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10 Essential things to see in Alexandria

Alexandria is the second most important city to visit in Egypt. The city has a storied past that goes back to when the city was founded in 331 B.C. Alexandria is nicknamed "The Pearl of the Egyptian Mediterranean", the city is beautiful and has many interesting places to visit.

To know the essential places of Alexandria you will not need more than 2 days / 1 night.

In this post I talk about the 10 essential places to see in Alexandria, I add tips on where to stay, interesting guided tours that will help you learn more about the history of the city and some curiosities.

que hacer en Alejandria


1. Visit the Citadel of Quaitbay

The Quaitbay citadel is a defensive fortress that was built in the 15th century (quite recent if we compare it with all the essential monuments to see in Egypt). And without a doubt, it is the most essential place to see in Alexandria.

The Citadel is located on the island of Faro, in the port. And while the citadel was important, what was below it was even more important: the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. (Currently no longer exists).

The lighthouse fulfilled its function even until the Arab conquest. After several earthquakes, the structure of the lighthouse was left in very poor condition and, finally, in the 14th century, another earthquake ended up destroying the entire lighthouse.

In the year 1477, Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa'it Bay ordered the construction of the fortress as part of his defensive project against the Ottoman Empire, which threatened the country. The fortress ceased to have this function in 1882 and in the 20th century it was restored several times to house the Museum of Naval History, the Oceanographic Museum of Alexandria.

There are no informative signs, so if you only visit it without a guide it is impossible for you to find out its history.

The best way to get to know the city, its history and learn more about the Hellenistic, Roman and Egyptian cultures, is by booking a guided tour of Alexandria.

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2. National Museum of Alexandria

The National Museum of Alexandria is located in the Palace of Governor Al-Saad Bassili, which was built in 1926. The Palace is beautiful, it is a mansion built in an Italian style in an intense white tone. The Museum houses an extensive collection of more than 1,800 objects where the history of the city and the country is explained through them. It is divided into three floors and on each of them, there are exhibitions from a period in history.

3. The Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria is one of the most essential places to see in the city. I personally love them.

The Library of Alexandria was the largest royal library in the world in ancient times. It was founded in the 3rd century BC approximately and had around 950,000 manuscripts. A treasure that, if it continued to be preserved, would be an important piece of human history.

Alexander the Great arrived and conquered Egypt with the idea that Alexandria would be a city of wisdom and that it would enlighten the entire world with knowledge. But, unfortunately, a series of natural disasters, arson and conflicts destroyed the entire library.

It was not until 1987 that the project for the new library was made, in honor of the previous one. This new library was promoted by UNESCO and financially supported by many countries. Finally, in 2002 it was opened to the public.

4. The archaeological site of Kom el Dekka

This archaeological site is an old residential area from the Greco-Roman era. During the excavation, the parts of this neighborhood can be distinguished: the baths, the cisterns, some villas and even a small amphitheatre. Without a doubt, it is one of the unexpected places to see in Alexandria.

5. The Catacombs of Kom el Shogafa

The Catacombs of Kom el Shogafa are an underground funerary complex made up of a series of tunnels, tombs, funerary chambers and galleries excavated in the rock. These tombs date back to the 1st century AD. during the Roman period and were used until the 4th century, then abandoned.

The Catacombs are divided into three levels. The innermost level is the oldest level and contains a series of simple tombs. The middle level is the largest of the three and its tombs are more elaborate, and finally, the upper level is the most recent level and contains several modern tombs, with a style very different from the previous ones.

6. Abou El Abbas El Morsy Mosque

Abou El Abbas El Morsy Mosque is the most important mosque in Alexandria. It is located on the seafront. The original mosque is from the 13th century, although throughout history it has been rebuilt on several occasions, due to earthquakes, looting...

7. Pompey's Pillar

Pompey's Column is the largest such column built outside the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople. It is a column almost 27 meters high with a diameter of 2.7 meters at the base. It was built in 291 AD. with a single block of Aswan red granite and is estimated to weigh around 285 tons.

The name of the Column is “wrong”. Since the name is due to a medieval legend that states that the column was built to commemorate the assassination of the Roman general Pompey in the year 48 BC. However, this legend has no historical basis or anything to prove it. Therefore, it is really unknown why it is called Pompey's Column.

8. The Alexandria waterfront

After visiting the city, a good place to eat and take a leisurely stroll is the Paseo Marítimo. It is a place full of life, with families walking around, children playing ball on the beach, fishermen on the shore... In addition, there are many restaurants that serve fresh fish at very affordable prices.

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9. The Montaza Palace

One of the most beautiful places to see in Alejandria is the Montaza Palace. It is an old palace that today houses a museum and beautiful gardens. It was built in the year 1892, by order of Khedive Abbas II.

10. Beaches of Alexandria

If you feel like adding a day at the beach to your trip to Egypt, in Alexandria you have beaches where you can enjoy the sun and good weather. You must bear in mind that there are public beaches, generally full of children playing or fishermen, and private beaches where it is necessary to pay an entrance fee. The best option is Mamoura beach.

With some hotels, if you are a guest, you have access included.


Alexandria is a relatively small city and getting around is quite easy. You have the option of public buses or getting around by taxi. A good alternative is to stay near the beach. So you will have beautiful views of the sea and you can enjoy the promenade, full of cafes and restaurants.

Some great accommodation options in Alexandria:


I hope you enjoy your trip to Egypt a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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