The Natural Beauty of the Mediterranean Sea Egypt

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By Nicole Anderson

Mediterranean Sea. Image by O H 237 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38364150

The entire Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected in the west by the Atlantic Ocean via the Strait of Gibraltar. This sea is surrounded by the three continents of Africa (south), Europe (north) and Asia (east). It is also the sea that connects to the Nile through Egypt and the Red Sea via the Suez Canal.

In total the sea covers an approximate area of 2.5 million sq km (965,000 sq mi).

Around 3 hours’ drive north of Cairo is a lovely stretch of Egypt’s northern coastline running for some 500 km along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Alexandria is built on the edge of the Mediterranean. Photo: James Visser.

The main gateway to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea Egypt is the city of Alexandria. Often referred to as the Mediterranean Sea Pearl, Alexandria is the second-largest Egyptian city after Cairo. It is also the second-largest city on the Mediterranean after Istanbul, Turkey. While it is a very large Egyptian city, I found it to have a much nicer and friendlier feel than Cairo.

Alexandria is where we visited to complete our trek through this region of Northern Africa to the end of the continent specifically to see the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt. The coastline of Alexandria city itself goes for around 70 km.

So far as climate is concerned, the heat in this region is a lot milder than most other areas in Egypt. It was really noticeable after travelling through most of the main centres in this country. There is just a beautiful breeze that comes in from the sea.

 

Travelling along the seafront

Our first glimpse of the Mediterranean, showing the footpath as our car drove past. Photo: James Visser.

Not surprisingly, the city of Alexandria is built as close to the water as possible. There is the main highway that separates buildings from the sea which means you have a fabulous view of the sea as you drive along the seafront.

All along this stretch, there is a very wide footpath which people enjoy walking along to take in the views of the Mediterranean. So many people also fish from various sections of the path, whereas in other areas there are many local families that enjoy swimming in these warm waters.

With all its accommodation options, Alexandria is just the perfect place to base yourself and explore as much of the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt as possible. Although we did not have as much time here as we would have liked on this trip, we nevertheless loved seeing this area of coastline and were very impressed at the lack of pollution.

 

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James and I with our guide Mohamed on the footpath. Photo: Mohamed.

 

A visit to the Qaitbay Citadel

The Qaitbay Citadel is a 15th-century fortress located on the eastern side of the northern tip of Pharos Island right at the mouth of the eastern harbor. It was constructed on the exact site of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

 

For something built in the 15th century, this is in fabulous condition. Photo: James Visser.

 

The fort itself is an impressive building with a commanding view of the coastline of Alexandria. James and I both went inside and were very impressed with how solid this construction was and how large the interior of the building is. The grounds were also impressive and the overall site is extremely well maintained.

 

Heading toward the tower to explore. Photo: James Visser.

 

Looking back into the courtyard. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

The views of the Mediterranean are simply unmatched from here. You can look uninterrupted across 180 degrees from one side of the coastline to the other. The main harbour area in front of the city of Alexandria is also in plain view, looking back from this position.

 

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Looking out through one side of the Tower. Photo: James Visser.

 

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The view out to sea from the other side of the Tower. Photo: James Visser.

 

Inside the tower, you can see how great the condition still is. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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Not a bad outlook for visitors to the Qaitbay Citadel. Photo: James Visser.

 

You seriously can not come to Alexandria and miss this incredible place.

 

A magic spot to eat

Known as one of the best places in Alexandria to dine, the Fish Market is a seafood restaurant located right along the waterfront. As you enter the building you see the wall of photos of local and internationally famous people that have dined here. You then walk up two flights of stairs to the main area of the restaurant and the incredible views.

We were so lucky to literally dine at the very best table directly overlooking the harbour, the Qaitbay Citadel, the waterfront along the city and out to the Mediterranean. On the menu was the beautiful fresh fish dish prepared in the traditional Mediterranean way. What a lovely leisurely lunch with wonderful service and atmosphere.

Our table right at the front extension of the restaurant. Photo: Mohamed.

 

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Looking out to part of the harbour and the Qaitbay Citadel in the background. Photo: James Visser.

 

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Looking out toward the harbor entrance. Photo: James Visser.

 

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On the right side the bay around which Alexandria city is built. Photo: James Visser.

 

Fresh, traditional Mediterranean fare. Photo: James Visser.

 

Other local sites of significant interest

While visiting Alexandria and the immediate surrounding area, there are a couple of historically significant sites we saw that we thought were worthwhile.

 

Catacombs of Kom al-Shoqafa

Listed as one of the seven wonders of the middle ages, these Catacombs lie in the western necropolis of Alexandria and consist of three levels cut through solid rock.

Going down a winding stairway you see how deep the ancient Greco-Romans tunnelled into the bedrock. Initially built for a single wealthy family practising a fusion of Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman religion, the Catacombs of Kom el-Shouqafa entombed over 300 mummies!

 

The main entrance to the site of the Catacombs. Photo: James Visser.

 

The grounds of this ancient site. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Down within the spacious Catacombs. Photo: James Visser.

 

James and I at the bottom of a shaft that went to the 2nd level down. Photo: Mohamed.

 

Not all the tombs at this site were underground. Here is one built above ground. Photo: James Visser.

 

Not many surviving sites depict a mixture of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman ancient cultures, but this is true here. According to archaeologists, these catacombs resemble the largest burial site dating from the Greco-Roman period. Discovered in Alexandria (named after Alexandria the Great), what was hidden in the underground burial tunnels for centuries was a blend of different ancient arts and cultures.

The catacombs here are one of the best-preserved ruins of the whole of Egypt and its rich mix of ancient cultures is what makes it so special. We really enjoyed exploring the different levels and learning some history from a qualified Egyptologist and guide.

 

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Otherwise more commonly known as the Alexandria Library, this is an impressive building by any measure. It stands on the site of the original Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, which was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world.

Since the demise of the original library, the modern version was built in its place and is a very modern working library spread over 14 floors. There were very many university students studying here, both reading texts as well as working online as books can be read here but are not allowed to be taken out of the building.

 

An external shot of the current Alexandria Library. Photo: James Visser.

 

A scale model of the modern Alexandria Library. Photo: James Visser.

 

An interior shot, taken from the ground level. Photo: James Visser.

 

From the top of the library looking down. Photo: James Visser.

 

It was an interesting visit to a site of historical significance. We really enjoyed looking through this library of fabulous architectural design.

 

 

A final note on the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt

There are so many other places of interest around Alexandria such as Pompey’s Pillar (covered as part of a previous post on the Natural Beauty of the Sahara, Egypt), the underwater ruins in Montazah and of course the many sandy beaches and resorts overlooking the crystal Mediterranean Sea, Egypt.

Whatever you do, if you are planning a trip to Egypt, don’t forget to include the Mediterranean coastline. It really does show yet another side to this amazing country.

 

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Loving the fabulous breeze and beautiful setting of the Mediterranean. Photo: James Visser.

 

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104 thoughts on “The Natural Beauty of the Mediterranean Sea Egypt

  • December 1, 2019 at 10:20 pm
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    Beautiful is not enough to describe this place. I dream of traveling to places like this but right now we have to stay put because of health issues. Traveling to Egypt would be a dream come true for me! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos!

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    • December 3, 2019 at 9:44 pm
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      Best wishes to you Kristine for improved health. Thank you so much for sharing such a lovely comment and I am so pleased you liked this post. I hope you will be able to visit and experience this one day to realize your dream.

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  • December 1, 2019 at 3:57 am
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    These are incredible pictures! My husband has been to Egypt but I haven’t been there yet, I don’t think I had even thought about Alexandria as a place to visit — only Cairo. Thank you for alerting me to the wonders of this city!

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    • December 1, 2019 at 7:05 am
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      Alexandria is a good base from which to visit many areas around Northern Egypt, Dominique. I would also recommend Luxor and Aswan in the south as well as Hurghada on the Red Sea Riviera. From each of these locations, there are just so many wonderful sites to visit. Thank you for reading and sharing your comment.

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  • December 1, 2019 at 1:51 am
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    Egypt as always been on my list of places that I must visit, but to date I just haven’t made my way there. The food and the views are certainly worth working hard and save up some money to get there.

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  • November 30, 2019 at 8:07 pm
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    I would love to visit Egypt! The Quaitbay Citadel looks amazing! Hard to believe it’s from the 15th century.

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    • December 1, 2019 at 7:01 am
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      Completely agree with you Lori! Like so many monuments in Egypt, it is in such fabulous condition for its age and is so well maintained. Glad you enjoyed this post and thank you for leaving a comment.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 5:22 am
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    I never knew that the Mediterranean Sea is also the sea that is connected to the Nile through Egypt and the Red Sea via the Suez Canal. The Mediterranean coasts are always very beautiful and would love to see this port city Alexandria which is only 3 hours drive from Cairo. 15th century’s Qaitbay Citadel really looks wonderful with the backdrop of blue waters. Thanks for sharing another beautiful place from Egypt.

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    • November 29, 2019 at 9:28 pm
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      I am so pleased you like this series of natural beauty posts covering various locations around Egypt, Yukti. Certainly, I had high hopes that it would be a lovely place and I was very happy that it is such a beautiful spot. The Qaitbay Citadel is an extremely popular highlight for sure. Thank you so much for reading through the series and leaving comments on your impressions.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 6:33 am
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    Never been to Egypt before but that sounds like a great place to visit with the family. The view of the sea looks absolutely beautiful and the place looks amazing.

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    • November 29, 2019 at 9:21 pm
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      Thank you very much Lyanna. Lots of families spend most of their time in the resort areas – both along the Mediterranean coastline as well as the Red Sea Riviera. Depending on the age of children, many will also visit the ancient historical sites that Egypt is most famous for. The position of Alexandria itself really has such wonderful views of the Mediterranean and the area itself is extremely well maintained.

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  • November 26, 2019 at 1:03 am
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    It is so amazing to see such old buildings and structures still preserved. I can only imagine what it felt like to go down in the catacombs, what was once an ancient wonder. I don’t see too many articles on Alexandria so i enjoyed learning about the things to do and see there.

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    • November 26, 2019 at 7:21 am
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      The temperature was extremely cool down in the catacombs and quite damp compared to back up on ground level, Cecilia. It wasn’t warm or stuffy as you might imagine it would be, and like so many other underground sites are. It was also amazingly spacious and fairly easy to move around from room to room and between levels. The detail in terms of carvings into the walls and illustrations were extremely well preserved.

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  • November 25, 2019 at 9:01 pm
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    Genuinely never thought to visit the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, but the city of Alexandria really looks like just the kind of destination we appreciate. Thank you for the beautiful photos and inspiration!

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  • November 25, 2019 at 6:20 pm
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    I’m in awe of this place Nicole! Egypt is somewhere I’m yet to visit, but it looks fascinating. I only associate the Med Sea with the Med (!) so it’s a reminder as to how big it is. Alexandria looks like somewhere I’d love to visit, especially with the milder temperatures, and the citadel and catacombs. Hopefully, we get to visit one day soon.

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    • November 25, 2019 at 11:39 pm
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      Totally understand what you mean about the Mediterranean Lisa – it is huge! Milder temperatures, natural beauty and numerous interesting sites to explore certainly make Alexandria a great place to include on your Egyptian itinerary. I also hope you get to visit soon and that you share how you enjoyed it as well.

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  • November 25, 2019 at 4:31 pm
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    Qaitbay Citadel looks like a beautiful place to explore. The view from the tower is great. Thank for the Fish Market restaurant recommendation, the view is worth the climb up the stairs.

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    • November 25, 2019 at 11:35 pm
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      That’s for sure Sherianne! Aside from the great view, there was a strong breeze coming straight in from the Mediterranean which was lovely. The tour of the Citadel was definitely fascinating and having lunch on the waterfront was really nice. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  • November 25, 2019 at 3:09 pm
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    I have never been to Egypt (yet…but it’s coming!) but the first places that I want to do is Giza (of course!) and do a cruise down the nile to Luxor and see the ancient sites down there. With the family, I probably hit up the Red Sea resorts but I never really considered the northern coastline of the Med. Would love to check up the fort as I love defensive buildings (I am a right sucker for castles) and defo would want a fish meal in the city. Hopefully a few months time I be in this region…fingers crossed!

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    • November 25, 2019 at 11:31 pm
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      On this trip, we were lucky enough to visit all the places you have referred to above Danik (plus a few more), all of which we loved. Do check out the other posts in this series on Egypt which might give you some more ideas for when you make your trip. It must be exciting for you to be planning to visit in a few months time and I hope you enjoy it every bit as much as we did.

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  • November 25, 2019 at 2:05 pm
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    Thanks for sharing your photos and experience in Egypt! For me, anywhere along the sea is stunning and worth a visit. I cannot believe the impeccable condition of the Qaitbay Citadel despite its age.

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    • November 25, 2019 at 11:26 pm
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      I totally love locations with water also Jennifer. And yes, the Qaitbay Citadel is just in amazing condition and kept so clean as well. So pleased you liked the post on this location.

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    • November 25, 2019 at 11:23 pm
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      You bet Sonia – the water at the Mediterranean as well as the Red Sea and the Nile all looked very clean at each location we visited. Do check out the posts on the Nile and the Red Sea Riviera to see what I mean. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  • November 24, 2019 at 6:36 pm
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    Just breathtaking photos! I’ve wanted to visit Egypt since I was a child and am determined to get there some day. I’ve been to Rhodes, Greece, seeing the Mediterranean from that end of it and still have lovely memories of the trip. Thanks for sharing Egypt with us!

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    • November 24, 2019 at 10:50 pm
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      You’re so welcome Lene. I had the same yearning to visit since studying history at school and was so delighted to discover how beautiful the country really is. It sounds like you are as determined as I was to visit, so I have no doubts that you will make the trip and enjoy it every bit as much as I did.

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  • November 24, 2019 at 5:36 pm
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    Dear Nicole,

    Thank you for the very interesting and educational travel report and for the fantastic pictures. I love traveling but haven’t been to that part of the world just yet. Egypt is definitely on my list. I will take your advice and explore the Mediterranean coastline when I plan my trip. Your photos and the story made me want to go right now!

    Warm regards,

    ~ Julia

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    • November 26, 2019 at 3:51 am
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      I have seen a part of Egypt only while crossing the Suez canal. Always thought Egypt was only about the pyramids. Never knew Alexandria would be such an interesting place. It has so many worders of the ancient world. The Qaitbay Citadel looks so clean and well kept for its age. Looks like the view from the top was worth the climb.

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      • November 26, 2019 at 7:15 am
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        When it comes to modern-day tourism, Pooja, Egypt is certainly most well known for the pyramids but as I have shown in the series of posts on its natural beauty, there is so much more to consider than just the pyramids. Ancient historical sites exist in so many locations across the country, amidst its impressive natural assets. Although the pyramids are indeed wonderful and jaw-dropping, it is just the start of what there is to explore. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

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  • November 24, 2019 at 3:32 pm
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    Once again you’ve provided such a rich and in-depth look of your visit to Egypt! I can’t get over that library – absolutely beautiful. I always feel like I learn so much after reading your articles. It is as if I’ve visited these locations myself! The Qaitbay Citadel is so grand looking, I would love to see it in real life one day! Thanks for providing a wonderful write-up that allows us to experience these amazing sights right along with you!

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