With such timeless historic attractions such as the Valley of the Kings, the Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, as well as natural wonders such as the River Nile and the Red Sea, it’s no surprise that a trip to Egypt is top of the bucket list for many travellers. And thanks to the new Egypt e-Visa system, it’s now easier than ever.
However, there are many variables to keep in mind when planning to travel to Egypt, and certain times of the year are more advantageous than others. When choosing the best month to visit Egypt, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when planning a trip to the country, the weather in Egypt in summer can prove to be an obstacle for many tourists. Rain in Egypt is scarce except for along the Mediterranean Coast in the North and even then the region only gets about 46 days of rain on average.
In general the country offers a hot, dry desert climate. Temperatures in the Western desert of Egypt in July can rise above 104°F (40°C°F ). If you visit Egypt during summer, make sure you plan your tour of the pyramids in the morning, when temperatures are cooler. The dry heat inside the ancient tombs can unbearable later in the day.
Temperatures in Egypt in November and December are far cooler. For example, temperatures for Cairo in winter average around 60°F (20 °F).
If you visit Egypt in the spring, make sure you watch out for the khamsin. This powerful, hot desert wind is named after arabic word for “fifty”, as it tends to last for around fifty days, between March to May. The storms can whip up vast amounts of sand at a speed of up to 140 mph, resulting in suffocating walls of dust.
In terms of weather, the best advice for visiting Egypt is in the autumn or winter, for the cooler temperatures.
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the only one left standing is the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s no surprise then that the ancient burial site is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the country. But it’s far from the only one. A popular tourist option is to take a cruise down the Nile River and take in sights such as the Temples of Luxor or Abu Simbel. However if you visit Egypt in December and January, be aware this is the peak tourist period, and attractions can be packed to the extreme with visitors.
If you’re looking for a quieter and less crowded experience, the best time to visit Egypt’s pyramids is spring, typically considered the off-season.
Egypt’s capital, Cairo, is right next to the pyramids, and so has become a popular tourist mecca in its own right. And like the other tourist hotspots in the country, it can often become uncomfortably uncrowded, especially in the winter. If you’re looking to beat the crowds, the best month to visit Cairo is in October, when the city tends to be quieter. If minimizing expense is a priority, the cheapest time to visit Cairo during the hot summer months, when tours and accommodation are usually much cheaper. However, daytime sightseeing can be difficult with the sweltering temperatures.
Of course, If you do visit Cairo in July or August and find the temperatures unbearable, you can always seek refuge on the beaches of the Red Sea as wealthy Egyptians do.
If you’re interested in modern culture in Egypt, then you’ll want to make sure you inform yourself about some of the local holidays before your trip:
Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting. The dates for the holiday change every year based on the Islamic calendar, but it usually takes place in the summer months. In 2018, Ramadan fell between the 5th of May and the 4th of June.
Although tourists are not expected to follow the traditions and commit to fasting, it’s important to remember and respect that that Ramadan is essentially a period of rest for the local population. If you do visit Egypt during Ramadan, bear in mind that many attractions could close early, and some shops, banks, restaurants and cafés may not open at all.
Despite these drawbacks, there are a large number of festivities that coincide with the end of Ramadan. There’s no better time to visit Egypt if you really want to get up close and personal with the local culture.