The second largest city in Egypt, Alexandria, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean", has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km from Cairo.

Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Graeco-Roman Egypt; its status as a beacon of culture symbolised by Pharos, the legendary lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The setting for the stormy relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, Alexandria was also the centre of learning in the ancient world. But ancient Alexandria declined, and when Napoleon landed, he found a sparsely populated fishing village.
From the 19th century Alexandria took a new role, as a focus for Egypt's commercial and maritime expansion. Writers such as E. M. Forster and Gerald Durrell have immortalised this Alexandria. Generations of immigrants from Greece, Italy and the Levant settled here and made the city synonymous with commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture. Today, Alexandria is a city to explore at random. It is as important to enjoy the atmosphere as it is to see the sights.
Graeco-Roman Museum
The Graeco-Roman Museum houses a collection that includes mummies, sculptures, sarcophagi, pottery, coins and tapestries from as early as the 2nd century BC. 
Royal Jewellery Museum
This incredible museum has an impressive collection of jewels, formerly part of the royal dressing room from the time of Mohamed Ali's early 19th-century rule until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1952. As well as ordinary items of jewellery, the collection includes diamond-encrusted garden tools, jewelled watches, and a diamond-studded chess set. The collection is housed in one of King Farouk's old palaces, which is fascinating in its own right.
Catacombs of Kom El-Shokafa
The Catacombs are the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt, consisting of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into the rock to a depth of about 35 meters. Constructed in the subtitle century AD, probably as a family crypt, they were later expanded to hold more than 300 individual tombs. There is even a banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funeral feast.
Pompey's Pillar
Pompey's Pillar is a 27 meter high and 2 meter thick column of polished Aswan rose granite, which stands before the scant remains of the splendid Temple of Serapis, one of ancient Alexandria's most important buildings. Erroneously named by the Crusaders, the pillar was actually raised in honour of Diocletian in the 4th century AD, and it probably supported a statue of the emperor.
Roman Amphitheatre
This is the only Roman amphitheatre in Egypt, discovered quite recently, when the foundations for a new apartment building were being dug. The terraces, arranged in a semicircle around the arena, are extremely well preserved. Recent excavations in the area have uncovered incredible examples of Roman mosaic floors with beautiful designs including birds and animals, which are now preserved under cover in a special miniature museum. 
Qait Bay Fort
This 15th century Mamluk fort overlooks the entrance to the Eastern Harbour in Alexandria. It is built on the foundations of the Pharos lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and incorporates both a castle and a mosque within its walls. From the top of the fort, visitors have a beautiful vista of the entire coastline of Alexandria, and can also see the area where recent underwater excavations have uncovered incredible archaeological finds including the lost city of Cleopatra, and Napoleon's sunken fleet.
Montaza Palace & Gardens
Montaza Palace was built by Khedive Abbas II. It was the summer residence of the royal family before the 1952 Revolution and King Farouk's abdication. It overlooks magnificent gardens and groves. The adjacent Salamlek Hotel, also built by Abbas II, was designed in the style of a chalet to please his Austrian mistress. The palace and its museum are not open to the general public, but the gardens can be explored at leisure.
El Alamein Cemeteries and War Museum
The famous battlegrounds of El-Alamein, 105km west of Alexandria, played host to one of the key battles of WWII. Winston Churchill wrote of the battle: "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat." The town has a Military Museum that contains a collection of uniforms, memorabilia and pictorial material relating to the Battle of El-Alamein and the North African campaigns in general. It is also possible to visit the nearby British, Italian and German war cemeteries, which hold the bodies of some of the 11,000 soldiers killed during the battle.
Mosque of Abu Al-Abbas Mursi 
A modern but impressive example of Islamic architecture. The original mosque on the site was built by Algerians in 1767, over the tomb of a 13th century Muslim saint. The present structure was erected in 1943 when the largely decayed original was demolished.
Bibliotheca Alexandria
Another place of interest is the new Bibliotheca Alexandria, an integrated cultural complex, housed in a spectacular building of disc-like design, overlooking the sea, and partly submerged in a pool of water - symbolising the image of the sun illuminating the world. The building is surrounded by a wall clad in Aswan granite, engraved with calligraphy and representative inscriptions from all the worlds' civilisations. 
Alexandria National Museum
The newly opened Alexandria National Museum with its collection of thousands of items spanning from the Pharaonic Era, through Greco-Roman times, to the present day, is worth a visit, as is one of Alexandria's foremost religious buildings, the graceful Abu Al-Abbas Mosque with its four domes and towering, 73 meter minaret, which originally dates from 1775.