Although not many tourists who spend their vacation in Egypt visit the wonderful coastal city of Marsa Matrouh, the city and the area around it are featured for having the most magnificent beaches in Egypt.
Paradise for a quiet family vacation
Protected by rocks and sandy beaches overlooking the open sea Marsa Matruh is a paradise for a quiet family vacation away from the towns and villages. The Marsa Matruh area stretches to the border with Libya with its 450 km long shoreline.
Although there are many towns and villages that are considered to be part of the governorate of Marsa Matrouh, the largest and most important hub of the governorate is the city that holds the same name, Marsa Matrouh. Marsa is about 160 km from Alexandria.
The most significant characteristic of this city is its long amazing 7 km shore with its crystal clear water and white soft sand and the bay is protected with a series of rocks forming a natural wave breaker. This makes Marsa Matruh one of the most beautiful sea resorts in Egypt.
Travellers who visit Egypt can reach Marsa Matrouh using a private car from Alexandria. Moreover, there are many public buses that reach Marsa Matrouh from Cairo and Alexandria. In the summer, there is also the sleeper train from Cairo that takes the distance in around 7 hours. There is the Marsa Matrouh airport as well with a number of flights every day coming from around Egypt.
Marsa is full of hotels. Check the modest Riviera Palace Hotel, whose foyers are decorated with rescue belts and prepared animals. The rooms are comfortable, with views overlooking the sea.
At 35 km outside of the city, Jaz is a new 5-star hotel complex, located behind the chic beach of Almaza. The name “Almaza”, originates from the Arabic word “Diamond” to reflect the crystal clarity of the beautiful coast of the bay.
There are many peaceful and less popular beaches in the surroundings of Marsa, which are literally lonely after the season. The best place to swim is Ageeba beach, 22 km west, on the main road to Sollum town. In the village of Sidi Barrani and Sidi Abdel Rahman, you can see the remains of world wars: the old ship wrecks that are now being explored by tourists-divers.
Other famous beaches in Marsa Matrouh are El Gharam, Rommel, Cleopatra, and El Obayed. The Cleopatra Beach is situated around 5 kilometres to the West of the center of the city. This beach has been a love site for Anthony and Cleopatra according to some historical records. The most remarkable feature in the Cleopatra beach is the Hamam or the bath. It consists of a huge rock inside the water that can be reached walking. There are some Pharaonic inscriptions at the entrance of the bath. There are some openings in the rock that allows the water of the sea to enter and move around the rock from inside. There are also some halls at the ceiling of the rock to allow the sun to enter inside the bath and makes the water warmer.
Right at the tip of Marsa Matruh’s eastern peninsula is located Romel Beach. This quiet but rocky piece of shore with its shallow and calm water is suitable for children and old aged people as well. Marsa Matrouh also hosts many other beaches like El Amirat Beach or the beach of the princesses that used to host the princesses of the royal family of Egypt. There is still a royal palace near the beach today. There is also the Obayed beach that is famous for its high and strong waves. El Obayed used to be a favourite place for the camps of the Italian and British tourists who visit Egypt
Marsa Matruh is also an excellent place for shopping as its closeness to the Egyptian-Libyan border gives Marsa Matruh the chance to be the perfect market for products imported from Libya and other African North Coast countries. These products include shoes for all ages and cotton products that are imported and others that are manufactured in Egypt. There are the oriental perfume shops as well that sell different colognes and scents for men and women. Marsa Matruh is also quite famous for selling “Leb”, the most popular Egyptian nuts.
The other reason Marsa Matruh is an interesting place for shopping is that it is at the top of the Western Desert of Egypt and this gives it the chance to sell special desert herbs that can hardly be found anywhere else. These herbs can cure different sorts of diseases and illness. These include colon disorders, toothache, coughing and lung problems, headache, hair herbs, and so many other things. The most delicious herb among these is the desert mint that Marsa Matruh is so famous for.
There are two major markets in Marsa Matruh: Alexandria Street, the second major street after the Kornish, and Souq Libya, or the Libya Market where many products who are imported, legally or illegally from Libya. A visit to any of these markets can be worthwhile as they have many nice goods with good quality and very low prices.
Many of the hotels around the city have bars and nightclubs for those who would like more action in their night time. The nightclub at the Beau Site hotel is quite a nice place for having a drink and dancing. There are also places for billiards, bowling, and many other activities games. Some hotels offer entertainment programs for their guests of all ages.
You can also spend the night smoking shisha in oriental cafes and modern cafes all around Marsa Matruh.
Sightseeing in and Around Matruh
Many tourists who visit Alexandria today prefer to take a two or three days trip to Marsa Matruh to enjoy in the sea and sun of Matruh that cannot be found anywhere else. The only touristic attraction in Marsa Matruh other than the sea is the Romel cave that was transformed into a small interesting museum. There is the military museum in Alamein, The British war cemetery, the Italian war Cemetery, and the German war Cemetery on the North Coast on the way to Marsa. One day trips to the Siwa oasis can be organized from Marsa Matruh to explore this oasis with its natural pools and astonishing antiquities. At Umm el Rakham, about 24 km west of Marsa Matruh and south of Agiba Hill, you can explore the ruins of the Temple of Ramses 2.