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Best time Egypt temples

Time is everything: discover the best times to visit Egypt’s temples

Egypt is the most visited country in the African continent. That means crowds everywhere. It has well-developed tourist infrastructure. It’s close to Europe. That means that you’ll find most coveted sights completely full. There is a way to avoid these crowds and that’s to visit the main sights whenever people are gone. No one can guarantee an empty site, but if you follow these tips and schedules, you’ll definitely have enough room for a more intimate experience and those crowd-free pictures. Here are some tips for the best times to visit temples and tourist sites in Egypt.

When is the best time to visit the Pyramids?

While not temples, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx are must-see attractions. Depending on the time of the year, these open at 6 or 7 am. I highly recommend being at the ticket counter the moment they’re open. This will give you at least about an hour and a half before the crowds start catching up with you. You can visit in the late afternoon to avoid the midday heat and enjoy the mystical atmosphere as the sun sets.

Tip: Most people stick to the first pyramid, the one that’s closest to the main entrance. Then they walk down to the Sphinx, and will probably leave afterwards. Just by walking to the second or third pyramid, you’re guaranteed to get good shots all by yourself. All the way in the back, you’ll only find tourists riding camels and horses. People rarely walk around this area. I would also suggest walking instead of riding an animal. They’re not kept in the best conditions.

When is the best time to visit the temples of Luxor?

Most tourists that go to Luxor do so as part of a day trip. Most of them come from the resorts in Hurghada which is only a few hours away. That means that to make the most of Luxor, you should stay overnight and be at the temples as soon as they open. Luxor is where we encountered the most crowds. It was very overwhelming.

Most tour companies will arrive around midday and stay there until closing hours. The closer to sunset you arrive, the worse it is. You will need a good amount of hours to explore everything that this area has to offer. After all, people refer to Luxor as the world’s largest open-air museum. It brings in millions of tourists every year so crowds are inevitable. If you follow my advice, you should be better off, though.


Best time Egypt temples
When is the best time to visit Abu Simbel?

Not all tourist sites work the same way. It might seem like showing up early in the morning is your best bet but not in every site, especially not in Abu Simbel. You can stay overnight in Abu Simbel, but most people drive down South from Aswan around 3 or 4 am to make it there when it opens. It is PACKED. Hordes of tourists in their buses get there first thing in the morning because of the long drive.

Instead, wait for the buses to leave. The later you show up, the better. Even by 10 or 11 am you will most likely find a few small groups of independent travelers on site. While the place itself is not as large as other temples, the engineering feat behind moving Abu Simbel was astounding.

When is the best time to visit Edfu and Kom Ombo?

Explore the temples dedicated to Horus at Edfu and the dual temples at Kom Ombo. Visiting in the late afternoon is ideal to witness the temples bathed in warm sunlight while avoiding the midday rush. Even during the low season it does get very warm during the day. Personally, I’d rather put up with the heat than with crowds. Make sure to take a good amount of drinking water with you. If not, you can always buy it on site for the price of an arm and a leg.


best time Egypt temples
The crowds of Luxor
When is the best time to visit Philae Temple?

We visited Philae Temple, situated on an island in the Nile around 10 or 11 am. By then most of the crowds had left. Personally, I’d even suggest a visit a few hours before it closes to experience the beauty of the temple with better lighting. If you do end up staying overnight in this area, make sure to stay at the Nubian village. We had an amazing time trying local food and even getting to dance to traditional music in the evening.

When is the best time to visit the Valley of the Kings?

This last option will be a little more difficult to arrange, depending on how long you’re staying in Luxor. We personally took the balloon ride first thing in the morning, then drove out to the Valley of the Kings site. Many tourists do exactly the same thing we did.

The heat was unbearable in the valley. I paid $10 USD for a Gatorade because the water I brought along was not enough.

Early in the morning up until after midday you’ll find the sites completely packed. Going closer to closing time might be your best bet, but there is no guarantee that it will be empty. However, the tombs might be more bearable to visit without the morning crowds.

Philae Temple practically all to ourselves
Is this possible as part of a group?

Realistically speaking, if you are part of a group you’ll probably be part of the crowds that are visiting every one of these sites at the worst time possible. If you’re traveling independently, I’d do my best to stick to these schedules I suggested whenever possible. While it wasn’t doable for us on every single one of the sites, we did get to enjoy a few of these without the crowds. Numbers are unpredictable, but this guide should be good to find the best times to visit temples in Egypt.

If you’re traveling independently or on a budget, this is one of those countries where I’d highly recommend splurging. Egyptian history is completely unique and it’s one of the most fascinating in the world. You can hire a guide directly on site or simply hire one online to accompany you for the day. Having an egyptologist by our side made the experience that much more special. Egypt is worth the hype. I hope this guide was helpful! If you happen to be traveling alone, especially as a woman, here is a guide on how to navigate the country safely. 


a woman posing in the water

Hey there, and welcome to Go Global with Sibu! I’m a global citizen that has been living and traveling around the world since 2005 – all through budget travel, scholarships, study/work and living abroad opportunities.  I share everything I’ve learned over the years here – to prove to you that you don’t need money or privilege to enjoy everything that this world has to offer. 

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