Eco-friendly travel guide to Alexandria advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Alexandria, Egypt.
- Air quality: 3 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 2.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 2 / 5
- Public transportation: 4 / 5
- Parks: 3 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$ 10 - $ 400
- Budget per day: US$ 50 - $ 700
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Alexandria is a Mediterranean port city in Egypt. It is the second-largest city and a major economic center. The city is the largest city on the Mediterranean, the sixth-largest city in the Arab world, and the ninth-largest in Africa. Alexandria is on the northern coast of Egypt along the Mediterranean Sea and is a popular tourist destination, and also an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. There are several ways to ensure responsible travel in Alex, with some being:
- Support local businesses
- Use public transport
- Buy local
- Avoid unnecessary packaging, especially plastic
Air Quality and Pollution
The air quality in Alexandria is relatively low, but it is generally acceptable for most individuals. However, sensitive groups may experience minor to moderate symptoms from long-term exposure. The high air pollution levels are primarily caused by homes, automobile traffic, manufacturing, and power plants. Sand and desert dust can add to air pollution. The tiny particles of some of the contaminants irritate the eyes, nose, and respiratory system.
The primary cause of water pollution in the city is the sewage system. There has been a massive increase in the city's population, accompanied by a massive increase in urbanization and industrialization and, therefore, discharges. Sewage wastes from the northern side of this city are discharged into the coastal Mediterranean Sea water, including the Eastern Harbour. Those from the southern side are dumped into Lake Mariut. Therefore, these water sources have suffered from a large amount of different untreated pollutants.
Respect the Culture
There are many other cultural expectations that you could research before visiting the city. The majority of Egyptians are Muslim, and Islam's tenets guide Egyptian politics, economic activity, and social life. An Egyptian's loyalty to his family is paramount, with his ties to immediate and extended family trumping all other bonds and obligations. Also, Egyptians remove their shoes before entering a home, and complimenting the host on his residence is considered common courtesy. Lastly, a gift of flowers is a faux pas, as they are reserved for weddings and sick people.There are many other cultural expectations that you could research before visiting the city. The majority of Egyptians are Muslim, and Islam's tenets guide Egyptian politics, economic activity, and social life. An Egyptian's loyalty to his family is paramount, with his ties to immediate and extended family trumping all other bonds and obligations. Also, Egyptians remove their shoes before entering a home, and complimenting the host on his residence is considered common courtesy. Lastly, a gift of flowers is a faux pas, as they are reserved for weddings and sick people.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Alexandria is an exciting tourist attraction that is visited by many people each year. Alexandria was an important city of the ancient world, and for more than two thousand years, it was the largest city in Egypt and was its capital for almost half of that time. There are numerous historic and contemporary sites across the city that people can check out as they explore and experience Egyptian tradition and culture. It is impossible to select where you should go and what to ignore as the city is, in a word, magnificent. Below is a list of the top ten places to visit:
- The Citadel of Qaitbay: A 15th-century defensive fortress located on the eastern side of the northern tip of Pharaohs Island at the mouth of the Eastern Harbour on the Mediterranean sea coast, in Alexandria. The Citadel is breath-taking and has an incredible view of the Mediterranean. This is an important historical landmark and is a great place to visit for both Egyptians and non-Egyptians. It was carefully preserved for future generations to appreciate the former heritage. If you go there when the weather is lovely, you can enjoy a boat ride. There are numerous vendors where you can buy handmade stuff at reasonable prices. There's an aquarium and a museum inside too. The area can get crowded, especially on Friday and Saturday. There is an entrance fee, but it's worth it.
- The Bibliotheca Alexandrina: It is a major library and cultural center on the Mediterranean Seashore in Alexandria's Egyptian city. The library is both a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier center of study and education represented. The library has shelf space for eight million books and is the top-visited place by tourists in Alexandria. There is a museum in the library, and you can request a tour guide if you want a detailed tour of the entire building. Also, you can pick up your favorite book and sit and read it. The place is quiet as noise is forbidden, most students study there. The complex also houses a conference center, specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, to name a few. The entrance fee is relatively low. Be prepared to spend a lot of time exploring.
- The catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa: A historical, archaeological site that is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. The cemetery consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues, and archaeological objects of the Pharaonic funeral cult with Hellenistic and early Imperial Roman influences. Many of the features of the catacombs merge Roman, Greek, and Egyptian cultural points. There is a circular staircase, which was often used to transport deceased bodies down the middle of it, and it leads down into the tombs that were tunneled into the bedrock. The catacombs give a taste of the city's Greco-roman origin and how the ancient Egyptian religion coexisted with the roman one. Most drivers hardly ever know it, so you need to use the location on maps to get there. There is a strict no cameras rule, but you can take pictures with your phone.
- Montaza Palace: It is a palace, museum, and extensive gardens in the Montaza district of Alexandria built on a low plateau overlooking a beach on the Mediterranean Sea. The landscape is lovely, and there are many green areas to have a picnic or take a walk. The park is also clean and well taken care of. The Palace is surrounded by a lot of smaller buildings and many gardens and parks. The royal gardens are open to visit whether by car or on foot for a small ticket fee. There are some cafes and restaurants inside that sell snacks or drinks. There is also a water sports club inside the place few steps after the bridge, where you can access the marine and the beach with a private membership or even rent a yacht or a speed boat trip.
- The Alexandria National Museum: It is a museum in a building used to be home to the United States consulate. The collection is small but is a perfect representation of several eras of Egyptian history. To enjoy the tour properly, you should start with the basement first, where you can see several samples from different periods of ancient Egypt, then move up from there where you will see a sample of the golden age of Alexandria. The museum presents a general image of Egyptian history, and the only problem is the concise description and information about the exhibit. The museum rarely gets crowded. There are an entrance fee and an extra fee for photography.
- The Port of Alexandria: It is on the West Verge of the Nile Delta between the Mediterranean Sea and Mariut Lake in Alexandria and is considered the main port in Egypt. Alexandria port consists of two harbors separated by a T-shaped peninsula. The East harbor is shallow and is not navigable by large vessels, while the West harbor is used for commercial shipping. The harbor contains many big yards. Several gates are dedicated to more giant trucks and a train line connected to the rest of Egypt. There are also fishing boats that bring fish early in the morning.
- The Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque: An Egyptian mosque dedicated to the 13th century Murcian Andalusi Sufi saint Abul Abbas al-Mursi, whose tomb it contains. The Mosque was redesigned and built in today's current form and was highly influenced by Egypt's Old Cairo buildings and architecture. The Mosque is massive with authentic and weathered decorations inside, and it is one of the oldest Mosques in the city. It is also considered one of the most important Islamic historical site in Alexandria. There is a huge and comfortable prayer hall, and the entire building is well-managed. As is the norm, men and women enter separately. All-in-all, this is a peaceful place, and the people are amicable.
- Alexandria Aquarium: A small aquarium in Alexandria that exhibits many species from the Mediterranean and Red Seas around Egypt and some freshwater species from the Nile and the Amazon. The animals on display range from fish to crustaceans and turtles. The Aquarium is also home to the Marine Research Institute. The is a small woman attached to the Aquarium that holds samples of preserved sea creatures from the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Amazon and the skeleton of a gigantic whale and a mythical mermaid statue. The Aquarium receives thousands of visitors every year from all over the world, and it is excellent for family outings. The tickets are cheap.
- Ancient Roman Amphitheater: It is the ruins of a Roman theater and villa that dates back to the second century AD and is the only Roman amphitheater in Egypt. There is a lot to see in the theatre and also some good descriptions to read. The complex also contains a university, shops, and a residential complex with water reservoirs. It contains the remarkable villa of birds with its iconic mosaic floors. The amphitheater is a normal Roman one, like the rest found in different cities where the Romans used to be. There are some mosaic drawings worth seeing there as well. It is important to note that you are not allowed to touch the ancient monuments. There are many great photo opportunities, which is great since cameras are not restricted. The best time to visit the area is around 2 pm as the sun is going down.
- Stanley: It is a neighborhood near the city center that is most famous for the iconic Stanley Bridge on the Corniche and its private-access beach. The bridge has a total length of 400 meters. The beach is such a beautiful place to spend time with your friends and family members. The place is spacious, airy, quiet, and pleasant. This is a great place to spend time with family and friends as the environment is just relaxing and serene. There is also a great view of the beautiful sunset.
Alexandria in Egypt is worth a visit as it has a stunning waterfront view and is a refuge from the chaos of big cities in the country. Alexandria was an important city of the ancient world for more than two thousand years; it was the largest city in Egypt and was its capital for almost half of that time. The city has a rich history, and during the Hellenistic period, it was home to a lighthouse ranking among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and a vast library. Today the library is reincarnated in the disc-shaped ultramodern Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The city also has Greco-Roman landmarks, old-world cafes, and sandy beaches. These are just some of the amazing areas found in the city.
Antoniades Garden is a historical botanical garden with lavish greenery and even greater architecture. The place is quiet and relaxing and would be even better if it was well taken care of. The ticket is very cheap, and anyone can afford it. The park is the perfect place for a group or family picnic, although it is even better for art or architecture students. There are no food outlets in the park, so you should bring your food. It is also important to be careful and avoid going too deep into the park as it's a bit dangerous the more you go deep in.
There are no national parks inside the city.
- Montazah Beach: It is a gorgeous beach with a mix of green areas with the blue sea that will put you in a good mood. There are many green spaces and a fantastic view of the sea. There is an unbelievable view of the sunset, and this is the best time to take gorgeous pictures. Better to stay till the sunset and take nice pictures. The beach is well managed with restaurants, gardens, and ample parking space. The beach is along the presidential Palace and the Helnan hotel. It is an excellent place for family and friends for a lovely weekend or holiday on the beach as there are various activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
- Stanley beach: It is a private access beach that is a beautiful place to spend time with your friends and family members. The place is spacious, airy, quiet, and pleasant. There is also a water sports club inside the place few steps after the bridge, where you can access the marine and the beach with a private membership or even rent a yacht or a speed boat trip.
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria: It was built to commemorate Alexander the great and was the city's main symbol and is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The structure was built in the 4th century BC and was the first of its kind globally. After its completion, the lighthouse was second only to the Giza Pyramids. The height of the lighthouse was about 30 meters. Unlike many other ancient buildings, the Lighthouse of Alexandria had an essential purpose as it helped ships pass a reef located at the entrance to the bay. The initial lighthouse was severely damaged during an earthquake and turned into a mighty fortress, which Alexandria's guests can see today.
- Pompey's pillar: It is the name given to a Roman triumphal column in Alexandria set up in honor of Augustus Diocletian. The pillar is 21 meters tall and stands beside the ruins of the temple of Serapis. There no path that goes up the hill to see the sphinxes close up. It was carved with a single block of red Aswan granite to commemorate the victory of the Roman emperor Diocletian over an Alexandrian revolt. The tunnels below this structure can be unlocked by tipping the guard to unveil a god Serapis's statue in the shape of a bull.
- Mohamed Ali Pasha Statue: It is a very well-crafted statue that shows a man riding his horse, representing Mohamed Ali, Military ruler of Egypt, Sudan, and few other areas around in the 19th century. Mohamed Ali is very famous and known for the castle's slaughter, where he decimated all his competitors to power and maintained full control of the country at his time. The statue is located in a public, commercial Square, and it is not easy to find a parking spot.
- The Graeco-Roman Museum: It is an archaeological museum and is one of the most beautiful museums in Alexandria. The museum contains several pieces dating from the Greco-Roman era in the 3rd century BC, such as Apis's sculpture in black granite, the sacred bull of the Egyptians, mummies, sarcophagus, tapestries, and other objects offering a view of Greco-Roman civilization in contact with ancient Egypt. The museum's collection is the product of donations from wealthy Alexandrians and excavations led by successive directors of the institution, both within the town and in its environs. The museum was constructed to preserve the monuments discovered in Alexandria.
- The Royal Jewellery Museum: It is an art and history museum in the Zizenia neighborhood of Alexandria in the former Palace of Princess Fatma Al-Zahra. The building's halls contain an inestimable collection of jewels and jewelry of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, 19th-century paintings, statues, and decorative arts. There is a remarkable collection of Royal Family jewelry. The Palace is renovated and well taken care of. Children need to be kept in control as they are not allowed to touch the displays. There is a magnificent garden that is well maintained. The staff is friendly and nice. Also, you can take lots of photos.
- The Alexandria National Museum: It is a museum in a building used to be home to the United States consulate. The collection is small but is an outstanding representation of several eras of Egyptian history. To enjoy the tour properly, you should start with the basement first, where you can see several samples from different periods of ancient Egypt, and then move up from there where you will see a sample of Alexandria's golden age. The museum presents a general image of Egyptian history, and the only problem is the concise description and information about the exhibit. The museum rarely gets crowded. There are an entrance fee and an extra fee for photography.
Most of the food in Alexandria tends to use a great deal of fish and other seafood. For the most part, Egyptian cuisine is based on food that grows out of the ground. Egyptian cuisine relies heavily on legume and vegetable dishes and can be considered conducive to a vegetarian diet. There are several traditional Egyptian food found in Alexandria. Egyptian food is not yet that popular globally, so you might not come across it in other countries. This simply means that you must try as many dishes as you can while in Alexandria. Trying various local dishes is one of the best things about being a tourist as you get to experience multiple dishes that you probably could never come across anywhere else. Several restaurants and street vendors sell different dishes that you could try, whether it is out of curiosity or so that you can have a story to tell later.
Traditional Local Restaurants
One of the best things about traveling worldwide is trying the various local cuisines available in that area. In most cases, traditional restaurants are the best place to experience local foods' taste, and maybe even a bit of the culture behind said dishes. There are many Egyptian restaurants in Alexandria that you should try. Below is a list of the most famous traditional local restaurants in the city.
- Asmak Shaaban Restaurant: It is a great place to eat fish, and the simplicity of the old decorations is the most attractive and unique thing in this Egyptian style place. Their food is beyond delicious, and their prices are inexpensive. The restaurant is relatively popular, and so, most of the time, it is very crowded with people who want to eat the restaurant’s delicacies. When it is very crowded, you may wait sometime before you can have a seat or be served. It is possible to make a reservation to avoid disappointments. The sign and menu are only in Arabic, but you can ask for it to be translated for you.
- Abd El Wahab Village : This one provides some of the best Egyptian food you can try. The restaurant serves a fantastic and well-sought after kebab with almost all kinds of meat and the best Egyptian salad. You may also want to try their fatteh and grilled chicken, which tastes fantastic. The restaurant has a homely feeling, and as soon as you enter, you will immediately feel relaxed and at home. The prices are reasonable and affordable.
- Foul Mohamed Ahmed: It is the home of authentic Egyptian food. The restaurant is self-service, and you can pick your falafel, fried cheese, and salads, among other specialties. Many people, both local and tourists, come here especially for the foul; a breakfast dish made of fava beans stewed with tahini and seasoned with lemon, garlic, and cumin. The restaurant is also popular with locals for its fuul and ta‘amiyya sandwiches served with various sauces and condiments and fiteer and other Egyptian savories. The restaurant offers both takeaway and eat-in options. Their menus are in English and Arabic, and it's an excellent choice for vegetarians.
- Tutankhamun: It is a simple Egyptian style restaurant with a cooling and relaxed roof terrace, which gives fantastic views over the Nile. They have many unique dishes and at the top of the list are their home-made tagines, which are casseroles cooked in covered clay pots baked in the oven. The food is relatively expensive, but the food and the service are worth every penny.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Mohamed Ahmed: It is a Middle Eastern cuisine based vegetarian restaurant with a relatively small menu. A few vegan dishes include falafel, lentil soup, foul/fuul (fava beans), salads, and hummus. For other dishes to be made vegan, you need to request with your server. The restaurant is open daily for 24 hours. The food is relatively affordable.
- Manchow Wok: It is a vegan-friendly, Asain cuisine based restaurant. The restaurant serves meat, but they have a rich vegetarian and vegan section, and you can specify as you enter that you are looking for the vegetarian option. Most of the vegan options are on the menu, and you can enquire for more. The restaurant has a dine-in option as well as delivery and take-out options.
- Tota’s Kitchen: It is a food delivery service with various vegan and vegetarian dishes, including oat biscuits, tofu, mock meats, pizzas, and cake. You can place your order on Facebook or by phone. The staff is knowledgeable about ingredients. The service is open daily on a 24-hour basis.
Street food is quite popular in Alexandria, and it is often delicious, but you need to either avoid it or be careful if your stomach is sensitive. For vegetarians, street food is likely to be meat-free as meat is expensive. Be warned that Egyptians only consider a dish without beef as "vegetarian," so double-check your food before eating. Vendors sell most of the street food in the city, and in most cases, they sell food that is popular in the city at a slightly lower price than restaurants. In most cases, the street food was much better than the restaurant food. There are also some restaurants whose menu is made up solely of street food options. Some examples of the many street food dishes include:
- Egyptian liver sandwiches or Kebda Eskandarani or Alexandrian liver is the Alexandrine specialty consisting of fried beef liver with spicy seasonings such as cumin, garlic, cardamom, and chili peppers.
- Taameya is a variety of the Middle Eastern chickpea fritter that calls for fava beans instead of chickpeas.
- Hawawshi is a popular Egyptian snack consisting of a traditional Baladi bread, similar to the famous pita pockets, stuffed with a flavorful mixture of minced meat, vegetables, and various spices.
Egypt is in the heart of a desert region; therefore, the weather is exceptionally high at most times. The high temperatures will have a certain amount of influence on the type of beverage that an individual might choose on a specific day. Water is without the most consumed liquid at any given time, as people need to cool themselves down and avoid dehydration. Besides water, there is an endless variety of non-alcoholic drinks to choose from in the city. Tea is the national drink of Egypt, and most people love it, and in most cases, they drink it even on a hot day. Other choice beverages include soft drinks, lemonade, milkshake, vegan shakes, and even iced tea or coffee. On the colder days, especially during winter, the beverages of choice are usually hot, with things like tea, coffee, and warm milk being the most sought after drinks. Egypt is an Arabic country, but despite religious restrictions and conflicting views on alcohol, the consumption is not affected, and beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country by far. Also, alcoholic drinks are still readily available in the country. There are several bars and pubs where people can go for a relaxing drink and hang out with friends, while some people prefer to drink in the comfort of their own home. The local brew of alcohol is known as Meister Max, Stella Lager, and Sakara, to name a few. Egyptian wine is also relatively popular. Several other alcoholic drinks are enjoyed by people depending on their taste in alcohol. These include wine, gin, vodka, and cocktails, to name a few.
Drinking water from the tap in Alexandria is not recommended. The water is not always safe and can cause serious health risks. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase bottled water or drink treated or purified water. A 1.5-liter container of bottled water costs 0.20USD in the city.
Organic foods are foods that are grown without artificial nutrients, pesticides, or other chemicals. Eating organic has become a widespread trend where people are very selective about what they put in their bodies. Several organic cafes attract patrons of all ages who are careful about nutrition. There are many cafes in the city that cater specifically to this group of people. Below is a list of some of the organic cafes in the city:
- Café del Mar
- Carlos Café
- Teatro Eskendria
The brewing industry in Alexandria is quite active as the locals prefer to drink local beer above imported brews. Numerous breweries are responsible for making different types of local liquor. These breweries are responsible for supplying a majority of the bars and pubs in the city, and therefore, have large amounts of orders to deliver. The most popular breweries in the city is Crown Brewery.
Numerous activities can be done as you explore Alexandria. The city has one of the world's richest histories and is visited by both local and international tourists alike. As such, numerous activities are ensuring that tourists are entertained. The activities are designed to ensure that no one is left out, and people of different interests can still enjoy and have a great time. Some of the most popular activities include museum tours, visits to the many religious sites, beaches, and memorial sites, to name a few. Some of the activities are in the city center while others are just on the outskirts. It is essential to carefully plan your itinerary to ensure that you get the best out of what the city offers.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga is traditionally a Hindu discipline that focuses on physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. It has become quite famous globally, and there are yoga studios in almost every country in the world. There are several yoga studios in Alex, although, as is normal, some are more popular than others for various reasons. Some of the most popular yoga studios in the city include:
- TATA Wise Monkeys
- Tamarin Center
- Trans body fitness
One of the most important things to consider as you plan any journey is where you will stay for the trip's entire duration. The type of accommodation that you select is based on several factors, with budget, taste, and sense of adventure is at the top of the list. There are many different accommodation options in Alexandria which are tailored to meet the diverse needs of people. This section will look into some of the accommodation options that are available for tourists to select from.
There are several eco-friendly hotels in the city. They have the same aim of sustainability of the environment. These hotels tend to offer safe, non-toxic, and energy-efficient accommodation. Other characteristics include using renewable energy, organic soaps, energy-efficient light fixtures, and recycling programs. Two of the most popular ones are:
- Hilton Alexandria Green Plaza
- Green Plaza Inn Hotel
- TOLIP Hotel Alexandria
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Ithaka Hostel: It is a simple and comfortable hostel that offers shared accommodation at reasonable prices. The rooms are comfortable and offer and rest after days filled with excitement and exploration, and most importantly, a home. They provide guests with information on local and national transport services, tips on the best street food joints, and some of Alexandria's best sightseeing trails. There is no curfew. Breakfast is included in the booking cost.
- Transit Alexandria This hostel offers you the most comfortable, convenient, and affordable accommodation in Alexandria city center. They have singles, triples, twins, and double rooms, all equipped with en-suite bathrooms, TV, free WiFi, ceiling fans, and tea/coffee-making facilities. The hostel is family-friendly. There is someone at the front deks24/7, and they all speak English. Also, breakfast is included in the rates.
For those who intend to stay in Alexandria for a long time and those traveling in groups, staying in hotels might prove to be a bit too expensive. Several apartments are hired out for a minimum of one month, and these are more budget-friendly as they reduce costs on several levels. For one, apartments allow for self-catering, which means that you get to save instead of buying all meals at hotels. If you stay as a group of friends or family, you can share the cost, unlike hotels that charge per head. The rent charges vary on the type of apartment you prefer.
Couch surfing refers to staying with a host family that rents out a part of their house to tourists. This trend is not that common in Alexandria. This accommodation option allows tourists to live in a typical Egyptian home. It is immersed in traditional Egyptian life, and it is also an excellent way for them to quickly grasp local language and culture. There are several websites where people who are willing can put their homes on offer, and tourists can book the most interesting or convenient one. One such website is simply called couch surfing.
There are numerous campsites across Alex for those tourists who want to rough it by living outside during their vacation. Camping offers a sense of adventure as it allows people to get the full outdoor experience and can be quite affordable. Camping provides a great experience, including the fresh night air as well as the magnificent night skies. The most popular campsite is Porto Matrouh Resort.
How to Get There
Several modes of transport can be used to travel to Alexandria, with the most convenient for you being dictated by where you are coming from, be it a local or international area. People from surrounding cities usually travel to the city by bus or train. While those coming from further away commonly use aeroplanes.
The Borg El Arab International Airport (HBE) is 25 miles southwest of Alexandria city center. There are connecting flights from Cairo, the main Red Sea resort towns, and various locations across the Middle East, Greece, and Turkey. Taxis are the only way into downtown Alexandria.
Several bus companies (including West & Mid Delta Bus Company and Superjet) travel to Alexandria from other destinations in Egypt, with buses from Cairo every hour until midnight. Some minibusses zip between the cities throughout the day and night. These are not always reliable due to the reckless driving of many microbus drivers and passengers' cramped conditions.
The train is by far the best option for traveling to Alexandria using public transport. There are several trains between Cairo and Alexandria daily, between 6 am and 10.30 pm. The "Special" services have newer rolling stock and are faster, as there are fewer stops along the route, and takes roughly 2.5 hours one-way. The slower "Spanish" trains usually take 3.5 hours for the same journey due to stops along the line. First Class is preferable on both trains as the seats are more comfortable. Tickets are purchased directly on their website.
Hitchhiking to Alexandria is relatively easy. Hitchhiking opportunities might be a bit limited if you do not speak Arabic, as most people in Egypt do not speak English. The people that do speak English often are not as excited by the prospect of giving a ride to a foreigner. Many people might expect money from you in exchange for them giving you a ride, especially if you look like a foreigner. If you do not have money, you should let the driver know before leaving or the amount you can afford. People may refuse to give you a ride if they do not like the amount you are offering.
Taxis or private cars are another option and take between 2.5 to 3 hours from Cairo to Alexandria. Taxis are readily available from the airports, train stations, bus stations, or you can arrange one through your hotel. Or you can book a private transfer in advance online.
Companies and individual licensed guides offer guided group bus tours and guided private day tours to Alexandria from Cairo. Tours are a convenient, hassle-free way to get back and forth between the two cities, especially if you don't want to spend the night.
Alexandria is a rather large city with many things to do and places to explore. Moving around the city is relatively easy regardless of the mode of transport that you use. You need to select the way of traveling that you are most comfortable with, and you will be fine. There are several ways to move around within the city, as will be shown below.
It's possible to walk around Alexandria, but it's not very pleasant as the tout hassle is terrible. Also, most of the tourist attractions are far from each other, so walking is unfeasible. If you decide to walk, watch for cars and firmly decline unwanted services.
Bicycles are a great way to get around the city if you can keep your nerve in the traffic, but they are not commonly used. They can be hired from the numerous kiosks as well as most Hotels.
Electronic vehicles are not that common in Alexandria. Their first charging station was opened in June 2020.
There are a variety of local bus services and minibuses. The routes tend to be somewhat confusing for those who haven't lived in Alexandria for a while. Minibusses are easily recognizable and will stop when you wave and stop where you need to get off. The drivers rarely speak English, so you should know the Arabic name of your destination.
Tram, Train and Subway
Alexandria has an old, slow, but very cheap tram system, the oldest one still running in Africa. The route map is remarkably confusing and changes regularly. They have a flat fare of 2 Egyptian pounds, and tickets can be bought on board. The tram has three cars, and the first car in the blue trams is reserved for women only.
There are many shopping centers in the city whereby tourists and locals alike can go shopping. It is more sustainable to shop in local shops and ensure that you stick to one shop and try to spread the wealth by visiting different shops.
Several markets across Alexandria are dedicated to selling fresh food. They sell both local and international food, processed or unprocessed. Some of these markets include:
- Fresh Food Market San Stefano Mall
- Gourmet Alexandria Store
- Alex Market
There are several flea markets across Alex with both an exciting shopping experience and a chance to mingle with the locals. Most of them sell various things at reasonable prices, some of which are found in local shops. However, they tend to double the price when selling to tourists. Some of these flea markets are:
- France Market
- Zanaet El Setat Bedding
Second Hand Stores
The trend of second-hand stores has caught the world by storm; numerous stores have opened where people can buy things they wouldn't usually afford for less than half the price. The most common ones in Alexandria are:
- Quad Sense Store
- Ata Bazar
People have become more cautious about how their actions and choices affect the environment and have started doing things to reduce their carbon footprint. The leading eco-fashion house across all of Egypt is Vatrina.
Alexandria's recycling industry consists of traditional garbage collectors who collect garbage from household units and some commercial establishments and transfer it to their communities (zabalin villages) for sorting and recycling.
Municipalities or cleaning authorities collect and transfer wastes from the streets, bins, public containers, and supervises public dumpsites and the operation of composting plants either directly or through the private sector.
Work and Study Abroad
You can work in Alexandria as long as you have a work permit. Alexandria has a tiny industrial section centered on the natural gas industry that hires a few expatriates. Also, most International schools employ expatriate teachers, mainly language schools. Alexandria has got quite a large number of language schools. There are numerous schools from primary education onwards that accept international students, and instruction languages include English, French, and German.
There are several programs for exchange students in Alexandria. Students have the opportunity to study for one or two semesters abroad as an “exchange student” with a credit transfer system. The most common partner countries are France and Canada.
An au pair is a young foreign person who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and pocket money. The concept of Au pairs is relatively popular in Alexandria and is a great way to get a job for those intending to move to the city. Several agencies and websites connect potential Au pairs with families that need them. One of these websites is "great au pair."
Several voluntary organizations across Alexandria are always looking for volunteers. You can volunteer to work with animals, children, and older people, among other things. Voluntary programs tend to run for anything between one week going up. Also, if you are interested in volunteering while visiting the city, several places are open to the idea.