Summer runs June through September and temperatures are extremely hot (up to 31 degrees on average along the coast and up to 50 degrees in Aswan). Winter (October to May) temperatures are warm.
When to fly to Egypt
The best time to take cheap flights to Egypt is between December and February. Most visit Upper Egypt (the south) between October and February. The El Alamein Military Museum is best visited in autumn (September-November) and spring (February-April). Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
The best times to visit Sharm El Sheikh are the winter and spring months, when temperatures are in the low to mid 20s. From May onwards, temperatures start rocketing to the low 30s and, in July and August, the high 30s.
In general, mid-October to May is the high season in Egypt.
May until October is low season. This is when temperatures are highest, especially in Upper Egypt. If you can brave the heat, you will be able to enjoy the country in relative solitude. Cairo will be busy during the summer months as Middle Eastern tourists take their holidays then.
The Egyptian spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October, November) are great times to visit. The temperatures are moderate. The Khamsin wind blows in March and April, bringing sand and dust.
Egypt insider information
- Egypt runs on baksheesh (tipping). Visitors are expected to give everyone who helps them, even in minor ways such as holding open a door, a tip. Keep a roll of small notes on you. Haggling is expected too.
- At the Khan El Khalili bazaar, the most popular items to haggle for are Backgammon boards and trinket boxes with mother-of-pearl inlay.
- At Giza, the Pyramid of King Chefren, which stands beside the Pyramid of King Cheops, is cheaper to visit, and, some argue, just as interesting.
- Cairo's oldest mosque is the Ibn Tulun mosque. Climb the minaret - tipping the guardian of course - and enjoy the views of Cairo.
- The Gayer Anderson Museum, beside the Ibn Tulun mosque, is a fascinating museum. It consists of two houses, one built in the 1500s, the other in the 1600s., both wonderfully preserved, with Gayer Anderson's collection of art and furnishings. Gayer Anderson was a British Major, collector and self-described Orientalist.
- In Alexandria, little survives from Cleopatra's time. Marine archaeologists are excavating in the Fort Qait area, and have discovered some remains that may be from the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the wonders of the ancient world. To experience the city, idle along the Corniche, enjoy meze and fish in the seafood restaurants and smoke a water pipe in the pavement cafés.