Tourism in Lebanon: A Guide for Travelers

Lebanon is a small but vibrant country in the Middle East, with a rich history and diverse culture that draws travelers from around the world. From the bustling capital city of Beirut to the ancient Cedars of God and the breathtaking Baatara Gorge, Lebanon has something to offer for every type of traveler. In this article, we will explore some of the best destinations, cities, hotels, meals, restaurants, shopping, transportation, and tips for traveling in Lebanon.


Lebanon has many historical and natural attractions that are worth visiting. Some of the most popular destinations are:

- Jeita Grotto: This is a complex of limestone caves that showcase the beauty and wonder of nature. The caves are divided into two parts: the upper grotto and the lower grotto. The upper grotto is accessible by a cable car and a walkway, and features stunning stalactites and stalagmites. The lower grotto is accessible by a boat ride, and features an underground river and lake. Jeita Grotto is one of the finalists for the New7Wonders of Nature¹.

- Temples of Baalbek: This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features some of the most impressive and well-preserved Roman ruins in the world. The site includes three temples dedicated to Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus, as well as other structures such as the Propylaea, the Hexagonal Court, and the Great Court. The temples of Baalbek are a testament to the ancient civilization that flourished in Lebanon².

- National Museum of Beirut: This is the largest and most important museum in Lebanon, housing a collection of over 100,000 artifacts that span from the prehistoric to the Ottoman periods. The museum displays items such as sarcophagi, mosaics, statues, jewelry, coins, pottery, and manuscripts that reflect the cultural and historical diversity of Lebanon. The museum also features a section dedicated to the Lebanese Civil War, where visitors can see the damage and restoration of the museum³.

- Memory of Time: This is a unique museum that showcases the fossil collection of Pierre Abi Saad, a Lebanese paleontologist and geologist. The museum displays more than 2,000 fossils, representing 450 different species from 70 countries, and is considered one of the largest private fossil collections in the world. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for students and visitors⁴.

- Zaitunay Bay: This is a modern and upscale waterfront development that offers a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Zaitunay Bay is home to several restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops that cater to different tastes and budgets. Zaitunay Bay is also a popular spot for leisure activities such as walking, jogging, biking, boating, and yachting⁵.


Lebanon has many cities that are worth exploring, each with its own character and charm. Some of the most popular cities are:

- Beirut: This is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, and one of the most cosmopolitan and lively cities in the Middle East. Beirut is known for its cultural, historical, and architectural diversity, as well as its nightlife and cuisine. Beirut has many attractions, such as the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, the Beirut Central District, the Pigeon Rocks, the Sursock Museum, and the Raouche Corniche⁶.

- Byblos: This is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Byblos is a charming and picturesque city that blends ancient and modern elements. Byblos has many attractions, such as the Byblos Castle, the Byblos Old Souk, the Byblos Port, the Byblos Wax Museum, and the Byblos Fossil Museum.

- Jounieh: This is a coastal city that is known for its natural beauty and its entertainment options. Jounieh is a popular destination for tourists who want to enjoy the beaches, the nightlife, and the casinos. Jounieh also has a cable car that connects the city to the mountain village of Harissa, where visitors can see the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, a large statue of the Virgin Mary that overlooks the bay.

- Sidon: This is the third-largest city in Lebanon, and one of the oldest and most important cities in the region. Sidon is a historical and cultural hub that has many attractions, such as the Sidon Sea Castle, the Sidon Soap Museum, the Khan el-Franj, the Debbane Palace, and the Eshmun Temple.

- Tripoli: This is the second-largest city in Lebanon, and the capital of the North Governorate. Tripoli is a rich and diverse city that has a long and turbulent history. Tripoli has many attractions, such as the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles, the Mansouri Great Mosque, the Hammam al-Nouri, the Khan al-Khayyatin, and the Mina Port.


Lebanon has a wide range of hotels that suit different needs and preferences. Some of the best hotels in Lebanon are:

- Four Seasons Hotel Beirut: This is a five-star hotel that offers luxury and comfort in the heart of Beirut. The hotel has 230 rooms and suites, all with balconies and views of the city or the sea. The hotel also has a rooftop pool, a spa, a fitness center, and several restaurants and bars.

- Byblos Sur Mer: This is a four-star hotel that offers elegance and charm in the historic city of Byblos. The hotel has 30 rooms and suites, all with balconies and views of the sea or the garden. The hotel also has a private beach, a pool, a spa, a fitness center, and several restaurants and bars.

- Regency Palace Hotel: This is a five-star hotel that offers glamour and entertainment in the lively city of Jounieh. The hotel has 143 rooms and suites, all with balconies and views of the bay or the mountains. The hotel also has a casino, a nightclub, a pool, a spa, a fitness center, and several restaurants and bars.

- Dar Alma: This is a boutique hotel that offers cozy and authentic accommodation in the old city of Sidon. The hotel has 10 rooms and suites, all with balconies and views of the sea or the city. The hotel also has a terrace, a library, a lounge, and a restaurant.

- Quality Inn Tripoli: This is a four-star hotel that offers modern and convenient accommodation in the center of Tripoli. The hotel has 60 rooms and suites, all with balconies and views of the city or the sea. The hotel also has a pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

Meals and Restaurants

Lebanon is famous for its delicious and diverse cuisine, which reflects the influences of various cultures and civilizations that have passed through the country. Some of the most popular dishes in Lebanon are:

- Tabbouleh: This is a salad made of chopped parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, bulgur, lemon juice, and olive oil. Tabbouleh is a refreshing and healthy dish that is often served as a starter or a side dish.

- Hummus: This is a dip made of mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Hummus is a creamy and savory dish that is often served with bread, vegetables, or meat.

- Shawarma: This is a sandwich made of thinly sliced meat (chicken, beef, or lamb) that is cooked on a rotating spit and wrapped in bread with vegetables, pickles, and sauces. Shawarma is a filling and flavorful dish that is often served as a snack or a main course.

- Kibbeh: This is a dish made of minced meat (lamb or beef) mixed with bulgur, onions, and spices, and shaped into balls, patties, or pies. Kibbeh can be fried, baked, boiled, or raw, and is often served with yogurt, salad, or soup.

- Baklava: This is a dessert made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey or syrup. Baklava is a sweet and crunchy dish that is often served with coffee or tea.

Lebanon has many restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines, from traditional Lebanese to international. Some of the best restaurants in Lebanon are

- Em Sherif: This is a fine dining restaurant that offers authentic Lebanese cuisine in a luxurious and elegant setting. The restaurant has a fixed menu that consists of more than 30 dishes, including cold and hot mezzes, salads, soups, grills, and desserts. The restaurant also has a live band that plays oriental music.

- Pepe Fishing Club: This is a seafood restaurant that offers fresh and delicious fish and seafood in a cozy and rustic setting. The restaurant is located on the Byblos Port, and has a terrace that overlooks the sea. The restaurant also has a fish market where guests can choose their own fish and have it cooked to their liking.

- Chez Sami: This is a seafood restaurant that offers exquisite and refined fish and seafood dishes in a sophisticated and elegant setting. The restaurant is located on the Mina Port, and has a panoramic view of the sea and the city. The restaurant also has a wine cellar that offers a selection of fine wines to pair with the food.


Lebanon is a great place for shopping, as it offers a variety of products, from traditional handicrafts to modern fashion. Some of the best places for shopping in Lebanon are

- Beirut Souks: This is a modern and upscale shopping center that is located in the heart of the Beirut Central District. The center has more than 200 shops, including international brands, local designers, and specialty stores. The center also has a cinema, a food court, and a children's area.

- ABC Mall: This is a chain of malls that has branches in Beirut, Dbayeh, and Verdun. The malls have a wide range of shops, from clothing and accessories to electronics and books. The malls also have restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and entertainment zones.

- Saifi Village: This is a chic and artistic neighborhood that is located in the eastern part of Beirut. The neighborhood has many boutiques, galleries, and studios that showcase the work of Lebanese and regional artists and designers. The neighborhood also has cafes, restaurants, and bars that offer a relaxing and trendy atmosphere.

- Byblos Old Souk: This is a traditional and charming market that is located in the historic city of Byblos. The market has many stalls and shops that sell souvenirs, antiques, jewelry, pottery, and other handicrafts. The market also has cafes and restaurants that serve local delicacies.

- Tripoli Old Souk: This is an ancient and lively market that is located in the old city of Tripoli. The market has many sections, such as the gold souk, the spice souk, the soap souk, and the perfume souk. The market also has mosques, madrasas, and hammams that reflect the Islamic architecture and culture.


Lebanon has various modes of transportation that can help travelers get around the country. Some of the most common modes of transportation are:

- Taxi: This is the easiest and most convenient way to travel in Lebanon, as taxis are available almost everywhere and at any time. Taxis are usually metered, but it is advisable to agree on the fare before getting in. Taxis can also be booked by phone or online.

- Bus: This is the cheapest and most popular way to travel in Lebanon, as buses cover most of the routes and destinations in the country. Buses are usually minibuses that can accommodate up to 15 passengers, and they operate on a shared basis. Buses can be hailed from the street or from designated stations.

- Car rental: This is the best way to travel in Lebanon for those who want more freedom and flexibility, as car rental agencies are available in major cities and airports. Car rental can be done online or on the spot, and it requires a valid driver's license and a credit card. Car rental also allows travelers to explore the scenic and rural areas of Lebanon.

- Train: This is the least used and most limited way to travel in Lebanon, as the train network is outdated and underdeveloped. The only operational train line is the Beirut-Tripoli line, which runs twice a day and takes about two hours. The train is mainly used by locals and adventurous travelers who want to experience a nostalgic and scenic ride.

Tips for Travelers

Lebanon is a friendly and hospitable country that welcomes travelers from all over the world. However, there are some tips and precautions that travelers should keep in mind when visiting Lebanon. Some of the most important tips are:

- Visa: Travelers should check the visa requirements and regulations for their nationality before traveling to Lebanon, as they may vary depending on the country of origin and the purpose of visit. Travelers can apply for a visa online or at the Lebanese embassy or consulate in their country. Some nationalities can also get a visa on arrival at the airport or the border.

- Currency: The official currency of Lebanon is the Lebanese pound (LBP), which is divided into 100 piastres. However, the US dollar (USD) is also widely accepted and used in Lebanon, and the exchange rate is fixed at 1 USD = 1,500 LBP. Travelers can exchange money at banks, exchange offices, or ATMs, which are available in major cities and towns.

- Language: The official language of Lebanon is Arabic, which is spoken by the majority of the population. However, many Lebanese also speak French, English, or Armenian, especially in urban areas and among the younger generation. Travelers can communicate easily in Lebanon, as most people are bilingual or multilingual, and signs and menus are usually in Arabic and English or French.

- Religion: The main religion of Lebanon is Islam, which is followed by about 60% of the population. The other major religion is Christianity, which is followed by about 40% of the population. Lebanon also has other religious minorities, such as Druze, Baha'i, and Jewish. Lebanon is a secular and tolerant country that respects and celebrates the diversity of its people. Travelers should respect the religious beliefs and customs of the locals, and dress modestly and appropriately when visiting religious sites.

- Safety: Lebanon is generally a safe and stable country that has recovered from the civil war and the political turmoil that plagued it in the past. However, travelers should be aware of the potential risks and challenges that may arise in Lebanon, such as petty crime, traffic congestion, power cuts, water shortages, and regional conflicts. Travelers should avoid areas that are considered unsafe or unstable, such as the borders with Syria and Israel, and follow the advice and warnings of the local authorities and the media.


Lebanon is a fascinating and beautiful country that offers a unique and memorable experience for travelers. Lebanon has a rich and diverse culture, a long and turbulent history, and a stunning and varied nature. Lebanon has something for everyone, whether they are looking for adventure, culture, relaxation, or entertainment. Lebanon is a destination that will surprise and delight travelers, and make them want to come back for more.