During summer, Marsa Matruh provides the real-deal Egyptian resort-town experience. From June to September it can seem like half of the Nile Valley has decamped here for their holidays. The brilliant white sandy beaches are squeezed full of families, and the dusty streets buzz with people well into the wee hours of the morning. Throngs of street stalls sell hot food and souvenirs, and impromptu street musicians bang out rhythmic tunes.
For the rest of the year, Marsa Matruh presses the snooze button and returns to its usual near-comatose state. The city's turquoise water bays lie empty and the only visitors are Bedouins and Siwans stocking up on goods.
Whatever the time of year, few foreign tourists make the trip out here, except to break the journey to Siwa.