.
You’ll have the best time in Egypt when avoiding the oppressive heat of the summer months, unless you go snorkeling and diving only.
The spring will afford you the best in blooming flowers and wildlife.
The fall will give you cooler temperatures. October is my personal favorite month of the year in Egypt, as you can do anything from Nile cruising to beach bumming.
Anytime you choose to visit Egypt will give you amazing sites and sounds that only an ancient country can provide.
The people are welcoming and accepting of tourists, and I loved it so much I made it my home.
Best Time To Travel To Egypt – Pin it for later:
If you’re traveling to Egypt, be sure you make the most of your trip by reading my other articles. I’ve been based here since 2016 and learned a lot that will help you 🙂
- Best Times To Visit Egypt
- Traditional Egyptian Food
- 10 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Egypt At Least Once
- Guide to Hot Air Ballooning In Luxor
- Pyramids of Giza, Egypt – Why You Need To Visit NOW
- 5 Must-See Places in Cairo, Egypt
- 5 Mind-Blowing Secret Beaches in Egypt
- Sharm El-Sheikh: Diving Guide For Scuba Lovers
- Sharm El-Sheikh Snorkeling Guide
- 45+ Fun Things To Do In Hurghada, Egypt
- Hurghada Snorkeling Guide
- Scuba Diving Guide to El Gouna
- Ultimate Guide to St. Catherine, Sinai
- Climbing Mount Sinai – 8 Things You Need To Know Before
- 89 Things To Do in Dahab, Egypt
- Scuba Diving in Dahab – The Ultimate Guide
- Traveling to a Muslim country during Ramadan? Here’s what you need to know!