Possessing a balmy, Mediterranean climate, long stretches of sparkling coastline, clusters of impressive archaeological sites and a pulsating capital full of modern and ancient delights, Lebanon could be considered one of the world's most underrated travel destinations. Throw in magically mellow port towns, rare forests of ancient cedar and a culinary scene built on centuries of knowledge and you've got an enriching yet complex country just begging to be explored.
Lebanon Tours & Travel
At a glance
|Capital city:||Beirut (population 2.1 million)|
|Time zone:||(GMT+02:00) Beirut|
|Electricity:||Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin) Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type G (Irish/British 3-pin)|
Best time to visit Lebanon
Lebanon has a typically glorious Mediterranean climate. Summer (June to August) is usually hot and humid with daytime temperatures usually hovering around 30°C. In winter (December to February) the days are mild and the nights can get cold. Rain is common, as is snowfall in the mountainous areas. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are considered the supreme times to travel as the weather is warm but not too hot.
Geography and environment
Top 5 People-Watching Spots of Beirut
This scenic promenade is one of the best places to soak up the diverse society of contemporary Beirut. Just go for a slow stroll and let the sights of mellow fisherman, energetic teens, sophisticated cafe-dwellers, busy street vendors and hookah-smoking elders all roll into one.
The cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Gemmayzeh is fast becoming THE place to see and be seen at night. Experience the irrepressible energy of modern Beirut as you watch parades of '24 hour party people' come out to play in the impossibly cool bars, clubs and cafes on the main drag.
3. Hamra Street
Located near many universities, it's no surprise that this street (once referred to as the Champs Elysees of Beirut) used to be a popular spot for intellectuals back in the 1960s and 1970s. These days, Hamra Street offers travellers an incredible snapshot of contemporary life in Beirut. With coffee shops, boutiques, hotels, pubs and bars, this busy hub of commercial activity buzzes with energy day and night.
4. Souk el Tayeb
Experience yet another side of diverse Beirut at Lebanon's first farmers' market. This weekly open-air market features organic produce, homemade treats, local honey, flowers, soap, cakes and handicrafts - all housed at two locations in Beirut (Saifi Village and Rue Verdun). A visit here will reveal home cooks in action, artisans at work and age-old culinary traditions in real life.
5. Monot Street
This busy street in the Ashrafieh neighbourhood is another hot spot for nightlife and is particularly popular with young clubbers and bar-hoppers. It's fascinating to watch the old-world charm of this neighbourhood contrast with the glamorous fashions and modern attitudes of the people who frequent here.
FAQs on Lebanon
A local beer = 3000 LBP
Falafel or shawarma from street vendor = 3000-6000 LBP
Simple dinner at a restaurant = 12,000-16,000 LBP
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 6 Orthodox Armenian Christmas
Jan 24 Mawlid al-Nabi (Prophet's Birthday)
Feb 9 Feast of St Maroun
Mar 29 Good Friday
Mar 31 Easter Sunday
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Orthodox Easter
May 6 Martyrs' Day
May 25 Resistance and Liberation Day
Aug 8 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Aug 15 Assumption of the Virgin
Oct 15 Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Nov 4 Islamic New Year
Nov 13 Ashoura
Nov 22 Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. Not all religious holidays are celebrated or observed by all people in Lebanon. Islamic festivals and feasts are timed according to the lunar calendar (which changes each year) so these dates are estimates only. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Lebanon/public-holidays
Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany: Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
All nationalities require a visa to enter Lebanon. Currently, visas are free and are issued for 1 month on arrival.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Lebanon Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Lebanon
1. Be considerate of Lebanon’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. Ramadan is the fasting month for all Muslims. During this month no food, drink or smoking is permitted during daylight hours. While non-Muslims visiting Lebanon aren't expected to fast, it's important to be mindful of Ramadan when visiting Muslim communities in Lebanon.
|Spirit of the Phoenix: Beirut and the Story of Lebanon||Tim Llewellyn|
|Lebanon: Through Writers' Eyes||Ed. Ted Gorton and Andree Feghali Gorton|
|Agents of Innocence||David Ignatius|
|De Niro's Game||Rawi Hage|
|A Good Land||Nada Awar Jarrar|