Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt located in the Mediterranean coastal. The population of the city founded by Alexander the Great is about 5,5 million people. It’s a huge metropolis, filled with historical sights.
This is a complete guide to Alexandria Egypt.
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Table of content:
- Ancient Alexandria
- How do I get from Cairo to Alexandria?
- Guided tours from Cairo to Alexandria
- Guided tours in Alexandria
- Getting around in Alexandria
- Things to do and places to visit in Alexandria
- Alexandria hotels | Where to stay?
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Ancient Alexandria has a long and fascinating history. Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria in 331 BC. During the past, it has been a centre of the Hellenist world but it has also been a significant place for a Jewish community. Later it became a centre of Coptic Church. The city has been also under the control of the Roman Empire. The city was conquered by Persians in 619 BC.
How do I get from Cairo to Alexandria?
The distance between Cairo to Alexandria is only 210 kilometres. You can travel to Alexandria from Cairo and other cities by train, bus, aeroplane, Uber, taxi or by a private car.
Cairo Alexandria bus
The bus between Cairo and Alexandria costs about 100 Egyptian Pounds and can be paid online (depends on the company). It takes about three hours to go from Alexandria to Cairo by bus. Personally, I prefer using Go-Bus company. You can see the schedule and book tickets straight from the Go Bus website. It’s better to reserve the tickets beforehand since sometimes the busses are fully-booked.
Notice that the Alexandria bus station is a bit far away from the city center, which means you need to take a taxi from the bus station to the city.
Train from Cairo to Alexandria
Trains in Egypt are also very affordable, just make sure you choose a first-class train. Buying the tickets can be hard, this is why I prefer using a bus. It takes about two to three hours to travel to Alexandria by train from Cairo. So the train is not a faster option compared to the bus.
Most of the trains to Alexandria from Cairo leaves from the main train station which is called Ramses Station. Here is a link to the Egyptian National Railway website, where you should be able to see the timetables and buy a ticket. I didn’t manage to do it myself, so you may have to book and buy tickets straight from the railway station.
The closest airport to Alexandria is Borg El Arab Airport. The airport is located about 40 kilometres away from Alexandria. EgyptAir operates the flights between Cairo and Alexandria.
You can book airport transportation through GetYourGuide-website. More details about Alexandria Airport (Borg El Arab airport) transportation service.
Uber from Cairo to Alexandria
You can also book a private car or a taxi to take you to Alexandria from Cairo. An Uber ride to Alexandria from costs approximately 750-900 Egyptian Pounds (the price may have changed).
Guided tours from Cairo to Alexandria
You can also book a tour from Cairo to Alexandria. This is probably the easiest way to explore the city. The guided tours from Alexandria includes pick up from the hotel and drop off to the hotel. Here are some options for the guided tours arranged by GetYourGuide. Click the link to get more details.
Guided tours in Alexandria
If you are travelling to Alexandria yourself and spending there more than a day, it may be a good idea to take a guide, who takes you to see the city and sights. Here are the options from GetYourGuide.
Getting around in Alexandria
The easiest way to get around in Alexandria is Uber or Careem. Careem is a middle-east version of Uber. If you are not familiar with Uber or Careem, read this article: Uber and Careem in Egypt.
There are also lots of taxis driving around in Alexandria. The taxis in Alexandria are yellow-blue coloured Ladas. Here is a guide for using a taxi in Egypt.
There is also a tram in Alexandria, it is actually the oldest tram working in Africa. The tram started to operate in Alexandria in the year 1863. It is old! More detailed information: Trams in Alexandria.
Microbuses operate also around Alexandria.
Things to do and places to visit in Alexandria
Alexandria is a beautiful city, where is lots to see and do. Here is a list of the top attractions and ancient sights in Egypt’s Alexandria. Here is a video where you can see some of the most popular tourist attractions in Alexandria.
Stanley Bridge Alexandria
Whenever you see a landscape picture of Alexandria, you are most likely to see the Stanley Bridge too. Go for a walk and admire the bridge from Corniche road and visa versa.
Corniche Road Alexandria
One of the places must visit in Alexandria is definitely Corniche Road. Corniche Road is a beachfront promenade designed by Italian-Egyptian architect Pierre Avoscani in the year 1870.
You find lots of beaches and restaurants alongside the promenade. It’s a perfect place for a nice stroll and a place to see the sunset by the sea.
The library of Alexandria (Biblioteca Alexandria)
One of the most well-known tourist attraction in Alexandria is the library of Alexandria. The original library of Alexandria established in 295 b.c. was being destroyed hundreds of years ago. The new library building was completed in 2002 to honour the old library.
The Biblioteca Alexandria is located by the seaside next to the corniche road. It has been designed by the Norwegian architecture company called Snøhetta. The building has very impressing architecture and therefore must visit.
The modern library of Alexandria is known as Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the great library of Alexandria.
The new library offers guided tours for the price of entry in the library on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The tours are arranged in English, Arabic and French. More information and timetables https://www.bibalex.org/en/page/visits. The tours should be reserved beforehand.
Entrance fee: 70 Egyptian pounds (may have changed)
Recommended tours: Alexandria: Library, Amphitheater & Montaza Gardens Tour
Alexandria Opera House also known as Sayed Darwish Theatre
Sayyid Darwish Theatre is a part of the National Cultural Centre which includes seven theatres including Cairo Opera House. The opera house of Alexandria used to be called Mohamed Ali Theatre. It was built in 1918, but it was opened in 1921.
Booking and schedules: Cairo Opera House website
More information: The Cairo Opera House Theatres | Sayed Darwish Theatre
Museums in Alexandria Egypt
Alexandria National Museum
Location: 110 Horreya Street, Downtown Alexandria
The National Museum of Alexandria has been inaugurated on the 31st of December 2003. The museum has three floors and over 1 800 artefacts. Each floor has been dedicated to a different era. The basement floor is dedicated to the pharaonic artefacts and treasures. The ground floor is dedicated to Coptic Christians and Islamic heritage and the 1st floor has artefacts from Greco-Romanian period.
The building itself is also worth visiting. The building has been built in 1926 by a merchant Al-Saad Bassili Pasha. Later it has been a home for the Embassy of United States.
Mahmoud Said Museum
Cavafy museum is a home museum of the Egyptian-Greek poetist, journalist and civil servant Constantine Peter Cavafy. A museum dedicated to his work and life is located in Alexandria close to Alexandria Opera House (location on google maps).
The Royal Jewellery Museum
The Royal Jewellery Museum in Alexandria is not necessarily the most well-known tourist attractions in Egypt, but for the beauty lovers it is a must place to visit.
The museum is located in a beautiful building, which has been fully renovated between 2003-2010. The building used to be a home for Princess Fatma Al-Zahra. The palace has been build between 1919-1923. It has been designed by French, Italian, and Belgian architects and artists.
The Jewellery in the museum is from Muhammed Ali’s Dynasty. Muhammed Ali and his descends ruled Egypt from the year 1805 until the revolution in 1952.
The treasures of the museum were revealed to the public in 1986 when the museum opened its doors for the first time.
Location: Google Maps
Opening hours: 9-17
Next: Greco-Romania Museum
The Greco-Roman Museum
The Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria is a huge museum which has over 40 000 artefacts and 25 halls in total. This museum has been closed since 2005. It is planned to be reopened at the end of the year 2020. So there will be new interesting attraction in Alexandria!
The museum was been originally build in 1892 to a different location. Later on, the museum has been relocated to its current location in Alexandria. The museum has also been expended during the years. The last hall of the 25th was inaugurated 1985.
More information about the museum from this article published by Egypt Today: Graeco-Roman museum to be fully renovated in 2019.
The Museum of Fine Art in Alexandria
The Museum of fine arts is a must place to visit for the art lovers. The museum was established in 1904, but the original building was totally destroyed in second world war. The museum is now located in the building in Moharam Bek neighbourhood (location). The new museum was opened in 1954. The Museum has been renovated and re-opened in the year 2013.
The museum houses artworks of Egyptian artists and art from works from Baroque, Romanticism, Rococo and Orientalism.
More information: Alexandria Museum of Fine Arts in Wikipedia
Citadel of Qaitbay
Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria is considered to be one of the most important defensive strongholds in the Mediterranean seacoast. Therefore it’s the place where you should definitely visit in Alexandria!
The history of Citadel of Qaitbay is colourful. Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa’it Bay constructed the fortress in 1477 AD. The fortress is located in the Eastern Harbour of Alexandria (location of the Citadel of Qaitbay on Google maps).
Citadel of Qaitbay was built to defend the city against the attack of Ottomans. The fortress was renovated in the year 1805, but it suffered a lot in 1882 when it was bombarded by the British. In the year 1904 King Farouk renovated the upper floors in order to use the citadel as a royal rest house. 1952 the fortress was turned into the Maritime Museum.
This guided tour includes a visit to Citadel of Qaitbay. From Cairo: Full-Day Tour of Historical Alexandria
Next: Alexandria lighthouse (Pharos)
The Citadel of Qaitbay has been restored in 1984 by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiques.
The biggest stones of the main entrance to Citadel of Qaitbay is believed to be from the Alexandria lighthouse, which once stood in the same place where the fortress has been built.
This tour from Cairo to Alexandria includes a visit to Citadel of Qaitbay. More information: Full day tour in historical Alexandria
Alexandria lighthouse also known as Pharos lighthouse
Citadel of Qaitbay is located in the same place where the lighthouse of Alexandria once stood. The lighthouse of Alexandria is one of the seven miracles of the ancient world. Unfortunately, it has been being destroyed by earthquakes hundreds of years ago. The remain stones of the Alexandria lighthouse has been used to build Citadel of Qaitbay. As said, the Alexandria lighthouse has been destroyed, but you can visit the place where it once stood.
Ras El Tin Palace
Ras el Tin Palace is a presidential building located in the Western Harbour of Alexandria. The palace is closed for the public. But you are allowed to visit in the garden, where you are able to admire the building from outside.
The building has been constructed by Mohammed Ali. Imagine, it took eleven years to complete the building (1843-1854). The building was officially inaugurated in 1857.
Montazah Palace Gardens (Montazah Palace)
Montazah Palace Gardens in Alexandria is a perfect place to air your body and soul. Khedive Abbas II started to build the area in 1892 when he constructed Salamlek Palace. Later it has been used as a residential building for presidents.
The biggest palace called The Al-Haramlik Palace was built later in 1932. The gardens were also built at the same time by King Fuad I.
The palace and it’s surroundings became a property of Egyptian government after the revolution in 1952.
The Garden’s surrounded the palace is huge at about 3000 meters. It has been planted by different trees and plants. The garden is a popular place for picnic and other outdoor activities.
Since Montazah Garden’s are located close to the sea, there are lots of water-related activities in the area. You can go swimming at different beaches or just walk alongside the area and admire the surroundings.
This tour includes a visit to Montazah palace Gardens: Alexandria: Library, Amphitheater & Montaza Gardens Tour
The ruins of ancient Roman Amphitheatre in Kom Al-Dikka (Kom El-Deka)
The Ancient Roman Amphitheater in Alexandria wasn’t found until 1967. It is one of the kind in Egypt! It’s located in Kom Al-Dikka area close to Downtown Alexandria (Google maps location). The archaeologists are still investigating the area, which used to be a residential area in Greaco-Romanian period.
The Amphitheater in Alexandria has been built in Graeco-Romanian period and it has been constructed already on the 4th century AC.
These tours takes you to see the Roman Amphitheater:
Villa of the birds
Villa of the birds is one of the latest ancient discoveries in Alexandria. It is located right next the Roman amphitheatre in Alexandria.
Pompay’s pillar and Serapium
The Pompay’s pillar is a huge memorial column located in Alexandria Egypt. It’s almost 27 meters high! The column was built for honouring Augustus Diocletian between 298-302 AD.
It is located (Google maps location) close to the ruins of Separium of Alexandra, which is a temple area to God Separis. Most parts of the temple have been destroyed during the history. but there are some ruins left in the area.
Pompay’s pillar is located close to the Catacombs.
Catacombs-Kom El Shoqafa
The story tells that the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa were found by a monkey an accident. A monkey who entered inside the catacombs by accident in the year 1900. The excavators were trying to find them since 1892.
More information: Catacombs of Alexandria (Lonely Planet)
See the virtual tour inside to Catacombs Kom el-Shoqafa from here.
Mosques, churches and other religious sites in Alexandria
Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque
Mosque Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi is probably one of the most famous mosques in Alexandria. It’s located close to the Citadel Of Quatbay in Anfoushi neighbourhood (location).
Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria
More information about the church (Wikipedia).
Eliahu Hanavi Synagogue
Eliahu Hanavi Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Middle East. It has been built in 1354. The original synagogue was destroyed in 1798, but it was rebuilt in 1850.
Other places to visit in Alexandria:
El Horeya Road (Fouad Street)
El Horeya Road (location on Google maps) is the oldest street in Alexandria. It’s located in the center of Alexandria and you find lots of nice coffee shops, restaurants and small shops along by the street.
Cleopatra’s palace Underwater tourist sight Alexandria Egypt
San Stefano Grand Mall
For the shopping lovers San Stefano shopping mall is a must place to visit.
Next: Hotels in Alexandria
Hotels in Alexandria Egypt
There are lots of good options to a hotel in Alexandria. Here is a list of a few recommended hotels in Alexandria Egypt.
Luxury hotels in Alexandria Egypt:
Four Seasons Alexandria
Four Season Alexandria hotel is located in an area called San Stefano (location on Google maps). It’s a beachfront hotel, with an amazing view straight to Mediterranean and Corniche Road.
This luxury hotel has its own spa, heated indoor pool, private beach, 10 restaurants and lounges, kinesis room, tennis and squash courts and whirlpool.
The Royal Jewellery museum is a walking distance away from this hotel.
More information: https://www.fourseasons.com/alexandria/
Midrange hotels in Alexandria Egypt:
Cecil hotel Alexandria (Steigenberger Cecil Hotel Alexandria)
This 4-star hotel has a very unique history. The hotel was built in the year 1929 by the Egyptian-French Metzger family. The family lost a hotel to the Egyptian government during the revolution in the year 1952.
The Metzgers very deported from Egypt in the year 1957. In the year 2007, the hotel was returned back to the family, but they sold it back to the Egyptian Government. Today hotel is a part of the Steigenberger hotel chain.
Both Winston Churchill and Al Capone have been staying in this hotel.
The hotel is located in Saad Zagloul Square seaside front of the Corniche Road (location on Google maps). The Cecil hotel Alexandria is walking distance away from the Library of Alexandria.
Hotel facilities: Free Wi-Fi, Restaurants, Bars & Meeting room.
Hilton Corniche Alexandria
As you can see from the name of the hotel Hilton Corniche Alexandria is located seafront right next to Corniche-Road (location on Google maps). This hotel has lots of amenities including A free shuttle bus to a private beach, rooftop pool, fitness centre and spa. There is also a free Wi-fi available plus restaurants and bars.
Hilton Green Plaza Alexandria
Hilton Green Plaza hotel is located in Smouha business district in the Green Plaza shopping mall (Google maps location). The closest sights are within 10 kilometres away from the hotel.
Facilities: Indoor pool, Outdoor pool, fitness center, On-site restaurant, congierce, room-service, lounge and meeting rooms.
Budget hotels in Alexandria:
Grand Plaza Hotel Alexandria
Grand Plaza Hotel in Alexandria is located in Smouha area (location on Google maps). It it a good affordable hotel, with basic amenities such as: Free Wi-Fi, Fitness center and room service.