Lebanon or officially the Lebanese Republic is a small Middle East state washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Syria and Israel. The capital city is Beirut.
Come to Lebanon if you prefer Mediterranean subtropical climate. Summers here are hot and humid and winters are soft and rainy. The best time for visiting beach Lebanese resorts is summer and the first autumn month. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing.
The official language is Arabic. Six out of ten Libyans are the Muslims.
Beirut and Tripoli are the centres of the best beach resorts and diving. The beaches near Tyre are the cleanest. Those who prefer city entertainments and sightseeing should go to Byblos, Baalbek, and Tyre.
The natural sights are also worth attention. The tourists can visit the famous Cedars of God with the trees which are over 2.000 years old. Anyone can take a trip to the Palm Islands Nature Reserve and enjoy wild nature. The reserve is the habitat for 300 species of birds, sea turtles, and seals.
The easiest way to get to Lebanon from EU and CIS is the flight.
Russian airline companies offer the flights from Moscow to Beirut.
The CIS citizens will have to take transit flights with a transfer in the European capitals, in Turkey and the Arab Emirates. One can get to Lebanon through Larnaca, Istanbul, Cairo, and Dubai.
The Beirut International Airport welcomes the flights from Abu Dhabi and Abidjan, Amman and Athens, Frankfurt, Paris, London, and Nice.
The tourists can sail to Lebanon with a cruise ship.
The CIS and EU tourists can travel to Lebanon visa-free provided that their stay in the country will not exceed 30 days.
A visa is issued right at the airport or at the point of entry to Lebanon.
Single women under 40 years old may face some problems when visiting Lebanon.
A husband and a wife having different surnames must provide a copy of their marriage certificate.
The Lebanese Customs do not have any restrictions concerning the import or export of foreign currency.
The tourists can bring in Lebanon the following things duty-free:
- alcohol and tobacco (in accordance with the established limits);
- perfume or eau de toilette.
It is prohibited to export from Lebanon items with historical or cultural value.
As the tourists often buy antique souvenirs in Lebanon it is necessary to keep the sales receipts to confirm at the Customs that the purchase is legal.
The Lebanese cuisine is a classic Mediterranean cuisine.
We recommend trying Lahm Mishwee (a Lebanese version of a barbecued steak) and Kefta (kebab with small meatballs). The foodies will love Nikhaat bil hamod wal-zayt (boiled brains with spices and served with radish) and Kibed Makli (roasted liver with lemon).
Those who prefer poultry to meat should try Shish taouk (grilled chicken skewers with spices). Do not miss a chance to try Kibbi bil sanieh (flatbread with minced chicken meat).
The lovers of fish will enjoy Samke harra (a fish stew with lemon, garlic, and spices) and Arnabiyet al samak (roasted fish with Sesame sauce made from orange, lemon, tangerine, and pomegranate juice).
The vegetarians will have a great choice of vegetable dishes. The most popular is Hommos Balila (chickpea with spices, baked butter, and lemon juice), Baba Ghannouj (roasted eggplants with sesame sauce), Warak Enab Bi-Zayt (vine leaves stuffed with tomatoes, rice, mint, and parsley), and Msakaet al Bathinjan (eggplant, chickpea, and tomatoes casserole).
Discover for yourself an amazing taste of the Lebanese salads such as Al Fattoush (vegetable salad with toasted bread) and Tabbule (couscous with mint, parsley, spring onion. Bell pepper, and lemon juice).
You will never forget the taste of the Lebanese sweets. You can try halvah, baklava, Ma’amoul (semolina cookies with walnuts), Sfuf (semolina cake with anise, sesame, and nuts), and Namura (semolina cake with fleur d’orange and rose water syrup).
In your trip to Lebanon, you will have a chance to try sweet white wines, local cognac Ksara, and vodka Arak. Before drinking vodka the locals dilute it with cold water.
Coffee gained popularity among the local people. Coffee is served in restaurants and street eateries.
The official currency in Lebanon is the Lebanese Pound. Banks and exchange offices offer currency exchange services. The tourists can also exchange the currency in hotels. US dollars and Euro are also willingly accepted. The locals can offer their currency exchange services right on the street.
Credit cards are accepted in stores, restaurants, and hotels. However, in small cities, cash is preferable.
The Lebanese Republic is among the countries which introduced the tax-free system. Making your purchases in a tax-free shop do not forget to ask for a sales receipt to refund VAT.
Details of interest
Lebanese Customs and Traditions
In Lebanon, the tourists can participate in one of the festivals. Lebanon holds the Beirut Festival of Classical Music and Opera.
Tyre is the place where another musical event takes place. This is the Tyre Festival of Folk Artists of the Mediterranean.
Anyone can participate in the Baalbeck International Festival.
Sightseeing in Lebanon
If you travel to Lebanon, you should definitely see five UNESCO sites:
- In the Beqaa Governorate, the tourists will see the ancient city of Anjar. In the past, the city was called Gerra.
- In the same governorate, the tourists can visit another ancient city Baalbeck which is 80 kilometres away from Beirut.
- A trip to the Mount Lebanon Governorate will lead the tourists to the ancient city Byblos. Today, the Jbeil District stands in its place.
- In the South Governorate, the travellers can visit the city of Tyer. This is one of the most famous Phoenician cities and it was a trading centre.
- The north of Lebanon will impress the tourists with the beauty of the Ouadi Qadisha or the Holy Valley, which is one of the earliest Christian monastic communities in the world. The tourists can also take a picture of the Horsh Arz el-Rab or the Forest of the Cedars of God.
Lebanese shopping is not only souvenirs, but also antiquities.
In the shops and on the markets in Beirut, the tourists will buy metal embossed souvenirs, cold arms, dinnerware, coffee brewing pots, and elegant coffee sets.
The figurines and tableware made of the Lebanese cedar are very popular among the tourists.
Women cannot resists thin Lebanese silk, which is highly regarded around the world. In the boutiques in Beirut, women can buy designer clothes in the oriental style.
Tripoli is known for its olive oil. On the market, the tourists can buy spices, Oriental sweets, and the best olive oil in the country. The craftsmen from Tripoli can also offer beautiful gold jewellery. People from the wider Middle East come here to buy gold for attractive prices.