It is that time of the year once more: when summer vacations come to a close, and the cool autumn breeze gradually drops in temperatures, as Egyptians begin ditching t-shirts and light fabrics for their winter wardrobe.
While summer is often associated with vacationing in Egypt, that does not always have to be the case. Egypt is full of winter wonderlands, from up top at Alexandria until far down at Aswan. Check out the list to know where to travel for Egypt’s upcoming winter season.
FOR SIMPLICITY: FAYOUM
As one of the oldest cities in Egypt, established during the Old Kingdom, Fayoum has stood the test of time, becoming a favoured winter destination for both locals and tourists alike.
The rural city, built around the Fayoum Oasis, offers a plethora of unique activities available during the season – from prehistoric fossil-spotting in the Valley of the Whales to horseback riding that starts in farmlands and ends by Lake Qarun. Even migratory birdwatching exists — Fayoum’s winter experiences are as rich as the soil locals plant.
The ideal time to experience Fayoum during winter is from the months of October to April, with most tourists residing in the city’s beloved Tunis Village – where travellers truly mingle with Fayoum’s kind-hearted locals.
FOR WARM WINTERS: ASWAN
While the ancient city of Aswan may be a prime winter destination for its warm temperatures – an average of 25 celsius during the day – it offers much more than good weather.
There is a little bit of everything for tourists, be it for Egyptology enthusiasts visiting Abu Simbel, modern history buffs standing atop the Aswan Dam, or mingling with the colourful local culture in the Nubian Village.
Being one of the hottest, driest locations in Egypt, it is not ideal to visit Aswan during the summer. Instead, escape the cold Cairo temperatures for Aswani winter warmth from November to April.
FOR THE COASTAL LIFESTYLE: DAHAB
While Sharm Al-Sheikh is South Sinai’s oldest known tourist destination, Dahab is considered the region’s crown jewel. The coastal town, which means gold in Arabic, is a favourite winter escape for many Egyptians – despite cold waters and an average daytime temperature of 20 celsius during the winter season.
Despite cold temperatures, people visit Dahab during winter for more than just a dip in the Red Sea. Over the past few decades, the town has flourished into a haven for both locals and residents who opted to build a life there.
As a result, Dahab has transformed into a diverse tourist destination with multiple experiences that warm winter travellers.
Dahab’s multicultural list of restaurants ensures a warm and satisfying gastronomic experience, whereas night expeditions into canyons or other star-gazing destinations – aided by a bonfire and Bedouin tea – often offer magical moments.
The best time to visit Dahab in winter is from November to April, however, it must be noted that December, January, and February can, at times, be too cold for some.
FOR DISCONNECTING: NUWEIBA
A fifty-minute (70km) ride away from Dahab, the neighbouring Nuweiba is a full-on coastal retreat. While Dahab continues to grow and expand as a town, Nuweiba’s method of tourism is through coastal camps and ecolodges that serve as a retreat from society.
Nuweiba’s water ecosystems remain largely preserved, turning it into a diving and snorkelling destination for winter-goers. For those who prefer to stay on shore, Nuweiba is often treated as a place to disconnect and detox from life and any pre-existing societal burdens.
FOR THE ROMANTICS: ALEXANDRIA
An Alexandrian winter is unlike any other. From rainy walks on the city’s corniche to drinking hot hummus sham from the nearest street vendor, the Mediterranean city truly comes to life during the winter – as summer tourists exit and relieve traffic.
Far more metropolitan than the other destinations on this list, Alexandria is an urban escape for the romantics. Very few would dare swim in the harsh winter waves of the Mediterranean Sea. Instead, travellers take walks across Montazah Palace, flipping through the books of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, or enjoy a seaside seat in one of its many iconic cafes or restaurants.
Winter weather in Alexandria can be felt from November up until March. Be warned, floods do occur and often disrupt commutes and activities – a matter that is not to be taken lightly when considering spending winter there.
FOR THE LAVISH: GOUNA
Gouna has recently risen as one of the more affluent coastal escapes. While far more crowded during summer, Gouna is also loved by many during winter – mainly due to temperatures never dropping below 20 celsius, usually sitting at a refreshing 24 celsius.
The coastal town takes on a more commercialised nature compared to other winter destinations. As such, the nightlife is far more lavish. During the day, activities available range from yoga to kite surfing or casual dips in Gouna’s turquoise waters.
Gouna can be enjoyed all year round, including the time between October and April.
FOR THE OASIS PARADISE: SIWA
Closer to Libya than it is to Egypt’s capital, Siwa is one of Egypt’s hidden winter wonderlands – an oasis paradise in the eyes of its tourists.
While relatively far from Egypt’s Nile-based cities, Siwa remains an integral part of Egypt’s history, from ancient Egypt’s Temple of Amun to the Shali fortress of Siwa’s Berber tribes, who date back to the 12th century.
Today, winter tourists of the desert paradise often go to enjoy desert safaris during winter, a cool and refreshing dip in salt lakes, a gastronomic tour of the local delicacies, and at night, a soothing dip in the city’s many natural hot springs.
The ideal time to travel to Siwa during winter is from the months of November to February, as most shy away from the desert oasis’ searing summer temperatures.
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