Throughout the summer months, everyone is obsessed with trying to escape the heat of Cairo by taking regular trips to the coast. While most people venture to the Mediterranean’s North Coast for the breathtaking beaches and rocking nightlife, for a different experience that mixes culture and fun, it’s worth your while to head east and explore the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’, Alexandria has something for everyone. With its rich history, elegant architecture, bustling stores and exquisite seafood, you are sure to fall in love with this seaside city. To ensure you make the most of your visit, here are some highlights that Alexandria has to offer:
The Royal Jewellery Museum
The Royal Jewellery Museum contains a huge collection of jewellery from the Muhammed Ali Dynasty and an incredible collection that once belonged to Queen Farida, King Farouk’s wife. The museum itself occupies what was once the extravagant palace of Princess Fatma Al Zahraa built in 1919. In addition to the countless pieces of jewellery on display, the museum also houses 19th century paintings, statues and decorative arts that are definitely worth perusing.
The Royal Jewellery Museum: 27 Ahmed Yehia St., Zizenia, Alexandria.
Opening hours: Sunday-Saturdays: 9 AM-5 PM
Make sure to take a trip to Bahary to visit the Citadel of Qaitbay. The fortress consists of 3 floors and houses a small naval museum. Afterwards, soak up the scenery with a felucca ride or boat rental and some ice cream. There are many famous ice cream shops in the area including El Sheikh Wafik and Makram. Just a 10-minute drive away is the spectacular Ras El Tin Palace, the oldest palace in Egypt that is still in use. While not open to visitors, it is still worth passing by to admire the beautiful architecture.
Citadel of Qaitbay: Qaitbay St., El Anfoushi, Alexandria.
Opening hours: Sunday – Saturdays: 8 AM-4 PM
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is not only an amazing library holding over 8 million books, this cultural center houses four museums, three exhibitions and holds regular events. The museums include the Manuscripts Museum, the Antiques Museum, the History of Science Museum and the Sadat Museum which contains a large collection of President Sadat’s memorabilia. You’ll also find an Arab Folk Art exhibition featuring Reaya El Nimr’s jewellery and costume collection and paintings by artist Abdel-Ghani Abou El-Enein, as well as an exhibition about the life and works of Shadi Abdel Salam, director of Al-Mummia (The Mummy).
Bibliotheca Alexandrina: Al Azaritah wa Ash Shatebi, Qism Bab Sharqi, Alexandria.
Sunday-Thursday: 10 AM-7 PM
Friday: 2 PM-7 PM
Saturday:12 PM-4 PM
The Sadat, The Manuscripts, The Antiques and The History of Science Museums:
Sunday-Thursday: 10 AM-5 PM
Friday: 2 PM-5 PM
Saturday: 12 PM-4 PM
You know how every city in the world has its famous dish? When it comes to Alexandria, it is all about the seafood! After touring the city all morning, it is definitely time for a lunch break. Whether you are looking for a fancy place or a more affordable one, you’ll have many choices. Our recommendations are: Fish Market, Samakmak, Balbaa, Kadoura, Zephere and The Greek Club. One thing to keep in mind is that once you experience the authentic Mediterranean taste, you will want to come back for more!
Fish Market: El Gaish Rd., Bahary, Alexandria.
Samakmak: 42 Kasr Ras El Teen St., El Anfoushi, Alexandria.
Balbaa: El Moushir St., Sidi Gaber, Alexandria.
Kadoura: Gamal Abdel Nasser St., El Mandara Sq., Zayed Tower.
Zephere: 29 Al Kornish, Al Meks, Qism Ad Dekhilah, Alexandria.
The Greek Club: Kayetbai St., Qism Al Gomrok, Alexandria.
Fouad Street is one of the most popular areas in Alexandria to hang out. Once you arrive, you can instantly sense the enchanting vibe. Lined with beautiful buildings, this street hosts one of a kind antique shops that are considered a symbol of Alexandria’s rich and vibrant history. Along Fouad Street, you’ll find many restaurants and coffee shops, including some that are located within L Passage, the area’s best food hall. Consider also visiting El Sayed Darwish Theater as there are usually some worthwhile concerts, musicals and other shows taking place.
L Passage: 52 El-Horeya Rd., Al Attarin Sharq, Ataren,
El Sayed Darwish Theater: 22 El-Horeya Rd., Raml Station, Ataren, Alexandria.
The Montazah Palace & Gardens
There is no doubt that this is the most famous spot in Alexandria, featuring the Al Haramlik Palace built by King Fuad I in 1932 and the Salamlek Palace which dates back to 1892 and has since been turned into a luxury hotel. Although the Salamlek Palace is not currently open to guests, the Helnan Palestine hotel within the Montazah grounds is still open and is very popular due to its unparalleled location. The Montazah complex also includes gardens that cover an area of almost 150 acres, in addition to several beaches for swimming, making it the perfect spot to chill.
The Montazah Palace: Al Mandarah Bahri, Qism Montaza, Alexandria.
Opening hours: Sunday-Saturdays: 8 AM-12 AM
Four seasons Hotel & Beach
The Four Seasons Hotel is the most luxurious hotel in the city. It offers a day use pass that gives you access to their private beach. In addition to that, it recently opened a new beachside infinity pool, providing a one of a kind immersive experience for hotel guests.
Four Seasons Hotel: 399 El Geish Road, San Stefano, Alexandria.
The Oldest Coffee Shops
Dating back to 1922, Délices is one of Alexandria’s oldest and most renowned coffee shops. It is most famous for the delicious pastries, cakes, gateaux, éclairs and croissants, making it a favourite breakfast destination. Located within walking distance is the elegant tea room Trianon, one of the oldest eateries in Alexandria. Visiting this vintage spot feels like a trip back in time, where you will be served mouth-watering food and beverages.
Délices: 46 Saad Zaghloul St., Raml Station, Ataren, Alexandria.
Trianon: 52 Saad Zaghloul Square, Omar Lotfy, Qism Bab Sharqi, Alexandria.
Ancient Roman sites
The Ancient Roman Amphitheatre was built by the Romans for theatrical performances, and was later used as a conference hall during the Byzantine era, giving it clear architectural elements from both periods. Make sure not to miss the bath houses and the Villa of Birds with its well-preserved mosaics.
The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa contain archaeological objects from the Egyptian, Greek and Roman eras. Descend the ancient spiral staircase into Egypt’s largest known Roman burial site and see several layers of tombs and a majestic banqueting hall.
Ancient Roman Amphitheater: Ismail Mahana Road, Kom Ad Dakah Gharb, Ataren
Opening hours: Sunday-Saturdays : 8 AM-5 PM
Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa: Kom El Shokafa St., Qism Karmouz, Alexandria.
Opening hours: Sunday-Saturdays : 8 AM-4 PM