Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, remains a mystical country to date. It spans across the southwest corner of Asia and joins the northeast corner of the African continent and is thus also referred to as a transcontinental country.
Egypt is a Mediterranean country with a vast unpopulated landscape. Most of the early civilization and today’s growth is near the Nile, which is the lifeline for Egypt. Egypt has an extremely old history dating back to 4-6the Century BCE, which is studied in schools across the globe, and that’s is the reason why almost everyone is aware of its history and culture. It boats of cultural wonders so magnificent that they are virtually unparalleled anywhere on earth. Having the oldest history, strong heritage, and traditional roots, it’s a beautiful destination in itself. While your plan and dreams will be all about visiting the pyramids, the sights of the ancient lands, and clicking pictures, there is a lot more to Egypt than just that.
There are iconic places like the ruins of Karnak, Thebes, Memphis, the Valley of the Kings, and interesting monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, apart from museums. Apart from the region’s climatic conditions, you have to consider another important factor, the season you travel in. Almost all of the sightseeing options are outdoors, apart from shopping malls and museums, so you’ll require a fair bit of walking to be done to explore them.
The best time to visit Egypt
Egypt is an all-year-round destination because of its weather. It is overall a country with a hot climate and very few rains throughout the year. Temperatures are the lowest adjoining the Nile delta, and they gradually become hot as they approach the Sudanese border, where the land is arid with almost desert-like conditions. The temperature in coastal regions varies from 12 degrees centigrade in winter to about 35 degrees centigrade in summers and even more. Rainfall is low and mainly occurs near the Nile delta, with annual rainfall averaging just 200mm.
Therefore you can say that Egypt is a country that enjoys perpetual sunshine all the year. Usually, the days in Egypt are warm or hot, and the nights are cool and pleasant. With only two seasons through the year, summer and winter, tourists do not have to worry about the wet season and so can travel to Egypt any time of the year.
However, we recommend that you travel to Egypt in the winter months when the temperatures and weather are even more pleasant. The winter months range from October to April, which give you a full 7 months of travel time and just 5 months of summer (May to September) that need to be avoided. It’s important to note that temperatures do not take a big dip, and it does not get very cold and chilly. During winter, the days are pleasant, with the heat being comfortable. The nights can become slightly cold. The most popular tourist season is from the end of November to mid-February, when you will see a lot of passenger arrivals. That’s when tourism is booming all over Egypt.
Since this is a peak season, chances are you will have to book months in advance so that you don’t miss out on your favorite place to stay. Apart from the peak season months, the bridge months of September, April, and May are also good for travel with weather not being too hot suddenly, and you can give the crowd a miss. You can indulge in many activities like swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving when the weather is pleasant. Egypt’s beaches extend over 2,900 kilometers (1850 miles) are also a famous tourist destination with splendid beaches along the Red Sea on the Mediterranean. These are the best months to enjoy Egypt.
During the summers, temperatures get exceptionally high. So does the humidity. The weather in summer is unusually high. So high that you will even locals staying in. Very few brave travelers will tread out in this season. The peak summers can be the worst, especially with the hot winds blowing all over the place. Though you can still travel Egypt, exploring sights and doing activities in the middle of the day could take a toll on your health. Peak summer lasts from May until August, and maximum temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius and usually feels hotter than that. Temperatures in the night can feel comfortable at 22 degrees Celsius, but the humidity will kill all your energy.
Even Egyptians will occasionally travel to the coastal towns and cities to get some relief from the sun. Even in cities like Cairo, you will not see people venturing out during midday. This the reason we recommend the winter months from October to April as the best months to travel and explore Egypt when the weather in all the tourist areas is pleasant enough for you to explore easily. The only good thing about summers is that airfares, tour packages, and accommodation will be very low. There are hardly any travelers in the low season. Businesses will be more than happy to serve you. Do carry your sunblock creams, light cotton or linen clothes that can cover your entire body, hats, summer wear, water bottles, and shades before heading out.
Best time to visit Egypt for festivals
It makes sense to time your trip to coincide with the country’s local festivals and cultural events. Doing so will give your trip an added flavor of the local traditions and you will have an entirely different experience. You can plan for these:
Egypt is a secular country and it celebrates the Christian holidays of Easter and Christmas. This is known as Coptic Christmas. It is celebrated on 7th January in the whole of Egypt and is also a national holiday. The most extravagant celebrations happen in Cairo’s city, with the celebrations starting a week before Christmas Day, followed by the mass and prayers in the evening, followed by a traditional garlic meal, meat, and rice. You should be in Cairo or the Coptic regions to enjoy this festival, where the fervor is at its peak.
The Sun festival
Aby Simbel Sun Festival happens on 21st October and is essentially Abu Simbel’s Birthday. The Sun festival happens about twice a year, on 22nd February and 22nd October. This is a day when the sun’s rays will penetrate the Abu Simbel temple. The sun rays reach the inner sanctum, and the resulting sunlight inside the sanctum ends up brightening all the Gods like Ra, Amun, and Ramses. Interestingly, the Goddess of darkness stays in the dark, making it an interesting watch and a magical experience.
Sphinx festival is celebrated in the town of El Gouna, a resort town in the Red Sea. It is in memory of its ancient and extravagant past. It is a big 5 day-long festival and hosts several traditional events and performances which remind of Egypt’s rich past and cultural heritage. There are performances like music, dance and a lot of educational workshops which the tourists will enjoy. It brings to life the ancient past and honors its ancient civilization.
River Nile festivals
The river Nile is the lifeline of Egypt, an important source of water. It is impossible to even have a civilization in Egypt without such a huge source of water. To worship the Nile, Egypt hosts the Leylet En Nuktah, one of Egypt’s most famous festivals. In Egypt, the Nile is worshipped as a deity because it gives life to the country, supports civilization, and provides an important source of livelihood for many in the country. In modern times, apart from prayers, this festival is celebrated on the river Nile banks by organizing the family get-together.
The Spring Festival – Sham Al Naseem
Like a lot of other countries, even Egypt celebrates the arrival of spring with the spring festival. Families enjoy it by organizing get-togethers and picnics, visiting the beaches or historical sites. Even the streets will showcase performances by performers, dancers, and vendors. This is a time when the entire city comes to life.
Time to avoid travel to Egypt
Apart from summers, you should avoid all possible travel during the holy festival of Ramadan. Egypt is an Islamic country with a majority of its population practicing Islam. During Ramadan, all shops and establishments are closed for business during the daytime. You will only see minimal activity happening. This could be an issue for travelers who will find it difficult to eat or travel. Though the evenings are normal and can compensate for the daytime, there will not be anything that can be done during the daytime.
While the daytime can appear to be completely shut and devoid of any activity, the nighttime will transform into a completely different world with many things happening. Suddenly the evenings are abuzz with activity as the residents break their daily fast at the Iftar in a celebratory and joyous mood. While tourists are not expected to keep fasts, they are expected to respect religious sentiments.
Overall, Egypt is a great country to travel to if you are careful about choosing the time of the year and the month. With so many sights and festivals happening, you will be short of time but not activities. There is a lot to offer for tourists no matter what time of the year you choose to visit. I hope the information shared will help guide you in choosing the right time for you to travel and enjoy Egypt to the full. Enjoy your travels.