Blue skies and fluffy white clouds hover above the Red Sea in Alexandria Egypt

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7 Spectacular Things to do in Alexandria Egypt

Ahh, Egypt.

Atop many a traveler’s bucket list. But when one thinks of Egypt, what comes to mind? The beautiful chaos of Cairo. Certainly, images of the ancient pyramids of Giza. Daydreams of a nile river cruise to magical Luxor. Or perhaps visions of the colossal temples of Abu Simbel in Aswan. Often, the beautiful seaside town of Alexandria gets over looked. But let me tell you: you shouldn’t overlook it. Here are 7 spectacular things to do in Alexandria Egypt, that you shouldn’t miss.

The blue Mediterranean Sea in the Alexandria harbor, 3 small boats are sailing by with a skyline in the backdrop
Beautiful seaport view during my lunch at Fish Market in Alexandria, Egypt

1) Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa – a Must of Things to do in Alexandria Egypt

In case you didn’t know – there are 7 wonders of the Medieval World. Or, alternatively, known as 7 wonders of the Middle Ages. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa is one of them. This is definitely one of things you should do in Alexandria Egypt because… it is so cool. Oh, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too.

the cavernous drop in the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
Journeying down the stairwell to underground, you can look through a window and see the bottom from the stairs

Kom El Shoqafa, which literally translates to The Mount of Shards, is significantly old. Like, 2nd century ancient. Upon arrival, you go through a ticket booth area and from there it’s a short walk to the entrance to the Catacombs. An ancient, winding staircase takes you three levels underground.

It is widely thought that this Catacomb originally started as a family tomb but over the course of hundreds of years became the final resting place for hundreds more. The catacombs are three levels of mazes, passageways, statues and ornate decorations.

2) Visit the Ancient Roman Amphitheater

Ancient pillars and steps at the Roman Amphitheater in Alexandria Egypt
This is where the audience would’ve sat as I stood in the center of the Amphitheater singing, checking out the acoustics!

Visiting the remains of the Ancient Roman Amphitheater, baths and villa is a must do thing in Alexandria Egypt. My favorite part of this historical landmark was the intricate, beautiful mosaics that are still in tact after hundreds and hundreds of years.

the ancient roman amphitheater in Alexandria's thousands of years old mosaic work
Check out the mosaic work at the ancient Roman Amphitheater in Alexandria, thousands of years old!

What used to go on here, you may ask? Musical concerts. Theater shows. Artistic Events. Our guide actually asked me to sing in the center of the amphitheater so we could hear the amazing acoustics that still remain in the space until this day. I graciously obliged and the acoustics are astounding!

Brunette woman in yellow with a yellow bandana gazing towards the Roman Amphitheater off in the distance in Alexandria Egypt
The view from above the Roman Amphitheater where there are some statues and other things to see

3) Peruse the Bibliotheca Alexandrina – The Library of Alexandria

Founded by ‘Alexander the Great,’ the Library of Alexandria was at one time the largest library in the entire world. It housed many historical scripts, scrolls and works from some of the greatest thinkers and writers from the ancient world. Until it tragically burned down in a fire… all of the magnificent knowledge and works, lost.

What’s rather interesting is that apparently no archaeological finds or architectural remains have ever been found or recovered. It’s led some to question… did the Library of Alexandria ever really exist?

In any case, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina that stands today is a modern interpretation of what once, established in 2002.

4) Enjoy Lunch by the Water near Fort Qaitbey

One of my favorite meals I had in Egypt was in Alexandria. Our guide took us for a walk in the Corniche, which is Alexandria’s bustling waterfront promenade. This area channels a bit of the Cairo hustle and bustle, but with fresh air in a beautiful seaport setting. There is a lot of traffic, like Cairo, except the traffic here has a gorgeous view of boats floating across the Mediterranean Sea.

Puffy pitas, salad, four bowls of different sauces on a table with blue table cloths
Traditional Egyptian lunch at Fish Market on the water in the Corniche

The waterfront restaurant our guide took us to had a mesmerizing view of the water and delicious traditional Egyptian fare. The popular restaurant along the water’s edge, Fish Market Marina, sits perched above the shoreline. If you take the tour I took, lunch is included in your ticket price, excluding beverages.

5) Stroll the Cornish and Citadel of Fort Qaitbey

bright blue ocean of the Mediterranean Sea as viewed from the docks
After scrolling the Cornish, we enjoyed mint and lemon juice with a view of the Mediterranean

On a small area of land that extends out into Alexandria’s harbor, sits an ancient fortress known as Fort Qaitbey. Named after the sultan that had this magnificent structure built, Fort Qaitbey is not entirely in its original form. It’s undergone lots of reconstruction after many earthquakes.

As majestic as this medieval fortress is, the real significance of this area is that it is where the legendary Lighthouse of Alexandria once stood. Sometimes referred to as the Pharos of Alexandria.

Brunette woman in a yellow dress wearing a yellow, multi-colored bandana staring at the Red Sea near the rocks in Alexandria Egypt
Gorgeous October day in Alexandria Egypt – the Red Sea surrounding the Citadel in Fort Qaitbay

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. Despite surviving many conflicts and standing tall for hundreds and hundreds of years, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed it. In 1994, divers found the remains of the lighthouse on the sea floor of the Alexandria harbor. There has been mention of turning its remains into an underwater museum. Would you go see this? I definitely would!

6) Check out Pompey’s Pillar

Out of the fleet of attractions I saw while in Alexandria, I did find Pompey’s Pillar to be a bit underwhelming, albeit pleasant to visit. But when you understand that this towering pillar made of red granite from Aswan is thousands of years old and weights 285 tons, it’s fascinating. Today, the significance of the Pillar is the land it sits on. It marks the site of what was once a grand and elaborate temple. There are still some tunnels that remain for tourist viewing and exploration.

7) Dive to Cleopatra’s Underwater Palace

At this time, to see the incredible sunken palace of Cleopatra you must be a certified diver. Despite being a PADI certified advanced open water diver, I wasn’t able to see this extraordinary site. Not a lot of dive companies were operating at the time and I wasn’t able to find a guide to take me. This will have to remain on the dive bucket list!

Giant sculpture statue of a lion with its paw on a ball amongst two towering pillars underwater in the Mediterranean Sea
Remains of Cleopatra’s palace on the bottom of the sea floor in the Mediterranean off the coast of Alexandria. Photo credit: Macedonia Times

How did Cleopatra’s Palace end up at the bottom of the sea? Similar to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, a disastrous earthquake caused the island it sat on to sink into the ocean, destroying the palace and scattering it throughout the bay.

If you’d like to see the remains for yourself, it is only about 10 meters or just a little over 30 feet down in the harbor. But be advised that the waters have been reported to often be murky, cold with limited visibility. Despite this, I consider this to be one of the most unique and interesting things to do in Alexandria Egypt and next time I’m in there, I am in!

Seeing the Best Things to do in Alexandria Egypt With Limited Time

Firstly, like anywhere else in Egypt, I absolutely recommend having a guide and a driver. Egypt is not an easy place to get around; there is lots of traffic, potential for getting ripped off, a language barrier in certain instances and not enough context for attractions without a guide. I would not recommend traveling to sites without at least a driver, but it would enhance your experience to have a guide as well.

If you take the tour I took, you will have a professional driver, English speaking Egyptologist tour guide and it includes an Egyptian lunch (no beverages). All of the sites listed above will be visited sans Cleopatra’s Sunken Palace.

You can book the Guided Tour to Alexandria from Cairo here!

Tip: I recommend reviewing all the sites that will be visited and deciding which attractions you are the most interested in. Due to this being a day tour (although a long day, indeed), you’ll want to make sure you have enough time at the places you’re passionate about. Communicate to your guide at the start of your day which sites are a priority to you.

Will Alexandria make your itinerary? Please feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments, below!

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Headed to Egypt?

Check out these posts:

Discover Amazing Things to Do in EGYPT – Cairo Edition

The Fairmont Nile City Hotel Cairo – a GREAT Place to Stay

How to See Magical Luxor in One Day

Travel Tips & Resources to Help You Plan an Epic Trip!

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