Getting there & away
Zafarana is located 62km south of Ain Sukhna and 150km east of Beni Suef on the Nile. Buses running between Cairo or Suez and Hurghada will drop you at Zafarana, but direct access to the monasteries is limited to private vehicles and tour buses from Cairo or Hurghada. There’s also one bus daily to and from Beni Suef, departing Zafarana from the main junction about 11.30am and Beni Suef at about 8am (E£20, three to four hours).
To get to St Anthony’s, start from the main Zafarana junction, and follow the road west to Beni Suef for 37km to the monastery turn-off. From here, it’s 17km further south along an unsurfaced but good road through the desert to St Anthony’s. The bus between Zafarana and Beni Suef will drop you at the turn-off, from where the only option is walking or hitching (and you’ll need to wait until the next day for a bus from the turn-off back to Zafarana or on to Beni Suef). If you do decide to hike in from the main road (which isn’t the best idea), don’t go alone, and be sure you’re properly equipped, especially with water, as it’s a long, hot, dry and isolated stretch.
The turn-off for St Paul’s is about 27km south of the Zafarana lighthouse along the road to Hurghada (watch for a small signpost). Once at the turn-off, it’s then 10km further along a good tarmac road to the main gate of the monastery, and about 3km further to the monastery itself. Buses running between Suez and Hurghada will drop you along the main road at the turn-off, from where the only options are walking or hitching.