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Practical advice for Egypt

National holidays and celebrations

A typical working week in Egypt runs from Sunday to Thursday, with the weekend taken on Fridays and Saturdays.

Non-religious festivals are celebrated throughout the year, and are a great opportunity to mingle with the locals:

  • Sinai Liberation Day: 25th April. Sinai areas only
  • Labour Day/May Day: 1st May
  • Revolution National Day: 23rd July
  • Armed Forces Day: 6th October
  • Cairo International Film Festival: 30th November
  • Sphinx Festival: Early December. Five day arts festival.

Religious celebrations in Egypt are ruled by the Muslim Lunar Calendar, so they fall on different dates each year:

  • Coptic Christmas Day – early January
  • Birth of the Prophet – between late January and mid-February
  • Coptic Easter (Sham el-Nassim) - between April and May
  • Bairam Feast (Eid al-Fitr) – three day public holiday, celebrating the end of Ramadan
  • Coptic New Year – September
  • Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha)– October. Four-day holiday marking the end of Hajj and the Sacrifice of Abraham
  • Islamic New Year – November

Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, so normal business hours may be affected.

Money

The national currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP)

  • For the best conversion rates, bring Sterling British Pounds to convert into Egyptian pounds at local banks.
  • ATMs accept foreign bank cards and can be found in all resorts and many hotels.
  • Traveller's cheques can also be exchanged but offer less value for your money.

Eating Out

Dining out in Egypt is cheaper than you might expect. Influenced by Mediterranean, Nubian, Moroccan and Arab flavours, Egyptian cuisine is diverse and spicy - if you don’t like your food hot, ask the waiter to tone down your dish.

With a strong focus on vegetables and pulses, vegetarians and vegans will find plenty to choose from, with specialities including tahini, hummus, Tamiyya (Egyptian falafel), Koshari (a mix of rice, lentils and macaroni), and Fel Medames (flavoured fava beans).

Coastal areas offer fresh fish and seafood, and meat eaters will find tasty dishes such as Kofta (meat sticks), rice-stuffed pigeon, and chicken, lamb or rabbit stews on menus throughout the country.

Climate

With a dry, temperate climate, Egypt enjoys bright, sunny weather throughout the year, with hot summers and mild winters.

  • Summer temperatures range between 27°C and 35°C (rising up to 43oC on the Red Sea Coast), with July and August being the hottest months. Evenings are cooler with an average minimum temperature of 14°C.
  • The hot summer season runs from May to October and the mild, cooler season runs from November to April.
  • Rainy days are scarce and fall mainly during the cooler winter months, between November and March, when temperatures average between 13°C and 21°C.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 161415182225282929282520
Minimum °C 11910121518212323221915
Maximum °C 211920232832343535333025
Sunshine (hours) 88911111214131312109
Rain (cm) 000100000000

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