Many people will tell you that summer or fall are the best times of year to visit Egypt, because you’ll avoid the crowds. But you don’t have to decipher hieroglyphics to see why winter is the best time to go to Egypt. There are plenty of perks (and then some!) to seeing this country’s iconic sites from December to March. Here are four reasons why winter is the best time to travel to Egypt.
1. It’s not as hot so you can comfortably explore
Imagine packing sunscreen for a winter trip. Winter in Egypt is the perfect time to explore 5,000 years of Egyptian history without breaking a sweat. Summers in Egypt can be scorching, to say the least, with temps soaring above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But the stifling heat of the summer months is long gone in Egypt in the winter. Temperatures stay mild at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It can get colder than you’d expect—and you might even need an umbrella for rainy weather in Egypt in December. We recommend bringing a warm layer and a rain jacket.
2. You can join in on the Coptic Christmas feast
Here’s a holiday so nice it’s celebrated twice. Egyptians celebrate Christmas on December 25 and Coptic Christmas on January 7. Whether you celebrate on the 25 or the 7, Christmas remains the same at its core. The biggest difference between Coptic Christmas and Western Christmas is the act of fasting. Coptic Christians take part in The Holy Nativity Fast, and adhere to a strict vegan diet for 40 days. The most anticipated part of the holiday begins on Christmas Eve when fast is broken.
The Coptic Christmas dinner is a gigantic feast and the best time to visit Egypt to sample traditional Egyptian dishes. Expect to dig in to some beloved fattah—a scrumptious dish served with meat (typically lamb), rice, crispy bread, and topped with a tangy tomato-garlic sauce. Round out the meal with some sweets like sugar-coated almonds and kahk, a butter-based biscuit dusted with powdered sugar. The energy and excitement will fill you up just as much as the meal.
3. You can experience a rare, spectacular event
The Abu Simbel Sun Festival kicks off in February at one of Egypt’s greatest wonders, the Temple of Ramses II. On two days of the year, the 22nd of February and October, the sun aligns perfectly to illuminate the central chamber. (It’s typically dark all year.) The hand-carved, sandstone temple was built so that the chambers are lit on Ramses II’s birthday and the day he took the throne.
Locals come out in droves to celebrate this unbelievable phenomenon. After the show, visitors head outside to enjoy traditional Nubian dance and live music. All that dancing can make your stomach rumble, so get your hands on kushari (Egypt’s national dish) at one of the food stalls. This delicious dish features a mix of rice, chickpeas, pasta, black lentils, tomato sauce, and fried onions.
4. It’s the best season to cruise the Nile
Winter is hands-down the best time to go to Egypt and cruise down the Nile. Summer temperatures can be intense and even hotter inside the tombs and temples. That means winter in Egypt is the perfect time to get the most out of your day trips to typically sweltering sites, like Luxor and Aswan. Lucky for you, our Nile River cruise tours are just waiting for you to come along for the ride on all of our tours of Egypt!
On your Egypt & the Nile River Cruise tour, you’ll uncover ancient temples, tombs, and treasures along the banks of the Nile. Explore Egypt’s hottest spots like the Valley of Kings and Luxor Temple, all while staying cool and comfortable in the winter weather. “The relaxing cruise up the Nile was awe-inspiring,” said traveler Angela. “Walking and sailing in the footsteps of Queens and Pharaohs spanning thousands of years with an Egyptologist explaining it all made it even more fascinating.”