December is the warmest winter month in the eastern Mediterranean, although Cairo does have a fairly constant temperature throughout the season (average daytime maximum temperature 20 °C/68 °F). This makes it ideal for sightseeing - not too hot! Southern Israel has temperatures 2 or 3 degrees higher, whilst the Greek mainland has corresponding values of 16 °C (61 °F). Four to five hours of sunshine can be expected at Cairo and Corfu, whilst Eilat enjoys about 7 hours on average. There are typically 28 dry days each month in Egypt, whilst the Greek islands and mainland have only 14 to 18.
Spring is again a good time for touring the area before some parts just get too hot. Cairo has average daytime maxima varying from 24 °C (75 °F) in March to a hot 32 °C (90 °F) in May. In Greece and the islands, temperatures reach an average maximum of 25 °C (78 °F) in May, sometimes enhanced by the presence of the 'Sirocco', a hot wind from Africa. In southern Israel, temperatures can reach a very hot 36 °C (97 °F) in May. Up to ten or eleven hours of sunshine can be expected, coupled with up to 30 dry days.
The summer months can be extremely hot in Egypt and Israel, with Cairo having average daily maximum temperatures of 35 °C (96 °F) and Eilat having corresponding values of 40 °C (104 °F). It must be remembered that these values are averages, and the actual temperatures could be well in excess of them. If sailing around the Greek islands, watch out for the 'Etesian' winds which can persist for days, making the sea choppy. This can reach gale force during the day before dropping out at night. It does, however, have a plus, inasmuch as it makes the heat more bearable in those regions. The summer months are almost totally dry, and 10 or more hours of sunshine are expected on average.
The high temperatures continue well into the autumn with 33 °C (92 °F) at Egypt in September falling to 26 °C (79 °F) by November. The 'Sirocco' again often affects the Greek islands at this time of year, holding average maxima at about 29 °C (85 °F), falling to 19 °C (66 °F) by November. Greece and the islands become progressively wetter through the season (15 to 17 days by November). At Eilat, average daily maxima are still as high as 28 °C (82 °F) by the end of November, but at least it has started raining!
By November, 7-8 hours of sunshine can be expected over Egypt and Israel, but only 4-5 over Greece and the islands.
Last updated: 17 December 2013