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.
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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Alexandria
1. A Stunning Coastal City
As mentioned above, Alexandria is called Pearl of the Mediterranean, and it’s refreshing to be by the sea if you were visiting cities like Cairo, Luxor, or Aswan. Alexandria also have this calm atmosphere because there is no mass tourists there, so it’s mostly locals.
2. The History
Egypt is full history wherever you go, and Alexandria is no exception, it was conquered on founded by the Macedonian Alexander the Great; hence the name Alexandria. There is also a lot of influences from ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, so it’s a mixture of a lot of ancient culture and history.
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.
4. 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.
5. Ruins of the Past
As mentioned, Alexandria has a ton of history, and you can see that by visiting a lot of places where you can see the ruins of the past. Places such as Roman Amphitheatre (Ancient Roman Theatre), Temple of Serapeum, Pompey’s Pillar, and Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa. You get so much out of the experience instead of just reading about all of that.
6. Easy to Reach
Alexandria is only a few hours away from Cairo, and you can easily find a train or a bus to take you there. Just be aware that you do not need to hire a car or a taxi to take you there, it is easy to just take the bus or the train and then move around Alexandria using the tram or Careem/Uber, or even walk around!
7. Walk Along the Corniche
What a typical local do in Alexandria, is to take a walk along the corniche. In the afternoon or at night, when the sun isn’t out anymore and the weather is nice, this is one of the best ways to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. You will also find a lot of cafes and restaurants along the way where you can enjoy the view.
8. Boat Rides
A great way to enjoy the atmosphere of Alexandria, is by going on a boat ride! Locals love doing that, and you should too. You can go on a small boat and just enjoy the view of the city, or you can find boats that offer lunch/dinner, so you can eat while taking it all in.
9. Café Culture
There is a huge number of cafes in Alexandria but in Egypt in general, it’s part of the culture. Each place offer something different, some are new and some are old, some have modern decor and some are ancient which feels like a museum. When in Alexandria, you do not want to miss going to a cafe.
10. Rooftop Bars
A great way to enjoy the views is by going to a rooftop bar, you can enjoy the night and have a few drinks and look at the stunning views. You will find more that one in Alexandria, so make sure to go there at the end of the day.
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.
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!