2 Day Itinerary for Alexandria, Egypt
Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Most people who visit Alexandria tend to spend around 2 days, whether it’s a weekend trip for Cairenes who are eye-starved for a little Mediterranean Sea, or tourists who dedicate a couple of days out of their larger 2 week Egypt itinerary.
In either case, two days is enough to see a good chunk of Alexandria if you’re smart about it. And while it’s easy enough to find online the best things to do and see in Alex, we took it a step further and arranged everything geographically so that you won’t be wasting time jumping from one end of the city to the other and back again. You'll also find our favorite Alexandria hotel recommendations here.
So if you’re ready and able, let’s be on our way.
We recommend starting off the day bright and early at Mohamed Ahmed for some fuul and falafel. Not quite sure what fuul is? Check out our article 12 Local Egyptian Foods You Need To Try.
Mohamed Ahmed is a city staple and open 24/7, so don’t worry about showing up too early.
Roman Amphitheatre (duration: less than half an hour)
About a 15 minute walk away from Mohamed Ahmed are the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre (also known as Kom el Dikka), which date back to the 4th century AD and was used not only in the Roman era for performances, but the Byzantine and early Islamic eras as well, for public assemblies and summits. There are also the nearby ruins of Roman baths and Villa of the Birds.
Pompey’s Pillar & the Serapeum (duration: less than half an hour)
Hop in a cab or Uber to Pompey’s pillar, about 10-15 minutes away. This pillar actually had nothing to do with Pompey himself, but was built for the Roman emperor Diocletian, who provided food for the starving city when Alexandria was under siege.
The Serapeum, which today is just ruins except for the pillar, used to be Alexandria’s acropolis dedicated to Serapis, Alexandria’s patron god. Legend has it that when Christianity gained strength in Alexandria, they destroyed the Serapeum and other symbols of paganism, around 400 AD.
Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa (duration: an hour)
A 7 minute walk away from Pompey’s Pillar are the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, which translates to ‘mound of shards’. Dating back to the 2nd century AD, these catacombs are a rare mix of Egyptian, Greek and Roman architecture and monuments and are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.
Citadel of Qaitbey (duration: less than an hour)
Hop into another Uber and make your way north towards the Mediterranean to the Citadel of Qaitbey, about 20 minutes away. This medieval Islamic fort has stood sentry on the western coast of Alexandria since 1480, built by the Mamluk sultan Qaitbey to protect the Mediterranean port.
But before this spot of Alexandrian real estate was associated with the citadel, it housed something even more famous -- the world-renowned Lighthouse of Alexandria, Pharos, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. The lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake in 1303 and Qaitbey used its rubble 150 years later to build the citadel.
Local tip: en route to the Citadel, you can stop and see Alexandria's largest mosque, the Abu Al Abbas Al Mursi mosque -- which is also one of Egypt's most beautiful mosques.
Right next to the Citadel is the Greek Club; by far one of the most well-known restaurants in Alexandria, and for good reason -- the view over the Alexandrian harbor is second to none.
Its real name is the White and Blue Restaurant, but locals refer it to as the Greek Club. Its menu is a mix of seafood and a few choice Greek dishes, and they serve beer and wine to enjoy alongside the view.
Reservations recommended for the outdoor terrace on weekends.
For more must-try Alexandrian restaurants, head here.
Cavafy Museum/Alexandria National Museum (duration: less than an hour)
If you still have time after lunch before the museums close (around 4:30-5 pm), then you can head to Fouad Street (El Horreya street on Google Maps) and take a quick look at either the Cavafy Museum or the Alexandria National Museum, both on Fouad Street.
The Cavafy Museum is dedicated to Greek-Alexandrian poet Constantine Cavafy, who was one of the most prominent poets of the 1920s and 1930s.
The Alexandria National Museum is dedicated to the city’s history, with exhibits divided chronologically: pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Christian, Islamic and modern. There’s also a section for underwater monuments (some monuments still exist till present day in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Alex!).
Explore Fouad Street
When you finish the museums (or if you didn’t manage to see them before closing hours), you can explore Alexandria’s most famous street. Although you’ll find it under ‘El Horeya Road’ on Google Maps (Fouad Street’s new name after the 1952 revolution), locals still refer to it as Fouad Street, named after the former Egytian king.
Fouad Street is a dated piece of Alexandria’s belle epoque, when the city was comprised of harmonious Egyptian, Italian, Greek, French, Armenian, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities. The architecture, art, shops and even food are a unique melting pot of all the diverse communities, all of whom were Alexandrian first and foremost. It's also home to the Opera House of Alexandria (the Sayed Darwish Theater).
Dinner at Fouad Street
If you’re hungry, Fouad Street offers a variety of different options, from cozy tavernas like Chez Gaby, to street food pizza at Focacceria or an international food hall at L Passage.
Have a drink at a historic bar
While Alexandria isn’t known for its nightlife, there are a few places definitely worth going and have a drink at.
About a ten minute walk from Fouad Street are the neighboring bars Spitfire and Cap D’Or (also known as Sheikh Ali). Spitfire’s been open since 1883, and is a small and basic bar with decades of paraphernalia layering the walls. Cap D’Or/Sheikh Ali has been open for almost 120 years and is also another no-frills establishment, and definitely an experience.
We’re starting off the day in Montazah, and there are several restaurants and cafes there. Zanilli’s is right on the sea but the food isn’t that good, so stick to coffee and something small if you end up there.
Montazah (duration: anything from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours)
Montazah Palace Complex and its royal gardens are situated on the Mediterranean Sea on the eastern side of Alexandria. The former summer palace and residence of the Egyptian monarchy, the Salamlik palace was first built as a hunting lodge in 1892 by Khedive Abbas II, then its sister palace Haramlik was added in 1932 by King Fuad.
The palaces now aren’t open to the public, but you can explore the gardens, enjoy the sea views and have something to eat or drinkat the restaurants and cafes in the park. There’s also a little island accessible by bridge.
Royal Jewelry Museum (duration: 1-1.5 hours)
About a 20 minute Uber or cab right from Montazah is the Royal Jewelry Museum, which lives in the former palace of Princess Fatma El Zahraa, built in 1919-1923.
The palace is an architectural gem in and of itself, and the royal jewelry collection houses more than 11,000 pieces, some dating back to the rule of Mohammed Ali Pasha, who became Khedive of Egypt in 1805.
Besides jewelry, the museum also has on display centuries-old coins, golden clocks, watches, portraits of the royal family in golden frames, dazzling crowns and King Farouk’s walking stick in ebony and gold.
About a 10 minute car ride away is the Casino El Shatby, a once-famous casino that was founded in 1907. Its casino days are over however, and it’s now home to four different restaurants with amazing sea views -- Crave (international), Opa (Greek), Na3Na3a (Lebanese, and it's pronounced Naa-naa in English; sort of) and Aroma Lounge (a cafe).
Bibliotheca Alexandrina (duration: 1-3 hours)
A 15 minute walk away (and a good way to experience Alexandria’s beloved Corniche) is the new Library of Alexandria. The original was an ancient wonder of the world, but was sadly destroyed in the Roman conquest of Alexandria around 2,000 years ago.
In 2002 the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina was built as a nod to the ancient library and to recapture the spirit of knowledge and learning.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina has a main library, six specialized libraries, four museums, permanent and temporary exhibitions, a planetarium, an exploratorium, twelve academic research centers and four art galleries.
Local tip: the main library is open until 7 pm every day of the week except Saturday, when it closes at 4 pm.
Rooftop at the Windsor Palace
A pleasant seaside walk from the library to the historical Windsor Palace Hotel (built in 1906) will take you about 20 minutes, and you can stop en route and see the famous Cecil and Le Metropole hotels, both also over 100 years old (for more historical hotels in Egypt, head here).
The Windsor Palace (owned by the Paradise Inn group now) is a bit dated but they have beautiful views on their 6th floor restaurant/cafe terrace and their 7th floor ‘club’. We don’t recommend eating there but it’s a great place to get an aperitif before dinner.
There are choices galore in this area, considering you’re in what’s considered ‘Downtown’ Alexandria -- and a short walk from the restaurants of Fouad Street as well, so see what strikes your fancy. Some favorites: Santa Lucia or Abou El Sid if you haven’t tried it in Cairo.
Drinks at Calithea
If you haven’t gotten your fill of very old bars, then walk over to Calithea which is close to the water. Styled after a Greek tavern, Calithea has been open since 1937. While they serve food, most people opt to drink a beer or wine there instead.
So there you have it! Some of the best that Alexandria has to offer, condensed into two action-packed days.
Want more Egypt itineraries? Head here.