November 5, 2002
The Corniche is a nice, wide sidewalk that stretches all along the Eastern Harbor from Fort Qaitbey to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. It is its most impressive around sunset and at night, so it is perfect for a nice pre-dinner stroll. You can start from anywhere along the Corniche, the best place is Midan Sadd Zaghloul, and then just walk. I like the walk from Saad Zaghloul to Fort Qaitbey. This takes about an hour at a slow pace, depending on how many times you stop.
Start at Saad Zaghloul and walk past the famous Cecil Hotel towards Midan Orabi. At Midan Orabi there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is quite impressive when lit up an night. The coast along Orabi is a nice place to just sit and hang out for a while. Make your way past Orabi towards Qaitbey. On the right you will see some sandy beaches, restaurants, and many boats. On the left there are plenty of restaurants and the impressive Busseiri and Abu Abbas al-Mursi Mosques. As you continue, notice the shisha bar on the beach to your right. Take note, this is a nice place to stop for a late night shisha. Just past the shisha bar you will see Kadoura Restaurant on the left, which I discussed in another journal. You will also see the Fish Market complex on the right, which contains a seafood restaurant, Chicken Tikka, an excellent pastry shop, and the not so great Grand Cafe. Keep the pastry shop in mind. It is perfect for an after dinner ice cream or baklava.
Keep walking past the Fish Market and you will eventually end up at Fort Qaitbey, which lies out on a peninsula separating the two harbors. There is a nice square in front of the fort where teenagers and lovers congregate at night. Here we had a pleasant run-in with some local children who insisted on breakdancing for us, and eventually convinced us to join them. It was a good time.
From here it is up to you as to what you want to do. I recommend sitting on some of the benches along the coast and just watching the people go by. After you’ve had a good rest, head back for some dinner at a local restaurant, like Kadoura, or one of the many other seafood joints along the Corniche.
The Corniche is what Alexandria is all about. It is a nice, wide open space where you can sit, relax, and take a breather from the crowds of Cairo. So enjoy it, take a nice stroll, enjoy the sea air, and try to imagine the Alexandria of the early 1900s, a culturally vibrant city teeming with ex-pats and authors straight out of a Hemingway novel.
From journal Alexandria: The Perfect Break From Cairo