Alexandria is beautiful and one of the cleanest cities in Egypt – but that’s about it. Some call it the Athens of Africa, as it was primarily built by Alexander the Great. The architecture in some areas is breathtaking; statues and other forms of art adorn the corniche and the two long main streets that make up the coastal city. But a holiday in Alexandria can get boring quickly – especially if you’ve been to Cairo before – as it is quite small and two-dimensional, so it’s best to save this destination for a weekend visit as opposed to a full-fledged summer vacation.
It is very much the kind of city where you can simply walk around and take it all in. One of the few attractions you should make it a point to visit is Montazah Palace, which is surrounded by gardens and enclosed by a grand gate to include private beaches and picnic areas. Aida beach in the Montazah area is an excellent place to while away a whole afternoon under the sun.
On the other side of town, you’ll find the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th century defensive fortress that now houses a museum and is set against a great view of the Mediterranean. Because the citadel is so popular with tourists and locals alike, the adjacent coast has been established where the public can have tea and shisha 24 hours a day, and several recreational facilities have set up nearby, including the Greek club, the yacht club and an aquarium.
On that side of the horizontal coastline city, you’ll also find the Roman Theatre, the Bibliothica Alexandrina and the downtown areas of Alexandria where you can walk forever through vast markets and busy streets ideal for shopping and buying souvenirs.
For true Alexandrian gastronomical delight, take the time to drive (or take a taxi; they’re quite inexpensive) to a neighbourhood called Abou Eer, a little out of town past Montazah Palace, and find a seafood restaurant called Zephrion.
The beautiful Alexandria