Your experience of the brilliant white sand and turquoise-lined bays of Marsa Matruh will depend on what time of year you arrive. In the summer months of June to September, half of the lower Nile valley descends on this sleepy Mediterranean town for their holiday spell. At this time the streets buzz with people late into the night, throngs of street stalls sell hot food and souvenirs, and impromptu street musicians bang out rhythmic tunes. But the beaches are sardine-packed full of picnicking families, hotels raise their rates to astronomical heights and buses to and from town overflow. The rest of the year, Marsa Matruh returns to its usual near-comatose state. Many hotels shut their doors at this time, the city's beautiful bay of white, sandy beaches lies empty, and the only visitors are Bedouins and Libyans stocking up on goods. Whatever the time of year, few foreign tourists make the trip out here, except to break the journey to Siwa.