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Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city (3.5 million people), its largest seaport and the country's window onto the Mediterranean Sea. It's a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and still-palpable glimpses of its past.
Alexandria has a Mediterranean climate, with warm humid summers and mild rainy winters. The best time to visit Alexandria is in spring (March-June) and autumn (September-November), since it's at its busiest in summer, when Egyptians flock down to escape the searing heat of Cairo.
Alexandria is easily reached by plane, train or bus.
Alexandria's main airport is Borg el Arab Airport (HBE), serving mainly destinations in the Middle-East and North Africa, but also Milano-Bergamo (Air Arabia), Athens (Egypt Air), Istanbul and Beyrouth. It's not very conveniently located some 45 km to the south-west of Alexandria.
Getting to and from the airport is a major concern as there are few affordable options to get to Alexandria. In most cases a taxi service will be needed.
Several bus companies offer a bus service into Alexandria at a very low price range: 20-35 LE. Buses are air conditioned and come complete with a hostess trolley service. Companies include Golden Arrow, West Delta, Super Jet, Pullman and El Gouna. Operating times vary from one company to another, but there are trips between Cairo and Alexandria virtually every hour from early morning untill midnight.
From Cairo, frequent trains from Ramses Station are probably the best way to get to Alexandria. Trains run at least once every hour from. It's best to buy a ticket the day before at the train station.
There are no more trains from Mersa Matruh to Alexandria.
Visemar Lines operates a weekly passanger ferry from Venice to Alexandrias, via Tartus in Syria. Depature time is every Wednesday at 4PM, arriving the following Sunday at 2PM, this is the only way of reaching Egypt direct from Europe. However, the ferry have been canceled.
Alexandria is quite a long city; you can get pretty much anywhere by using the local transportation available along the Corniche.
What to see
Alexandria National Museum, Latin quarter. .History Museum with more than 1800 archaeological pieces exhibited chronologically: the basement is devoted to Prehistoric and Pharonic times; first floor to the Graeco-Roman period; second floor to the Coptic and Islamic era that highlights artifacts raised during recent underwater excavations.
Graeco-Roman Museum, Latin quarter. A history museum with a vast collection mostly dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD, spanning the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.
Museum of Fine Arts, Moharram Bey. It contains a lot of royal and precious jewels.
National Institute For Oceanography & Fisheries, Anfoushi (beside Qait Bey). Aquarium and museum displays.
Royal Jewelry Museum, zezenia. It contains a lot of royal and precious jewels. It has been reopened to the public recently after renovation.
What to do
Sunbathe at the Maa'moura Beach or Montazah Beach. During summer the beaches are packed with Egyptian tourists, parasols and plastic chairs and it will cost LE 5 (2008) to get in.
Montazah Royal Gardens Though the gardens are a part of the more than three hundred and fifty acre grounds of the large royal home known as the Muntazah Palace, the Montazah Royal Gardens take up more than half of the property.
Hire a boat and go cruising at Ras el-Tin.
Have a long walk by the beautiful Corniche by the Mediterranean Sea.
Alexandria Stadium or Harras El-Hedoud Stadium, Lumumba Street or Max (Tell any taxi driver Al-Istad and he will know where to take you.
Casino Austria of Egypt -B CP W, The Casino Austria of Egypt is open to Foreigners only. It is also known as the El-Salamlek Palace Casino. Games include Blackjack, Roulette, Punto Banco, Slot Machines and Caribbean Stud Poker. The Casino Austria of Egypt is located at the El-Salamlek Palace Hotel in Alexandria.