It may be cold outside, with the days still short and Christmas already a distant memory, but now is a great time to start planning a fabulous holiday in sunnier climes. When it comes to exotic holidays, Egypt is one of the most beautiful, unique destinations you can visit. It truly offers something for everyone – from exquisite beach resorts to jaw-dropping UNESCO heritage sites that give a window into the ancient, mystical world of the Pharaohs; and from camel riding in the desert to some of the most amazing dive sites on the planet.
But when is the best time to visit? Egypt is a year-round destination, with every month offering plenty of sunshine; however, some seasons are better to visit than others.
December – February
This is a great time of year for sightseeing, as Cairo and the Nile delta will average 20 degrees Centigrade during the day. This makes it peak season for river cruises and cultural tourism. In addition, a lot of festivals take place during the winter months, including Coptic Christmas, which takes place on January 7th. On this day, Egypt’s Christian population celebrate Christmas, breaking The Holy Nativity Fast and gathering together for religious services followed by feasts. In addition, another attraction is the Abu Simbel Sun Festival which takes place twice a year – on February 22nd and October 22nd. It takes place at the temples of Abu Simbel, located about 140 miles southwest of Aswan. A beautiful spectacle, it celebrates the two days of the year when the sun perfectly illuminates the seated statues in the central chamber of the temple of Ramses II. For a brief time, the sun aligns on three of the four statues – Ramses II, Ra and Amun – leaving Ptah, the God of darkness, shrouded in darkness.
If sightseeing isn’t your thing, then don’t be put off of travelling to Egypt at this time of year. If you want to sunbathe around the pool and enjoy everything a five star resort has to offer, then you should head to the more southerly Red Sea resorts of Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh or Marsa Alam, where temperatures will be in the sublime mid-20’s. For the ultimate Egyptian experience, you can combine a resort holiday with a luxury Nile River cruise, allowing you to relax and unwind before experiencing the best historic attractions Egypt has to offer, from the opulence of a beautiful cruise ship cabin.
March – May
Temperatures shift to the early 30 degrees Centigrade at this time of year, making it the perfect time of year to enjoy the Red Sea resorts and all they have to offer. This is a particularly popular time of year for snorkelling holidays (diving holidays can be enjoyed year-round). In terms of festivals, Sham el-Nessim is celebrated on Easter Monday – April 20th this year. This date marks the beginning of Spring and is celebrated with picnics in parks and on the banks of the river Nile. Be aware that Sham el-Nessim is a national holiday, so certain attractions could be particularly busy on this date. Also, Ramadan will take place from April 23rd – May 23rd; although this won’t affect your resort or cruise ship today, it’s something to be aware of if you’re visiting the markets and bazaars. The end of Ramadan can be witnessed on May 24th, when Muslims around the world celebrate the religious festival of Eid al Fitr. This is a national day off, and you’ll see lavish feasts, with friends and family gathering together in celebration.
June – August
In the summer months, temperatures top the mid-30’s in northerly regions such as Cairo, and the late-30’s in the Red Sea resorts. Not only is it very hot, but it’s also humid, increasing the heat index to scorching levels. However, if you love the heat and aren’t looking to do any arduous touring or trekking, this could be a good time of year to book your holiday. It’s also a fantastic time of year for a Nile river cruise; as the banks of the Nile are so fertile, it’s where the majority of the Pharaonic temples and tombs are located, so you can witness their majesty from your air conditioned cabin, relaxing around the pool or from the luxurious sun deck. Although you’ll be visiting during the school summer holidays, the soaring temperatures will put many people off, making this a relatively affordable time to visit Egypt.
September – November
Once again, you can witness the spectacular Abu Simbel Sun Festival on October 22nd. This festival has been celebrated for some 3,200 years and if you are on holiday at this time of year, you should definitely make the effort to visit the temple and share this unique experience with fellow travellers and locals alike. In terms of temperatures, it becomes much more bearable, falling to the mid-late 20’s by the end of November. This is another great time of year to visit the plentiful tombs and monuments that Egypt has to offer. Also, the sea breeze tends to pick up, making the Mediterranean a beautiful and refreshing place to be.
So as you can see, Egypt truly is a year-round destination, offering something for everyone at all times of the year. By considering what you want out of your holiday, and depending on how much heat you can take, you can plan accordingly and ensure you have the most fabulous holiday in this amazing country.