Egypt is easily one of the most amazing places on earth. It is the incredible land of the ancient Pharaohs and home to beautiful stretches of desert, fantastic food, and tons of hospitality.
If Egypt isn’t on your list yet, it should be. It’s easier and more economical than ever to visit. But the key to a good trip is knowing the best time to visit Egypt, what to do when you’re there, and tons of tips and tricks for travelling.
But, more importantly, we’ll also cover how you can be as respectful as possible while making the most of your time there.
So, if you’ve dreamt of seeing the ancient pyramids but never thought that you would be able to do so in person, now is your chance to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in Egypt. Let’s dive in.
Why You Should Visit Egypt
One of the key reasons people visit Egypt is to see the pyramids, but this is by far not the only thing you can do in the land of the Pharaohs. Cairo itself is a magnificent city with tons of four and five-star accommodations that will not break your bank account.
You can also embark on fun desert adventures like off-roading or discovering Egyptian hot springs. People love to visit Egypt to see the desert at night.
You’ll see more stars than you can realistically imagine and have the experience of a lifetime. Watching the stars over the Egyptian Sahara is a profound experience that you can share with your family.
In addition to the pyramids themselves, there are also tons of temples like Luxar and Dendera. Additionally, you can explore the Valley of the Kings on a guided tour of the region.
Make sure that you check with your hotel to find an English-speaking guide who can give you fantastic insight into the importance of these structures.
Overall Best Time to Visit Egypt
When it comes to making the most of your Egypt adventure, the time you visit is really up to you and what you’re planning on doing.
However, Egypt can get sweltering during the summer months, so it’s best to avoid traveling during this season if you want to do a lot of outdoor activities, especially during the day.
Most people prefer to visit Egypt in the so-called shoulder seasons or during the winter. Shoulder season refers to spring or fall. If you travel between October and April, you’ll have the best weather, but might experience steeper prices and crowds.
One of the best things about Egypt is that it doesn’t have too much rain. So no matter when you visit, you’re guaranteed a very sunny and bright time. The only thing you need to keep in mind is how hot you can bear the temperature.
Cheapest Time to Visit Egypt
According to Skyscanner, the cheapest time to fly to Egypt is in May, right at the end of shoulder season and the beginning of the summer months. Starting around May, you’ll see deals in and around Egypt on hotels and tour packages.
Since summer is scorching in this part of the world, the cheap flights make sense. If you can stand the heat, summer might be a good time to visit. Even though they’re in the middle of winter, you can sometimes find good deals in January and February, especially at the last minute.
However, last-minute bookings can be a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you win out, and sometimes you pay three times the price. Book your flights and accommodation several months in advance to be on the safe side.
If you’re unfamiliar with Egypt, you might want to hire a travel agent or someone familiar with the region to help you out. Always do your research and have plenty of options to make the best decision and the most of your time and money.
Least Busy Time to Visit Egypt
As a general rule, people tend to visit Egypt during the winter months and shoulder season, predominantly because the weather outside is cool enough to spend the day exploring.
However, if you want to avoid the crowds, you might have to contend with the sun and stay away during the heat of the winter months. Cairo is one of the most popular cities to visit in Egypt and the heart of where all of the action is.
If you and your family are making the trip, there’s a good chance that you’ll spend at least some of your time in Cairo. Avoiding crowds can be difficult, but there are a few ways that you can do so.
The first thing that you can do is visit during the off-season. If you find yourself in a crowd-mobbed Cairo during January, consider visiting the top tourist attractions, like the pyramids, during off-hours.
The pyramids at night are beautiful, and there are fewer people there. Also, avoid major bazaars and shops during the weekends or holidays to beat the crowds.
Worst Time to Visit Egypt
Seasons that some people consider the worst time to visit Egypt, others think is the best. So it’s subjective, but there are some things that you should keep in mind to make your decision easier.
If you’re sensitive to heat, you will want to avoid Egypt during the summer months. If you do decide to visit during the hottest time of the year, make sure that you plan plenty of evening and nighttime activities that will allow you to see the outdoor sights without frying.
Ramadan and Eid al Fitr, during April and the beginning of May, are also not good times to visit Egypt because many of the most popular attractions are closed to the public.
Also, it’s considered rude to smoke, eat, or drink in front of practicing Muslim people during these times. That alone could impact your trip.
Things to Consider
If you want to have the best time in Egypt, keep these tips and tricks in mind. We’ve also included several things that you can expect to see and experience while you’re spending time in Egypt.
- Learn a few words of the language
- Separate your valuables, leaving most of your money in your hotel safe
- Egypt has a robust military presence, so don’t be alarmed by heavy firepower
- You’ll have to go through a lot of security at many of Egypt’s biggest attractions, especially in Cairo
- Don’t wear flashy rings or jewelry
- Americans can get a visa on arrival for about $25
- Tipping is expected, especially if you’re a westerner
- Always cross the street at lights as the traffic in Cairo can be notoriously dangerous for pedestrians
- Expect extra charges for tourist activities such as additional tickets to see museum exhibits
- Be aware of scams; if something seems fishy, it probably is
Being aware of things that you should and should not do while in Egypt will help you have a much better time on your travels.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s natural to have several questions about traveling through Egypt or making the most of your time abroad. These frequently asked questions can shed a little light on what you should expect and what customs and rules you might encounter.
Do I need to apply for a visa in advance?
Americans can get a visa upon arrival, but you can apply for it in advance if you want to save a little time at the airport. Just make sure that you’re applying for your visa from a certified government website to avoid additional fees.
Certain countries don’t need visas. If you’re a citizen or a dual citizen of Bahrain, Lebanon, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or Kuwait, you don’t need to get one.
Since the rules are constantly changing, it’s a good idea to check in advance and double-check a few weeks right before your flight.
How should I dress in Egypt?
Even though the winter months tend to be cooler in Egypt, it’s still really hot all over the country. As such, you should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes to stay warm in the heat.
Additionally, Egypt is a very conservative country, and you will need to be a little bit more covered than in other places. Women have a stricter dress code than men.
If you’re a woman, you might feel more comfortable wearing a headscarf, which you can buy just about anywhere on the streets of Cairo. However, if you go into religious places, you could be asked to wear one as well.
It’s not necessary to wear a niqab if you’re a tourist, but you may be asked to cover up a bit for mosques or certain holy places. Women should avoid too-tight clothing or anything revealing.
Skirts to the knee and below are acceptable, and you should be very careful about showing off even a little bit of cleavage. Men have a slightly less strict dress code, but they should still be modest at all times.
Shorts should hit the knee, and exposed shoulders are frowned upon. Avoid anything with vulgar or suggestive language written on it. Since the sand can be hot and brutal, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing open-toed shoes. Instead, opt for footwear that’s breathable but still protective.
What money do Egyptians use?
Although some tourist areas might take U.S. dollars, the Egyptian pound is the local currency. If you’re shopping at a local store or bazaar, don’t expect them to accept credit cards or your local currency. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to have a little bit of both on hand.
Can I drive in Egypt?
While you can technically drive in Egypt, you might not want to. The rules of the road are slightly different in this part of the world, and many people find that Egyptians drive a little bit more aggressively than they are used to.
If you’re not comfortable navigating your car in a big city like New York City or San Francisco, consider getting a driver or taking public transportation. You also might not want to drive in Egypt simply because you can’t read the road signs and aren’t familiar with the city.
Generally, westerners find drivers to be an inexpensive and safe way to get around. Plus, you’ll be contributing to the local economy in a very important way.
Can I bring my drone?
Although the thought of flying a drone over the fantastic landscapes in Egypt might be tempting, please don’t plan on it. It’s illegal to fly drones over much of Egypt, including the pyramids of Giza, unless you have special permission.
You could get into serious trouble for doing so, even up to and including jail time. Avoid temptation and leave your drone at home. We suggest instead taking a hot air balloon ride; it’ll give you the same sights without the risk of arrest.
Is photography allowed?
While you can take pictures of pretty much anything you like in cities or on desert tours, make sure that you don’t photograph anything inside the tombs.
These are ancient structures that don’t do well when exposed to cameras. Cameras are strictly forbidden in the Valley of Kings.
Locals might also ask you for money to photograph them or their animals, so don’t assume that anything is for free. Also, make sure that you get permission to take pictures of individual people before snapping them. Otherwise, it’s considered rude.
What unspoken rules should I follow?
As with every country, there are a few unspoken rules that you should observe during your travels in Egypt. If you’re unclear about anything, make sure that you talk to your hotel concierge to clarify the customs.
You can also join social media groups of expats or fellow travelers to shed some light on what to do and not to do in Egypt. We’ve put together a few things to consider:
- Public displays of affection are considered rude, and you should avoid them
- Egyptian women are usually more conservative than their western counterparts
- Take off your shoes before entering a mosque or holy place
- Don’t talk religion or politics if possible, especially if you disagree with the local person
- Avoid photographing any military or police personnel
- If a local gives you food to eat with your hands, use your right one only
Customs may differ from place to place, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with where you’re going in Egypt to have a smooth, conflict-free vacation.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Egypt
The best time to visit Egypt hinges on what you and your family want to do while you are there. If you want to save some money and do indoor activities or visit the pyramids at night, go during the summer.
If you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside, winter is the best. Use the weather as your guide, think about your objectives, and plan things out in advance, and you’re bound to have a spectacular trip.