If you are wondering what to pack for a trip to Egypt or what to wear to Egypt, you have definitely come to the right place. In this post we will be looking at a few things which you really should consider adding to your Egypt packing list.
There are three fundamental things which people should take into consideration when choosing clothes for a vacation in the Land of the Pharaohs:
- Egypt is a Muslim-majority country – by Western standards, it is a rather conservative country.
- Egypt has a hot climate – it is warm year-round, with the summer months being particularly hot.
- Egypt can get cold – evenings in Egypt can be surprisingly cool, or even really cold.
Let’s take a look at each of the above for people who are planning a trip to this fascinating country and are wondering about what to wear in Egypt. Dressing in a way which is both acceptable and practical can make your trip that much more enjoyable.
Visiting Religious Sites
Not every Egyptian person is Muslim, by the overwhelming majority are. This is something which people need to take into consideration when visiting the country. While Egyptians are typically described as being conservative, the country in general is not as conservative as some other Islamic countries.
So, what does this mean for visiting tourists? Tourists are more or less free to dress however they want. This is especially true in cities that see large numbers of tourists. In places like Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, nobody really cares what you choose to wear, but of course, within limits.
As is to be expected, women travelers who choose to wear very revealing clothing are likely going to attract unwanted attention. This is particularly true outside of the larger cities and in rural parts of the country.
We always recommend dressing modestly when visiting tourist attractions and places of worship. If you really must wear revealing clothing, we recommend that you save it for the beach or for when you visit nightclubs in Cairo, Sharm or other bustling cities.
Dress Code for Visiting Mosques [Female]
Unlike in many other Islamic countries, many mosques in Egypt are open to non-Muslim visitors. However, if you wish to see inside a mosque, you will need to visit outside of prayer times. Women are required to cover their hair and their shoulders when entering mosques. They should also make some attempt to cover their legs. A pair of slacks or a long skirt should be fine for visiting most mosques.
There is also no need for female tourists wear a proper hijab. A regular head scarf is usually adequate. So, outside of mosques, female tourists are not expected to wear any form of hair or face covering. Despite this, many female travelers choose to wear a scarf even if they don’t visit any mosques or other religious sites.
A lightweight scarf is easy to carry around with you, and it can be very useful for protecting your neck and face from the sun when you are visiting historical sites. One could see it as being an additional layer of sun protection.
Dress Code for Visiting Mosques [Male]
Men in Egypt are free to dress however they want, but most Egyptian men tend to dress smart, both inside and outside mosques. Most Egyptian men wear long pants and short or long sleeve shirts. It is quite rare to see Egyptian men wearing short pants.
Male tourists are also free to wear whatever they want. However, as a sign of respect, male tourists should refrain from wearing short pants and/or sleeveless tops when visiting mosques.
Dress Code for Visiting Churches and Monasteries [Male and Female]
When visiting a church or monastery, Egyptian men and Egyptian women tend to dress the same as they would if they were visiting a mosque. Tourists, on the other hand, are not expected or required to dress in a certain way when visiting churches and/or monasteries.
As a sign of respect, visitors should dress conservatively when visiting any and all places of worship. This is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t wear Western style clothing, but things like sleeveless shirts and crop tops are best saved for the beach.
What to Wear When Visiting Archaeological Sites?
Egypt’s many archaeological sites are one of the main reasons why people choose to visit the country, often more than once. Who doesn’t want to see the legendary Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx near Cairo? Who doesn’t want to stroll through the remains of ancient temples, or take a look inside some ancient royal tombs?
Whether you plan to visit as an independent traveler, or whether you plan on booking a package tour or a Nile River cruise, you’re most likely going to visit several famous archaeological sites. While these amazing tourist sites all have something unique to offer visitors, they also all have one thing in common – sun, and plenty of it.
Nearly all of Egypt’s most famous and most visited sites are in full sun from sunrise to sunset. While you are free to wear whatever you want to wear, we highly recommend dressing in a way that will protect you from the sun. Wearing long sleeved shirts and loose fitting pants is highly recommended. Lightweight cotton pants are a good choice. If you are a female traveler and you don’t want to wear pants, then maxi dresses are another good option.
Things like loose pants and loose fitting ankle length skirts are cheap and plentiful in Egypt, and especially in the bazaars and markets. Whether you choose to buy these in your own country, or whether you choose to buy them in Egypt once you arrive in the country, there are a two clothing tips you may want to take into consideration:
- Avoid dark colored clothing – White clothing and other light colored clothing does a far better job at keeping you cool compared to dark colored clothing.
- Avoid tight fitting clothes – In Egypt’s hot weather, clothes that hug or cling to your body can be very uncomfortable. Things like baggy shirts and lightweight cotton pants and/or skirts are by far the best option when you are out and about.
Choosing Suitable Footwear for Your Trip to Egypt
What are the best shoes to wear when traveling in Egypt? Good shoes are crucial but they can also take up a lot of space in our suitcases. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this problem. One option would be to only take one pair of shoes with you. These should be suitable for wearing during your flight to Egypt.
They should also be suitable for wearing in formal and/or semi-formal settings were casual and/or smart casual attire is required. For example, some Nile cruise ships have a casual or smart-casual dress code. Usually this only applies to certain areas on the ship, such as in the dining hall for example.
A good pair of sandals is possibly even more important than a pair of dress shoes, but these are both very affordable and plentiful in Egypt. After all, you are most likely going to be doing a lot of sightseeing, and sandals are the best shoes for the job. If you prefer closed-toed shoes then you should go for leather shoes that are suitable for walking on terrain which is not always completely flat and obstacle-free.
Many people find open breathable sandals to be a better choice than closed toed shoes for sightseeing tours. Personal comfort is perhaps the most important thing to think about when choosing shoes for your trip. In the end, it is all about what feels best for you.
What Swimwear is Best for Egypt?
If you are going to be swimming while you are on holiday, it is likely to be in an area or in areas where the locals are very familiar with tourists and the sort of swimwear most tourists like wear. Whether you are on a beach at Sharm El Sheikh, or whether you are lounging around a pool at a resort in Hurghada, you can feel free to wear whatever sort of swimwear you like.
On beaches that are also popular among Egyptian tourists, women who wear very revealing swimwear may attract unwanted attention in the form of stares. However, this is generally the case no matter where in the world you are.
Remember, the less you wear and the more you bare, the more at risk you are of getting seriously sunburnt, so don’t forget to stock up with some good quality sunscreen lotion.
Is Nude and/or Topless Sunbathing Allowed?
Egypt is a Muslim country, and just like in any Islamic country, public nudity is frowned upon. Strictly speaking, nude and topless sunbathing is illegal in Egypt. However, quite a few female tourists choose to ignore the law in resort towns like Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. In these areas, law enforcement officials will often turn a blind eye towards topless sunbathing unless they receive complaints.
Some hotels and resorts in Sharm and Hurghada that have their own private beaches also allow topless sunbathing, but this does not make it legal. It’s also become increasingly common to see some women bathing topless during Nile River cruises. Again, even though this might be tolerated, it remains illegal.
How to Dress for Sahara Desert Adventures?
Loose linen clothing, some comfortable sandals, a wide-brimmed hat or other form of sun protection for your head and face, and also a good pair of sunglasses. This is all you need for an adventure into the mighty Sahara Desert. If you book your desert adventure through a reputable tour operator you will head off into the desert in a modern air-conditioned vehicle. This means you can dress in much the same way you would dress for other sightseeing trips.
If your trip into the desert includes one or more nights in the desert, be sure to pack in a good quality winter coat. While daytime temperatures can get very high, nighttime temperatures can and do drop very low as well.
What to Wear in the Evenings in Egypt?
If you plan on eating out at some fancy restaurants during your trip, then we would recommend packing in one or two smart outfits. Even if you don’t plan on going out much at night, we would still recommend packing in at least one nice night outfit just in case.
It is also important to keep in mind that no matter where about in the country you are, you can expect cooler temperatures at night. In many cases, the nights can actually get quite cold throughout the year.
A Dream Vacation – Just a Few Clicks Away
At NileCruiseHolidays.com, we offer a fantastic range of Nile cruise and stay packages. Our tours feature many of Egypt’s most iconic attractions in Cairo and beyond, along with high quality Nile River cruises. Our tour prices include everything mentioned in our itineraries, as well as your own Egyptologist guides and private drivers.
For those who want to explore Egypt independently but want to experience an unforgettable cruise on the River Nile, we also have a spectacular range of 5-Star Nile cruises. And, if none of our vacation packages are a perfect match for your holiday needs, you can design you own unique custom itinerary in three easy steps with our user-friendly travel planner.
Find the perfect holiday package or create your dream vacation to Egypt and beyond now.