15 Unmissable Things to Do in Alexandria, Egypt

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Alexandria is a name that never fails to capture the imagination because this is one of the most historic and legendary cities in the Mediterranean.

This is Egypt’s second-largest city, a bustling, sprawling metropolis on the coast that was first founded by Alexander the Great, well over two thousand years ago. 

The city was the crown of many Empires in the region, from Greek and Roman, right through the to British colonial days. There are so many incredible layers of history and culture that are just waiting to be peeled back in Alexandria. 

Delve into the local souks, marvel at Pompey’s Column, and explore ancient ruins at every turn. It’s a fascinating place to visit, and to inspire your trip, here are the best things to do in Alexandria Egypt. 

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Egypt (Travel Guide) 

15 Things to Do in Alexandria, Egypt

1. Stroll the Alexandria Corniche 

Alexandria Corniche - things to do in Alexandria, Egypt

Get your bearings in this huge city – and with a population of well over 5 million, huge is probably an understatement! – by taking a stroll along the Alexandria Corniche.

This long walkway fronts the Mediterranean Sea and is the perfect way to get acquainted with the city. You can look across the water, where countless empire builders and tourists before you have stared in wonder at the legendary city of Alexandria. 

After a long walk, just jump into the local seafront cafes or bars to wind down and enjoy the atmosphere before you really start to delve into the city itself. 

2. Shop at the Alexandria Souk 

Alexandria Souk

One of the best things to do in Alexandria Egypt is to jump headfirst into the Souk District, where you’ll quickly become lost amongst the maze of shops and market stalls. 

This is Alexandria as it has been for thousands of years, a bustling marketplace place that attracts traders and visitors from across the Mediterranean, and these days, from across the world. 

Haggle hard in the shops, and you can come away with some bargains. Equally, the charm of the shopkeepers can just as quickly leave you with an empty wallet! 

3. Cross the Stanley Bridge 

Stanley Bridge is a 400 meter-long Egyptian monument, popular landmark of Alexandria, Egypt

Stanley Bridge is one of the most iconic sights in Alexandria, and walking across this wide work of exceptional engineering is a must-do while you are in the city. 

The 400-meter long bridge is complete with huge towers and plenty of viewing areas. It’s best seen at night, but it does get busy as half of Alexandria seems to turn up for a walk across the bridge. 

4. Visit the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt

One of the best things to do in Alexandria Egypt is to visit the legendary Bibliotheca Alexandrina. This is the modern rendition of the ancient Library of Alexandria, which was said to have held more knowledge and books than anywhere else in the ancient world. 

The ancient library was lost however when the city was burnt to the ground by Julius Ceasar during the wars with Rome. Although the scrolls and books were consigned to history and Alexandria fell from grace, the city’s reputation as a place for learning has never diminished. 

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a huge cultural project that pays homage to the ancient library but at the same operates as a marvelous place of learning in its own right.

Although it was only opened in 2002, the library has already amassed hundreds of thousands of books, while the museums on site see thousands of visitors passing through their doors each week.

5. Wander the Antiquities Museum  

Antiquities Museum

One of those museums at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is the Antiquities Museum, and it’s a great place to learn more about the city and its place in the ancient Mediterranean world. 

The focus of the museum is the time of Alexander the Great when the city itself was first founded by the infamous conqueror who would rule what was most of the known world at the time. 

There is a great selection of artifacts and Archeological finds which are on display, and it’s easily one of the best museums and one of the best things to do in Alexandria Egypt. 

6. See the Alexandria National Museum

Alexandria National Museum 

Another great museum to visit while you are delving into the city’s history is the excellent Alexandria National Museum. 

The museum is housed in a historic mansion in Alexandria, and it gives visitors a detailed insight into the sprawling history of Egypt through the ages. 

You start with the eponymous Egyptian Pharaohs, before learning about the Greek and Roman era when Alexandria was founded, before then moving through the Christian and Islamic eras into the modern-day. It’s a whirlwind journey through history, but a fascinating journey to be part of. 

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7. Discover Pompey’s Pillar 

Pompey's Pillar - things to do in Alexandria

Although it became a city of iconic status in the Mediterranean, little actually remains on the surface of the original ancient city founded by the Greeks. 

One lasting structure you can see though is the world-famous column known as Pompey’s Pillar. 

Standing at 26 meters tall, this was one of the largest columns in the world, of a size to rival those in Rome itself. Despite the name, the column actually had nothing to do with Pompey and was erected several hundred years after his rule ended, in the 3rd century AD. 

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8. Visit Cleopatra’s Palace

Nothing can quite beat the Ruins of Cleopatra’s Palace in Alexandria, and not just because this is an incredibly important Archeological site, but because the ruins are actually Underwater. 

Nowhere else shows visitors the scale of change that has swept through Alexandria through the ages more than Cleopatra’s Palace. She was the infamous last Queen of the city and met her demise at the hands of the Romans. 

Her once glorious palace was destined to be swept beneath the waves after a huge earthquake struck the coast, an ignoble end to the last Queen of Egypt’s legacy. 

Today, you can join Scuba diving tours that head into the harbor to explore the fascinating underwater ruins. 

9. Marvel at the Abu Abbas al-Mursi Mosque 

Abu Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Alexandria, Egypt

To see the more modern, Islamic side of Alexandria then take a trip to the iconic Abu Abbas al-Mursi Mosque. 

Okay, so it’s not exactly new, as the mosque itself dates back mostly to the 18th century, and it was built over the sacred tomb of a revered Sufi figure. It is, however, much newer than the ancient sites of Alexandria! 

10. Tour the Citadel of Qaitbay 

Citadel of Qaitbay

The Citadel of Qaitbay is another of the best things to do in Alexandria Egypt, and it will give you the chance to again explore the city’s more recent history. 

Recent in this instance is the 15th century when the fortress was constructed by Sultan Qaitbay to guard the entrance to the important harbor at Alexandria. 

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11. See the Gardens at Montaza Palace 

Montaza Palace 

The Montaza Palace is one of the best things to do in Alexandria because the opulent palaces and exquisite gardens are beautiful to explore. 

This huge complex dates back to the late 19th century and it was then extended and used by Egyptian rulers and presidents through the 20th century. 

The gardens are the most impressive part of the Montaza Palace, with a colorful collection of flora and a sandy beach to stroll along too. 

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12. See the Stunning Ras El-Tin Palace 

Another exquisite palace to visit in Alexandria is the Ras El-Tin Palace. This grand Royal Palace is found along the shores of the Mediterranean and is one of the most iconic landmarks on the city’s skyline. 

The Palace dates to 1847 and has been at the forefront of Egypt’s tumultuous political events through the last two centuries. 

13. Go Underground into the Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa 

Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa in Egypt

One of the best things to do in Alexandria Egypt is to visit the Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa. 

This labyrinth of underground burial chambers dates back to the Roman era and is unique because it contains incredible examples of the merging of Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures in the 2nd Century AD. 

There is a fantastic wealth of tombs and relics, complete with artistic and religious inscriptions and carvings that offer a detailed insight into life in Alexandria during ancient times. 

14. Ponder History at Kom el-Dikka 

Kom el-Dikka in Alexandria, Egypt

Kom el-Dikka is another Roman-era Archeological site, that for centuries remained completely unknown to the residents who lived above the ruins. 

Numerous excavations unearthed such historic gems as a Roman amphitheater and lavish villas because the area turned out to have been one of the wealthiest places in ancient Alexandria. 

Today it’s a unique place, with a mixture of new developments and ancient ruins to explore, and it’s probably the best place in the city where you can really begin to appreciate the number of layers of heritage that are just waiting to be discovered under the surface. 

15. Soak Up the Sun at Mamoura Beach  

Mamoura Beach Egypt - Things to do in Alexandria

Most travelers don’t visit Alexandria for the beaches, and the city hardly has a reputation as a beach holiday destination, but don’t forget that you are right on the sunny shores of the Mediterranean. 

Alexandria has a surprising number of beaches within easy reach of the city center and one of the nicest, and cleanest, is Mamoura Beach. 

Here you’ll find a busy stretch of sand and pebbles that are still surprisingly separate from the city itself. It’s a great escape from Alexandria, and you can sit in the sun and watch the waves lap against the shore. 

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Unmissable Things to Do in Alexandria, Egypt


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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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