Can You Wear Shorts in Egypt?

Traveling can be a very fun activity depending on where you’re going. Egypt is a beautiful country and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Africa. However, with the country being predominantly Muslim, knowing what to wear to avoid offending the locals is key.

You can wear shorts in Egypt. There are no laws against wearing shorts, so if it’s what you feel comfortable in, then you should. That said, Egyptian men and women don’t generally wear shorts, and outside of tourist locations, you might feel out of place.

You can generally wear what you want, as the laws don’t forbid you from wearing anything as long as it isn’t excessively vulgar. However, it’s best to consider the conservative Egyptian ideals. If you’d like to know more about what to wear when visiting Egypt, including some outfit choices and things to avoid, then read on.

Why Is It Okay To Wear Shorts in Egypt?

Depending on how much you know about the country, it might be surprising that it’s perfectly fine to wear shorts in Egypt, whether as a foreigner or local. Although Egypt is conservative, there are quite a few things that make it safe for foreigners to dress how they want.

It’s okay to wear shorts in Egypt because the law allows it. Generally, the Egyptian dress code is based on moral consensus rather than necessity. As a result, citizens and tourists alike can dress as they like. But exposing too much skin will draw some side glances and possibly comments.

While there’s no law banning certain forms of dressing, you might get some choice comments if your dressing is considered too revealing. Shorts are generally accepted, but you should keep them below the knee. However, make sure not to wear them if you plan to visit religious grounds.

Dress Like the Locals

Knowing what to wear in a new country can be very difficult. While self-expression is always welcome, you might personally feel a little out of place if you’re dressed extremely differently from everyone else. As a result, if you know the right thing to wear when you’re in Egypt, you can make your trip far more enjoyable.

When visiting Egypt, dress conservatively. Egyptians are generally not as hostile to more liberal styles of dressing as many other Muslim-majority countries. However, it’s still best to respect the established dress code as much as possible.

The reality is that people will be nicer to you when they like you. As a result, if you plan to go to places like markets where the tourist presence is relatively low, dressing according to the norm in Egypt will make your stay more pleasant as the locals will probably treat you better. 

If you’d like some direct recommendations on what you should wear when in Egypt, some of the following tips might be helpful.

Try To Avoid Shorts and Revealing Dresses When Going Out

Egypt is a very conservative country, and acting in accordance will make choosing what to wear far easier. In fact, this is a rule of thumb when visiting many African countries. While Egypt is significantly more welcoming than many other religious countries, you’ll still get some side looks and maybe even some comments from the locals if they feel you’re too exposed.

Although this problem is present for both genders, it’s far more common for women. Many Egyptians believe that women should be covered when outside. If you’d like to adhere to this, then packing tops that cover your shoulders and dresses or skirts that go at least to your knees is your best bet.

The conservative dressing rules aren’t limited to just women either, as men still have to show some decorum in their dressing. Avoid tank tops or anything that excessively exposes your arms and chest when choosing a top to wear. Also, try to substitute shorts for some pants as much as possible. 

One thing to note is that while it’s respectful, it’s in no way mandatory to dress conservatively. The one exception to this rule is in mosques. If you plan to visit a mosque during your stay, cover your arms, knees, and cleavage. For women especially, covering your head is also a must. Consider getting this Abeelah Hijab Head Scarf if you want, but a scarf would also be fine.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

When packing for Egypt, loose-fitting clothes are a necessity. This rule is a good thing to keep in mind because of the locals and the weather.

As I previously mentioned, you should dress conservatively where possible, and wearing loose-fitting clothes instead of tight clothes that accentuate the lines of your body is a good choice.

Separate from cultural and religious reasons, dressing in loose-fitting clothes is an extremely practical choice. The temperature in Egypt can get very high, and wearing loose clothes makes it significantly more bearable. Peak temperatures can sometimes go over 100°F, especially in summer, and dressing to counteract this will improve your stay. 

If you’re stumped for what to choose in regards to this, here are some options:

  • Casual button-up shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Chinos
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Long loose dresses and skirts

Along with this, it’s also important to know what to avoid:

  • Hoodies, except it, gets very cold at night
  • Tight-fitting clothes
  • Polyester and nylon

Wear Closed Shoes or Trainers Instead of Sandals

Egypt is primarily a desert and as a result, walking around with open-toe footwear like sandals or heels is usually an invitation for dust. If you’d like to avoid this, then a pair of sensible shoes or Reebok Trainers should be your next purchase.

That said, if you want to wear sandals, you can. Generally, something hard and durable will serve you best if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing. Open-toe footwear feels wonderful in the Egyptian heat, but the trade-off is usually dusty feet. To counteract it, you can rinse your feet regularly at public taps to keep them as clean as possible. 

Conclusion

Egypt is a very welcoming country, and regardless of what you wear, you’ll be safe. However, consider dressing conservatively if you truly want to immerse yourself in the culture and avoid uncomfortable stares.

When packing for Egypt, try to take as many loose-fitting clothes as possible for religious and practical reasons. If you’re still unsure what to pack after that, then a rule of thumb to follow is to make sure your cleavage, arms, and upper legs are covered regardless of what you’re wearing.