BEIRUT

One flew over the couscous nest.

Beirut Guide

Lebanon used to be France, and is ranked third in the world for highest cigarette consumption per capita.

The time zone of Beirut is Eastern European Standard, so when it’s 12 PM in New York, it’s 7 PM there.

All United States citizens entering Lebanon will get a visa valid for one month, which can also be extended if need be.

Other countries that will receive a visa upon entry are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • China
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • Bhutan
  • Chile
  • Armenia
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • All EU citizens

Citizens of other countries may need immigration approval, or a visa prior to entering Lebanon. For more information, visit Lebanese General Security.

Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY/OLBA): Is the only operational commercial airport in the country. It’s located about 5 miles from the city center in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

This airport serves as the center for Middle East Airlines and Wings of Lebanon.

For more information, check the website.

Uber provides quick and easy access to the center of the city from the airport, as well as connections to other cities in Lebanon.

Lebanon is safe for solo female travelers, but extra care should be taken. As the neighbor of several nations undergoing civil unrest, people are naturally wary. Given the various military checkpoints around Beirut, it’s important to have your passport on you at all times. And as with any foreign country, if you plan on going out alone, take extra caution at night and be sure to familiarize yourself with the area.

Beirut is generally considered Mediterranean.

Its summers are typically hot and dry, with an average temperature of around 30°C (86°F).

Winters are generally very mild, reaching a low of about 11°C (52°F). The months of December and January typically see the highest precipitation rates.

Arabic is the official language of Lebanon, but English and French are also widely used.

Here are some basic phrases you should know:

Hello: Mar7aba

How are you?: Kifak (to a male) or Kifek (to a female)

Good Morning: Saba7 el khayr

Goodbye: Ma3 el saleme

Sorry: Esef (for a male) or Esfe (for a female)

Thank you: Chokran

You’re welcome: Tekram

The Lebanese have a proud tradition of hospitality. That being said, here are some general rules to follow during your stay:

  1. It is best not to cross your legs with your ankle on your knee as it is offensive to point one’s foot at another person.
  2. Men in Lebanon rarely swear in the presence of women.
  3. When invited to a person’s home, it is customary to bring a gift, such as cakes or sweets.
  4. On arrival, greet people in the order of their age, beginning with the oldest.
  5. You should accept tea or coffee when it’s offered, as this shows that you’re enjoying the hospitality.
  6. Hosts commonly urge their guests to have multiple servings of a meal. Serve yourself less on the first helping, so you can go back for more.
  7. Meals are seen as social occasions, and therefore, it’s considered rude to leave directly after eating.

For more information, click here.  

The Lebanese pound (LBP) is the official currency of Lebanon, but US currency is generally accepted as well.

Standard voltage in Lebanon is 220 V. Plugs used include type C, D, and G. 

Your converter should look like one of these:

Type D ConverterType G ConverterType C Converter

Tap water is generally not safe to drink in Beirut. We recommend filling a reusable bottle with filtered water instead. Otherwise, you can purchase bottled water at any number of markets, kiosks and vendors.

WiFi

Most hotels, restaurants and cafe’s offer free WiFi, but be prepared for the internet service to be slow. Any technical issues or outages are usually resolved within a couple minutes, so just be patient.

SIM Cards

You can purchase a tourist SIM card; the Visitor Line by Touch. This can be purchased at the Beirut International Airport and is available in Touch stores. It offers 10 GB, 100 minutes and 100 SMS for local and international use over the course of two weeks.

One of the most popular transportation services in Lebanon is Uber.  That being said, it only offers services from Beirut.

Here are a few others you can check out:

Careem App: This service allows you to digitally set a location, pick a cab type and ride.

Flugen Rides (App): Links you to all the cab drivers nearby who have completed Kunhadi’s Road Safety Training Program and are certified for their responsible driving.

Carpolo App: This newer service provides community based car-sharing. Payment is completed through a point system.

Homosexuality is an arrestable offence in Lebanon.

On the positive side, more and more judges in Lebanon are arguing against Article 534, which is slowly paving the way for decriminalization. That being said, Lebanon is not considered a safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

For more information, click here.

Beirut is home to spectacular monuments, beaches, and lush green parks.

Here are some must-sees for all self-proclaimed eco-tourists:

Raouche: Or “Pigeon Rock,” is located at the westernmost tip of Beirut. This natural landmark was formed as a result of an earthquake in the 13th century. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime view.

Baalbek: This town is home to the ancient roman temples of Bacchus. The town’s rich cultural history is matched only by the beauty of this monument.

Animal City: This park houses over 50 different species of wild and domestic animal, which are all sheltered, fed, and protracted.

AUB Botanical Garden: This bird sanctuary is located in the American University of Beirut. Visit and learn about all the local migratory birds.

For more information on places to visit, check Eco Friendly Travels.

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FOR THE PLANNERS:

Plan for 2-3 days in Beirut, and 5-6 days for other cities in Lebanon. In Beirut, stay in downtown so you're close to most tourist attractions.