Everything You Need to Know About Alexandria, Egypt

Written By: The Planet D

Whether you are on a budget or hoping for a luxurious getaway or maybe even you are looking for the perfect destination for your family vacation, Alexandria, Egypt is a perfect choice for you.

This guide gives you all the information you need about Alexandria to make it your next stop when you visit the Middle East.

About Alexandria, Egypt

egypt alexandria at night

The Egyptian city of Alexandria is not only famous for its spectacular location on the Mediterranean Sea but also for the historical value that made it carry the name of the man who built it to rule the world thousands of years ago.

Only a 3-hour drive from the capital Cairo or a couple of hours flight from Europe is separating you from this unique city.

Alexandria is a four-season destination.

In the winter you’ll enjoy the breezy mornings and cold nights and you will find a lot of rain if you’re a winter lover.

Something you need to know about Alexandria is that while the summer makes the perfect weather, I personally don’t like it as much it as the crowds are overwhelming.

So that makes both the autumn and the spring the optimal time spots for visiting, you won’t only avoid the summer crowds but you’ll also enjoy the perfect mixture between the breezy summer and the cold winter.

So what makes Alexandria unique?

alexandria egypt waterfront

Alexandria has a rich history; not only was Alexandria founded by ‘Alexander the Great‘ but also was one of the leading beacons of Christianity and had one of the biggest Cathedrals at some time.

In recent history, Alexandria was considered a metropolitan capital of the Mediterranean and was home to many Italian and Greek families that gave it a wide cultural diversity.

So here you get a Middle Eastern atmosphere accompanied by a spectacular location on the Mediterranean Sea, all reinforced by its cultural and historical background.

So the sea is the main character in our story. It’s the thing you will find most delightful in Alexandria.

It offers amazing scenery, a wonderful breeze you could also enjoy a swim or a boat ride if the weather is good.

El Corniche – The Coastline of Alexandria

egypt alexandria beach resort

A 19km coastline -or El Corniche– as the locals call it is the star attraction of Alexandria.

It starts east from ‘El Montazah Palace’ once a summer getaway for the King which you should definitely visit to get a taste of royalty and enjoy its spacious gardens.

El Corniche ends west at the ‘Qaitbay Castle’ a huge fortress once built to protect the city against invaders.

El Corniche’ or the coast holds numerous hotels ranging from luxurious five star towers to small two star inns.

So if you are aiming to pay high or low you will find yourself a perfect spot that’ll match your needs.

Intrigued about Alexandria and travel to Egypt? Get a copy of the Lonely Planet Egypt to plan your next travels. 

Things to do in Alexandria

beach cafe alexandria egypt


If you are not a beach person, don’t worry, because there are a lot of other things to do in Alexandria.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

alexandria library

To begin with, you should give a visit to the ‘Bibliotheca Alexandrina‘ a huge library built-in 2002 with a unique design to reincarnate the ancient library that used to sit in the same place and lead the world into many scientific breakthroughs.

And even if you are not a bookworm you will be amazed by its wonderful architecture.

Montazah Palace

egypt alexandria water

As I previously mentioned, you should give a visit to the ‘Montazah Palace’, have a picnic or take a tour of the royal quarters.

Qaitbay Castle

about alexandria egypt
Alexandria warmed by the sun

Your third stop is the Qaitbay Castle.

You can take a tour of its grounds and interior or rent a small boat in the sea or just stay around and watch the scenery from over there.

Once you finished your day you could have a horsecart –or hantoor– to take you back to the hotel.

Or maybe even reach Stanley Bridge, and enjoy a picturesque panorama of the sea from over there.

If you are tired from roaming around, you could just relax on any cafe by the shore and that’s always the best thing about Alexandria.

What to Eat in Alexandria?

kebabs alexandria

Well, that’s my favorite part about Alexandria.

You can’t come to Egypt and not try every type of food there is. Since Egyptians have an outstanding way to make such a huge variety of yummy recipes from your everyday ingredients, I’ve made the eating part the biggest part about Alexandria.

Breakfast in Alexandria

feast in alexandria

Let’s start by the breakfast. Forget about your pancakes and muffins because we’ve got a lot to offer you in the mornings.

Egyptians have their own way of cooking beans and they call it Fool. 

Fool is served in a lot of different ways so you’ll have a hard choice. My restaurant of choice is “Mohamed Ahmed” in Mahtet el Raml, and don’t forget to try their falafel, omelets and salads.

Don’t worry if you’re not a morning person because you can still have that same food for dinner.

After the beach take a taxi to Balbaa – Alexandria’s most popular restaurant.

You will find yourself in a big multiple story building with many waiters moving around like bees, one of them will get you seated and show you their menu.

I am sorry you won’t be able to order everything on the menu, because you will want to try everything they offer starting from the oriental grilled Kebab to the seafood selection.

More About Alexandrian Food

alexandria dining egypt

I recommend you to stick to their oriental dishes and enjoy their salad varieties.

But if you want seafood, you should go to Fish Market.

The Fish Market is a wonderful spot with a spectacular view on the sea, offering you the finest seafood fresh from the sea to your plate.

Believe me when I tell you that Egyptians have different ways to cook fish. I have never seen it anywhere else and it’s perfect.

You should also try their Shrimps and Calamari either fried or grilled, both are delicious, and remember they love to serve you different salad dishes for an appetizer and you will love it too.

About Alexandria Street Food

balbaa restaurant alexandria

Whether you chose the expensive hotel or the cheap inn, you must try our street food, because we are good at it and you’ll love it.

One recommendation is the ‘El Falah’ in Mahtet el raml, which has only one thing on their menu and they are very good at it: its Kebda or liver.  Alexandrians have their special way in doing it that will leave you speechless.

If Kebda is not your thing, you could go to ‘Arabi’ next to the Mosque of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi, where you could try oriental sausage, Shawerma or even kebda.

You don’t think that street is your thing and you still want your five-star restaurant, I’ve got it covered for you.

You should visit ‘Montaza palace’ one more time but first you should reserve a table at the Salamlek main dining room, just where the King Farook used to have his meals.

But if you want a view with your meal you should choose San Giovanni restaurant by Stanley Bridge, where you could have a well prepared meal while you enjoy the best scenery you could get, all with a pianist in the background.

You should always keep a place for desert, because Alexandria has one of the best ice cream parlors and they call it Gelati, I give you their two best options ‘Azza’ and ‘El Se’eedi’ .

They like to keep it simple so you won’t find lots of flavors, but you can mix your scoop with some rice pudding or honey to make it wow.

About Alexandria: Getting Around

alexandria egypt street car featured image

If you wonder what the best way to get around is, it’s definitely Taxis, you will spot some black and yellow bees on wheels you should wave for one of them and tell them your destination. They are very cheap, but you should decide a fare first to avoid paying high fares.

This post was originally written by Yousef Hisham, a writer based in Egypt. He has since stopped blogging and no longer has a blog or social. It has since been updated by The Planet D.

Read next:

Great Temples of Egypt

The Slow Travel Guide to Cairo

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

14 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Alexandria, Egypt”

  1. Nicely written. It surely seems a lovely place to visit. The way it has been described it feels like giving this place a shot. Plus pictures are amazing. I am always been interested in visiting historical places. Looking forward to visit the place soon.

    Reply
  2. Informative post! I liked mouth watering food, specially those Kebabs! I had never been to Egypt, but will definitely plan for such a wonderful place. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. This is a wonderful post. Would not have thought of Alexandria. Another wonderful place to visit in Egypt is Sharmel Shiek! Tip don’t get conned into getting a visa because you don’t need a visa to go to Sharmel Shiek! Beautiful Photos as well! Will have to put on our bucket list! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  4. Hey guys,

    We’re heading to Egypt at the end of the year and we’re going to definitely add Alexandria to the list of places we have to visit! Thanks for the tips 🙂

    Cheers,

    Liam and Mariana

    Reply