Alexandria, located on Egypt’s north coast, is the most popular destination for history-loving scuba divers in the region. With over 7000 Pharaonic, Greek and Roman artifacts and wrecks from Napoleonic battles, WWI and WWII, this Egyptian city offers some of the most interesting and unique dive sites in the North Africa. In addition, Alexandria is the jumping off point for dive groups heading to the oasis springs of the Sahara Desert.
The city’s Mediterranean climate on the edge of the desert creates ideal diving conditions for most of the year. The average air temperature is a moderate 64°F to 87°F (18° C to 31° C) while water temperatures vary by season. In the winter expect water to be 69°F (20°C) while the summer brings an average water temperature of 81°F (27°C). Diving in Alexandria is year-round, however divers who wish for warmer seas might plan their trip between June and September. It’s also important to note that visibility in the area is notoriously poor. It’s not uncommon to have a dive with only 6 foot (2 meter) visibility.
Because of Alexandria’s historical importance in Egypt and its location along the Mediterranean, this stop has become increasingly popular with divers. Between the Underwater City of Cleopatra, the Alexandria Lighthouse, Siwa Oasis and the wrecks from the Battle of the Nile, divers have plenty of sites to choose from. Accommodation is also easy to find. Budget friendly accommodation may be hard to locate, but a wide range of mid-range to high-end hotels are available.
As a final note, diving in Alexandria is not a popular activity. You can expect to be the only group in any given site. Because of this, finding a dive operator may also be a challenge and adequate preparation before your trip is necessary. In addition, dive centers will require at least two days notice of your dive in order to secure the necessary permits to dive in the area.
If Alexandria has a lot of ancient history under the water, there is even more above sea level. History-lovers and holidaymakers will rejoice in this seaside escape.
A tour of the historical city wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina or the Montazah Palace Gardens. The Royal Jewelry Museum and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa are also sure to delight.
If you’re looking for a bit of a breeze in the oppressive desert heat, head for Fort Qaitbey. It has the best ocean views around.
In addition to attractions in Alexandria city, tourists can enjoy trips to the surrounding desert. You’ll be reenacting scenes from The Alchemist as soon as you spot your first oasis.
Borg el Arab Airport services Alexandria. Flights destined for Alexandria mostly originate in the Middle East or North Africa. In addition, transportation from Borg el Arab to the city center is limited to an expensive taxi journey.
If you are arriving from Europe, Asia or North America, a better port of entry is Cairo International Airport. Frequent buses and trains depart from Cairo for the 2-3 hour journey to Alexandria.
Once you reach Alexandria, taxis and local buses may be used to travel from point A to point B.