In my last post, I mentioned that I was in Cairo for 3 days. In those 3 days we managed to fit in a day trip to Alexandria- the second largest city in Egypt. It took about 2 hours to get to by car so very doable if you wanted to do a day trip!
First lets get into logistics. How much does it cost? Well we asked our hotel if they offered any tour packages to Alexandria. They didn’t but they did set us up with a driver who would take us around Alexandria for 100 USD. It was a pretty fair price considering he took all four of us to various attractions which were fairly spaced out. But we were told that there are multiple trains and buses leaving to Alexandria daily! We opted for the car cause we didn’t want to uber it everywhere once we got there.
Alexandria is a port city right off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. To give you some history, the city was founded by Alexander the Great so there is a lot of Greek-Roman influence. Fun fact: Mohamed Salah, the soccer player, is from Alexandria and as such the city constructed a statue of him! You can see it as you enter the city.
Catacombs of Kom el-Shuqqafa
The catacombs are a fusion of Greek and Egyptian architecture. Fun fact: it was actually discovered in 1900 when a donkey mysteriously disappeared underground. A spiral staircase will take you down 5 stories deep into the burial grounds. The underground space is quite claustrophobic so its best to come here in the morning to avoid large crowds. Admission for adults is 60 LE and 30 for students.
Citadel of Qaitbay
An ancient fortress right off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The ancient lighthouse of Alexandria was situated here (due to numerous natural disasters the lighthouse is no longer standing but you can see its remnants at the citadel). Make sure to wear shoes you can walk in as the stairs to get to the higher floors are quite steep. Theres also a little mosque inside! Entrance fee is 60 LE, 30 for students (in case you haven’t noticed, bring your student card along when you travel).
Abu Abbas Al-Mursi Mosque
Another beautiful mosque built in the 13th century! There is no entrance fee for this mosque but be mindful of the dress code and dress modestly. Remember men and women also have different sections.
This 11 storey library can hold about 4 million books! Not to mention ancient manuscripts. Unlike other attractions, the library’s construction was completed around 2001 so it has a much more contemporary feel. Not only is this library open to the public but it is also affiliated with the nearby University of Alexandria so many students were occupying the desks. I wonder how they felt trying to study while hoards of tourists were looking from above. I would feel like I’m part of the attraction. There is an entrance fee of 70 LE for adults, 10 for students.
And that was our day trip (we also stopped for some delicious seafood in the middle as well). If you’re wondering what a European-influenced city in Africa looks like, Alexandria won’t disappoint!