Alexandria

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Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city (3.5 million people), 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.

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  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
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  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
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  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
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  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
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  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Alexandria

Historical monuments

  • Citadel of Qaitbay, Ras el-Tin (yellow tram #25),  +20-3-4809144. 9AM-4PM. 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 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 11thcentury 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 castle looking citadel was built as a prison for princes and state-man. Now it’s a Maritime Museum. LE 25, LE 15 (student).

  • 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." Catacombs- LE 35, LE 20 (student)..

  • Pompey's Pillar, Karmouz. An ancient monument, this 25-meter-high granite column was constructed in honor of the 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. LE 20, LE 15 (student).
  • 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. LE 15 foreigner/2 Egyptian.
  • 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 a entrance fee for the park. LE 5.
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Mansheya. Egypt has a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honoring it's military.
  • Ras el-Tin Palace, Ras el-Tin. Not open to visitors, alas.
  • Presidential Palace, Montazah.

Museums

  • Alexandria National Museum, Latin quarter,  +20-3-4835519 or +20-3- 4838035. .History Museum with more than 1800 archaeological 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. Closed for renovation since 2008
  • 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 metres.
  • Attarine Mosque, Attarine. Originally a church dedicated to the 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 Tuesday 11 AM to 7:00 PM, but opens only at 3 PM on Friday and Saturday. A huge modern library and research center constructed on 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 (LE 40) and other special exhibitions (free). LE 10 (non-Egyptians), LE 5 (student).
  • Corniche. The Corniche is a glorious 15km walkway (wharf/pier/boardwalk) along the harbour dotted with restaurants, markets and historic sights.

Montazah Palace

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Montazah Beach

Abul-Abbas Mosque

Manshia Square

Qaitbay Fortress

Unknown Soldier

Stanly Bridge

Roman Theatre

St. Mark\'s Coptic Cathedral

Lake Maryut

Terbana Mosque

Pompey\'s Pillar

Shallalat Gardens

Graeco-Roman Museum

Attarine Mosque

Alexandria Stadium

Royal Jewellery Museum

Ras el-Tin Palace

Western Harbour

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About Alexandria

History

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 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.

Climate

Alexandria has a hot desert climate (BWh), but highly influenced by sea breeze, with sunny hot humid summers and mild moderately wet 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.

Activities

  • Sunbathe at the Maa'moura Beach or Montazah Beach. During summer the beaches are packed with Egyptian tourists, parasols and plastic chairs and it will cost LE 5 (2008) to get in. At this time the sand and water may have some throwaway plastic floating around. Some areas charge LE 20 and it will get you more space.
  • 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 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. Seat can vary from 25 LE - 500 LE depending on the section of seating. 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. 25-500 LE.
  • 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.

Cinemas

  • Al-Amirate Cinema -B W (Address: Montazah Palace, P. O. Box 258, Alexandria; +20-35-477999), Enjoy with us the best of movies with dinner in a splendid atmosphere of elegance and luxury in Al-Amirate Cinema. The Cinema is located at the El-Salamlek Palace Hotel in Alexandria.
  • Royal Alexandria (Address: Fouad Street, Downtown, Alexandria; 012 2275493/4), This movie theater in Alexandria is owned by the same people who run the Renaissance theaters in Cairo. There are three screens, with surround sound and all options. Midnight shows are daily.
  • Cineplex ... green plaza semouha .. 10 screens .. tickets price 25 LE ... 3D movies available

Bookshops

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. See also below in "Buy".

  • 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 9 am to midnight.
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina Bookshop, El Shatby. Open daily 9am to 7pm. 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.

Sports

  • Alexandria Sporting Club (right in the heart of Alexandria). Built in 1898 and used during the British occupation, the Alexandria Sporting Club is one of the oldest sporting clubs in Egypt. Today, the golf course stands on 97 feddans, 97 percent of which constitutes the total club area. It is a flat course with tricky bunkers and can be played by beginners as well as experts. The club also features four restaurants, the Club House Restaurant being the most luxurious, and the Happy Land restaurant serving the children's playground. It also offers party catering.
  • Smouha Sporting Club, Smouha. International Hockey Stadium, many swimming pools, a number of soccer fields, two running tracks and many more. Members and guests only.
  • Rent scuba gear from Alexandra Dive [1] and dive through the East Harbour's ancient remains. Be prepared for poor visibility, nonexistent safety procedures and total disregard for historical artifacts though.
  • Go swimming in the Country Club or Lagoon Resort, in front of Carrefour.
  • Go dancing at the Centre Rezodanse - Egypte (downtown Alexandria, 15 Sezostris Street, in front of Banque du Caire). This cultural centre offers regular classes in Ballet, Flamenco, Contemporary dance and Egyptian Folkloric Dance. Special workshops with guest teachers are also available, as well as punctual cultural happenings (exhibitions, book signing, ...). Tamarin Centre (Kafr Abdou Street, next to Concrete Shop) offers regular dance and fitness sessions (Salsa, Tango, Aerobics, Fitness, Yoga, etc.). Both centres offer a wide range of activities suitable for adults and children.

Food

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

Budget

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, and indeed the country; it is a sort of Egyptian McDonald's.
  • 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.
  • Shabaan Fish Restaurant, Shabaan, Al Mansheyah Al Kubra, Qesm Al Mansheyah, Alexandria,  4841629-4817660-4866366. Seafood 1kg fish for 50-70EGP.
  • 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. A further advantage for tourists is that the management takes compliance with hygiene laws very seriously, and there is little risk of contracting traveler's diarrhea here (unlike many similar establishments). 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". The ice cream can cost froom 1-5 LE.
  • Corn on the cob (dorra mashwey), available at street vendors lining the Corniche.
  • Koshary, the Egyptian national dish, may be found in restaurants across the city. Koshary topped with kibda Iskandarani—Alexandria-style liver with peppers—is a local tradition.

Mid-range

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 specialing in local grills like shwarma (10 LE) and set meals of kebab/kofta, fries and salad (25 LE).
  • 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 are 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 Balbaa locations in Alexandria and in the whole country. The first one is in Sidi Bishr near the intersection of Sidi Bishr Mosque and Malak Hefny Streets (next to the Montaza District headquarters and Sidi Bishr urban rail/Microbus station) and the second one is in the "Downtown" shopping area on the outskirts of the city. People tend to like the one in "Downtown" more, although the Sidi Bishr location is older; both locations are good, however. It has been known for its delicious traditional Egyptian meat and poultry dishes and especially kofta; they also dabble in dishes from the Gulf. It has also a seafood section and the seafood soup is just amazing. About 100 L.E per person.

Splurge

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 Lebanse dining experience with delicious mezze dishes. Caters well for vegetarians. Good wine list with 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. Allow a minimum of 250 EGP per person. The highlight: an expansive view of the Mediterranean. 250 LE per person.
  • 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. 150 LE per person.
  • 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. 50-150 L.E. per person.
  • La Veranda, 46 Saad Zaghloul. (Inside Patisserie Delices),  +20-3-4861432. Conveniently located in "Old" Alexandria - Downtown Alexandria near 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. It is also the only place in town serving Ouzo. 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. 100 LE per person.
  • 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. L.E. 50.- per person.
  • 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, savour 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. 100 LE per person.

  • 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 ambience. Seats 60. Specialties: Risotto and fresh pasta. Formal or Smart Casual. Possibly the best restaurant in Alexandria. 300 LE per person.
  • 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. 11:30AM – 3:00AM. With its bright, colourful 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. 150 LE per person.

  • 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 flavours 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. Seats 66 200 LE per person.
  • Ottimo, Kafr Abdou 3 (next to Ole restaurant). Nice restaurant with veranda

Drinks

Bars

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 travellers 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. LE 11 for a Stella.
  • Mermaid Bar - Little and nice bar with good view to the sea. Prices on beer are moderate; hard liquor is more expensive. At night the upper storey has a dance floor featuring Western and Arabic music. The bar is frequented by foreign (particularly American) Arabic language students at Alexandria University.
  • 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 nit signposted in English but it is easy to recognize it by fruites hanging around. Marvelous juices fron ashta, guava, strawberry and more others for 5-8 pounds for a big glass.

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 chain of liquor stores, with one shop 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. 5:00PM – 3:00AM. 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. 4:00PM–2:00AM. Serves cocktails, snacks and tapas-style food, and shisha (flavoured tobacco). Fresh sea breezes and a cascade of water on the terrace add to the summer feel of this seasonal outdoor lounge (open only in the summer). The terrace commands stunning views over the blue waters of the Mediterranean, making it a good spot to watch the sunset. Seats 37. 100 LE per person.

Cafes

  • 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 (Saad Zaghloul Street (in front of the Stock Market)),  34865059. The Brazilian Coffee Shop originates from the large wave of immigration that occurred from the Levant to Latin America (in the early 20th century). This coffee shop still maintains its original 1920s interior. The coffee is relatively expensive, but tasty. Medium latte LE 7.5. 8 LE.
  • Clay Cafe, 156 Omar Lotfy St. (Near Small Sporting Tram station). Free wi-fi, although you should buy at least a token coffee so as not to piss off the staff. Food and drink is mostly Western but reasonably-priced for a traveler (typically 15-25 LE for food, 5-15 for drinks). Smoothies are particularly good.
  • 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 — although LE 14 for what is essentially a bowl of sweet cornflour pudding is little steep. The food is also good and slightly more reasonably priced, try the moussaka for LE 13.
  • 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, e-mail: club21.2000@gmail.com. Open from 9AM to 4AM. A nice place to visit, friendly staff, tasty food and drinks with an average price of LE 15 for an average meal and LE 8 for beverages.

Shisha is available at 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)

In addition to local options, there's a Starbucks in San Stefano Grand Plaza and a Costa Coffee near Stanley Bridge.

Coffee shops

The humble ahwa, serving up coffee, tea and shisha (water pipe) is an Egyptian tradition and there are plenty to be found in Alexandria as well. Try a puff, play a little backgammon or dominoes, and watch the world pass by. These are largely a male domain though, and women will rarely been seen in them.

  • El-Farook, Bahary.
  • El-Sman, Bahary.

Clubs

  • Alegria 03-3822797. Alegria is the newest hip Restaurant/ Lounge in Alexandria. Pre-reservation is a must and can only be done by their customers on their SELECTED GUEST LIST. On a regular around 400 people show up. Alegria can be booked for private parties, birthdays, cocktails, receptions and small occasions. Many of Alexandria's wealthy and famous show up to this lounge. min charge 120LE.
  • San Giovanni Club, 205 El Gueish Ave.,  20-3-5467775. 10:30 PM - 4:00 AM. Live Music, Famous Singers, Oriental Dancers, and World Famous show stars
  • Montreal - Club & Bar. Hotel Azur - Downstairs. Named after the Canadian city, Montreal is a nightclub which offers food and drinks. Drinks go from 25 LE to 50 LE. Watch your bill as they may add a few extra items. If not, they will ask for "additional" tips.

Shopping

Many places seem to follow set shopping hours. Winter: Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 9AM-10PM, Mon and Thurs 9AM-11AM. During Ramadan, hours vary, with shops often closing on Sunday. Summer: Tues, Wed, Fri-Sun 9AM-12:30PM and 4-12:30 PM.

In the commercial districts, there will often be vendors of one product or class of products clustered along a street; for instance Nabi Danial is noted for booksellers and vendors of electrical supplies and electronic equipment.

  • 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.

Shopping malls

  • Carrefour City Center. Shopping mall with 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's 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.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Alexandria on Wikivoyage.

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