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ALEXANDRIA

The center of Egyptian civilization for hundreds of years, Alexandrian history and culture is unparalleled. Packed full of delicious street food, stunning monuments, and friendly people, there's a lot to see here. To help you navigate this amazing city, here are 10 of the best things to do in Alexandria, Egypt

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF MY RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS
 

1. THE PROMENADE

The perfect introduction to Alexandria's more relaxing side before we get into the gritty, chaotic parts of the rest of the city. The river promenade runs for over 16km (10mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean and includes both the Stanley bridge, and the Citadel of Qaitbay both of which I'll touch on later on the list. 

Price: FREE! 

Hours: Best to go near sunset for the best views!

Address: Fleming، Sidi Gaber, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt

2. CATACOMBS OF KOM EL SHOQAFA

Located in the district of Karmus, the Catacombs are an important historical stop on your Alexandria tour. Widely considered one of the seven wonders of the Middle Ages, it was built during a time of Roman influence and combines Roman, Greek and Egyptian styles in its design. It was originally thought to be created to house the remains of one family but was expanded at an unknown date and for an unknown reason to fit dozens more. 

Price: 35 EGP

Hours: Daily, 8AM - 4PM 

Address:  12 متفرع من ش رأس التين، الانفوشى، Karmouz, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt

3. AL MERY MOSQUE

Horse dancing at a wedding!

Now just to be clear, I don't come here for the mosque (it's just one of the only landmarks in the area), no, I come here for the electric, vibrant neighborhood that surrounds it. It's very rundown at first glance and might even be labeled dangerous but nothing could be further than the truth. When I was there I stumbled upon a local wedding and had one of the greatest experiences while in Egypt. They immediately welcomed me as part of the party and we danced and drank until late into the evening! My point is don't be afraid to explore and talk to locals in this area. 

A great place to see a different side of the city, nothing here is whitewashed by tourism!

Price: Free

Hours: I recommend going sometime in the afternoon, just after lunch

Address: الناصرية، الكارة والطوبجية وكفر الغ، كرموز، الإسكندرية

4. FOOD!

Food in Egypt is absolutely insane, with a wide variety of cultural culinary traditions that goes back thousands of years. Now as you know the tricky thing as a tourist is not to get lured into a tourist trap and instead find real authentic experiences. The best way I've found to avoid this is not to look up restaurants on google, but instead walk around and judge the place by the number of people in it. 

To that same point always order not based on the menu (which you probably won't be able to read anyway) but instead order by what you see other people eating. The locals will always know best! Some specific dishes to look out for are kebab, kofta (meatballs), koshary (lentils and pasta), and ful medames (mashed fava beans).  

5. THE GREAT LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA

The Library of Alexandria was a marvel of the ancient world, a place for arts, literature, philosophy and science. Books and scrolls filled with knowledge of many ancient civilizations found their way from all across the land into the walls of this magnificent center of learning in the heart of all powerful Egypt. At it's peak it was home to over 400,000 scrolls (~100,000 books!).

The library gradually declined over the centuries and was all but destroyed sometime in the 260's AD. It was decided to rebuild the library in 1995 at a cost of US$220 million. It was christened the Bibliotheca Alexandria and was opened to the public in 2002. With room for some 8 million books the structure also houses a conference center; specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, young people, and for children; four museums; four art galleries for temporary exhibitions; 15 permanent exhibitions; a planetarium; and a manuscript restoration laboratory. 

 

Price: 70EGP

Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 10 am to 7 pm

Fridays, 2 pm to 7 pm

Saturdays, 12 pm to 4 pm

Address: Al Azaritah WA Ash Shatebi, Qism Bab Sharqi, Alexandria Governorate 21526, Egypt

6. AL MONTAZAH PALACE

These incredible gardens were established more than a hundred years ago, wheen Khedive Abbas Hilmi II ordered them to be built in an area that was deserted and isolated at the time. Inside the park gardens you'll find tourist facilities established after the Egyptian revolution including restaurants, an integrated tourist center, playgrounds and chalets.

 

The palace also overlooks three of Alexandria's public beaches that you will also have access to. If you're looking to relax and get away from the constant hustle and bustle of the rest of the city, this is the place to go. 

Price: Gardens LE15, Beach LE25

Hours: 8AM - MIDNIGHT

Address: Montaza Palace Al Mandarah Bahri, Qism El-Montaza, Alexandria 21599 Egypt

7. MAHATET EL RAML

Mahatet el Raml is a large bustling neighborhood near the waterfront of Alexandria. It features a large public square packed with old cafes, local restaurants, and historic buildings. It's one of those areas that you can get lost in for a while, just taking in the energy of the city and its people.

In addition to the restaurants and cafe's, Raml is also home to the Alexandria Opera House and Alexandria Creativity Center, which means there is no shortage of events and festivities happening here. 

 

Price: Free

Address: No exact address but the square/center is located at El Raml Tram Station 

2 شارع سعد زغلول، المسلة شرق، العطارين، الإسكندرية

 

 

8. CITADEL OF QAITBAY

Built at the location of The Great Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the 7 ancient world wonders), this 15th century fortress was constructed to protect the city's harbor from Turkish invasion. It was the site of many important battles throughout its history and by the time French troops captured it in 1798 AD they found caches of weapons that dated back to the early Crusades. 

Today the Citadel is open to the public as a Maritime military museum and has fantastic views of Alexandria's coastline. 

 

Price: 15 EGP

Hours: Mon - Sun, 8AM - 5PM

Address: As Sayalah Sharq, Qesm Al Gomrok, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt

 

 

9. LOCAL MARKETS

I've saving the best for last on this one! Local markets in Egypt

are top tear and there's nothing that can match the chaotic energy that

they bring. There are so many unofficial and offcial markets that you'll

probably stumble across more than one without even trying. My

personal favorite though was the one surrounding the restaurant

Moussa (since couldn't find the name of the market I'll just refer it it

as that). 

The moussa market is as large as it is diverse. You can find fresh fish,

knockoff nike's, power tools, produce and everything in between! the

market ranges from proper brick and mortar stores all the way down

to a kid with sunglasses sitting on the sidewalk. This area is really

so unique and there are so many amazing experiences to be had

(not to mention food!) that I recommend spending at least half a

day here. 

Hours: Sunrise to sunset, I recommend checking out the citadel around 10:30 and having lunch after in the market.

Address: 48 Al Gomrok Al Kadem, Haret Madwarah, Qesm Al Gomrok, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt

 

 

Owner/cook of Moussa!

10. CAFES & SHISHA

The Cafe is such a huge part of Egyptian culture that it would be hard to miss it during your stay. People come here to trade ideas about politics, talk about world events, and check up on friends. There's so much life in these places that it makes them easy to get lost in for a couple of hours. There are literally thousands of cafes in Alexandria and they all offer relatively the same shishas, teas, and games so it's not like they are difficult to find. 

That being said if you are a lover of shisha (hookah) there are a few that stand out and I'll add them to my restaurant map below! 

 

 

WHERE TO STAY?

Alexandria's layout can make it a little difficult to get from place to place, thankfully with the new addition of Uber Scooter, it just got way easier! This is by far the fastest, cheapest, and most fun way to get around the city and I highly recommend it. That being said the area most central to the city's attractions is going to be the Asafra Smouha district. Any hotel/Airbnb near these general areas will do just fine.

 

CITY GUIDE MAP

A complete list of restaurants, bars, clubs, and more

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© 2018 by Callahan McKinley