Alexandria Life and Visitor Travel Tips

(Alexandria, Egypt)

Picture of the GradinileA trip to Alexandria will definitely be a memorable experience, since the locals here are especially colourful characters. Whether its is hotel touts after your custom, tour operators with the deal of the century, or street vendors trying to persuade you to purchase their wares, this is all part of life in Alexandria. Be prepared to haggle, haggle and haggle some more - it's expected here!

Alexandria is at its busiest during the summer and life here can be rather hectic at this time of the year. If you do visit in the hot summer, it will be necessary to drink plenty of water, although stick to bottles and avoid the tap water at all costs.

Further view of the Gradinile

Useful Contact Details

Internet access is currently booming in Alexandria and the city is full of Internet cafes, which seem to be constantly popping up all over the city, particularly in the downtown district.

Cyber Club
Address: corner of Sharia al-Bursa al-Qadima and Sharia Polanski, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Global Net
Address: Sharia an-Nabi Daniel, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tantan Internet Centre
Address: 18 Sharia Drive Ahmed Badaway, Alexandria, Egypt, EG

Here are some other helpful contact details:

Main Alexandria Tourist Office
Address: Midan Saad Zaghloul, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 485 1556
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 18:00, during Ramadan - 09:00 to 16:00

Mahattat Misr Tourist Office
Address: Misr Station, Platform 1, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 492 5985
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 20:00

Tourist Police
Address: Above the Main Tourist Office, Midan Saad Zaghloul, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 483 3378
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 18:00, during Ramadan - 09:00 to 16:00

Alexandria Centre of Arts
Address: 1 Tariq al-Horreyya, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 495 6633
Open hours: Saturday to Thursday - 10:00 to 22:00

American Cultural Centre
Address: 3 Sharia al-Pharaana, Azarita, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 486 1009
Open hours: Saturday to Thursday - 10:00 to 16:00

British Council
Address: 11 Sharia Mahmoud Abu al-Ela, Kafr Adbu, Rushdy, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 545 6512
Open hours: Monday to Thursday - 10:00 to 20:00, Friday to Sunday - 13:00 to 20:00

French Cultural Centre
Address: 30 Sharia an-Nabi Daniel, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 391 8952
Open hours: Sunday to Thursday - 09:00 to 12:00, 17:00 to 19:30

Goethe Institut
Address: 10 Sharia al-Batalsa, Bab Sharqi, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 487 9870
Open hours: Monday to Thursday - 09:00 to 13:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 14:00

Visa Information

All foreigners entering Alexandria will need to obtain a visa, unless they are citizens arriving from either Hong Kong, Guinea or Macau. Visas should be obtained from either your local consulate or from an actual Egyptian embassy. Some visas are also available at the airport for nationals from a selection of countries, including the USA, the United Kingdom and all countries in Western Europe, amongst others. It is possible to extend your visa in Alexandria by visiting the Passport Office along the Sharia Talaat Harb. It is important that you bring a small photograph of a passport size, and also photocopies of the main pages of your actual passport.

Passport Office and Visa Extensions
Address: Sharia Talaat Harb, Alexandria, Egypt, EG
Tel: +20 03 482 7873
Open hours: Saturday and Thursday - 08:30 to 14:00, Friday - 10:00 to 14:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 11:00

Language and Dialect

Arabic is the official language in Egypt and you will find that you will get a lot more out of your holiday to Alexandria, even if you only learn a handful of phrases and words. Whilst Arabic is a rather difficult language to learn, a comprehensive phrase book is always a useful item to add to your luggage. Useful Arabic phrases are as follows:

I'm looking for a hotel
Address: 'a-na ba-dow-war a-la fun-du'
What is the address?
Address: 'il un-waan ey?'
My name is...
Address: 'is-mee...'
Thank you
Address: 'shu-kran'

Drinking Tap Water

Water in Alexandria and throughout Egypt is known to contain high levels of bacteria, which almost always cause diarrhoea, quickly spoiling a holiday. Tap water here is only safe to drink if purified with iodine tablets, boiled or correctly filtered. Also be careful when eating from buffets, since salads, other vegetables and fruit may have been washed using tap water. Be sure to stick to bottled water in all cases, which can be purchased all around the city, although do check that the bottle top has not been previously opened or tampered with.

Tourist Traps and Scams

When walking around Alexandria, be on your guard for locals trying to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. You will often be asked to buy something, or step inside their shop to assist them with something written in English that they are having difficultly reading, or simply to sign their guest book. They are rarely aggressive, just a little irritating, so politely say 'no thanks' and walk on.

Taxis drivers can also be rather unpredictable in Alexandria and many will try to overcharge you, so rather than asking how much it will cost you for a specific journey, tell them what you expect to pay. If they don't accept you offer, move on to the next taxi and make them a sensible offer.

Finally, avoid booking tours and excursions with your hotel in Alexandria at all costs. This is something that you should not do, since they will take a rather large and unnecessary commission for virtually no work. Instead, simply make the arrangements yourself, something which can often be rather enjoyable and satisfying.D2