How to Explore Alexandria on Your Solo Trip to Egypt
All that comes to mind when we think of Egypt are mummies, pyramids, and pharaohs. While these are undoubtedly the highlights and the best part of an Egyptian trip, there is so much more to explore than just this. People usually go to Giza to explore these world-famous sites. Other than that, the capital and largest city – Cairo, is often visited by most.
While there is nothing wrong with such trips, I believe that you should explore as much of a country as possible with the bit of time available. Due to lack of time, people prefer exploring only the more famous cities of a nation. Even though Alexandria is the third-largest city in the country, not many visit it.
Luckily, I did visit the city and had a wonderful time here. I tried to do my research about the town before visiting it, but couldn’t find much information. So, I will explain how you can explore the Bride of the Mediterranean on your solo trip to Egypt.
When should you visit Alexandria?
The ideal time to visit Alexandria is between October and April. The weather is cool while being a little warm. That way, you will not have to worry about the heat. I assume that you will be planning your trip to Egypt and trying to fit in Alexandria. So, try booking tickets for early November or March and April.
How to reach Alexandria?
If you prefer to fly directly to Alexandria from your home country, you can choose El Nouzha Airport, aka Alexandria International Airport, which is located only seven kilometres from the city centre. Another option is to take a flight to Borg El Arab International Airport, which is around forty kilometres southwest of Alexandria.
However, if you are already in Egypt or prefer to land in Cairo from your home country, taking a taxi to Alexandria is the best option. It will take you around three hours to cover the distance of 220 kilometres. Alternatively, you can catch a bus or train too if you are on a tight budget. It will cost you less than ten dollars and take around four hours.
In my opinion, you should catch a flight to Cairo from your home country, explore the city, and only then head to Alexandria. Booking flights to Alexandria can be challenging as there aren’t many available.
Where to stay in Alexandria?
Even though Alexandria is the third-largest city in the country, finding good places to stay can be challenging. I also had a hard time searching for decent places to stay. Finally, after a long struggle, I did find some good hotels. If you do not wish to spend a lot on accommodation, I suggest that you check out some of the hostels and dorms in the country, which can help you save a lot of money. Here are some of my hotel recommendations.
1. Smoha Zahran Haus
Address: 35 El-Moustashar Mahmoud El-Attar, Ezbet Saad, Sidi Gaber, Alexandria
Price: 300EGP/night ($19)
This is one of the best affordable hotels in Alexandria. It is ideally located, a couple of kilometres from Stanley Beach. Most facilities like 24-hour front desk, room service, airport transfers, garden, free Wi-Fi, air conditioner, television, dishwasher, desk, among others, are available here. They also provide free breakfast, and you can choose from continental or an a la carte. All in all, it is a great place if you want to stay in a hotel without spending a lot.
2. Green Plaza Inn
Address: 5 Al-Molhaq, Ezbet El-Nozha, Sidi Gaber, Alexandria
Price: 500EGP/night ($32)
Located in Smouha District, Green Plaza Inn is one of the best hotels in the area. You can easily travel to most sites in the city without any problem. Unlike other hotels, you can enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant. Other than that, all basic amenities like a 24-hour front desk, free parking, air conditioner, mini bar, shower, television, room service, and others are accounted for.
3. Sea Star
Address: 24 Amin Fekry Al-Mesallah Sharq, Qesm Al-Attarin, Alexandria
Price: 235EGP/night ($15)
This hotel is located on the seafront, so the views from here are stunning! Also, the famous Alexandria Library is a fifteen-minute walk from the hotel, which is excellent! All the basic facilities like free Wi-Fi, room service, 24-hour front desk, television, air conditioner, and refrigerator are available. Further, all rooms have a balcony from where you can enjoy the views. So, if you are on a tight budget and want a good hotel, this is the one for you.
4. Cherry Maryski
Address: 9 El-Borsa El-Kadima, Alexandria
Price: 520EGP/night ($33)
Cherry Maryski is one of the cheapest luxurious hotels that you can find in Alexandria. It is located right in the centre of the city, and the service is top-notch! Also, amenities here include 24-hour room service and security, daily housekeeping, taxi services, hot tub, sauna, indoor and outdoor pool, massage, and billiards, among all the basic ones. There is also an Italian restaurant inside the hotel, where you can order food at a low cost.
Where to eat in Alexandria?
When it comes to food in Egypt, you might have many questions in mind—what to eat, where to eat, how much to spend. I recommend that you don’t just stick to your favourite food items but also try out some local Egyptian dishes. It is okay to spend a little extra on food sometimes. After all, you won’t be having these dishes—oh well, at least the authentic ones—back at home. If you are thinking about where to eat in Alexandria, here are some of my restaurant suggestions.
1. Sahar El-Laialy Lebanese Restaurant
Located near the seashore, this is one of the best restaurants in the city. They offer Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and other cuisines too. You can also visit this place if you are a vegan, and you won’t be disappointed. However, the star of the show is the Lebanese dishes here. The food is pretty expensive, but the taste is authentic. Also, the service is top-class, which makes the whole experience totally worth it.
2. Santorini Greek Restaurant
As the name suggests, Santorini Greek Restaurant offers authentic Greek dishes. One unique thing about this place is that all items are coloured blue and white. Further, they also serve excellent seafood, Mediterranean, and European dishes. They also have some vegetarian and gluten-free options. All in all, the food is fresh, delicious, served creatively, and the service is great. You will not have any complaints other than the slightly high price.
3. Roberto’s Italian Restaurant
If you love Italian food, this is the place to be at. They try to be Italian in all possible areas, which makes them elegant and sophisticated. But are they really that good? Yes, they are great. Be it the pasta, pizzas, or anything else—they don’t compromise on taste and quality. They also offer a few Mediterranean, European and vegan options to diversify their menu. So, you can visit this restaurant for cuisines other than Italian too.
4. Tejano’s Mexican Grill
This is a Tex-Mex restaurant which is quite popular in the city. They offer tasty dishes at an affordable rate, which makes this place a must-visit! The menu is based on Mexican and Latin dishes. So, if you are someone who likes these, you are in for a treat. Even though it is a budget-friendly restaurant, the staff is attentive, and the service is quick. I visited this restaurant a couple of times on my solo trip and totally loved it!
Click here if you want more options for restaurants in Alexandria.
What to see in Alexandria?
In my opinion, Alexandria is a hidden treasure of the country. Named after Alexander the Great, it was once known to have the most extensive library in the world. Today, it is known for its incredible architecture and fantastic tourist attractions. It is also a major economic centre of the country. Due to all this, there is a lot to explore here. Here are some of my suggestions.
1. Alexandria National Museum
Alexandria National Museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of this beautiful city. You can see remains and artefacts from the Pharaonic era to the Hellenistic period inside the museum. Some of the artefacts include the statue of Weshka with family, various ushabtis, portraits, pieces of fabrics of great importance, and many interesting items. You can also spot many antique pieces discovered around the city. In a nutshell, you will have a lovely time here if you are someone who loves learning about the history of a place.
2. Bibliotheca Alexandrina
It is a known fact that Alexandria was once known to have the largest library in the world. And this library is a reinterpretation of that. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the city! There are more than a million books and information stored in other mediums here. One fascinating fact about this place is that the main reading hall can hold more than two thousand readers at a time! There are also some antiques and artefacts inside the library that you can have a look at. You can indeed learn a lot about Egypt here!
3. Citadel of Qaitbay
Located on the Mediterranean Sea coast, this fort was built by Qaitbay in 1477. Back in the 15th century, it was built to protect the Egyptian port from intruders. However, it is a mere monument today which showcases the beautiful architecture of the country. It looks just as new today because of the renovations and restorations done a few decades back. Once you get to the top of the fort, you can look at the Mediterranean Sea. It has a stunning backdrop where you can click some pictures for your Instagram story!
4. Montaza Palace
This is another gorgeous site in Alexandria. Situated in the Montaza district of the city, it is a palace, a museum, and a garden! The architectural design is simply outstanding. There are beautiful flowers, plants, and tall palm trees all around, and you can unwind here after a tiring day tour. Also, you will need at least a couple of hours or even more to explore this place, so keep that in mind and plan accordingly.
5. Main Souk
Alexandria’s main souk is located in the centre of the city, and you can find everything that you need here. Literally everything you can imagine! From clothing, décor, handicrafts, food, and a lot more. You can also shop for some souvenirs to take back home. Sometimes you will find shops that sell items that you don’t really need, but you’ll end up buying them anyway. That’s how unique some of these items are! Most of these are sold at a reasonable price, and if you think that anything is overpriced, try haggling a little! I’m sure you’ll be surprised when the seller gives you a discount for half of its original price! And I’m not even kidding!
What to expect from Alexandria?
Phew! Those were some of my tips on how you can explore the Bride of the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful city that is not visited by many. You won’t see many crowds in most areas, so you can peacefully explore the city. Spending a couple of days here should be enough. Of course, you can also decide to spend a single day, but you might miss out on a few things. So, that’s ultimately your choice. Whatever you decide, this city will only make your trip better!
Just like other Egyptian cities, Alexandria also depicts the history of the country. But in a way other than mummies, pyramids, and pharaohs. Before you book your tickets, check out my blog on things to pack for your solo trip to Egypt. This will make sure that you do not miss out on anything important.
If you have any doubts, you can feel free to ask them in the comment section. Also, don’t forget to tell me about your experiences in Alexandria. I would love to hear them all!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.