Travel Guide| Beirut
Known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’, the Lebanese capital city Beirut offers a truly unique experience. With an atmosphere that represents the best of western and Middle Eastern cultures, your trip is guaranteed to be a memorable one.
In 2008, Beirut was ranked as the ninth best city in the world. Now, we’d argue it’s even better.
Read our guide to see why. Then, book your cheap flight to Beirut with Flynas.
Attractions and Things to Do in Beirut
Beirut is filled with many wonderful things to do. There are lots of different museums, historical landmarks, and many more modern attractions too.
Here’s an overview of the best this city has to offer:
National Museum of Beirut
If you’re a history buff, or just want to take a casual interest in Lebanese history, the National Museum of Beirut should be your first stop. It’s filled with fascinating artefacts, which provide incredible insights into civilisations of centuries gone by. Be sure to check out the Roman tomb located in the basement, as well as the Phoenician gilded bronze figurines.
St George Crypt Museum
Another museum – but one that is extremely special in its own right. It was discovered only when the Orthodox Cathedral was bombed in 1975, and since then has been maintained as a museum. There is lots of information available about the historical context of this site – much of it only recently learned – including a seven minute documentary about the cathedral.
This is one of the most vibrant areas in Lebanon. Tourists from all over the world come to Hamra Street to check out the shops, restaurants and the hospitality available here. It has been revitalised in recent years with a range of exciting new establishments, which have contributed to an increasingly popular nightlife.
Beirut Art Centre
Beirut is a very artistic town. It appeals to both local artists, as well as a more international fan base. There are a host of exhibitions held throughout the year – a number of which are sure to entice you into checking them out. Whether it’s paintings, music or movies. The Beirut Art Centre is a must-visit for all art fans. It’s always got something going on.
If you’re more inclined to lounge on the beach, then there are plenty of opportunities to do so in Beirut. Luxurious resorts have been established throughout the city. Take your pick from any number of beach resorts. Many feature entertainment facilities, restaurants and swimming pools.
Eating Out in Beirut
Beirut is home to some wonderful food – both locally inspired, and your favourite international dishes. If you’re looking for a spot to grab lunch, or to go and enjoy a fancy meal – then here are our recommendations.
If you have just one day in this city, and are looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat, make sure it’s Tawlet. Originally founded to promote local farmers and ingredients, this establishment is now a restaurant that provides just one incredible option – an all-you-can-eat buffet consisting of the best, most delicious Lebanese dishes.
A more affordable eatery – with lots of Mediterranean favourites, including tapas, pizza, pasta and fish. The interiors of the restaurant are beautiful, and create a very relaxed vibe amongst the guests. You can try different Mediterranean dishes, hang out on the terrace, and generally just have a really nice time.
Name: Em Sherif
Or maybe you’re more a fan of fine dining? Whilst expensive, the dishes served at Em Sherif are amongst the most delicious you’ll find in Beirut. The incredible chefs here work to bring a varied menu, which includes foods suitable for any time of day. Check out Em Sherif for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Name: Babel Bay
Again, another menu that edges on the pricey side. But if seafood is your thing, then you don’t want to turn down the opportunity to visit Babel Bay. Everything is incredibly fresh, and the service amongst some of the best you will find in the city. We’d also recommend checking out the amazing wine on offer.
Our final pick is Loris – good food that is reasonably priced. It works as a café or restaurant – so you can visit for a quick bite, or a three-course delicious meal. There’s lots of variety on the menu, which includes a delicious desserts section.
Hotels in Beirut
Beirut is home to a number of amazing hotels. There’s something for every budget. Here are a few of the ones we would recommend:
Gefinor Rotana Hotel (5 Star)
Price: 160,157 LBP – 236,231 LBP ($106-$156, £80-£118)
A luxury hotel, perfectly located in the Hamra area. For those visiting Beirut on business, you’ll find the banking and financial sectors based nearby. The hotel itself has all the amenities you could possibly want – and more. Including fully-serviced apartments, a car rental service, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The Key ApartHotel (4 Star)
Price: 160,157 LBP – 238,360 LBP ($99-$157, £75-£119)
As the name suggests, The Key offers a variety of apartments and hotel rooms for you to base yourself during your visit. At four stars, this hotel boasts a range of luxury features, which are certain to make your stay a comfortable one. Close by you’ll find lots of major attractions, as well as lots of restaurants and bars.
The WH Hotel (4 Star)
Price: 276,417 LBP – 434,656 LBP ($183-$287, £138-£217)
The WH Hotel provides some of the most spectacular views of Beirut you are ever likely to see. Its perfect positioning is matched only be the level of service it offers to its guests. Comfortable rooms ensure a pleasant stay, and the range of amenities on offer make this one of the best value hotels in Beirut.
Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (5 Star)
Price: 116,175 LBP – 160,242 LBP ($77-$206, £58-£80)
The Hilton name is known all around the world. It suggests a high standard, and that standard is more than met here at the Habtoor Grand. This hotel epitomises luxury – with elegant suites, spa treatments and an outdoor pool. Suitable for business visits, and holidaymakers.
La Commodore Hotel (5 Star)
Price: 116,175 LBP – 160,242 LBP ($77-$206, £58-£80)
With over 50 years of experience, La Commodore offers an established, luxury service to guests who visit from all over the world. It is based right in the heart of Beirut, so you can find lots of attractions and restaurants nearby. The rooms are comfortable, and there are plenty of spa and dining features within the hotel itself.
Transport in Beirut
The public transport system in Beirut is quite good.
Two bus companies operate in the city, so you should be able to find one to take you where you want to go.
The main alternative is taxi. If you’re at the airport, official airport taxis will take you to your hotel for around $25.
Uber also operates in Beirut.
Finally, Beirut has what is known as ‘service’, which is essentially a shared taxi service. Locals use it as a way to commute, as it is cheaper than a regular cab.
Weather in Beirut
Due to its geographic location, Beirut is very warm throughout most of the year.
The temperature does vary slightly, however. The city is typically at its hottest in July, August and September – averaging 27-28°C
January and February, on the other hand, are the cooler months. With an average temperature of around 13°C.
Events in Beirut
Beirut plays host to a number of fun events – most of which take place in the summer. If you’re heading to Beirut at this time, here are some of the things to look out for.
Name: Byblos Festival
Not technically in Beirut – but not too far away either – the Byblos Festival takes place every June. It is a gathering of music lovers, who wish to witness a variety of local and international artists. Former names to have appeared at the Byblos Festival include Moby and Jamie Cullum.
Name: Tyre and South Festival
Again, you’ll have to make a short (1.5 hour) car journey to get there, but the Tyre and South Festival is more than worth it. It’s not just music, this event celebrates the entirety of Lebanese culture – featuring poetry readings, dance shows, crafts fairs and fascinating lectures.
Name: Beiteddine Arts Festival
Also in July (if you come at this time, you’ll be busy!) is the Beiteddine Arts Festival, just an hour’s drive away from Beirut. If you’re a fan of the arts, including music and theatrical performance, then you’ll love this event. It’s set against the backdrop of Beiteddine castle.
Name: Eid al-Fitr
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, and takes place in August or September each year. It is a public holiday, where people get together and exchange gifts, eat delicious foods, and enjoy spending time with one another.
Name: Lebanese Independence Day
As in many nations around the world, Lebanon hosts a series of celebrations on its Independence Day, which occurs on November 22nd every year. It is a national holiday in which many people are able to take the day off work, and take part in local events, such as parades, throughout the country.
The Lebanese Pound is used in Beirut. However, many places will accept US dollars (although not coins)
The exchange rate is fixed at around 1USD = 1,500 LBP.
Lebanon is predominantly a Muslim country, with a sizeable Catholic demographic too.
It’s important to be aware that, whilst Lebanon is a little less conservative than other Islamic countries, you will be expected to respect the traditions of Islam during your visit.
When entering the country for the first time, citizens of the UK, US and Canada are presented with a free one-month visa. This can be renewed to a maximum of three months if necessary.
Now you’ve heard everything you need to know about Beirut, book your cheap flight to the city with Flynas.