How to get there
PLANES: In the past, it was difficult to reach Marsa Matrouh because only a handful of buses attempted the 490km trip every week. Today, it's a different story. The quickest way to get there is to take one of Egypt Air's twice-a-week flights from Cairo on Sundays and Thursdays. One-way tickets cost LE542.
BUSES: West and Middle Delta Company buses leave almost every hour to Marsa Matrouh, beginning at 7am in summer. Tickets cost LE55 and LE65 on VIP buses, although both vehicles are almost identical. My experience with this company has not been pleasant because the chairs are narrow, and the bathrooms smell. The bus stops four times before the trip even starts; first in Almaza (Heliopolis) to pick up passengers, then in Torgmon (downtown), Giza and finally just before the toll booth on the highway.
On every trip, at least two or three quarrels erupt between the passengers and the conductor. Add to this the slow traffic and the numerous stops on the highway, the trip takes seven instead of six hours. This discomfort is of course compounded if you end up sitting next to a talkative traveller.
An alternative is to take the Super Jet buses which also leave every hour beginning at 6am until 9am, and again at 5pm and 6pm. Bus terminals are located at Almaza (Heliopolis), Tahrir Square (downtown), and tickets cost LE60. Another option is GO Bus Company, which began operating a new route to Marsa Matrouh this summer. There are two daily trips from Cairo at 12:45am and 7:30am for LE70 per ticket. The bus terminal is located in Tahrir Square opposite Ramses Hilton Hotel.
For more information call 19567.
TRAINS: The deluxe sleeper train leaves Ramses station in Cairo on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:30am and reaches Marsa Matrouh at 6:30am. It takes as much time as the bus, the quarters are more comfortable and come at a higher price of LE90 per ticket.