Is there any city that is as deeply entrenched and rich in history as Alexandria? Founded by Alexander the Great in 4th Century BC and was once the seat of Queen Cleopatra, the second-largest metropolis in Egypt today is a gentle seaside Mediterranean town that lives on it's past glories. No other megalopolis has witnessed as many historic events and legends as much as this Egyptian city.
One of the primary attractions of the city is the re-imagining of Alexandria's ancient Great Library. The Bibliotheca Alexandria is a fantastic cultural center housing a host of museums as well as one of the best libraries in the planet. Marvel it's grand architecture - a massive sun disk that looms magnificently over a waterfront Corniche. This giant library can accommodate atleast eight million volumes. Some of the museums housed in Alexandria are the Manuscript Museum with it's splendid collection of ancient texts and scrolls; Antiquities Museum with it's Graeco-Roman antiquities and statuary; Egyptian folk art collection and a Science Museum and Planetarium designed for kids.
History aficionados will love visiting Fort Qaitbey. It once used to be the site of the famous and renowned Pharos Lighthouse - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. You can explore and wander around the series of stone-walled chambers and trek up to the roof to catch a breathtaking panoramic glimpse of the deep-blue waters of the Mediterranean sea. Head over to the harbor to marvel at the massive white facade of Ras el-Tin Palace, former summer residence of the Egypt's Sultans and today used by the Egyptian navy.
The Cleopatra Palace that has been buried deep inside the sea is certainly one of the most fascinating sights to marvel. Recreational divers can dive into waters of Alexandria's Eastern Harbour area and explore the sphinxes, the tumbled columns and statuary galore still in situ which makes for a mind-blowing underwater experience. Drop by to view Pompey's Pillar, a Roman triumphal column. Kom el-Dikka is an ancient rubble in the city and when excavated, there were several other ruins as well as the small Roman theater, remnants of a Ptolemaic temple and the mosaic flooring of an affluent Roman-era dwelling called 'Villa of the Birds'. The Catabombs of Kom el-Shuqqafa represents a blend of culture and traditions of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and is praised for it's layout and it's architecture.
Tired of the hustle-bustle from the city? Stroll around the beautiful Montazah Royal Gardens, a lush and stunning paradise of towering palm trees, trimmed lawns and blossoming colorful flowers. Spend a lazy evening relaxing on Alexandria's Corniche. Saunter around the stretch of the water-front promenade and gently feel the soft breeze swaying you lightly.
When it comes to shopping, Alexandria is big on shopping complexes as well as traditional markets. So whether you want to purchase expensive designer wear or an affordable local product, chances are it will be available. As for cuisine, Alexandria is renowned for it's seafood specialties. Try out the Samak which is generally served grilled or baked in a salt crust. The other varieties seen in the city are scallops, shrimp, bass, sole and squid. Eel is usually served as an appetizer or deep-fried as a delicious side-snack. Stop over at a cafe(Ahwa) to drink refreshing coffee, tea or to puff shisha (water pipe).
Alexandria is home to abundant stay options. The richie-rich seeking the best luxury hotels and swanky private apartments will find plenty of choices to choose from. Similarly, backpackers looking out for cheap accommodations have several options to suit their budget and taste.
Alexandria experiences Mediterranean climate with warm humid summers and mild rainy winters. The best time to visit the city would be during spring (March-June) and autumn (September-November).