With the exception of January, the month of December is the coldest of the year in Egypt. Although "cold" is a relative" term in a country that's always fairly warm, it's nevertheless a good time to bring a jacket and cooler weather apparel, especially for the evenings.
In Cairo, daytime temperatures range from 66 to 73°F and evenings drop down to a brisk 48 to 53°F. Farther south in places like Luxor and Abu Simbel, days are warmer (about 73 to 79°F) but the nights are even chillier, ranging from 44 to 48°F. Coastal resorts along the Sinai Peninsula clock highs of 73 to 77°F and lows of 55 to 59°F.
December is the rainiest month of the year in Cairo and other parts of the country; however, that still only adds up to about three days of precipitation. It's wise to bring a light raincoat but it's doubtful you'll experience any heavy storms.
Crowds and Costs
The one drawback to visiting Egypt in December is that both the crowds and the costs are substantially higher. The holidays, combined with the cool weather, draw massive amounts of tourists to Cairo and surrounding areas. The Pyramids of Giza become chock-full of photo-snapping foreigners and you'll spot teenagers taking selfies at all of the viewpoints. The hotels charge peak season rates and lodging can sometimes costs double this time of year. That said, there's a reason everyone wants to be here in December — the weather is perfect and the atmosphere is wonderfully festive.
Where to Go
Given the cooler temperatures, there's virtually nowhere in Egypt that's off-limits in December. Cairo, for instance, offers pleasant temperatures with warm afternoons that are ideal for exploring the ancient pyramids or wandering through the vibrant markets. Up north in Alexandria, the climate is similar (though slightly cooler) and equally ideal for a winter visit.
The beaches are also gorgeous this time of year. With temperatures in the mid to upper-70s, it's still warm enough to swim, snorkel, or play in the sand yet not so hot that walking through town becomes unbearable. All of the resorts are buzzing with activity as locals and tourists alike head to the coast for the holidays. The extra people means there's more to do, too. Restaurants and bars host special events and a huge number of tours are available during the days.
December is also the best time of the year to explore the ruins in the central and southern parts of the country — the ones that are too hot the rest of the year. Like the beaches farther north, destinations like Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel hover in the mid to upper-70s in December, making their historical temples and archaeological sites perfect for wandering around. From these cities, you can also head to nearby ruins in places in Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo.
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What to Do
You can't visit Egypt without experiencing the mysterious, awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza — it's hands down one of the most amazing sights you'll ever see. Within the complex, you'll discover numerous ancient structures including the Great Sphinx, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. Take a camel ride at sunrise to soak up the beauty of the panoramic skyline, or go at night to check out the colorful Sounds and Light Show. Back in town, visit the Egyptian Museum or check out the Al-Azhar Mosque.
If you opt for the beaches, explore places like Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, or Dahab. The first two are higher-end luxury resorts while the latter is a more relaxed tourist spot with budget options available. Go snorkeling, scuba diving, or swimming. You can also try surfing, parasailing, kiteboarding, or other adventure-based activities. The Red Sea towns are also great places to get a massage or lounge by the pool. There are swanky restaurants, thumping nightclubs, and everything in between.
Down in Luxor, plan day trips to the nearby ruins or book a cruise down the Nile River. Whichever mode of transport you choose, don't miss out on historical sites like the Tombs of the Nobles, the Philae Temple, the Valley of the Kings, or the Temple of Osiris.
Events in December Traveling
International Cairo Biennale: Although more low-key than some of Cairo's other festivals, this government-sponsored arts show nevertheless draws high-quality artists to the capital city. It doesn't happen every year but when it does, artists from all over the world descend on the city to participate in the festival and show off their work.
Kiahk / Coptic Christmas: In Egypt, most Christians are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church which celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7. The month leading up to this holiday is called Kiahk and it coincides with a fasting period called the "The Holy Nativity Fast." Devotees fast intermittently during this time and afterward, holiday celebrations commence.
Traveling to Egypt in December? Check out this great itinerary
Egypt by Land and Sea: Cairo, Luxor, & the Nile - 10 Days: This comprehensive 10-day journey offers a fantastic way to see Egypt's major historical attractions. It includes numerous archaeological sites in both Cairo and Luxor including the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, and a day trip to nearby Saqqara. Farther south, you'll board a ship to cruise down the Nile river and enjoy tea time on the sun deck in Edfu, as well as a Galabiya dinner party.