It’s one of the most fascinating historic destinations on the planet, where you can still see the last remaining ancient Wonder of the World. For thousands of years, while most of the world still lived in caves, it was home to a sophisticated, complex civilisation that built soaring cities. Oh, and if you travel there, you might just get cursed by a mummy. Yes, we’re talking about Egypt. This exotic North African destination has charmed visitors for centuries. Want to know the best time to visit Cairo, Luxor and the Valley of Kings? Read on to find out…
Embracing the desert lifestyle
Most of Egypt is covered by sand. In fact, around 96% of the country is desert. The lush, green Nile Valley can feel like a real oasis, surrounded by the shifting sands.
You’ll have to keep that desert landscape in mind when you’re choosing the best time to go to Egypt. In summer, inland areas have an average temperature of 40°C and can sometimes even reach a dizzying 50°C. Unless you want to feel like a roast chicken in the oven, it’s best to steer clear of the area between May and September. In fact, it’s fair to say that summer is hands-down the worst time to visit Egypt. Even if you’re a sun worshipper, the extreme temperatures turn the whole country into a sauna.
Finding the best weather in Egypt
The good news is that temperatures are lower between October and April. Autumn to spring is really the best time to visit Egypt if you’re concerned about the heat. The chilliest month of the year, January, still has much milder weather than northern Europe. You can expect highs of 22°C and lows of 12°C, making it a good choice if you want to escape for some winter sun. Days are quite short, with the sun setting at about 5 pm. That’s fine if you want to do a little exploring by day, but you might feel a bit frustrated in the evenings.
By March, things are already heating up. Be sure to pack your sunscreen because you’ll enjoy daily highs of 28°C while nights are a pleasant 17°C. The sun is not as intense as it is in summer, but you’ll have longer days for sightseeing. There are similar temperatures in October, which is another good time to visit Egypt.
In fact, many people say that autumn, rather than spring, is the best season to visit Egypt. That’s because springtime is when you’re most likely to encounter a sandstorm. The Egyptians call this phenomenon the khamaseen, and it usually lasts a few hours. During this time, the wind picks up and blows sand all over the place. Bring your sunglasses and get ready to cover your face tightly — and don’t even try to eat street food unless you fancy a mouthful of grit.
How to beat the crowds
Of course, choosing the best time to travel to Egypt isn’t just about the weather. Do you want to spend your days shoving your way past huge tour groups to get to the perfect spot for photos? Probably not, right? Well, keep in mind that the peak tourist season stretches over December and January. The country is particularly busy during Christmas break, which is when thousands of travellers from Europe flock to North Africa to escape the miserable weather at home.
If you’re dead set on visiting Egypt during the peak season, there are a couple of things you can do to make it more tolerable. Get up early to beat the crowds to visit main attractions like the Pyramids and the Sphinx, and you might not have to sharpen your elbows before you travel. You can also seek out lesser-known attractions. The Catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa, Shali Fortress, and the intriguing Tombs of the Nobles are all stunning ancient sights that don’t tend to attract the same swarms of tourists.
Alternatively, if you firmly believe that the winter break is the best time to visit Egypt, try putting yourself in the hands of the experts. A trip like this 12-day Egypt tour with WeRoad will help you see the best that the country has to offer without having to organise anything yourself. That makes holiday planning a lot easier and also means you’ll manage to avoid the price hikes that tend to come in December and January.
Egyptian festivals and celebrations
Some people want to truly immerse themselves in the local culture when they travel. If you’re one of them, then you’re in luck. Egyptians love a party, and there are dozens of festivals throughout the year. Some are religious, some political, and some pay tribute to the days of the pharaohs. When choosing the best time to visit Egypt, you might want to check the calendar first so that you can join the fun right when you arrive.
Try visiting in September to take part in Wafaa Al Nil, the annual celebration of the River Nile. This river has been the lifeblood of Egypt for thousands of years, and every autumn, the locals pay tribute to the mighty waterway. Concerts, poetry readings, and art competitions are all part of the fun. Many people consider September to be the best month to visit Egypt anyway, so this festival just makes it even better.
As Christians observe Easter Monday, the people of Egypt have their own springtime festival on the same day. Sham El Nessim is a cheerful celebration of the coming of spring. This is a really fun occasion for anyone with an interest in Egyptian culture. People paint and decorate eggs, and the parks in Cairo fill up with families having a picnic. The traditional Sham El Nessim food is feseekh, or salted fish. Just make sure to buy yours from a reputable vendor, as there are cases of food poisoning every year. That would certainly put a damper on your Egyptian adventure!
Egypt in Ramadan
Around 90% of Egyptians are Muslim, so Ramadan is big news. During this holy month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is serious business, as not even water is permitted — which can be a nightmare in this desert nation when Ramadan falls in summer.
There’s no expectation that foreign visitors will join the fasting, but many restaurants and food vendors will change their daily timetable during Ramadan, and you may struggle to find a place to eat lunch. Plus, out of respect for the locals, it’s considered polite not to snack in public during this month. All in all, it can be an awkward time to visit Egypt, and you might want to wait until the holy month is over.
So when is Ramadan? Remember that the dates change every year, as the traditional Islamic calendar is based on the cycles of the moon. When you’re choosing the best time to visit Egypt, check the upcoming Ramadan dates first to avoid any unwanted surprises on arrival. Alternatively, join a tour like this Egypt Express adventure. Your travel coordinator will take you straight to sights like the Pyramids and the best museums. In the vicinity of these popular attractions, it’s generally easier to find something to eat during Ramadan.
Swimming in the Red Sea
Some visitors come to Egypt for the Pyramids and ancient culture, while others just want to strap on an oxygen tank and go diving in the Red Sea. This is one of the best places in the world for underwater exploration, with coral reefs, brightly coloured fish and even shipwrecks to see. The Red Sea Riviera has become popular with both serious divers and casual snorkellers.
The best time of year to go to Egypt if you want to swim is, well, any time of year. The Red Sea is one of the warmest bodies of water on the planet, and even in January, the water is a comfortable 23°C. This makes it the perfect choice for divers and snorkellers who want to have some underwater fun in the depths of winter.
In summer, the Red Sea can be seriously warm. The water temperature is around 32°C, so you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a bathtub. Some people love that sensation, but if you want to cool off and have a refreshing dip in the water, you’re out of luck. You might well come out of the sea sweatier than when you went in!
So, when’s the best time to go to Egypt? Well, it’s up to you. Just steer clear of the boiling summer months! Remember, whatever time you choose to come to this fascinating country, a group tour with WeRoad is a great way to see the sights and meet other adventurers. We’ll be waiting for you in Egypt…