Best time to go to Lebanon
The best time to visit Lebanon is spring (March to May), when the weather is mild and wildflowers are in full bloom. If your timing is right, you can ski in the mountains at the end of the snow season and swim in the Mediterranean on the same day. If you cannot travel in spring, autumn (September to November) is also possible between the heat of summer and the cold of winter.
If you are traveling to Lebanon during the national school holidays, you should book the accommodation well in advance. Religious and state holidays shouldn’t seriously disrupt your vacation plans – transportation, hotels and restaurants work normally. The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan can require a little more planning: some cafes and restaurants close during the day and offices can shorten their opening hours. Ramadan nights, especially during the last three days of Eid al-Fitr, can be particularly lively. You may also want to put your tour around annual festivals such as those in Baalbek, Byblos, Palmyra and Bostra.
Currency: 1 Lebanese pound equals 100 piastres
Currency abbreviation: LBP (ISO code), L £ – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG
Banknotes are in circulation worth £ 1,000, £ 5,000, £ 10,000, £ 20,000, £ 50,000 and £ 100,000. Coins are used in amounts of £ 50, £ 100, £ 250 and £ 500.
1 USD = 1508 L £
1 Euro = 2217 L £
1 Swiss Franc = 1464 L £
Lebanon has a large number of different sights to offer. The absolute highlight of the country is Baalbek. At the time of its creation, it was a Phoenician site dedicated to the god Baal. At the time of the Romans, Baalbek was renamed Heliopolis, the city of the sun. Different religions played an important role here over the centuries. In the seventh century, all religious sites there were united into a single citadel. Although Baalbek had to withstand some wars, earthquakes, and decay in the centuries that followed, it has survived the history of mankind in relatively good shape.
Most of the visitors are fascinated by the historical site, which is full of mysticism and religious presence. Another interesting sight of Lebanon is not far from Baalbek. This is the mausoleum of Saideh Khawla, a daughter of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. This woman is especially revered as a saint by the Shiites today.
The city of Byblos is also worth seeing. It was founded around the Neolithic, around seven thousand years ago. In the third millennium BC, Byblos became one of the most important ports in the entire Mediterranean. The city primarily traded in cedar and oil, which in exchange brought other goods such as gold, alabaster, papyrus, etc. to Lebanon. The city lost much of its power and influence over the centuries, which was the result of increased conquests and external attacks. Today you can still see the stone witnesses of the time of this important epoch.
Museum lovers will not miss out in Lebanon either. The Archaeological Museum of the American University in Beirut should not be missed. It was founded in 1870 and is one of the oldest museums in the Middle East. The highlights of the museum are exhibits from the early Stone Age.
The National Museum is also worth a visit. In the museum you can see an extremely extensive collection of various excavation pieces from all over the country. These include coins, mosaics, ceramics, weapons, etc. from the various eras such as the prehistoric, bronze and iron ages, the Romanesque, Byzantine or Mameluk era.
Other interesting museums in Lebanon include the Baalbek Museum, the Beiteddine Palace Museum, the Armenian Museum, the Nicolas Sursock Museum and the Soap Museum.
One of the most interesting cities in the country is Beirut. Unfortunately, most of the historic Beirut was destroyed in the war, and as a result of the reconstruction it was heavily influenced by Western influence. In Beirut you can definitely go shopping and enjoy excellent cuisine. The city also has an interesting nightlife.
If you want to see historical buildings in Beirut, most of them can be found in the Basta Tahta district. Here you can primarily see the buildings of many old baths. The city also has a whole list of interesting museums to offer. Beirut is a paradise for tourists, as many sporting activities are possible, from swimming, tennis to golf. Water skiing is one of the most popular leisure options. Those who spend their vacation in Beirut should definitely take the cable car from Harissa to the Notre Dame de Liban statue. The trip is rewarded with a wonderful view of Beirut.
Anyone visiting Beiteddine should also have a look at the palace of the same name there. Anyone who is there will quickly understand what the stories from 1001 Nights mean. The palace was built by the Emir Beschir II Chehab in the nineteenth century. But not only the fantastic building is worth a look. In the palace you can see an extensive collection of Byzantine mosaics, as well as an antique weapon and jewelry collection.
Tourists looking for entertainment are in the right place in Jounieh. The city is best known for its Casino du Liban. The city also has various games and ballrooms, as well as some theaters and various concert halls.
Other cities worth seeing in Lebanon are Sidon and Tripoli. Both have a long and interesting history, whose silent witnesses can still be seen today.
The caves of Jelta are an absolute must. The stalactite caves are considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It will surely be an experience for most visitors to explore the huge formations of stalagmites and stalactites from the boat in the small underground lake.
Beirut in Lebanon
Beirut is the capital of Lebanon. The Lebanese city does not correspond to the typical oriental image of other cities with old souks and traditional markets.
However, Beirut is a must for every vacationer in Lebanon, as the city has a wide range of attractions to offer its visitors.
Absolutely worth seeing is the Al-Burj, the place of the martyr. The square is also known as Kanonenplatz and is located exactly between East and West Beirut. Unfortunately, most of the ancient square was destroyed during the war. At Al-Burj there are two other Beirut sights, the town hall and the opera.
Another interesting place is the Place de l’Etoile. The name means something like “Sternplatz” in German. Here you can admire both the main churches of Beirut and the famous mosques. The image of the Place del Etoile is mainly characterized by a former Turkish barrack Serail. Today the government and some ministries are housed in the building.
Other interesting places in Beirut are the Corniche, Hamr Street, Rue Clemenceau, the financial district and the Aschrafiye district.
There are also plenty of special buildings to explore in Beirut. This also includes the American university. It was created in 1866 by the well-known architect Daniel Blisse at the request of the American Presbyterians. The university is now one of the most important in the whole of the Orient.
The town hall on Märtyrerplatz is also worth seeing. The building was built in the oriental style by the former French mandate managers. Other buildings that should definitely be visited during a vacation in Beirut are the Saint Joseph University and the National Library.
Museum lovers will love their vacation in Beirut. So you should look at the Archaeological Museum of the American University Beirut not to be missed. The museum was founded in 1870 and is one of the oldest museums in the Orient. Particularly exciting exhibits go back to the Stone Age.
The National Archaeological Museum is also worth a detour. The building was built by the architect Nahhas in 1930. The style of Ptolemaic temple architecture was used to build the building. The museum can learn more about the country’s six thousand year history. The highlights of the museum include the mosaic “Socrates and the seven wise men”, the four sarcophagi from Tire, the children’s statues, etc. There is definitely a lot to see.
Beirut has more museums to offer, such as the National Museum, the Sursouk Museum or the Zoological Museum.
You don’t have to neglect the fine arts on a holiday in Beirut. The city has a large number of theaters, operas and event venues.
Furthermore, there are plenty of parks in Beirut to recover there from busy exploring Beirut, including the Animal City Zoo, the park of the American University, the park around the Hippodrome etc.
Also ancient religious buildings there are of different faiths sufficiently in Beirut to marvel at. Jami al-Kabir, also called the Great Mosque, is definitely worth a visit. The Muslim church was built from the remains of St. John’s Church. The church was built by the crusaders between 1113 and 1115. The Great Mosque was built in 1291. Since the Muslims also worship St. John, the relics of the church at that time are still preserved today.
Other sacred buildings in Beirut are the Saint Elias Church, Saint George Church and the Emir Mansur Assaf Mosque.