Pearl of the Mediterranean; Alexandria is a Mediterranean port city in Egypt. Alexandria was the home to one of the old seven wonders - The Lighthouse - as well as its Great Library which was reincarnated in the disc-shaped Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Part of the ancient city of Alexandria disappeared under the sea and other parts disappeared under the modern city, but you can still find some visible remains of the glorious past as well as recovered items from the sea.
There is a lot of things to see/visit in Alexandria that I would recommend at least two days, but if you only have 24 hours to stay in Alexandria, then this is the perfect itinerary for you.
1. How to Get Your Visa for Egypt
5. Best Time to Visit Alexandria
2. 6 Things to do in 24 Hours in Alexandria
6. Accommodations in Alexandria
3. How to Get to Alexandria
7. Best Cafes & Restaurants in Alexandria
4. How to Move Around Alexandria
How to Get Your Visa for Egypt
You can get the visa by going to the embassy, or visiting the official website, or getting it with an agency like iVisa. iVisa provides 100% online travel documents such as: Visas, health declaration forms, embassy registrations, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards, and other travel documents. It is the simplest solution to process your travel visa.
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6 Things to do in 24 Hours in Alexandria
1. Temple of Serapeum and Pompey's Pillar
Pompey's Pillar is a massive 30 meters column which located in the debris of the ancient settlement of Rhakotis which is the original township form each Alexandria grew. The Pillar rises on the ruins of the Temple of Serapeum which was a magnificent structure that stood there in ancient times. Opening hours are 09:00 and 16:30, and tickets can be bought at the entrance. It takes less than 30 minutes to see.
2. Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
Within a walking distance from Pompey's Pillar, you will find Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (Be careful around this area, you can also take an Uber or Careem if you want, it will take you less than 5 minutes). These are a Roman underground burial chambers that were built in the 2nd century AD, entry is through a spiral staircase and the bodies of the dead were lowered on a rope through the circular shaft. Opening hours are between 09:00 and 16:00, and tickets can be bought at the entrance. It takes about an hour to see.
3. Citadel of Qaitbay
This is a defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean sea and was built back in 1480 by the Mamluk Sultan Qaitbay on the remains of Alexandria's lighthouse. The Citadel is open from 08:00 until 17:00, and you can buy tickets at the entrance. It takes about an hour to see.
4. Alexandria National Museum
Next visit this museum which offers a summary of Alexandria's history, it is housed in a beautiful restored Italian villa, and even though it is small, but it is well organised and well-labeled. If you didn't have enough time to visit the museum; you can do it the next day. Opening hours are from 09:00 until 16:30, and tickets can be bought at the entrance and they cost EGP 100 for adults and EGP 50 for students (For Egyptian tickets cost EGP 20 for adults and EGP 5 for students). It takes an hour to see.
5. Bibliotheca Alexandrina
One of the largest and most important libraries in the world was the Great Library of Alexandria, which is why Alexandria was known as a capital of knowledge and learning. The library was reincarnated and is now a modern library and museum. Within the library you can find museums such as: Antiques Museum, Manuscript Museum, and Planetarium. Opening hours are from 10:00 until 19:00, on Fridays from 14:00 until 19:00, and on Saturdays from 12:00 until 16:00. Tickets can be bough at the entrance. Aim to spend between 1 to 3 hours there.
6. Montaza Palace
End your day by visiting the royal palace that was built back in 1932 as a summer palace for the Khedive, even though the palace itself is off-limits, but you can still visit it's surrounding gardens. There is also a beach there, and you will find a lot of cafes and restaurants. You can opt to go on a picnic there if you want as well, this is the best place to relax and enjoy the beautiful lush gardens and the sea. The Montaza Palace is open from 08:00 until 00:00, and entry tickets cost EGP 25. It can take you from 15 minute to 1.5 hours to visit, depending on what you do there.
How to Get to Alexandria
If you are coming from Cairo, then it is easy to get to Alexandria by train, bus, or even plane. Train is the best option to get there from Cairo, you will find several trains on a daily basis between the two cities between 06:00 and 22:30, there is also two different classes - First & second class - to choose from. Make sure to pick a train that doesn't stop anywhere else to save time on your journey. It takes around 2.5 hours to get there when there is no stops, and 3.5 hours when there is stops in between.
Note: It is best to buy your ticket the day before to avoid any chaos and stress! When arriving in Alexandria, be aware that there are two different main train stations, If you want to go east of the city then get off at Sidi Gaber Station, and if you want to go to central city then get off at Misr Station.
If you are looking to go to Alexandria from Cairo as a day tour, then it is best to book with a private tour. This is the no-stress way to visit Alexandria. If you want to get there by bus, you will find a lot of variety of bus companies that offer services between the two cities. Services are usually between 05:00 and 23:00, but be aware that the stations in Alexandria aren't centrally located. You can choose companies like Blue Bus, Go Bus, West Delta, and Super Jet.
You can also take a plane as you will find daily domestic flights between the two cities, but Borg El Arab International Airport is located about 40 Km from the city centre, and flights take about 45 minutes. You can also opt for a private taxi/car for more flexibility, or you can rent a car but be aware that driving in Egypt is hard.
If you are not arriving from Cairo, you can still find a lot of trains and buses depending on where you are, and if you are not in Egypt, check which international flights arrive at Borg El Arab International Airport, but if you are planning on visiting Egypt, then it is best to go to Cairo first and then visit Alexandria.
If you are looking for cheap flights to get to Alexandria or Egypt in general, then your best option would be to use WayAway. You can also use this promo code - TP-385219 - for WayAway Plus or you can directly visit this link! (You will get 10% off WayAway Plus subscription!)
How to Move Around Alexandria
Moving around Alexandria is easy since services like Uber and Careem are accessible and cheap as well so it will be easy to hop from one place to another. You can also use a taxi but you will need to pay in cash as they do not accept credit/debit cards. You can also hop on the Sightseeing Red Bus!
Best Time to Visit Alexandria
The best time to visit Egypt in general is between October and April, but when it comes to Alexandria, the best time to visit is in spring and autumn - September to November & March to April - it gets hot during the summer and humid, and during the winter it rains a lot, but if you don't mind both then you can visit any time. Be aware that high season is in mid-summer so it will be crowded during that time and also prices such as hotel prices will be high.
Accommodations in Alexandria
There is a vast variety of accommodation options in Alexandria depending on your budget. Even though most people opt for a day tour, but if you plan to stay longer then you will need to look for an accommodation that suits you. When it comes to hotels, if you are looking for a luxury hotel then your bets options are along the Corniche such as the Four Season Hotel, Hilton Alexandria Corniche, and for something more central opt for Steigenberger Cecil Hotel. If you are looking for mid-range hotels, then you options would be Paradise Inn Windsor Palace Hotel, and Romance Alexandria Hotel. For budget friendly hotels, you can go with Alexander the Great Hotel, as it is one of the cleanest ones.
If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb then you will be able to find a lot options that suits your budget, you will find a lot of hostels if you prefer to stay there. Your options are endless in Alexandria, and it doesn't matter where you stay since you will enjoy it regardless.
Best Cafes & Restaurants in Alexandria
Trianon (Patisserie near El Raml Station)
Délices (Patisserie owned by the same Greek family since 1922)
Greek Club: White & Blue Restaurant (Greek cuisine & seafood)
Mohamed Ahmed (Authentic Egyptian food, best option for breakfast)
Chez Gaby (Italian cuisine)
Teatro Eskendria (Egyptian cuisine)
Sky Roof (Nighttime spot, on the rooftop of Windsor Palace)