In short, the best time to visit Egypt is between October and April. That said, it depends what you most want from your trip. For example, you might want to time your visit to coincide with a festival. It also depends how much heat you can handle, and how much you like (or loathe) the swollen crowds — and costs — that come with visiting Egypt in peak season. Read on to find out when to go to Egypt, depending on your travel needs.
Best time to visit EgyptOn balance, the best time to visit Egypt is from October to April. And the reason? During this period, daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm, and nights are cool.
With an arid desert climate, summer (May to September) is hot and dry throughout Egypt, with humidity at its highest in July and August.
It’s also worth noting that the humid summer season sees fewer visitors and lower prices.
In addition, there’s usually a bit of a breeze on the Nile in these summer months, so you could consider a cruise.
Planning to visit Egypt? Check out our customisable Introduction to Egypt itinerary.
Best months to visit EgyptArguably, the best months to visit Egypt are February and March. This is because you’ll be guaranteed warm, sunny weather, especially in the south, which is home to the densest concentration of ancient sites.
With easily manageable climate and crowds, October into early November are also good months to visit.
But that’s not to say you should rule out visiting Egypt in other months, not least if you’re considering a Nile cruise.
On that subject, weather and tourism seasons aside, the Islamic calendar and its related festivals can have an effect on your travel.
The most important factor is Ramadan, the month of daytime fasting, which can be problematic for eating and transport. Having said that, the festive evenings do much to compensate.
Thinking of spending time in Cairo? Discover what you can do in just 24 hours.
Weather in Egypt in JanuaryJanuary in Eypt is a time of mild temperatures. By which we mean daily averages ranging between 12C and 22C.
Be sure to pack a light jacket for the evenings, though.
Weather in Egypt in FebruaryMarking transition to spring, February’s temperatures in Egypt are higher than January. The average is 19°C with highs of 23°C, and lows of 13°C.
February also heralds prime hiking season in the Sinai High Mountains and the Western Desert.
Weather in Egypt in MarchEgypt in March starts to hot up, averaging a daily maximum of 28C and a minimum of 17 C. There’s also less of a drop-off in evening and night temperatures.
While you’re unlikely to see much rain anywhere, heading to Cairo will further minimise your chance of experiencing any.
Weather in Egypt in AprilThough April in Egypt arrives as a mirror of March, daytime temperatures rise to an average of 31°C by the end of the month. Expect night-time temperatures of 17 to 21°C.
For super-long sunny days, head to Hurghada, which has 13 hours of daylight at this time of year.
Weather in Egypt in MayIn May, while the heat is still tolerable, many wealthier Egyptians migrate to the coastal resorts towards the end of the month.
Tourists might want to follow suit — May is a good time to visit Egypt for fun in the sun and sea.
Weather in Egypt in JuneTravellers with a low tolerance for heat, beware! Temperatures in Egypt in June, in the south of country and the desert, are ferociously hot.
In addition, pollution in Cairo picks up. In short, expect scorching temperatures (for example, it can reach 40C in Luxor), and no rain.
At this time of year, you might be better of visiting Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh.
Weather in Egypt in JulyAs with June, Egypt in July is incredibly hot. We’re talking an average daily maximum of 39 C, and an average daily minimum of 29C.
Note that Sharm El Sheikh, for example, has an average daytime temperature of “only” 33°C – cooler than the national average. You can also expect the sea here to be a balmy 29ºC
Weather in Egypt in AugustAugust in Egypt remains similar to Jun and July – scorching hot, headily humid, and not ideal for exploring the country’s ancient sites.
If you are visiting Egypt in August, better to plan cruising the Nile or the Red Sea. It's also a time to take to the water to snorkel or dive.
Weather in Egypt in SeptemberIn good news if you struggle with sweltering heat and want to spend more time exploring Egypt’s ancient treasures, September starts to see temperatures drop.
That said, you still won’t need a jacket! The average daily maximum remains around 37C, with the minimum around 27C.
Weather in Egypt in OctoberOverall one of the best months to visit Egypt, October sees the average daytime temperature drop to around 30C.
In the Western Desert Oases, October sees the date harvest in full throttle.
Weather in Egypt in NovemberNovember is a great month to visit Egypt whether you're heading to a beach resort, or want to tour a variety of ancient sites and cities.
With an average daily maximum is 28C, and average daily minimum of 19C, it's bearably hot, which makes being more active a whole lot more feasible.
Bear in mind that you definitely won't have Egypt's best beaches or ancient wonders to yourself — November is also the beginning of Egypt's peak season.
Weather in Egypt in DecemberSurprise! If you visit Egypt in December, you might need a jumper for the cooler evenings.
During the day though, expect an average daily maximum of 24C, and a minimum of 14C.
With an average of 7mm, December is also Egypt's rainiest month. It also draws the biggest crowds.
Peak season in EgyptEgypt’s traditional peak season for tourism runs from late November to late February.
That said, in recent years Luxor and Aswan have only really been busy with tourists during the super-peak months of December and January.
Be aware that while winter is the busiest period for the Sinai resorts, Hurghada is pretty busy year-round.
Not sure how long to spend in Egypt? Read our guide to exactly that.
Summer in EgyptFrom June to September, the south and desert are ferociously hot and the pollution in Cairo is at its worst.
Essentially, only the coast offers a respite from the heat. As a result, as a general rule, sightseeing is best limited to early morning or evening.
Winter in EgyptThe winter months in Egypt are from October to February. These offer mild, sunny days and cool nights.
Through the peak winter months, the Nile Valley is balmy, and Cairo can be overcast and chilly. In the southern part of the country, you'll feel cool Mediterranean air.
In desert regions, night-time temperatures can drop to 0.C (32.F).
Average temperatures in EgyptHere’s an overview of average year-round temperatures — max/min, in Celsius.
- Alexandria 21/11
- Cairo 21/11
- Luxor 26/6
- Aswan 26/9
- Alexandria 30/21
- Cairo 36/20
- Luxor 42/22
- Aswan 42/25
Festivals and holidays in EgyptMost Islamic holidays and festivals follow the lunar Islamic calendar, with twelve months of 29 or 30 days each.
The Islamic year is ten or eleven days shorter than a solar year, so dates move back each year in relation to the Western calendar.
A day in the Islamic calendar begins at sundown, so Islamic festivals start on the evening before you’d expect.
RamadanDuring the month of Ramadan, most Muslims (ninety percent of Egyptians) fast, with no food, drink, smoking or sex from dawn to sunset.
While this can pose problems for travellers, the celebratory evenings are good times to hear music and share hospitality.
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan parallels the Christian Lent, commemorating the first revelation of the Koran to Mohammed.
Opening times and transport schedules are affected — almost everything pauses at sunset so people can break the fast. Most local cafés and restaurants close during the day or stop selling food.
At sunset, signalled by the sounding of a siren and the lighting of lamps on the minarets, an amazing calm and sense of well-being fall on the streets.
At this time everyone eats fuul and taamiya and, in the cities at least, gets down to a night of celebration and entertainment.
Throughout the evening, urban cafés and squares provide venues for live music and singing. In small towns, you'll often come across ritualized zikrs – trance-like chanting and swaying.
Non-Muslims are not expected to observe Ramadan, but should be sensitive about not breaking the fast (particularly smoking) in public.
Islamic holidaysAt the end of Ramadan, the feast of Eid al-Fitr marks the climax of the month’s festivities in Cairo.
Equally important is Eid al-Adha (aka Eid al-Kabir or Korban Bairam – the Great Feast). This celebrates Abraham’s willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son — God didn’t make him go through with it, and he ended up sacrificing a sheep instead.
Eid al-Adha is followed by Ras al-Sana al-Hegira, the Muslim new year, on the first day of the month of Muharram.
The fourth main religious holiday is the Moulid al-Nabi, the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. This is widely observed, with processions in many towns and cities.
MoulidsMoulids are the equivalent of medieval European saints’ fairs, popular events combining piety, fun and commerce.
Their ostensible aim is to obtain blessing (baraka) from a local saint, but they're also an opportunity for friends and families to meet.
Apart from Moulid al-Nabi, most moulids are local affairs, centred around the tomb (qubba) of a holy man or woman.
Most follow the Islamic calendar, but some start (or finish) on a particular day rather than on a specific date.
In addition, a few occur at the same time every year, generally following the local harvest. It’s wise to verify dates by asking locally or at a tourist office.
If you're lucky enough to attend a big one, you’ll see Egyptian popular culture at its richest. Some moulids draw crowds of over a million, with companies of mawladiya (literally, “moulid people”) running stalls and rides, and music blaring into the small hours.
The largest moulids are in Cairo, Tanta and Luxor.
Following the cotton harvest in October, the Moulid of al-Bedawi in Tanta starts a cycle of lesser Nile Delta festivals that runs well into November.
Equally spectacular is the Moulid of Abu al-Haggag in Luxor, held during the month of Sha’ban, and featuring a parade of boats.
Coptic festivalsEgypt’s Christian Copts often attend Islamic moulids – and vice versa. Coptic moulids share many of the functions of their Islamic counterparts and usually celebrate a saint’s name-day.
Major Christian festivals, as in Eastern Orthodox churches, follow the old Julian calendar, so Christmas is on 7th January, Epiphany (Twelfth Night) on 19th January, and the Annunciation on 21st March.
Major Coptic saints’ days include the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul (12th July), and various moulids of the Virgin and St George during August.
Many of these are celebrated at monasteries in Middle Egypt and the Red Sea Hills.
Lastly, a Coptic festival (of pharaonic origin) celebrated by all Egyptians on Coptic Easter Monday is Sham al-Nessim.
This coming-of-spring festival, whose name literally means “Sniffing the Breeze”, provides an excuse for mass picnics in parks and on riverbanks throughout the country.