What to Wear on Holiday in Egypt,
While on holiday in Egypt, you can dress as you dress home. but if you want to show respect to the Egyptian local custom, you will enjoy greater interaction with the people, they will have more respect for you and it will save you from some unwanted attentions.
Egypt, being a predominantly Muslim country, is naturally conservative (not like the Gulf States or Saudi Arabia) but the average people are careful in what they wear. The dress code in Egypt for women is considered conservative by western standards and it is respectful to obey this code.
Basic clothes could include loose linen/cotton trousers or a below knee skirt and sleeved blouse. (If you’re planning to ride a camel, a skirt is not a good idea.)
Tight clothes and low necks are to be avoided. Also avoid transparent blouses or pants as they are also not welcomed and will draw attention and even comments, especially from young men.
What to Wear on Holiday in Egypt
- Long flowing skirts & maxi dresses
- Long sleeve or 3/4 length shirts in gauzy fabrics
- Tops that cover the collar bones and arms
- Loose linen pants
- Bring a shawl or scarf to cover up
What Not To Wear On Holiday in Egypt
Shorts, Visible undergarments, Low-cut tops (bring a scarf or shawl to cover up)
For men it is not really an issue – normal trousers and shirt or T-shirt are fine — but in Cairo it would not be acceptable to wear short shorts or a tank tops/sleeveless tops. In the resorts like Sharm El Sheik, Hurghada, Marsa alam, Sinai, etc. — shorts are fine and it is very open and flexible.
Going out to dinner, especially in a nice restaurant, it is advisable to wear smart clothes and having a shawl to cover bare shoulders, would be a good idea. On cruise boats, it is nice to have something smart to wear in the evening.
Comfortable, strong shoes are a must (that could be sneakers/ trainers or good leather shoes). Sandals can be worn, but you will suffer from dust /sand, in general, having closed shoes is the better option.
When Entering a Mosque: – It is better to observe the conservative dress code as above, when entering a mosque as a tourist and in some of the major mosques (Al-Azhar for example) women will be required to cover up and this is provided by the mosque.
Some mosques like Mohamed Ali and many others, just remove your shoes and walk in socks. Any Muslim entering a mosque for prayer will simply remove his/her shoes, so why should a tourist be different?
For other mosques ( i.e., Ibn Tulun) have canvas shoe covers (not easy to walk in), so it is possible to decline, but Ibn Tulun mosque is not in use for daily services, so it is not always very clean, and using the shoe covers can be good for the areas that have no carpets like the central court.
In winter it can get cold at night in Egypt. Often it is warmer in the street than it is inside buildings, so it is a good idea to bring a casual jacket or shawl. The buildings are designed to be cool and it is good to be aware of this. Here it’s very rare to have central heating or central air conditioning except in big hotels and other high class places.
Some tourists wear what they like (tank tops, sun dresses, short shorts, low necks, see- through blouses) – without any consideration for the local culture or customs. This can be done, of course, and the tourists then imagine that this is ok (and strongly recommend it to others). But, in fact, having done it without having comments made directly to them or encountering trouble, it still does not make it the right choice. They are oblivious to the very bad impression they have left behind.
The dress code is much more relaxed on a cruise boats than it is in town. Dress as though you were in a tourist hotel. Shorts, swimming costumes, bikinis are all fine, but have something handy to cover up for when the ship gets to a town.
On four and five-star ships it is normal to dress up slightly for the evening meal. Few people would go as far as a tie for men or a long dress for women, and some people may go in shorts, but smart casual is expected. Shirt and full length trousers for men, and a dress or trousers or skirt with blouse for women.