When people imagine visiting a great Egyptian city, they usually picture Cairo. And, while Cairo is truly worth visiting, Alexandria is just as special. The fresh sea breeze takes the edge off the warm Egyptian weather, and the wide streets give the entire city a bright, open feel that is unlike anywhere else in the country.
We think a visit to Alexandria is a must for anyone serious about seeing the best of Egypt, and we’d like to help you plan your trip there by providing you with many of the top things to see and do in Alexandria. If anything inspires you to travel with Mr & Mrs Egypt, consider our Custom Egypt Tours and please get in touch if you have any questions.
Built 285–246 BC, the Great Library of Alexandria was once the biggest library in the ancient world. In its time, it was regarded as the centre for learning, with scholars travelling there from all over the world.
Sadly, nothing but legends remain of this library. However, a modern library called Bibliotheca Alexandrina was built in its place. Constructed between 1995 and 2002, this stunning structure is a worthy homage to the Great Library.
If you’re a booklover, you have to add Bibliotheca Alexandrina to your itinerary.
Also referred to as the Citadel of Qaitbay, this fortress is built on the exact spot where the legendary Lighthouse of Alexandria used to stand. The lighthouse stood for over 1600 years before several earthquakes brought it down. However, many of the huge limestone bricks used to make it were repurposed in the construction of Fort Qaitbay — you can still see these huge chunks of limestone in Fort Qaitbay today!
Built in 1477, Fort Qaitbay was one of the most important strongholds on the Mediterranean Sea for several centuries until it was significantly damaged by the British forces in the Bombardment of Alexandria. It was then renovated in both the 19th and 20th centuries.
Montaza Palace and Gardens
The Montaza Palace and Gardens were built in 1892 by Khedive Abbas II, who was the last Muhammad Ali Dynasty ruler to hold the Khedive title. With a mixture of Florentine and ottoman styles, the palace is simply stunning, and its design is unlike any other palace we’ve ever seen.
However, it’s the gardens that draw in visitors from all over the world… Explore 150 acres of lush, immaculately kept gardens and forests. Montaza Palance is also a museum dedicated to the Muhammad Ali Dynasty.
One of the most wonderful things about visiting Alexandria is taking a stroll along the seaside, on the promenade, which is called The Corniche. This beautiful seaside promenade was designed by Pietro Avoscani in 1870 and it has been one of the most popular parts of the city ever since for both locals and visitors alike.
The entire Corniche runs from Fort Qaitbay to Montaza Palace. At 19km long, it makes for a gorgeous drive. You could start in Fort Qiatbey for a walking tour, drive the promenade, and then finish up in the Montaza Gardens.
Ras El Tin Palace
Ras El Tin Palace is one of the homes of Egypt’s president and it is the oldest Egyptian palace that is still in active use. The palace was completed in 1847 and has long been associated with Egyptian royalty — especially the Muhammad Ali dynasty.
The palace is great for history lovers but it’s architecture enthusiasts who tend to have the best time as the palace was built in the Italian Rennaissance style but with Baroque and Moorish accents. The result is a grand building with a distinctive European feel.
While it doesn’t have the ancient historical credentials of the other sights on this list, Stanley Bridge is a modern engineering marvel. It is the first Egyptian bridge to be built across the sea and it has quickly become one of the top landmarks in Alexandria.
At 400m long and 30m long, Stanley Bridge is huge. It is built in the classic Islamic style, which complements the royal palace in Al Montazah. Hundreds of cars and people cross Stanley Bridge each day, and you’ll notice locals fishing off the bridge on most days.
Stanley Bridge looks good from every angle, making it perfect for photo ops!
Abu Al-Abbas Al-Mursi Mosque
Close to Fort Qaitbay, you’ll find the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque. This incredible building was first built in 1307 to honour Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi, the famous Sufi saint from Al-Andalus during the Nasrid period.
Whilst the original building was built over seven centuries ago, different versions of the mosque have been built and rebuilt over the years; the current version Eugenio Valzania and Mario Rossi in the years 1929/1945. This newer version of the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque is clearly influenced by the Old Cairo architectural style.
There are many more places and sights worth considering as you plan your trip to Alexandria. However, in the name of brevity, we’ll stop this guide here. If you would like the best Alexandria vacation possible, consider our Egypt Tours. We can’t wait to show off everything this incredible city has to offer!