Temperatures in Cairo experience daytime highs of about 66°F while the evenings often get brisk, dipping down to about 46°F. If you plan to visit anywhere around Cairo or the Nile-Delta region, you'll definitely want to bring a warm jacket and possibly and hat and scarf for nights and early mornings. In some places, it can even get cold enough to want heat at night so check that your hotel has it since many don't, especially along the coasts. Farther south and along the beaches, it's considerably warmer with highs of 70 to 73°F in Luxor and Hurghada.
There's very little rain in Cairo or the southern parts of the country so you don't need to worry about a rain jacket or wet weather gear for those destinations. However, the northern coast can be wetter (Alexandria, for example, averages about 11 days with precipitation) so if you plan to head to that region, pack appropriately. On rare occasions, the beaches on the Sinai Peninsula get hit with storms and flooding, though this by no means happens every year. If you travel to these areas, simply double-check the forecast before planning your excursions.
Crowds and Costs
January is peak season in Egypt and one of the busiest times of the year to visit. Between the cooler weather and the New Year's holiday, it attracts a larger number of tourists than other times of year, so if you choose to book a trip in January, be prepared to see sizable crowds at places like the Pyramids of Giza and other major tourist attractions. The upshot to the crowds is that everything is open and there are plenty of options for tours and transportation.
The costs are higher in January too due to the peak season rates. Hotels are usually pricier and there are fewer discounts and deals to be found on things like airfare, food, and local transportation. The difference in pricing is especially noticeable on the beaches and coasts where the higher-end resorts charge significantly higher rates this time of year. If you plan to visit Egypt in January, it's wise to make your reservations well ahead of time for the best rates.
Where to Go
January is a wonderful time to go just about anywhere in Egypt. Unlike the balmier parts of the year when the southern regions can be unbearably hot, the entire country is pleasant in January. With daytime highs in the 60s to 70s countrywide, it's hard to go wrong.
In Cairo, for example, it's an ideal time to wander through the Pyramids of Giza or soak up the awe of the Great Sphinx without sweating to death. With all of the crowds, there will be great people-watching, too, and the days see eight hours of sun this time of year. Check out the world-renowned street food or, if you're around at the end of the month, swing by the Cairo International Book Fair.
January is an excellent time to head to the beaches as well. The weather will be in the low 70s which isn't scorching hot but still warm enough to swim and sunbathe. Try out Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, or Hurghada for top-rate food, entertainment, and nightlife.
Another great option is to head south where temperatures will be higher but not to the point of being uncomfortable. Aswan and Abu Simbel are both fantastic cities to visit this time of the year, particularly if you don't like the idea of the cold nights up north. Given how stiflingly hot these destinations are during other parts of the year, it's really the best time to go if they're on your bucket list.
What to Do
No trip to Egypt is complete with a visit to the Pyramids of Giza. Although they are without a doubt crowded this time of year, the weather is perfect and you'll be blown away by the beauty of the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Pyramid complex includes the Pyramids, Sphynx, Necropolis, and the Valley Temple of Khafre. Back in the main part of Cairo, there are also stunning mosques including the Al-Azhar Mosque and the Sultan Hassan Mosque.
If you head to the northern coast, Alexandria offers a great variety of tourist attractions that come alive in January. The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa offer another ancient archaeological site that's revered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Nearby, the Roman Amphitheater features the ruins of an ancient Roman theater, along with Roman baths and a villa with a rich mosaic floor.
In the south, Aswan and Abu Simbel provide even more cultural artifacts, along with a healthy dose of sunshine. Check out the Tombs of the Nobles or take a day trip to Esna (known for the Temple of Khnum) and Edfu (where the intriguing Ptolemaic Temple of Horus stood during the reign of Cleopatra VII. Booking a cruise along the Nile River is an excellent way to see some of these southern attractions as well.
Events in January
Cairo International Book Fair: Every year beginning in late January and spilling into early February, the capital city hosts the Cairo International Book Fair at Nasr City Fairgrounds in Heliopolis—the Arab world's largest and oldest book fair. Although most of the lectures and events (also well as the books themselves) will be in Arabic, it's nevertheless an intriguing cultural event to witness.
Traveling to Egypt in January? Check out this great itinerary
Egypt by Land and Sea: Cairo, Luxor, & the Nile - 10 Days: This incredible 10-day tour of Egypt is a fantastic option for tourists visiting Egypt in January. Instead of having to plan out your journey, this well-crafted itinerary will make sure you hit all of the key archaeological sites in Cairo and Luxor including the Pyramids, Sphinx, and Saqqara. In addition to these fascinating historical sites in the north, you'll take a spectacular Nile cruise farther south that includes sailing to Edfu for tea time on the sun deck and a Galabiya dinner party onboard the boat.