Alexandria, Egypt | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria (Arabic: الإسكندرية al-Iskanderiyya) is Egypt's second-largest city, its largest seaport and the country's window onto the Mediterranean Sea. It's a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and still-palpable glimpses of its past.


Few cities of the world have a history as rich as that of Alexandria; few cities have witnessed so many historic events and legends. Founded by Alexander the Great (Iskander al-Akbar) in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Greco-Roman Egypt; its status as a beacon of culture is symbolized by Pharos, the legendary lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos) was built in the third century BC by Ptolemy I on the island of Pharos. The... Read more

Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria (Arabic: الإسكندرية al-Iskanderiyya) is Egypt's second-largest city, its largest seaport and the country's window onto the Mediterranean Sea. It's a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and still-palpable glimpses of its past.


Few cities of the world have a history as rich as that of Alexandria; few cities have witnessed so many historic events and legends. Founded by Alexander the Great (Iskander al-Akbar) in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Greco-Roman Egypt; its status as a beacon of culture is symbolized by Pharos, the legendary lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos) was built in the third century BC by Ptolemy I on the island of Pharos. The height of the lighthouse was between 115 and 150 meters, so it was among the highest structures in the world, second only to the Great Pyramids. The lighthouse was built on 3 floors: a square bottom with a central heart, a section octagonal average and above an upper section. And on the top, there was a mirror that reflected sunlight during the day and used fire for the night. But it was damaged by 2 earthquakes in 1303 and 1323.
The Library of Alexandria was the largest library of the ancient world and the place where great philosophers and scientists of that age came to seek knowledge. Alexandria also hosted, at the time, the largest Jewish community in the world, and the Septuagint, the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was written in the city.
In all, Alexandria was one of the greatest cities in the Hellenic world, second only to Rome in size and wealth, and while it changed hands from Rome to Byzantine and finally Persia, the city stayed the capital of Egypt for a millennium.
Alas, the city's reign came to an end when the Arabs conquered Egypt in 641 and decided to found a new capital to the south in Cairo. (Scholars still debate if this was when the Library was finally destroyed; it is known that the Library was, at the very least, sacked and badly damaged by the Romans themselves in 48 BC, c. 270, and once more in 391)
Alexandria survived as a trading port; Marco Polo described it around 1300 as one of the world's two busiest ports, along with Quanzhou. However, its strategic location meant that every army on its way to Egypt passed through: Napoleon's troops stormed the city in 1798, but the British conquered it in the Siege of Alexandria in 1801. The Egyptians under Mohammed Ali took control of the city and rebuilt it, but the Orabi Rebellion in 1881 and massacres of Europeans in the city led the British to strike back and hammer the rebels with the three-day Bombardment of Alexandria, reducing much of the city center to rubble.
Once again, Alexandria rose from the ashes. Its cosmopolitan and decadent lifestyle before and during World War II gave birth to its greatest poet, Constantine P. Cavafy, and was chronicled in Laurence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet and a series of works by E. M. Forster including Alexandria: A History and Guide (1922), described by some as the best travel guide ever written.
Yet this world, too, took a shattering blow in the 1950s when Egypt's new fiercely nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized vast swathes of the economy and forbade foreigners from owning or running companies, effectively forcing tens of thousands of foreigners out of the country, including virtually all of Alexandria's once 150,000-strong Greek community.
Today's Alexandria is a dusty seaside Egyptian town with an over-inflated population of 5 million, yet its status as Egypt's leading port keeps the business humming, and tourists still flock to the beaches in the summertime. And while much of the city is badly in need of a lick of paint, history both ancient and modern is everywhere if you peer closely enough: the French-style parks and the occasional French street sign survive as a legacy of Napoleon, one of Alexandria's many conquerors, and the few remaining Greek restaurants and cafés still dominate the cultural scene.


Alexandria has a Mediterranean climate, with warm humid summers and mild rainy winters. The daytime can be humid in summer, with summer temperatures averaging 31°C (88°F), but evenings are usually cooler and breezy, especially by the Corniche. Winters can get cold, with daytime highs down sometimes to 12°C (53°F), with occasional rain and sometimes hail. Humidity is high throughout the year. The best time to visit Alexandria is in spring (March-June) and autumn (September-November), since it's at its busiest in summer when Egyptians flock down to escape the searing heat of Cairo.


Alexandria's primary promenade is the seaside Corniche. At the western tip lies the fort of Qait Bey, built near the presumed site of the former Lighthouse (Pharos in Greek), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, while the eastern shore sprawls for miles on end with the slums and tenements of modern Alex.

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Alexandria, Egypt: Port Information

Cruise ships arrive at the modern, large cruise terminal; it is located about 2.5 miles from the city center. If you want to leave the port, you need your passport. There are different ways to get to the city center. You can take a taxi, a horse or a buggy, for example. Besides, you can enjoy a walk.

Get around Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria is quite a long city; you can get pretty much anywhere by using the local transportation available along the Corniche.

By taxi

Alexandria's yellow and black taxis are a good way to travel in the city, and a cheap one as well. Be careful though: taxis will uniformly refuse to use meters (the rates haven't been adjusted in years) and drivers love to take advantage of non-Alexandrians, so it's best to agree on the fare before you get in. Alternately, if you are on a day trip to Alexandria, hire a taxi outside the railway station for the day.

To get into a taxi, wave at the driver and yell the name of your destination. If the driver agrees they would park at the side of the road as soon as possible. Some taxis will stop to pick you up even if they already have a passenger, but such offers are best refused. Furthermore, always check back once you get out of the taxi, there is no number to call if you lose anything of value, and nearly no chances of having it returned.

Fast Call taxis can be booked by phone at 19559 or 0800-999-9999 (toll-free). These are pricier but generally much better than ordinary black and bright yellow cabs.

By tram

Alexandria has a creaky, slow but very cheap tram system that dates back to 1860 and looks the part — it's the oldest one still running in Africa. The route map is remarkably confusing and changes on a regular basis, but one factor stays constant: the network is split into the interurban Ramleh Lines (Tram el-Raml), which use blue-and-cream trams and run across the city a few blocks back from the sea towards the eastern suburbs, and the City Lines (Tram el-Madina), which use bright yellow trams and run west and south of central Alex. The two meet at Raml Station (محطة الرمل Mahattat el-Raml), right at the heart of Alex. Note that the first car (out of three) in the blue trams is reserved for women only.

Probably the most useful service for tourists is yellow tram #25, which runs from Raml Station to Ras el-Tin and Fort Qait Bey. You can also hop on any blue tram west from Sidr Gabr bus/railway station to get to Raml, but not all eastbound trams stop there.

By bus

There are a variety of local bus services which have improved significantly in the past few years, but they are rather confusing for those who haven't lived in Alexandria for a while. Apart from city buses, you will also find "mini-buses", which work on a hop-and-go basis. They are easily recognizable 14-person buses, which will stop when you wave and stop where you need to get off. The drivers rarely speak English, so make sure you know the Arabic name of your destination or that you already know where to stop.

What to see in Alexandria, Egypt

Historical monuments

  • Citadel of Qaitbay, Ras el-Tin (yellow tram #25), +20-3-4809144. 9 AM-4 PM. One of the icons of the city at a beautiful location, the fortress overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and the city itself. Built by Mameluke Sultan Abdul-Nasser Qa'it Bay in 1477 AD but razed and reconstructed twice since. This citadel was built in 1480 by Sultan Qaitbay on the site of the Pharos Lighthouse, to protect the city from the crusaders who used to attack the city by the sea. The Citadel is situated at the entrance of the eastern harbor on the eastern point of the Pharos Island. It was erected on the exact site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria. The lighthouse continued to function until the time of the Arab conquest, then several disasters occurred and the shape of lighthouse was changed to some extent, but it still continued to function. During the 11th century, an earthquake destroyed the top of the lighthouse and the bottom was used as a watchtower. A small Mosque was built on the top. About 1480 A.D the place was fortified as part of the coastal defensive edifices. Later, the castle looking citadel was built as a prison for princes and state-man. Now it’s a Maritime Museum. 
  • Cemetery of Mostafa Kamel. The cemetery includes four tombs dating from the second century BC, all of which are in excellent condition and beautifully decorated. The cemetery bears the name of Mostafa Kamel, one of Egypt's largest political twentieth-century legends. It was he who pronounced the famous phrase: "If I was not born as an Egyptian, I would like to be an Egyptian."   
  • Kom el-Shouqafa, Karmouz. Kom el-Shouqafa is the Arab translation of the ancient Greek name, Lofus Kiramaikos, meaning "mound of shards" or "potsherds." Its actual ancient Egyptian name was Ra-Qedillies, and it lies on the site where the village and fishing port of Rhakotis, the oldest part of Alexandria that predates Alexander the Great, was located. The underground tunnels of the catacombs lie in the densely populated district of Karmouz to the east of Alexandria. The catacombs were most probably used as a private tomb, for a single wealthy family, and later converted to a public cemetery. They are composed of a ground-level construction that probably served as a funerary chapel, a deep spiral stairway and three underground levels for the funerary ritual and entombment. The catacombs are unique both for their plan and for their decoration, which represents an integration of the cultures and traditions of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans."
  • Pompey's Pillar, Karmouz. An ancient monument, this 25-meter-high granite column was constructed in honor of Emperor Diocletian in AD 297. The confined area where the column stands also has other ruins and sculptures such as the Serapium oracle. Also beside this area is a very big shopping center for cloth and furniture called "El-Saa3a," where you can find many types of cloth or clothes.  
  • Roman Theatre, Kom El-Dikka, +20-3-3902904. Built in the 2nd century AD, this Roman amphitheater has 13 semicircular tiers made of white and gray marble, with marble seats for up to 800 spectators, galleries and sections of mosaic-flooring. In Ptolemaic times this area was the Park of Pan, a pleasure garden surrounded by Roman villas and baths.   
  • Montazah Palace, El Montazah, +20-3-5477153 or +20-3- 5473056. Built in 1892 by Abbas II of Egypt Abbas Hilmi Pasha, the last khedive of Egypt. One of the palace buildings, the Haramlek, now contains a casino on the ground floor and a museum of royal relics on the upper levels, while the Salamlek has been converted into a luxury hotel (see Sleep). Parts of the extensive gardens (over 200 acres) are open to the public. There is an entrance fee for the park.   
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Mansheya. Egypt has a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honoring its military.   
  • Ras el-Tin Palace, Ras el-Tin. Not open to visitors, alas.   
  • Presidential Palace, Montazah.   


  • Alexandria National Museum, Latin quarter, +20-3-4835519 or +20-3- 4838035. History Museum with more than 1800 archeological pieces exhibited chronologically: the basement is devoted to Prehistoric and Pharonic times; first floor to the Graeco-Roman period; second floor to the Coptic and Islamic era that highlights artifacts raised during recent underwater excavations.   
  • Graeco-Roman Museum, Latin quarter, +20-3-4865820 or +20-3-4876434. Closed. A history museum with a vast collection mostly dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD, spanning the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. 
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Moharram Bey, +20-3-3936616. It contains a lot of royal and precious jewels.   
  • National Institute For Oceanography & Fisheries, Anfoushi (beside Qait Bey), +20-3-4801499. Aquarium and museum displays.   
  • Royal Jewelry Museum, zezenia, +20-3-5828348. It contains a lot of royal and precious jewels. It has been reopened to the public recently after renovation.  

Religious sites

  • El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, Anfoushi. Built in 1775 by Algerians, the mosque was built over the tomb of the famous thirteenth-century sufi saint, Ahmed Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi. The walls of the mosque are dressed in artificial stone, while the minaret, located on the south side, stands at 73 meters.   
  • Attarine Mosque, Attarine. Originally a church dedicated to Saint Athanasius in 370 and was converted into a mosque following the Muslim conquest of Egypt.   

Modern Alexandria

  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Shatby, +20-3-4839999. Open daily except Fridays from 11 AM to 6:00 PM. A huge modern library and research center constructed near the site of the former Library of Alexandria (see History). It has also a big conference center and a planetarium, as well as displays of ancient texts from the collection and other special exhibitions (free).  
  • Corniche. The Corniche is a glorious 15km walkway (wharf/pier/boardwalk) along the harbor dotted with restaurants, markets, and historic sights.   

What to do in Alexandria, Egypt

  • Sunbathe at the Maa'moura Beach or Montazah Beach. During summer the beaches are packed with Egyptian tourists, parasols and plastic chairs. At this time the sand and water may have some throwaway plastic floating around.
  • Montazah Royal Gardens Though the gardens are a part of the more than three hundred and fifty-acre grounds of the large royal home known as the Muntazah Palace, the Montazah Royal Gardens take up more than half of the property. Montazah Royal Gardens are situated along the shore as well, which means access to the lovely beaches and the warm Mediterranean Sea waters nearby. The Montazah Royal Gardens are a bit unique where city parks and public spaces are concerned as they are rigorously landscaped, and well-stocked with benches and wading or swimming pools that are open for the public to enjoy.
  • Also in Montazah, Montazah Water Sports, provide various water sports, from waterskiing to wake-boarding, even Banana Boat and Donuts.
  • Hire a boat and go cruising at Ras el-Tin.
  • Have a long walk by the beautiful Corniche by the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Alexandria Stadium or Harras El-Hedoud Stadium, Lumumba Street or Max (Tell any taxi driver Al-Istad and he will know where to take you. If it is a Harras El-Hedoud match then tell the taxi driver Istad El Max). Attend an Egyptian League soccer game. Alexandria teams are El-Ittihad, El-Olympi, Harras El-Hedoud, and Smouha. There are 4 sections of seating: VIP, 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree. If you are a foreigner I recommend to sit in the VIP section to avoid harassment from hardcore fans.
  • Casino Austria of Egypt - B CP W, The Casino Austria of Egypt is open to Foreigners only. It is also known as the El-Salamlek Palace Casino. Games include Blackjack, Roulette, Punto Banco, Slot Machines and Caribbean Stud Poker. The Casino Austria of Egypt is located at the El-Salamlek Palace Hotel in Alexandria.


Alexandria's old town has the largest density of bookshops and booksellers in the Arab world possibly with the exception of Beirut. A particular treat is a long line of pavement booksellers on Nabi Danyal Street, opposite the French Cultural Centre.
  • Al Ahram, 10 Horreya St. Telephone: 483-4000.
  • Book Center of Alexandria, General Egyptian Book Organization, 49 Saad Zaghloul St. Telephone: 482-2925. Books in English, Arabic, French and German and low priced school books.
  • Ramada Bazaar Bookshop, Ramada Renaissance Hotel. Telephone: 549-0935. Open daily from 9 am to midnight.
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina Bookshop, El Shatby. Open daily from 9 am to 7 pm. The bookshop attached to the library. Good for general and tourist literature in different languages.
  • Diwan, El Shatby. Recently opened branch of popular Egyptian chain. Comprehensive English and Arabic, fiction and non-fiction. Cafe.
  • Alef, Alex-Cairo desert road, Le Marche Mall. A recently opened 2 levels bookshop, contains all genres of Arabic/Foreign books.

What to eat and drink in Alexandria, Egypt


Alexandria is famous for having the best seafood restaurants in the country. A few other Alexandrian specialties worth looking out for:


If you want to eat cheaply in Alexandria, try the places where the locals eat.
  • Gad, (Raml Station), +20-3-4820135. Specializes in fuul (fava bean paste) and falafel." Can be found all over the city.   
  • Kushari Bondok, Smouha (beside Fathalla supermarket). Alexandria's best-known kushari joint, serving up this classically Egyptian dish of layered macaroni, rice, lentils, and tomato sauce.   
  • Meto, 273 Gamal Abdel Nasser St, 20-3-5506667. Pizza and its Arabic equivalent fateer.   
  • Mohamed Ahmed, Ramleh station (Opposite the Metropole hotel). Another well-known fuul/flafel joint. This is an unmissable destination in Alexandria. The fuul and falafel is better than just about any other establishment in Egypt and is incredibly affordable. As a culinary and cultural experience, it should not be missed.   
  • Alexandrian ice cream is similar to the typical soft-serve ice cream, but it is described as being a little bit 'stretchy'. It is available in numerous flavors, and according to the locals, this type of ice cream is only made in Alexandria and Greece. Try it at Bahary near Qait Bey, where popular shops include Makram, El-Sheikh Wafik, Azza, and "El Se'eedy".
  • Corn on the cob (dorra mashwey), available at street vendors lining the Corniche.


Mid-priced by Egyptian standards, Western fast-food chains like Pizza Hut, McDonalds and KFC can all be found in the city's larger malls, but there are more interesting options as well.
  • Abo Fares, (in front of Carrefour). Delicious Syrian food.   
  • Abou Shakra, Smouha Green Plaza (and other branches), +20-3-4261777. Popular Egyptian chain specializing in local grills like shwarma and set meals of kebab/kofta, fries, and salad.   
  • Elite, 43 Sofia Zaghoul, +20-3-4863592. Once the favorite hangout of Alexandria's intelligentsia including D.H. Lawrence, Laurence Durrell, and Edith Piaf, but now bears a distinct resemblance to an American road diner complete with vinyl seating and chipped white plastic tables. The staff is still French-speaking and appropriately snotty. Try the plat du jour.   
  • Hosny, Gamal Abd El-Nasser St (El Mandara), +20-3-5506655. Middle Eastern food.   
  • Pastroudis, 39, Al Horriya Road (Raml Station), +20-3-3929609. 8 AM-1 AM. Bakery with a sideline in desserts and ice cream.   
  • Tekka Grill, (Eastern Port, beside Diving Club). Delicious Egyptian food, with views of the harbor and Fort Qait Bey. Try the shish kebab and the wara' el enab (stuffed vine leaves).   
  • Balba', (Sidi Bishr, or downtown in front of City Center Carrefour). There are only two Balba's in Alexandria and in the whole country. The first one is in Sidi bishr and the second one is in downtown. People tend to like the one in downtown more. It has been known for its delicious meat and especially kofta. It has also a seafood section and the seafood soup is just amazing. About 100 L.E per person.   

Many of Alexandria's high-end restaurants are located in its hotels.

  • Al-Farida Restaurant, El-Salamlek Palace Hotel, +20-35-477999. Open 24 hours a day, with dinner served until 5 AM. Italian and international food, served in the palace garden with sea views.   
  • Al-Farouk Restaurant, El-Salamlek Palace Hotel, +20-35-477999. Lunch noon-4 PM, dinner 8 PM-1 AM. French food served in what used to be King Farouk's office at the palace.   
  • Athineos, 21 Saad Zaghloul Sq (on the Corniche, near the Italian Consulate), 03-4860421. The "Mermaid of Alexandria" is a local legend frequented by both Durrell and Cavafy, but alas, it has fallen far since its glory days. The views are still amazing, and the Greek motifs in the gilded friezes and stenciled frescoes give some character, but the food is, despite the Greek names on the menu, almost entirely Arabized: order souvlaki and you'll get kebab.   
  • Byblos, 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), 20 (3) 581-8000. 7:00 PM - 1:00 AM. Excellent food and faultless service. Worth splashing out for a quality Lebanese dining experience with delicious mezze dishes. Caters well for vegetarians. Good wine list with a limited choice of wine by the glass. Good location on the 3rd floor over-looking the Corniche; will be even better when the beach is finished. The highlight: an expansive view of the Mediterranean.
  • Chez Gaby au Ritrovo, 22 El Horreya St. (Raml Station), +20-3-4874404. 9 PM-1 AM. Possibly the best Italian restaurant in town, serving up pizza and pasta since 1979.   
  • Dynasty Restaurant, 544 El Geish Avenue (Renaissance Alexandria Hotel), +20-35-483977. Open 24 hours a day, with dinner served until 5 AM. Alexandria's top Chinese restaurant.   
  • Fish Market, El Gomrok Scout Club, +2 03 4805114. Excellent food, with great views. The sea-bass is top-notch.
  • Ibn al-Balad, Mustafa Kamel (Located right behind El-Salam Theatre). Two-story restaurant. First floor has grilled meats featuring their famous Ibn al-Balad fattah. The second floor serves seafood. Definitely a meat lovers paradise.
  • La Veranda, 46 Saad Zaghloul. (Inside Patisserie Delices), +20-3-4861432. Conveniently located in "Old" Alexandria - Downtown Alexandria near the hotel Metropole & hotel Sofitel. La Veranda is the first authentic Greek & French Cuisine in Alexandria. The portions are large and have a homemade feeling to them. The restaurant has a large parking lot available in front of the restaurant. La Veranda replaced Jardin Delices - a landmark location in Alexandria, which was frequented by the French, English, Italians and the Greeks of the 1940s and 1950s. There are a lot of posters on the walls of the historic Alexandria.
  • Ole Cafe and Restaurant, Kafr Abdou Street, Roushdy. A reasonably priced restaurant that serves Spanish cuisine, and pastries for dessert. Try the Beef Madrid. Free Wi-fi.
  • Pool Bar & Grill, 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), 20 (3) 581-8000. 11:30 AM – 1:00 AM. This seasonal outdoor restaurant is surrounded by lush landscaping and overlooks a stunning infinity-edge pool. After a refreshing dip, savor a light meal while relaxing at umbrella-shaded tables. Choose from healthy snacks, sushi, and sashimi, as well as creative beverages. The restaurant is open in summer only. Seats 76, with 6 at the bar.
  • Stefano's, 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), 20 (3) 581-8000. 7:00 PM - 1:00 AM. This stylish restaurant serves a selection of authentic Southern Italian cuisine, including seafood specialties. The open kitchen, chic décor, and warm Italian hospitality create an intimate ambiance. Seats 60. Specialties: Risotto and fresh pasta. Formal or Smart Casual. Possibly the best restaurant in Alexandria.
  • San Giovanni Restaurant, 205 El Gueish Ave (San Giovanni Hotel), +20-3-5467775. Open 24 hours a day, with dinner served until 5 AM. West-East fusion. Views of Stanley beach, classical music performed live nightly.   
  • Fresca Café and Gelateria, 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), 20 (3) 581-8000. 11:30 AM – 3:00 AM. With its bright, colorful décor, Fresca is a casual place to unwind, relax and enjoy a simple snack. Overlooking a bustling city street and the calm Mediterranean, this café caters to all moods. Take-out cakes and ice cream are available. Seats 92 indoors, 124 outdoors. Try the ice cream here as well as the lasagna.
  • Sushi etc., 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), 20 (3) 581-8000. 7:00 PM - 1:00 AM. Enjoy the fresh flavors of Sushi etc.’s Southeast Asian cuisine. Perfect for a light lunch, dinner or snack, Sushi etc. offers soothing views of the pool and the  Mediterranean Sea.
  • Ottimo, Kafr Abdou 3 (next to Ole restaurant). Nice restaurant with veranda.


  • La Veranda, 46 Saad Zaghloul Street (Inside Delices Patisserie), ☎ (203)-486-1432. La Veranda is famous for its Greek and French dishes, but more importantly, it is the only place in town serving Ouzo! So if you are craving the famous Greek liquor, go ahead and visit La Veranda. It also serves a wide selection of Egyptian Wine at the best prices in Alexandria. 


50 years ago a maze of bars and nightclubs filled the city, but visitors to today's Alexandria often complain that it can be hard to find a decent watering hole. Frequent travelers recommend a number of reliable establishments:
  • Spitfire Bar, Sa'ad Zaghloul St. - easy to overlook despite its obvious location on the corner of a square on this busy street. The building looks slightly derelict but is clearly marked above the doors. Walk west along Sa'ad Zaghloul St. from the square. for a few blocks until the road opens up in front of you into the beginning of a square. Turn right and the bar is a few doors down on the right.
  • Mermaid Bar - Little and nice bar with good-view to the sea.
  • Sheikh Ali, Adib Bek Ishak Street off Sa'ad Zaghloul. Better known among travelers as the Cap d'Or and one of Alexandria's oldest bars.
  • El Qobesi, 51 Corniche, juice-bar. It is not signposted in English but it is easy to recognize it by fruits hanging around. Marvelous juices from ashta, guava, strawberry and more others.
  • Hotels and most tourist restaurants throughout Alexandria and most of Egypt are home to bars and discos; and to buy your own booze drop by Drinkie's, a famous liquor store ideally located on the Corniche strip and home to every local drink and Heineken.
  • Le Bar, 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), ☎ 20 (3) 581-8000. 5:00 PM – 3:00 AM. Lounge in one of the comfortable love seats, sofas or chairs while enjoying a specialty martini or an exotic juice. Seats 34. 
  • Bleu, 399 El Geish Road (In the San Stefano Four Seasons Hotel), ☎ 20 (3) 581-8000. 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM. Fresh sea breezes and a cascade of water on the terrace add to the summer feel of this seasonal outdoor lounge. The terrace commands stunning views over the blue waters of the Mediterranean, making it the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Bleu serves cocktails, snacks and tapas-style food, and shisha (flavored tobacco) until late. The lounge is open in summer only.


In addition to local options, there's a Starbucks in San Stefano Grand Plaza and a Costa Coffee near Stanley Bridge.
  • 24 Seven Cafe, International Garden (in front of Carrefour). Popular with young locals showing off their latest fashions. Good food and shisha.  
  • Brazilian Coffee Shop, Raml station. An Egyptian spin on Starbucks, with fancy, relatively expensive but tasty coffee. 
  • Cafe Trianon, Saad Zaghlul square (''by the seashore'') (Raml Station), ☎ +20-3-4868539 , +20-3-4835881 , +20-3-4860986 or +20-3-4860973. The poshest cafe in Alexandria, famed for the best om ali in Egypt.
  • Cafe De La Paix (Sayed Drweesh Resturant), Mohatet El Raml (Raml Station). 
  • Club21, Mo'askar Elroumany Street, Roushdy, ☎ 002-03-5232929 or 002-012-7330196 ( Open from 9 AM to 4 AM. A nice place to visit, friendly staff, tasty food, and drinks. Shisha is available in the garden of the place. Free WIFI. 
  • Omar El Khaiam Cafe, Mohatet El Raml (Raml Station). 
  • New Paris Cafe, Mohatet El Raml (Raml Station). 
  • Patisserie Delices, 46 Saad Zaghlul Street (Raml Station), ☎ (203)-486-1432. Built in 1922, Delices' flagship store in Ramleh Station in Alexandria, Egypt has become a well-known landmark for all tourists and local residents wanting to experience the beauty of the Cosmopolitan era. The store is still managed by the same Family since 1922! Famous for its Cassata (ice cream) and Greek Baklava (similar to Egyptian Baklawa but dripped with cinnamon and honey). 

Shopping in Alexandria, Egypt

​Many places seem to follow set shopping hours. Winter: Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 9 AM-10 PM, Mon and Thurs 9 AM-11 AM. During Ramadan, hours vary, with shops often closing on Sunday. Summer: Tues, Wed, Fri-Sun 9 AM-12:30 PM and 4-12:30 PM.
  • International Language Bookstore, 18 Abd el-Hamid el-Dib Street, Tharwat tram station (Ramleh Tram). A small and pleasant little bookstore, if maddeningly difficult to find. It has a pretty decent selection of English-language books if you are into classics and a lot of good reference books. Decent enough for children's books and beach reads.   
  • El Maaref Establishment, Saad Zaghloul St. Raml station (Yellow tram or Taxi), +20-3-4853055.   
  • Alex Book Centre, Semouha, +20-3-4294362. A big publisher and distributor of English language teaching and school curriculum materials.   
  • Nabi Daniel booksellers, An Nabi Daniel (street). Along An Nabi Daniel street, booksellers are lined up selling books in Arabic, English, French, and German among others. Prices are negotiable. Price negotiable.   
  • Olio Tasting Room, 1223 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703.299.3004. Mon-Thu: 11 am – 7 pm Fri-Sat: 11 am – 8 pm Sun: 11 am – 6 pm. Olio Tasting Room is modeled after similar rooms across the Mediterranean where patrons can sample a wide selection of Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Aged Balsamic (varietal and flavor-infused).  

Shopping malls

  • Alexandria City Center. Shopping mall with a huge hypermarket, coffee shops, and cinemas. Take a taxi to get here.   
  • Mirage Mall. A small high-end mall in front of Carrefour. Clothes shops including Adidas and Timberland factory outlets, plus some popular cafes and restaurants including Chili and Pasadena Roof.   
  • Deeb Mall, Roushdy. Midrange shopping mall with cinemas and a food court.   
  • Family Mall. Midrange shopping mall in Gianaclis Station.   
  • Green Plaza, (next to Hilton Hotel). Big shopping mall with many shops, restaurants, cinemas and a court for videos games and bowling.   
  • Kirosez Mall, Mostafa Kamel. A midrange shopping mall.   
  • Mina Mall, Ibrahimia. Another midrange shopping mall.   
  • Maamoura Plaza Mall, Maamoura. Some restaurants.   
  • San Stefano Grand Plaza Mall, San Stefano (eastern Alexandria, next to Four Seasons Hotel). Perhaps the largest shopping mall in Alexandria. Luxury shopping, 10 cinemas, large food court.   
  • Wataniyya Mall, Sharawy St (Louran). Small shopping mall.   
  • Zahran Mall, Smouha. Cinemas and coffee shops. 

Safety in Alexandria, Egypt

Although crime is rarely violent, beware of pickpockets and don't flash your valuables or wear a bum bag/fanny pack. Street kids, taxi drivers, and others may harass tourists. They will usually desist after a stern "La!" or two. Or you can say "la shukran!" (no thanks) or "emshi" (go!). Alexandria is a conservative city, so women should cover their shoulders, midriffs, cleavage, and legs. Cover your head when entering places of worship.
  • Emergency number: 123
  • Police number: 122
  • Fire HQ number: 180
  • Military Police hotline: 16039 or 19039
  • Central Ambulance, Kom El Dekka (opposite Alexandria Station), ☎ +20-3-4922257. 

Language spoken in Alexandria, Egypt

Modern Standard Arabic is the official language.
English is widely spoken in tourist places.


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