Libya or officially the State of Libya is a state on the north-eastern part of Africa. On the north, the country has access to the Mediterranean sea. It borders Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Niger, Chad, and Egypt. The capital city is Tripoli.
The climate on the wider territory of Libya is dry desert and on the coast, the climate is Mediterranean. The period from May to September is good for beach holidays. Visit the country for excursions from November to March.
The official language is Arabic. The majority of the population practice the Islam.
Libya is typically chosen by the lovers of excursions and monuments of ancient civilisations. Those who love history should visit the Berber Oasis Ghadames, ancient Sabratha, Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Susa and see their sights.
Active tourists who like windsurfing and snorkelling usually choose the coastal district of Tripoli, Zliten, Benghazi, and Sirte. The local beaches are very poorly equipped and the infrastructure of the resorts is not well-developed. But the lovers of wild beaches will like it here. Desert safari is arranged for the extreme tourists. The tourists can also have a swim in salty basins in local oases.
Enjoy nature in the national park in Zliten.
In a small village Abu Kammash, anyone can treat himself or herself to fresh fish or go fishing.
If you love ethnography, you should go to the city of Gharyan. The majority of the population there are the Berbers. In this region, the tourists can go climbing and trekking.
Shops in Tripoli and Gharyan are popular among the tourists.
The travellers from CIS and EU countries will have to take a transit flight to get to Libya as there are no direct flights between these countries. Austrian, Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways, Libyan, Tunisair, EgyptAir, and Turkish Airlines offer the flights to Libya with a transfer in Amman, Cairo, Istanbul, and Doha.
There is a ferry running between Valetta and Tripoli. In Malta, you can buy the tickets in the company Seamalta. Check the timetable beforehand.
One can get to Libya by bus from Egypt or Tunisia. There are regular bus routes from Alexandria, Cairo, Tunis, and Sousse. We recommend you against crossing the Libyan border by car or by bus from Algeria, Chad, Nigeria or Sudan because of the lack of the passenger traffic and a military regime.
The CIS and EU citizens must obtain a visa to get to Libya.
The legislation of Libya allows obtaining a visa through official travel agencies without visiting the Consulate. Within 2-15 a tourist receives the number of his or her visa by e-mail and the original document is issued on arrival. A visa is valid for 45 days.
If one has a valid or expired Israeli or American visa, it is likely that he or she will be denied an exit visa to Libya.
The tourists should be aware that due to unstable military and political situation, the issuance of Libyan visas can be suspended at any time.
The Libyan Customs legislation does not restrict the import of foreign currency. However, all the imported money must be declared. It is strictly prohibited to import and export the national currency (LYD).
The tourists can import to Libya the following goods duty-free:
- some tobacco and perfume;
- jewellery (the total cost should not exceed 50 Libyan dinars);
- personal belongings (the cost should not exceed 250 Libyan dinars).
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- plants and products of plant origin;
- pets without a special permission;
- certain medications;
- any alcoholic beverages;
- any goods produced in Israel.
To avoid any problems at the Customs, we do not recommend you bring in movies, video and photo materials, printed products and any goods with Israeli symbols or confirming your past visits to Israel.
The tourists are not allowed to export:
- mineral water, tea, and coffee;
- fur and products made of fur;
- oriental carpets.
The Libyan cuisine is believed to be one of the richest cuisines in Africa and it attracts foodies from all over the world. The Libyan dishes were greatly influenced by the Phoenician, Egyptian, Arabic, Turkish, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. Th hallmark of the local cuisine is the abundance of spices, pepper, in particular. The most used ingredients are meat (except pork), grains, vegetables, olives, and beans. Fruits, rice, and fermented milk products are also very popular in this country.
Staying in Libya, the tourists should try Ruiz (rice with vegetables, meat, and spices), Gayin el ghalmi (mutton stew with nuts), deep fried mutton balls (Kufta). The locals prepare a very delicious festive dish Meshui (roasted whole lamb) and juicy lamb patties Marfum.
In coastal regions, the tourists will be offered a great choice of seafood dishes. The most popular is Hraime. This is a baked fish served with a hot sauce.
For the first course, order Shorba soup (thick meat soup with vegetables and beans) or Harira with lamb and mint.
Anyone can try famous Couscous, Asida with wheat flour and butter, and vegetables prepared according to the traditional recipes.
If you crave for something more exotic, try a whole chicken baked in a pumpkin with fruits and salted citrus fruits with garlic.
At the end of a meal, treat yourself to an amazing Libyan fruit jelly, sugared nuts, halvah, raisins, figs, and dates. Those who have a sweet tooth should try orange jam and delicious honey cake Meselmen.
The most popular drink among the Libyans is kefir, fresh camel milk, tea. And coffee.
The tourists will not be able to try any alcoholic beverages in Libya due to the dry law.
The Libyan Dinar equivalent to 1.000 dirhams is the official currency. The Central Bank of Libya issued the bank notes from 1 to 10 dinars, 0.5 and 0.25 dinars, and 50 and 100 dirham coins.
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, authorised exchange offices or the local people can help you with the exchange. US dollars are better accepted.
In Libya, there are almost no ATMs accepting Visa and MasterCard. In large hotels on the resorts, the tourists can pay with Visa and Dinners Club cards.
You will not be able to cash traveller’s checks in Libya.
Due to a tense military and political situation in Libya we strongly recommend you against moving around the country without a local guide. Large cities are the most dangerous places.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Libya
The lovers of excursion trips are lucky because in Libya they will have a chance to see five UNESCO sites.
- The Archaeological Site of Cyrene with the ruins of an ancient Greek town the history of which dates back to the Hellenic world. The ruins of the colony were found in the 18th century. Within this archaeological complex, there is the necropolis, the ruins of temples and dwellings. On the walls, one can see some petroglyphs. Many findings have been given to the Benghazi Venus at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
- The Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna is a settlement and a unique example of architecture and city planning. The city played an important role in the development of Neo-classical style and antique culture. Pay attention to mosaics depicting the episodes from the life of Gladiators. On the well-preserved Arch of Septimius Severus, there are ancient bas-reliefs. The tourists can also see the carcase and the columns of the market, amphitheatre, and the ruins of the forum.
- The Archaeological Site of Sabratha which was founded in 500 B.C. It was both a port and a trading place for the Phoenicians. Among some other survived sights in Sabratha are the ruins of the theatre, parts of mosaic floors in the dwellings of aristocrats, the Old Serapis Temple, and the Temple of Isis.
- Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus is a popular place among the tourists. Thousands of petroglyphs are preserved here and each has its own style. The petroglyphs date back to different periods starting since 12.000 B.C. The rock art depicts the changes in the fauna and flora as well as in the everyday life of the local people.
- Anyone can visit the Old Town of Ghadames which is situated in oasis and is one of the oldest in Sahara. The town is acknowledged an exceptional example of the traditional local colony. Most of the buildings here are the many-storeyed clay houses. The internal architecture of Ghadams is characterised by a clear separation of the rooms according to their purpose. Thus, the first floor was usually used for storing things and the second floor was meant for a family living.
To learn more about the country, visit the Museum of Libya in the capital city.
- pottery hand-painted with traditional ornaments.
- jewellery boxes, jewellery, belts, wallets and sandals;
- figurines of animals;
- hookah and spices;
- traditional clothes.