What’s the Best Time of the Year to Visit Cairo, Egypt?

There are several important things to consider when choosing which time of year to visit Cairo.

Jun 20, 2024By Greg Beyer, Assistant Editor; African History

best time of year to visit cairo egypt

 

Cairo is one of the biggest cities in Africa. In fact, if the City of Giza on the west bank of the Nile is included as part of Cairo, then the city is the biggest city on the continent. Combining old and new, Cairo is a city of contrasts. Although founded in the 10th century, its history goes back much further, as it is the site of the ancient capitals of Egypt. Within its streets are the echoes of the ancient mingling with the voices of the modern era.

 

Cairo not only serves as the capital of Egypt, but also as its gateway. Those wishing to explore the wonders that Egypt has to offer are very likely to have to go through Cairo first. So, what’s the best time to do this?

 

Beating the Heat

View of Cairo (and Giza City on the top right) from directly above El-Tetsh Stadium facing south. Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

For many tourists, the weather is of prime concern. Egypt sits on the edge of the Sahara and the vast majority of the country is a scorching desert. Cairo can get extremely hot in the summer, and even uncomfortably so in the winter! Picking the right time to travel there can be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a miserable sweat-filled ordeal. 

 

May to September are the hottest months with an average monthly temperature of above 90°F (32. °C) in terms of mean daily maximum. For a cooler experience the winter months are the best time to visit. December, January, February and March are the coldest months, and can even be quite chilly with temperatures in the 50°Fs and low 60°Fs (around 10°C to 16°C). There was very light snow in 2013, but this was an anomaly, and the first time it had happened in over a century!

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Avoiding the Crowds

Cairo cityscape. Image: Faris El-Gwely/Wikimedia Commons

 

Cairo is a busy city all year round, but peak tourist season lasts from around mid-October to mid-February. This is a particularly important factor when deciding to visit the Giza Pyramid complex outside the city, as these wonders are easily one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions. 

 

To avoid the crowds and the heat, the best time to visit Cairo, as well as the rest of Egypt, is at either end of the tourist season. Of course, avoiding the crowds and traveling to Egypt in the off season is likely to net some good deals on flights and accommodations, but the heat will be intense, so stay out of Cairo and head to the coastal resorts instead!

 

Celebrations, Festivals, and Religious Holidays

Khan el-Khalili. Panoramio/The Erica Chang via Wikimedia Commons

 

Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country, with around 90% of the population adhering to its tenets. Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and during this time, the streets of Cairo can be slightly less busy. After Ramadan, three days of celebrating with banquets and feasts follow (Eid al-Fitr). The times of these religious periods vary each year, so it’s best to check the calendar.

 

Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, is also observed with a great feast. Like other religious periods, the dates shift across the calendar year. A substantial minority of the Egyptian population is also Coptic Christian, and Christmas is celebrated at the end of the year. 

 

Cairo is certainly a vibrant city with many attractions and pleasant surprises for the modern tourist. Different times of the year will result in different experiences for travelers, and it’s best to plan trips accordingly to get the most out of the desired vacation. Whatever time is chosen, it will undoubtedly be an experience worth writing home about!

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By Greg BeyerAssistant Editor; African HistoryGreg is an editor specializing in African history, he has authored over 200 articles. A former English teacher with a BA in History & Linguistics and a Journalism Diploma from the University of Cape Town, he excels in academic writing and finds artistic expression through drawing and painting in his free time.