BEFORE YOU GO
Lebanon covers 10,230 square kilometers of land and 170 square kilometers of water, making it the 171st largest nation in the world with a total area of 10,400 square kilometers… and she is beautiful. This land is where the Middle East meets the Mediterranean adventure that is a little off the beaten track. Summer in Lebanon are known to also be one of the best thanks to the nature, beaches, music, food and ambience. The charming country has kept its ground still on tourism despite political disturbance for decades.
The ancient cities of Jbeil (Byblos), Aydâ (Sidon) and Sour (Tyre) offer magnificent architectural remains and the sites are largely free from tourist crowds, especially during the winter months. Byblos, a UNESCO World Heritage site is located about 26 miles north of Beirut.
From one of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Jbeil and the ancient fishing town of Byblos to beautiful beaches, bars and a nonstop nightlife, Lebanon has plenty to offer travellers.
Here is a mini guide on how to plan your summer vacation in Lebanon.
♥ Fly direct with Emirates Airlines, Middle East Airline and flydubai to Beirut
♥ Always remember to tip if you are happy with a service
♥ Taxi services are widely used, make sure you call a private company instead of catching one on the road, do not ride with strangers
♥ If you are planning to travel a short or long distance, be aware that there is no rush hour time. 90% of your time on the road will be faced with traffic so keep you cool
♥ You will experience possibly one of the best cuisines you ever tasted in your life so do wear loose clothes and be prepared
♥ USD (American Dollar) and LL (Lebanese Lira) are the currencies accepted. Banks are also almost on every corner and always carry small bills
♥ Renting a car is easy… driving is not
♥ Always carry ID with you
♥ “Super nightclub” does not mean “really big nightclub”
♥ Your Lebanese breakfast will consist of labneh, zaatar, foul, fetteh, halloum, fresh vegetables, arabic bread and man’ouche and will last till lunch.
♥ Don’t take pictures of Soldiers or the building they are in
PLACES TO STAY IN LEBANON
There are plenty of places to stay in Lebanon, from sky rise hotels like Le Gray, located close to several touristic landmarks, including Martyrs’ Square, the Beirut National Museum, the Crypt Museum at the Saint George Orthodox Cathedral and many other historical churches and mosques. From guesthouses in Lebanon, which is one of the best ways to explore the culture and history in Lebanon and offer great insights on how lebanese homes are and a city life hotel.
Here is a list of places that we recommend to try.
Beirut: Le Gray (City Life)
Location, Location, Location. Part of the Leading Hotels of The World, in the capital’s central district, minutes away by foot from Downtown, the square where you can find all the luxury shopping and restaurants and just a walk away from Beirut Souks. If you want to be in the middle of it all, the night life and the shopping, where the busiest streets of Beirut, then Le Gray Beirut is the place where you will need to stay and Gordon’s cafe right on the ground floor.
Travellers looking to visit Beirut in the month of June can take advantage of the hotel’s Spring Into Summer package valid until the 24th June 2017. Deluxe Rooms start at USD 320 plus 10% VAT per room, per night on a room only basis. While Premium Rooms start at USD 380 plus 10% VAT per room, per night and also include complimentary breakfast for up to two adults.
Guests booking this package will also benefit from an upgrade to the next available room type.
July and August start at $430 + VAT per room, per night with complimentary breakfast for up to two adults.
Dar Alma (Coast)
A 19th century traditional Lebanese house, Dar Alma is located in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Tyre (‘Sour’, in Arabic).
Dar Alma Boutique Hotel sits in the southern city of Tyre, a UNESCO world heritage site overflowing with history and a decidedly Lebanese atmosphere. Located close to Tyre’s Phoenician harbor, is accessible through this famous old town’s picturesque narrow streets. This guest house will give you the feel of what it’s like to live in Tyre. Pedestrian alleys surround it, thus offering you a feeling of tranquility away from the droning noises of the city. The hotel also has a beach terrace and sun deck with direct access to the pristine beaches of this southern coastline, which allows guest to dip their toes in the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean, and swim with our hotel mascots, the turtles of Tyre.
A family owned private escape in Beit El Din, offering 12 guest houses surrounding a pool and nature. Located in the Maaser El Chouf area and a 45 minutes car drive from Beirut and 10 minutes away from the ancient city of Deir El Qamar.
Beit Douma (Mountain)
1,000 meters above sea level and a 15 minute drive up from Batroun, you will find a little town called Douma whose ground is rich and welcomes all sorts of plants especially and has an abundance olive trees, grapevines and apple trees. The name Douma is of Greek origin meaning “house”, “palace” or “castle”. Stay in the beautiful renovated 18th century house by Souk El Tayeb, in one of the last Lebanese preserved villages. Here, don’t expect to find TV or activities at home. Get a good book and enjoy the real home cooked food with Kamal Mouzawak from the garden you picked your vegetables from and for dessert, the apple pie you baked together! Nothing over the top and everything so beautiful and real.
THINGS TO DO
- Take a day trip to Anjar, Baalbek and Ksara
- Take a day trip to visit Byblos, Jeitta Grotto and Harissa
- Take a day trip to visit Tyre and Sidon
- Visit Beitteidin and Dar Al Qamar
- Visit the Crusader Castle in Byblos
- Dine in Zaitouna Bay
- Visit the Old Souk in Byblos
- Visit Raouche in Beirut
- Have drinks with friends in Gemmeyzeh and Mar Mkhayel
- Shop in Hamra streets for Lebanese products
- Visit the Cedars
- Visit Baatara Gorge Waterfall
- Visit Lake Qaraoun
- Visit Bekaa Valley and the winery
- Visit Msaylha Castle – Chekka
- Visit Kefraya winery
- Take a dip in Afqa Waterfall
- Climb Laqlouq Mountain
- Go Kayaking and River Rafting with Assi Club Hermel
PLACES TO EAT
- Falamanki – Beirut Street Food
- Qahwet Beirut – Beirut Street Food
- Chez Fawzi – Faraya
- Al Jammal – Seafood Batroun Coast
- Em Sherrif – Beirut City
- Tawlet Beirut – Beirut City
- Liza – Beirut City
- Fun Emm Salim – Anfeh Coast
- Tawlet Ameeq – Mountain
- Tawlet Biomass – Mountain
- Spoonteller – Kaslik
- Tawlet Beit El Qammar
- Toto – City
- Jai Kitchen Hamra – City
- Ono Armenian – City
- Hut #38 Tyre Beach – Coast
- Ricky’s – Mountain Coast
- Couqley – City
- Chez Maguy Batroun – Coast
- Centrale – City
- Jammal Batroun – Coast
- Meat the Fish – Seaside
- Mato – Seaside
BEACHES TO VISIT
- Pierre & Friends
- Loco Beach
- White Beach
- Kalani Beach
- Eddeh Sands
- Lazy B
- Dar Alma Beach
- Orchid Beach Resort