Beirut Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Beirut. How to get there and more…
It’s great to have you here searching for Beirut travel tips. Let me walk you through this beautiful city that has so much to offer when it comes to food and culture.
But let’s be frank, this is not your typical travel destination. Beirut has a troublesome history with war and conflict, and I’m not a historian so I won’t go into any detail about that here. It’s easy to get caught up in the scary picture that the media has painted and traveling to Beirut is surely not the first option of travel that people think about when booking a holiday.
But since you’re here and want to know more about this city, let’s set all of that media hype aside and discover one of the most interesting and attractive cities of Lebanon.
Beirut Travel Tips – How To Get Around Beirut, Is It safe?
When looking into Beirut Travel tips, yes the wounds are fresh and deep but Beirut is not defined by its scars and nor should it be. The city is cosmopolitan, relaxed on just about every level and actually hip. Beirut rivals any other mediterranean city, so sto whatever preconceived notion you have. This isn’t some desolate war ravaged corner of the globe. This is paradise.
The lebanese are incomparably friendly and welcoming people. They’ll approach you, they’ll talk to you, they’ll feed you. They know you’re a tourist so drop the charade and embrace their hospitality, it’s unparalleled. If you’re in for the adventure, Beirut has it coming for you. The best way to get around Beirut and to learn about its history is to get in contact with a tour guide who can get you around the city and share with you the history and how it all came down. It’s also a way for you to get around safely and to know where to be and where not to be.
Best Places To Stay In Beirut
When searching for places to stay and Beirut travel tips there are some places that are better than others. The capital of Lebanon, Beirut is an incredibly diverse and resilient city and one of the oldest in the world, with a history spanning 5000 years. Sitting on a peninsula, protected by cliffs overlooking the sea and large hills, Beirut has still been besieged, invaded and captured countless times, each new occupying power leaving its mark on the city. From the Romans to Crusaders to the Ottoman Empire, Beirut has been a coveted prize for centuries.
Downtown Beirut spans across several quarters and sectors, mainly, it refers to an area that was rebuilt after the war in a distinctive neo-ottoman architectural style. In the North, the Beirut Central District which spans to the sea and Zaitunay Bay with its brand new luxury apartment buildings and marina. To the South there’s a big renovated avenue that leads to government buildings, ancient cathedrals and new mosques.
Hamra is one of the most prestigious areas of Beirut. Formerly nicknamed the Champs-Élysées of Beirut, Hamra was the home of the intelligentsia. Professors at the nearby American University of Beirut would meet in its many cafes for debates with artists and writers and the whole area was a trove of intellectual activity. This subsided with the war but Hamra remains an exceptionally diverse and active neighborhood and a great area to stay in Beirut. Walk on its well-named Bliss Street to capture it all.
Gemmayzeh is east of downtown and has been progressively modernized since the 90’s as well and has gentrified until Mar Mikhael took over as the new place to be.
It has developed exponentially and has become the new destination for hipsters until gentrification made the prices soar and other cheaper neighborhoods to the East were preferred. Gemmayzeh remains a modern neighborhood with lots to offer in terms of nightlife and activities and has recently started growing again.
What To Eat And Drink In Beirut
The food culture when looking for Beirut travel tips might feel a bit familiar. This is because no matter where you live, you’ve probably sampled it one way or another. Lebanese food and food culture has travelled to the far corners of the earth. Around 14 million people of
Lebanese descent live outside of Lebanon, over three times the size of the population. And when they scattered across the globe, they brought with them all that is great about Lebanese food. In Beirut you get to taste the authentic food culture. Let’s dig into some local classics.
Knefeh is a traditional dessert during the month of Ramadan, a slightly salty cheese oozes out of a semolina cake crunchy with shredded filo and dusted with finely chopped pistachios. It makes for a hearty, sugar-shock breakfast year-round when stuffed into a kaak bread. Get it at
Excellent croissants, baguette (called franji in the local dialect), and pain perdu are all widely available in Beirut (not to mention good red wine… but that’s another list). This is due to the french influence on the city. Try at Bar Tartine.
One of the Middle East’s most famous foods, falafel is made with chickpeas and served in a pita bread with hummus and vegetables. We’ve
Shop in Beirut
all had a falafel some time, but not as great as the ones in Beirut.
Shawarma is spiced lamb or chicken that is spit-roasted, then carved in paper-thin slices into Lebanon’s delicate pita and topped with chopped parsley, onions, and garlic. Get it at Barbar.
De rigueur is an Arabic-style ice cream that often has mastic added (a tree resin that imparts a taffy-like texture) and may be perfumed with rose or orange-blossom water. European-style ice creams are popular too. Great to know when visiting in the summer. Try a traditional ice cream at Helwayat Al Salam.
Top 7 Experiences You MUST Have In Beirut
National Museum of Beirut
The National Museum is home to many treasures and is the main archaeological museum in Lebanon. The big collection ranges from the prehistoric period through the Roman period and into the Arab era. The museum itself is a marvel as it was destroyed in the civil war, and fully restored in 2011.
Al Amin Mosque
A massive contemporary art museum in Beirut and home of Lebanese culture. Sursock is a private villa-turned-attraction and the house itself is a marvel as it is the perfect example of Lebanon’s older architecture. Built in the 19th century by the Sursock family and here for you to enjoy.
The Blue Mosque, Al Amin is a landmark located in Downtown Beirut, built after the donation of the Late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It continues to be a symbol of his work. The mosque is only one of the achievements of this late Prime Minister. He shifted his business focus to rebuild Downtown Beirut to what it is today and provided students with educational scholarships and encouraged foreign investment in Lebanon.
Martyrs’ Square is an important landmark in Lebanese history, dedicated to those who were executed during Ottoman rule. It is also the traditional dividing line between East and West Beirut. First constructed in 1931, the monument has remained relevant due to the repeated political assassinations in Lebanon’s recent past.
Zaitunay Bay is a posh yachting dock, and a great place for brunch in Beirut. It’s part of most locals’ weekend plans. Try places like Babel Bay, Paul and Coast for a relaxing meal by the docks and enjoy the great view and food around here.
Streets of Beirut
The Pigeon Rocks are a Lebanese natural treasure. Located in the sea by the historical Raouche. Around the area surrounding the rocks, evidence of ancient human existence in Lebanon has been found. Walk on Raouche’s Corniche and marvel at these amazing sights.
Also known as the Government Palace, the Grand Serail is the Lebanese Prime Minister’s main base. The building is a marvel from the Ottoman Era, and is a must-visit for anyone wanting to learn more about Beirut’s history.