Important facts and information to know when visiting Lebanon
There are not too many countries where you can be skiing one minute and sunning yourself on the beach the next. But did you know Lebanon is the only Middle East country without a desert?
It sounds like the ideal short escape, however, its unique geographic position sandwiched between Syria and Israel has also meant over the generations conflict has, sadly, never been far away.
History mixed with modern style, the Capital Beirut “the Pearl of the Middle East” is a relatively small and easy city to explore but not to be rushed, its charm is in discovering its beautiful hidden corners. But don’t forget to get beyond the city and discover ancient wonders, amazing vineyards and astounding natural beauty.
Important Facts for Lebanon
|Official Name||Lebanese Republic
|Currency||Lebanese Pound (USD common); 1LP=0.00067USD
|Language||Arabic (French, English & Armenian also common)
|Religion||Muslim / Christian
|Important Dates||Independence day 22 November. Ramadan & Islamic holidays observed
|Electrics||Varies - Type A, B, C, D, E G can all be found
|Visas||Most countries free visa on arrival
|Safety||See full safety advisory visiting Lebanon
Latest Safety Information
- Large parts of Lebanon currently full under do not travel advisories with parts also known as “reconsider travel”, including Beirut. Political tensions since late 2019 have increased, so before travelling with children to Lebanon in 2020 we recommend you thoroughly research when and where you plan to travel.
- You can read more on the exact regions currently impacted via international government sites including The US State Department, UK Foreign Office and Australian Smart Traveller.
- Crime, armed conflict in nearby countries and terrorism threats are all cited as potential reasons to reconsider travel to the region. Tripoli and the Northern regions bordering Syria are not considered safe, nor are some of the southern areas of Beirut where there are Palestinian refugee camps.
Lebanon visa information
- Passport holders of most countries are eligible for a free Visit Visa on Arrival
- There are 7 visa-exempt countries – those holding passports from the GCC and Jordan
- If you have an Israeli stamp in your passport you may be denied entry – this is not uncommon in the Middle East, see Israeli visa information for more on how this can be avoided
Points for family visitors to be aware of in Lebanon
- Ladies are not required to be covered but a conservative standard of dress is expected
- Any child travelling from Lebanon without their father will need a permission letter
- You may be asked to prove you are married before sharing a room as a couple
General travel tips for visiting Lebanon
- The country is majority Muslim, with a large Christian minority
- The holy month of Ramadan is observed, as are Christmas and Easter
- Dress code may be more relaxed than in other parts of the region but you should still consider modesty at all times, especially when visiting religious sites
- Carry identification documents at all times and consider getting a driver in case you are stopped
- US and Lebanese pound are both available from ATM’s. Work to a fixed rate 1500LBP=$1
- Only used pre-booked recognised taxi services, it’s not recommended to hail cabs from the street. We suggest AlloTaxi or Charlie Taxi
- Unlike most of the Middle East, Lebanon follows a Monday to Friday work week, usually working shorter days Friday
See our regional guide to culture and religion for more – coming soon
When is it best to visit Lebanon
Lebanon is the one the furthest north of the Middle East countries. Situated on the Mediterranean, Beirut has warm summers and cool winters – though boasts 300 days a year of sunshine!
It can get hot and humid in the summers but it makes it the perfect time to hit the beaches – nowhere near as hot as their Gulf counterparts with daytime averages of only 32c – and much cooler in the mountains.
Unlike most of the Middle East, winters can be quite wet. On the plus side, skiers may catch some snow in the tallest mountains. Expect temperatures of 10-20c.
Most popular attractions in Lebanon
A fascinated country with a deep history that can be dated back 9000 years to the time of the Phoenicians. Places of geographic and historic importance in Lebanon that you may want to consider in your plans include:
- Jabaln Moussa Biosphere Reserve – About an hour north of Beirut you will find this UNESCO site, rich in biodiversity with historic villages, hiking trails and unique fauna and flora not found elsewhere in the world
- Byblos – explore one of the oldest city in the world, its castle and historic port
- Balbeek – visit the ancient temples of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus deep in the Beqaa Valley
- Qadisha Valley – Visit the mountainous village of Bcharré, the Gibran Museum and “Cedars of the Gods” forest
- Arts, History & Culture – Beirut National Museum, contemporary galleries Amrfs and ARTLAB
- Explore the Jeitta Grotto with its subterranean lake
- Stroll the Corniche in Beirut and see the famous Raouche Rocks
- Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and Ottoman Ruins in downtown Beirut
Whilst many parts of Lebanon are easy to reach by car on a day trip, you may want to consider a longer road trip around Lebanon.
And don’t miss the food! There’s a great guide here to all the different dishes you should try at least once during your stay.
Lebanon with Kids – Our Travel Stories
- [READ] Best of Beirut with kids
Contribute to this section
Have you been to Lebanon with or without kids? We are looking for more contributors to this category, can you help? Pop over and see our contributors page and find out how you can get involved in building our resource library for fellow visitors to Lebanon.
Further reading and resources on Lebanon
Blogs & Social channels to follow
Visit LebanonOfficial Government tourism site
Recommended Tours and Drivers
Our editor recommends Joe from Pub Crawl Beirut. An honest and reliable driver and tour guide able to take small private groups, including families.
Do you have a driver or tour company to recommend that works great with families?
Movies and literature
The Lebanese have a deep history when it comes to literature – more to come in this section.
Sorry, nothing in this category (yet!) Can you help recommend something?
Plan your trip to Lebanon
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NB please check facts with the appropriate authorities before travelling. Information correct to best of our knowledge as at September 2018.