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Alexandria, Egypt


Great Pyramids, Giza

Introduction

Alexandria is an ancient city in the Nile delta and a gateway for cruise ships to visit the Great Pyramids.

Where You're Docked

Cruise ships dock at a modern cruise terminal in the western part of the harbour. There are no amenities inside the terminal other than toilets but there is a large souvenir market outside. There are a lot of steps however. It is an easy walk into the city.


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Money & Tipping

Egypt's currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP) commonly appreviated as LE. US dollars are widely accepted especially in tourist areas. Baksheesh (tipping) is a common custom though annoying if someone follows you around wanting to act as your guide. Try to get some one pound coins to tip toilet attendants and they also make a nice souvenir since they have a picture of King Tut on them. Tips in restaurant should be around 10% and toilet attendants should be given 3-5 LE.

Local Transportation

Official blue taxis will be waiting by the terminal but you can save some money by taking the cheaper yellow/black ones from outside the gate.

If you want to see the Great Pyramids, it is recommended to take a tour, either a ship-sponsored or private organized one.

If you want to take a train to Cairo, you can find details here - http://www.seat61.com/Egypt.htm

Within Alexandria, there is a chaotic and crowded bus and tram network but it is better for tourists to take a taxi or a tour. Trams are inexpensive and there is a stop outside the port gate but you will need local currency.

From Wikitravel - Be careful though: taxis will uniformly refuse to use meters (the rates haven't been adjusted in years) and drivers love to take advantage of non-Alexandrians, so it's best to agree on the fare before you get in. No taxi ride between any two points in the city should cost more than 25LE. Alternately, if you are on a day trip to Alexandria, hire a taxi outside the railway station for the day and pay LE 10-15 per place. E.g., if you plan to see 5 places in 3-4 hours, pay around LE 50-60 to the driver or LE 80-100 if you plan to see 8-10 places in 5-6 hours.

Hotels

Search hotels in Alexandria here
Search hotels in Cairo here

Sights

Most cruise ships will have either a late sail or overnight in Alexandria to allow passengers to get to Cairo, over three hours away. By law, tourists travelling in large groups must have armed security and travel in convoys.

Cairo

  • Great Pyramids & Sphinx - You will typically given an opportunity to enter the tomb of one of the pyramids. It is discouraged since you have to crouch along in a narrow tunnel and it is a bit claustrophobic. However, it is quite an experience if you are up for it. Tours will typically take you to a viewpoint filled with vendors selling souvenirs and offering camel rides and pictures. Entry fee 60 LE and 30 LE for Sphinx. Extra 100 LE (Dec 2011) to enter a tomb depending on which one is open. No cameras are allowed inside.
  • Egyptian Museum - Straight out of Indiana Jones, this old museum has dusty display cases filled with Egypt's treasures. You will need to climb stairs to get to the second level. There is an additional fee to see the royal mummies. Don't miss King Tutankhamen's treasures including his golden death mask in a small air conditioned section in the back. Entry 60 LE (extra 100 LE for mummies, Dec 2011). A new museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum, is being constructed close to the Great Pyramids (and further away from protesters at Tahir Square) and is scheduled for completion in 2015.
  • Sakkara Step Pyramid - This pyramid is one of the oldest in the area and has a small temple complex surrounding it. Entry 60 LE. If given the option of Sakkara or the museum, choose the museum to see King Tut's treasures.

Alexandria (prices checked Dec 2011)

  • Library - This beautiful modern building is constructed over the ancient library. There is a museum and planetarium here as well. Guided tours available. Entry 10 LE.
  • Catacombs - These private Roman tombs were accidentally discovered in 1900. Entry 30 LE.
  • Pompey's Pillar - This ancient column is flanked by more modern sphinxes. Entry 20 LE.
  • Roman Amphitheater - Discovered in the center of town. Entry 20 LE.
  • Citadel of Qaitbay - Currently home of the maritime museum. Entry 25 LE. At the western end of the corniche.
  • Corniche - This waterfront promenade stretches over 10 miles.
  • National Museum of Alexandria - This small museum has mummies and other antiquities. Entry 30 LE.

Shopping & Restaurants

There will be a large market setup outside the cruise terminal for souvenirs. Pick up some papyrus artwork for only a dollar. Alexandria City Center is a huge modern mall with 160 stores approximately 5 miles southeast of the port (20 minutes away by taxi). You will find markets by El Nasr Square (first roundabout on El Nasr street from the port gate). From this roundabout, the main street (El Tahir Square) has shops and shawarma restaurants on the north side. The street running parallel one block north has a souk selling mainly clothes and household goods but the street parallel one block on the south side has interesting food including live bunnies. Stalls for souvenirs also setup by the Citadel.

Internet

Directly outside the port gate, on the main street (El Nasr) across from the intersection is an internet cafe on the left side. Restaurants and cafes may have free WiFi.

Maps (right-click to save)

Alexandria (pier is marked Maritime Station)

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Weather

Alexandria Weather Forecast

Find more about Weather in Alexandria, EG
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Page last modified on April 18, 2016, at 06:39 PM
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