Egypt has mainly two seasons: winter and summer. Winter begins in November and lasts until April, and summer begins in May and runs through October. Summer in Egypt is dry and can be scorching at certain times of the day, hence this time of year is considered the off-season for tourism. Still, even with the dry desert heat, traveling to Egypt in summer shouldn’t be out of the question. While the climate may be milder in wintertime, there are some definite benefits to visiting Egypt in the summertime.
Here’s a look at the advantages of traveling to Egypt in May, June, July, August, and the first part of September (later in September and October tend to cool down a bit) as well as tips, things to see and do, what to expect weather-wise, and the basics to pack for your trip.
The Advantages of Visiting Egypt in the Summer
You’ll Encounter Fewer Tourists
No one wants to have to fend off scores of tourists while on vacation. During the high season in Egypt, mosques, tombs, monuments, and other attractions will probably be swarming with visitors, so tours will likely take longer. More time waiting in line means missing some of those must-see sights on your list. If you travel during the hottest time of the year, however, you’ll miss the usual crowds. Summer travel allows more time to explore Egypt’s history and culture, soak up the desert views, and capture photos and memories to last a lifetime.
Some Prices May Be Lower
Because summer is the off-season, hotel prices, flights, and Egypt tour packages may be priced lower than in the high season. Depending on the length of your stay, traveling to Egypt in summer could shave hundreds of dollars off of your total trip cost. That would give you more souvenir money to spend at Khan-el-Khalili, Cairo’s famed souk. And you could upgrade your hotel room to a luxurious suite as well.
Air-Conditioned Private Transportation Will Keep You Cool
No matter how steamy The Gift of the Nile gets, you’ll have the option of riding in a private air-conditioned vehicle when you book an Egypt luxury tour. A comfy temperature-controlled ride will make all the difference when you’re out and about on the warmest summer days.
Things to See and Do in Egypt During the Summer
Spend time on Egypt’s Beautiful Beaches
While the beaches won’t necessarily be less crowded in warm, sunny weather, summer is a lovely time of the year to experience the coast in Egypt. Hurghada and Sharm El- Sheikh should top your list of spots to see if you plan to explore Egypt in the summer. You’ll have as much as 14 hours of sunshine a day–-ideal for sunbathing, wading, swimming, and water sports. There’s more on that coming up.
Go Sailing on the Nile
Board a felucca (a simple Egyptian sailboat) and cruise on one of the most iconic bodies of water in the world. Relax; stop along the route to swim, and take in the sweeping river views. Most if not all Egypt private tours can easily accommodate a sail on the Nile. Just request it if it’s not on your itinerary.
Go Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Technically an extension of the Indian Ocean, this renowned inlet is one of the world’s premier scuba diving destinations. Since the Red Sea’s temps hover in the 80s in summer, you’re likely to spend more time in the water. Expect excellent viewing of coral reefs and other marine life, not to mention stellar photo ops. Hurghada, Sharm El- Sheikh, and Marsa Alam––a resort town that’s becoming more popular–– are three of the best spots to scuba dive in the Egyptian Red Sea.
Take a Day trip to Alexandria
Spend a day or two in Alexandria touring this ancient port city and industrial hub set on the Mediterranean Sea. While you’re there, visit Al-Montazah Palace and its lush gardens, the famous Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque, and the Alexandria National Museum, a depository of artifacts from the Hellenistic period. Be sure to stroll the Corniche, a 10-mile promenade hugging the Eastern Harbor. This port city should be a bit cooler than Cairo, Luxor, Abu Simbel, and Aswan, even in mid-day, with temps averaging in the 80s.
Visit the Long-Awaited GEM
The Grand Egyptian Museum has created a ton of buzz, and at long last, it’s scheduled to open in June 2021. The huge complex will house a vast collection of artifacts and antiquities, many of which have never been displayed before. The best Egypt tours in 2021 will suggest this museum when planning your trip. Be sure to set aside enough time to explore the GEM: one full day minimum, but two days may be better if your schedule allows.
Summer Weather in Egypt
Cairo and Northern Egypt Summer Weather
From May through the first half of September, temperatures in northern Egypt––also known as Lower Egypt––usually reach the 90s, and sometimes higher, with evenings cooling down to a more tolerable 70 or so. The coolness at nighttime will be a welcome reprieve from the daytime highs. There are lots of amazing temples in Upper Egypt and lots of off the beaten path experiences there.
Aswan, Luxor, and Southern Egypt Summer Weather
In Upper Egypt or the southern area of the country where you can visit Luxor and Aswan, the mercury can quickly rise higher than 100 degrees in the summer. Unless you have a pool or the sea at your disposal, the hottest part of the day can be brutal. Be prepared to spend afternoons in the air conditioning or by the pool. Evenings cool down to more comfortable temperatures but still hover in the high 70s or low 80s.
Tips for Visiting Egypt in the Summer
You’ll want to schedule your outdoor sightseeing excursions to the Pyramids, Karnak, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Luxor temple, and Egypt’s remarkable antiquities early in the day when it’s coolest. Save the air-conditioned activities such as museums for afternoons when the temperatures soar.
Book a Hotel with a Pool
Between noon and about 5 p.m. will probably be the hottest window. Rather than suffer in the heat, take advantage of it. Select a hotel with a pool, and spend your afternoons swimming, sunning, and staying cool. In Cairo, we recommend the JW Marriott and the Four Seasons at the First Residence or the Marriott Mena House. Just don’t forget the sunscreen! Check out our guide here for the luxury hotels in Egypt here.
Dress Appropriately and for the Season
Since the days will be steamy and the nights cooler but still sultry, wearing the appropriate clothing will be vital to getting the most out of a summer trip to Egypt. Osiris Tours recommends light-weight, breathable fabrics and loose-fitting garments in neutral colors. Egypt is dusty, so avoid white if you can. And always carry a hat to shield you from the intense sun. Check out our post about what to wear when traveling in Egypt here.
No matter how hot it gets, remember to respect Egyptian culture and dress modestly. Men have it a bit easier in terms of clothing. But as a rule, women shouldn’t pack revealing wardrobe pieces and should always be prepared to cover their shoulders and heads when they step outside the resorts. That means leave the tank tops, mini-skirts, short shorts, body huggers, plunging necklines, and sheer clothing at home. Since the rules don’t apply to the beaches or hotels, feel free to wear a bathing suit or strappy dress when you’re not sightseeing. It’s still a good idea to toss a coverup over your swimsuit. And men should throw on a t-shirt when walking through a hotel. Check out our post about the women’s packing guide for Egypt here.
Next up, to be sure you don’t leave anything essential out of your suitcase, here’s what to pack for your trip to Egypt.
What to Pack for Summer in Egypt
For women, a pashmina is one of the most important items to pack. You’ll have to cover your head in the mosques, so keep a scarf in your bag at all times. Other items ladies should bring on their trip include a bathing suit and coverup, light-colored cotton or linen skirts (below the knee is best), tops, cropped pants, t-shirts, a cross-body bag, sunglasses, hair accessories (to keep cool), a tote bag, flip flops, sandals, tennis shoes, open-toed wedges for nighttime, SPF, and a straw hat. Avoid black, navy, and other dark colors, which draw heat. And leave the high heels at home.
For men, take light-weight pants (casual and dress), knee-length shorts, tees, golf shirts, a bathing suit, flip flops, sneakers, stylish thong shoes, sandals, or loafers, as well as sunglasses, a baseball cap, and sunscreen. A backpack is also a good idea for day trips.
Whether you’re a man or woman, other items that should make their way into your luggage would be an international cell phone and charger, cash to pay for a visa upon entering Egypt, at least one mask for every day you plan to be in Egypt, hand sanitizer, your passport, a camera and any required tech, and a refillable water bottle or two. You’ll need to stay hydrated on your summer trip to Egypt. Check out our first timer’s guide to Egypt here.
Enjoy every minute!