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Beirut is one of the most beautiful cities in the MENA region — and one of the oldest. A rare mix of old and new, its clash of civilizations is so intense you’d think it has an identity crisis; from Roman architecture to Muslim-conquest-era mosques and Ottoman landscapes, Beirut has a myriad of different cultures woven into its fabric – but where do we begin?

01: Around the Neighborhood: The People and Places of Beirut 
02: How Do I Move?: Getting to and Around Beirut
03: Where Do I Stay?: Hotels, Hostels, and All The Alternatives
04: What's There to Discover?: Experiencing Beirut
05: What Do I Eat?: Local Food and Where to Find it
06: Beyond Beirut: Day Trips Outside the City
07: How Friendly is Beirut?: Females, Families, and Furbabies
08: Where Do I Pray?: Religious Practice in Beirut
09: SOS: Health & Safety in Beirut
10: Banking & ATMs
11: Pro Tips
 

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD: THE PEOPLE AND PLACES OF BEIRUT
The people of Lebanon are as eclectic as its rich history; while the first language across the country is Arabic, you’ll find that a large portion also speak French (because of the French occupation way back when) and some also speak English. There’s also an Armenian Lebanese demographic that still speaks Armenian.

Lebanese people are incredibly friendly and super hospitable, so don’t be surprised if you befriend a few throughout your journey and break bread with them as well. Even in crowded spaces, expect nothing than to be treated with respect and congeniality. And while Lebanon has a variety of religious groups, people are accustomed to religious differences so there’s no need to hide your religious (non-)affiliation.

As with any country, there are certain locations where it’s best to have some local company while exploring. Generally speaking, the Israeli borders and any Palestinian refugee camps should be avoided, while lone tourists in Hezbollah strongholds (like southern Beirut) may arouse suspicion. Either way, visitors to areas in the vicinity of the border with Israel require a permit without which you won’t be able to cross the multiple checkpoints in the area. If you chose to visit a Palestinian refugee camp, make sure you go with a local and don’t take photos (with phones or cameras) as the locals are sensitive to their security.

Beyond these areas, Beirut’s a big city, and each of its neighborhoods has a personality – and a people – of its own.

Achrafieh: One of the oldest districts in Beirut, this residential neighborhood is one of the busiest in Beirut – filled with shops, restaurants, and large apartments and office buildings. Still, it’s a must-see for the architecture buffs as it’s filled with old architecture and remnants of houses and buildings demolished during the war.

Beirut Central District (BCD): The financial, economical, and administrative core of Lebanon, BCD is right in the heart of Beirut and is also considered to be Beirut’s most prestigious high-end shopping district (also home to the Beirut Souks shopping hub). BCD is also filled with museums, gardens, parks, public spaces, religious landmarks, and heritage trails that take you through some of the country’s archaeological or historical landscapes for those looking to explore Lebanon’s heritage and culture.

Hamra: Once Beirut’s trendiest neighborhood before the war, Hamra still has its charm and remains one of Beirut’s main economic and diplomatic hubs. It’s currently home to several of Lebanon’s top universities, bars, and pubs, and is lined with international cafés and restaurants. Hamra is also home to Bliss Street, Beirut’s busiest quick-stop food street.

Mar Mikhael: Mar Mikhael is a hub of unique hidden gems and local treasures, which isn’t surprising given that it’s one of the core arts and creativity hubs in Lebanon with plenty of art galleries to go around. On the flip side, Mar Mikhael is also one of the hottest spots in Beirut for nightlife; it’s filled with pubs and live music venues that cater to music fans across the spectrum.

Badaro: A predominantly Christian residential neighbourhood in the heart of Beirut, Badaro is one of Beirut’s most appealing destinations with leafy, tree-filled streets to stroll through in the morning and a lively nightlife scene. It’s also home to two important museums: National Museum of Beirut and the Mineral Museum.

Raouché: Known for its upscale apartment buildings, and numerous restaurants, this otherwise residential neighborhood is also home to Pigeons' Rock, a natural landmark withs two huge rock formations that attract locals and tourists alike.

 

HOW DO I MOVE?: GETTING TO AND AROUND BEIRUT
Getting to Beirut
If you’re arriving to Lebanon by air, you’ll be landing in Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. But if you show up with a bunch of bags or in the middle of the night, how are you going to get into the city?

Airport Buses
There’s no official bus company servicing the airport, but there are private minibuses just outside the exit that don’t have specific stops but will stop anywhere where people flag them down. These are usually white (though sometimes green or red) minivans with red plates but no numbers in their windows, and the majority are Kia Bestas.

Car Rental
What's cool about driving in Beirut is that you don't need an international license – Lebanon allows non-residents to drive with their domestic driving permits provided they've been valid for 1-2 years and use the Roman alphabet, otherwise you'll have to get an official translation. There are five companies you can rent from at the Beirut airport, with a variety of suppliers like Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Hertz. Prices vary from $10/day to $50/day according to the type of car you're renting and the amenities provided. Don't worry about making the wrong decision; you can compare prices for the different suppliers before you even move. There are other renowned companies like Sixt who don't have an office at the airport but offer a meet and greet service at the airport if you provide them with your flight number, credit card details, e-mail-address, and mobile number. If you'll be driving in Beirut, remember to try getting car with a working GPS, or at least carry a map – otherwise you may end up in Syria or something.

Taxis
The official regulated price for an airport-operated taxi from Rafic Hariri Airport to the city centre is $20, but you’ll still find some drivers insisting on higher fares, especially with tourists. If you opt for a regular taxi, you’ll find drivers trying to charge you as much as $45 for a ride to Beirut’s downtown district. Alternatively, corporate taxis booked through companies or hotels will have a fixed price of roughly $18; you can prebook a corporate taxi for the same price as a regular cab.

Uber
Although haggling is definitely part of the Beirut experience, you can choose to skip it on your way out of the airport by using the Uber app.

Getting Around Beirut
Regardless of how you’re getting around, Beirut’s multiple transportation systems accept both USD and the Lebanese Pound (Lira) so cash of either currency is best kept handy.

Buses
Lebanon's small enough for you to cross the entire country from north to south in a matter of hours, so those looking for intercity travel to/from Beirut would be best off taking a bus to their destination. Lebanon's towns and cities are well connected by frequently running busses, with companies like the OCFTC that operates a fleet of white-and-blue city-buses, and the LCC with a fleet of white-and-red minibuses. However, these buses have no official schedule and their routes go through minor alterations frequently. Since there aren't many official bus stations in Beirut, you'll have to flag your bus down somewhere along the road as it passes by or head to the nearest bus station. Inner city bus fare is a little less than $1, while destinations outside of Beirut – be it neighboring cities or countries – can cost from $2 to $5 depending on the distance.

Bus Stations:

Charles Helou Bus Station: This bus station lies between the harbor and Gemmayzeh and is best reached on foot via Saifi Urban Gardens. Divided into three zones – A, B, and C, this station has a ticket booth in each zone where you can buy your tickets before boarding. Buses heading to the north of Lebanon – to places like Jounieh, Byblos, Batroun, and Tripoli – operate out of this station, all leave from from Zone C. Generally, all these buses pass by Dawra. 

Connexion buses (+961 (0)6 626 969) provide the best services and are well-organized and leave every 15 to 20 minutes.

Cola Intersection (Cola): From this large intersection southeast of Beirut, buses leave for destinations in the south of Lebanon, such as the Shouf (Dmit, Barouk, and Beiteddine), Saida (Sidon), and Tyre (Sour), and the Beqaa Valley (Chtaura, Zahle, and Baalbek).

Dawra: From the large roundabout of Dawra (spelled ‘Dora’ on the road signs), most buses leave for destinations in the north of Lebanon, such as Byblos, Jounieh, Batroun, Beit Mery, Broummana, and Tripoli. Returning from these northern destinations, you are most probably dropped off at Dawra as well. To return to Beirut from Dawra, take a minibus that passes the Charles Helou bus station and leaves in the direction of Cola (bus 6 and 15) or toward Achrafieh and Hamra (bus 2).

Service Taxis
Service taxis (known as servees) often operate like buses, running on set routes between towns in Lebanon and picking up passengers along the way. If you want to head somewhere on a servees, give them the name of the general district you’re going to rather than a specific address. They usually cost a fixed price of $1.50 (2,000 LP), and can even be hired to visit other places outside of their route – you’ll have to be a pretty good negotiator to make that happen, though.

Taxis
Forget the Vernas and the Corollas, Beirut’s taxis take you around town in a Mercedes Benz! Easy to identify with their yellow taxi sign and red license plate, Beirut’s taxis don’t have fixed meters so it’s best to ask how much your trip will cost before hopping in. Fares are calculated based on your destination rather than per distance traveled, which is great since traffic is a pretty big problem in the city.

Another option is to pre-book a taxi through companies like Geryes Taxi (00961-1-332747), Taxi Premiere (Tel 1260 or 00961-1-389222), and Allo Taxi (Tel 1213 or 00961-1-366661). These guys will generally cost a bit more than a regular taxi, but they’re normally air conditioned and more luxurious than regular taxis – even though they’re Benzes. All hotels should be able to provide you with a taxi directory should you choose to use this service.

Uber
One of the more convenient ways to get around at the press of a button, this car-hailing app operates all around the city. 

On Foot
Beirut is a compact city, so it's always a good idea to head out on foot and discover its many alleyways, small shops, and pubs and bars that line every corner. But if you're going to do that, bear in mind that the streets are poorly signposted so you might find numbers instead of street names. You can always ask the locals if you get lost, but it's best to ask for directions based on landmarks not street names. Also, know that the further away you go from downtown Beirut, the rockier the pavement becomes. 

WHERE DO I STAY?: HOTELS, HOSTELS, AND ALL THE ALTERNATIVES
No matter your flavour – or your budget, Beirut is bursting with beautiful places to get some sleep between your adventuring. If you’re not down for the traditional hotel or hostel, you can always AirBnb or couchsurf your way through Beirut for a more authentic experience and a chance to hang with the locals.

HOTELS
BUDGET RANGE: $0 – $99 /NIGHT*

THE GRAND MESHMOSH HOTEL

Location: Lyon Street, Hamra
Contact Number: +961 1 563 465
Email Address: info@thegrandmeshmosh.com

HAMRA URBAN GARDENS

 

Location: Mohammad Abdul Baki Right turn before Kababji, Abdel Baki ST, Hamra
Contact Number: +961 1 742 390
Email Address: hello@hamragardens.com

CARAMEL BOUTIQUE HOTEL

 

Location: Alleyway Street, Hamra
Contact Number: +961 1 737388
Email Address: info@caramelboutiquehotel.com

QUEENS SUITE HOTEL

 

Location: Makdessi Street, Hamra
Contact Number: +961 1 345 690
Email Address: info@queenssuitehotel.com

COUNTRY LODGE HOTEL & RESORT BEIRUT

 

Location: Bsalim Main Street
Contact Number: +961 4 710 502
Email Address: info@countrylodgeclub.com

BUDGET RANGE: $100 – $249 /NIGHT*

GEFINOR ROTANA – BEIRUT

Location: Clemenceau Street, 1103
Contact Number: +961 1 371 888

ROYAL TULIP ACHRAFIEH

Location: Alfred Naccache Street, Achrafieh, 5519
Contact Number: +961 1 333 048
Email Address: info@royaltulipachrafieh.com

THE KEY BEIRUT

Location: Palais de Justice District, Corniche du Fleuve, Achrafieh, 167058
Contact Number: +961 1 424 247

CITEA APART HOTEL

Location: Alfred Naccache Avenue, Achrafieh, 1100
Contact Number: +961 1 332 050
Email Address: info@citea.com.lb

THE SMALLVILLE HOTEL

Location: Damascus Road, Museum District, Badaro, 116527
Contact Number: +961 1 444 110

BUDGET RANGE: $250+/NIGHT*

ALBERGO HOTEL

Location: 137 Rue Abdel Wahab El Inglizi
Contact Number: +961 1 339 797
Email Address: albergo@relaischateaux.com

LOFT 29 RESIDENCE

Location: Omar Bin Abdul Aziz, 2034 1111
Contact Number: +961 1 744 544
Email Address: reservations@loft29residence.com

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL BEIRUT

 

Location: 1418 Prof Wafic Sinno Avenue, Minet El Hosn
Contact Number: +961 1 761 000

LE GRAY

 

Location: Beirut Central District, 1103
Contact Number: +961 1 971 111
Email Address: info@legray.com

INTERCONTINENTAL LE VANDÔME BEIRUT

 

Location: Ein El Mreisseh, 6105
Contact Number: +961 1 369 280

HOSTELS & GUESTHOUSES
BUDGET RANGE: $0 – $70/NIGHT*

HOSTEL BEIRUT 

Location: Rue 56, No 11, Building Akram Al-Eid, top floor, Geitawi
Email Address: hostelbeirut@gmail.com

SAIFI URBAN GARDENS Location: Pasteur Street, Behind Coral Gas Station
Contact Number: +961 1 562 509
Email Address: hello@saifigardens.com

DAMASK ROSE, LEBANESE GUEST HOUSE

 

Location: 300 m from the music campus of NDU Zouk Mosbeh (old university), 0036 Shawya Street, Jounieh
Contact Number: +961 3 710 203
Email Address: booking@damaskroselebaneseguesthouse.com

OLD SOUK GUEST HOUSE 

Location: Old Souq Center, 1200 Jounieh
Contact Number: +971 4 225 0240  

* Based on single person occupancy during high season.

WHAT’S THERE TO DISCOVER?: EXPERIENCING BEIRUT
Beirut’s beauty as a travel destination is that it suits ‘most every personality and caters to all sorts of tastes. History buffs will find Lebanon’s rich history commemorated through some of the best museums in the region, while those who fancy the finer things in life will find that Beirut has its fair share of art galleries, an eclectic music scene with festivals for every genre, and a National Symphony that’s one of the best in the region. If you happen to be a wine connoisseur, Beirut’s wine tastings and tours are bucket list material; if you’re more of a bar-hopper whose hidden talents come out at night, there’s no shortage of bars or clubs in Beirut’s robust nightlife scene. On the other side of civilization, Beirut’s as green as it gets in the Middle East, with some breathtakingly gorgeous scenery like the Pigeon Rocks in Raouché and the Jeita Grotto.

TOURIST TRAPS
The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanonvia Worldpriest

One of Beirut’s most famous landmarks – west of Autostrad Road, Jounieh, The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon isn’t as fascinating as people expect. It’s basically a statue of the Virgin Mary on a rock stand that you climb a spiral ladder to reach. That’s about it – not particularly exciting. Instead, you should consider visiting the St. Paul Cathedral, which has beautiful architecture and is quite close to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon.

BEIRUT ON A BUDGET
Budget travelers, this one’s for you! There’s plenty to do around Beirut that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

ART, CULTURE, AND HISTORY
For the art, history, and culture buffs, Beirut is laden with museums of every kind and hosts all sorts of music festivals throughout the year – that's not including all the live music venues. It’s also home of the Beirut International Film Festival, held annually in October and hosting Arabic and French films from all over the Middle East. Given its Francophone nature, it’s no surprise that Beirut also hosts Festival du Cinéma Francophone every March and April to show off the French side of film. Beirut knows how to throw a good festival, so it’s not a bad idea to time your trips around your festival(s) of choice.

LOCAL EXPERIENCES
To really steep yourself in what everyday life looks like for a Lebanese local, walk, jog, bike, or skate your way through the streets of Beirut, talking to strangers and enjoying the ambiance and culture of this charming historic city. Before heading out for a night on the town, you can end your morning by heading to Raouché and catching the sunset overlooking the beautiful Pigeon Rocks. Or, for another perspective, take a ride on the Beirut Balloon and catch beautiful Beirut from 300 m above the ground – you can get there by heading to Al Lenby St. in downtown Beirut and entering through Biel Convention Center.

If you’re more of a shopper, Beirut is one of the Middle East’s biggest shopping hubs, bursting with local and international brands that’ll likely make your wallet cry out for mercy. Beyond Beirut Souks in the Beirut Central District, there plenty of malls or roads lined with endless shops just waiting for you to to release your inner shopaholic.

  • Downtown Beirut
  • Hamra Street
  • Mar-Elias Street
  • Rue Verdun
  • ABC Mall in Achrafieh
  • Beirut Mall in Tayouneh
  • City Mall

 

NATUREvia Commons Wikimedia

Beirut is bursting with stunning parks and gardens lining the city and a beautiful blue coastline that’s perfect for diving, taking a swim, or catching the sunset.

By the Beach
Just minutes away from the inner city bustle is the serenity of the sea. Beirut’s coastline from Raouché to Ain Mraiseh is filled with private beach clubs with relatively cheap day passes and access to all sorts of facilities, or you can head to Ramlet al-Baida public beach and soak up the sun. Ladies looking for beach resorts exclusively for women will have to head a little bit south to Palms Resort or Costa Brava in Khaldeh or Bellevue Jiyyeh. Also, with sunny weather most of the year and dozens of shipwrecks to explore, diving in Beirut makes for a unique experience. Lebanon has over 25 dive centers along the coast, but you can start with Calypso Beirut Diving Club in the Movenpick Hotel in Raouché, or the National Institute for Scuba Diving (NISD) at Minet el Hoson.

Parks and Gardens
Need some serenity on your trip? Take a breather and spend some time at any of Beirut’s gorgeously green parks and gardens.

  • National Evangelical Church of Beirut Garden
  • Abdul Rahman el Hout Garden
  • Gebran Khalil Gebran Garden
  • Bashoura Square
  • Hawd el Wileyeh
  • Walid Eido Garden
  • Metropolite Elias Audi Garden
  • Saint Nicolas Garden
  • Jesuits Garden
  • William Hawi Garden
  • Karantina Garden
  • Horsh Tabet Garden
  • Children’s Garden
  • Horsh Beirut Park
  • Sioufi Garden
  • Museum Garden

 

 

BEIRUT BY NIGHT
Beirut’s nightlife is unparalleled across the region. All over the city, night owls hop between Beirut's clubs, bars, and live music venues that cater to tastes as eclectic as the city itself.    

 

WHAT DO I EAT?: LOCAL FOOD AND WHERE TO FIND IT
Not all Middle Eastern cuisine is created equal! Lebanese cuisine is a mishmash of Arab, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences, and is pretty high up there on the health meter compared to other countries in the region. Lebanon’s also a great place to be vegan since many dishes, especially traditional Lebanese mezze – an elaborate variety of hot and cold appetizer-style dishes, including your standard hummus and baba ghanoush – are made without any animal ingredients. A typical mezze has a mix of salads (tabbouleh, fattouch, etc.), dips (hummus, moutabal, muhammara, etc.), sambousek, stuffed grape leaves (wara’ einab), and Lebanon’s famous flat pita bread that’s essential for every meal.

So where exactly do you grab a bite of this deliciousness in Beirut? Though narrow and congested streets don't allow much leeway for street food vendors in Beirut, you'll undoubtedly stumble upon a street cart here or a falafel vendor there. Beyond the roadside snacks, standard Lebanese food can be found almost everywhere, but according to our research…

Abdel Wahab
Good old Lebanese hospitality! Abdel Wahab has become a trademark of Lebanese cuisine, and even offers some homemade dishes that aren’t usually found in restaurants.
Location: Abdel Wahab el Inglizi Street, Achrafieh

Kababji
Delicious meats? Good. Healthy food? Good! Multiple locations? GOOD!
Location: Multiple locations

Zaatar w Zeit: geared towards the vegans, Zaatar w Zeit has branches all over the region, not just Lebanon. They present authentic and modern meals and have been known for their quality food for the past 20 years.
Location: Bliss street, Beirut

Em Sherif: with decor resembling that of a lavish, antique mansion in the Oriental style, Em Sherif is fine dining of the old world. Its seasonal menu encompasses local delicacies from manakish zaatar to grilled steaks.
Location: Achrafieh  district

Babel Bay: this one is for the sea food lovers, with a Lebanese twist.
Location: Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay

Liza: a modern yet elegant restaurant where you could savour the Lebanese cuisine, Liza has an extensive menu with a variety of cold and hot dishes.
Location: Trabaud, Achrafieh

Centrale: this restaurant boasts an elaborate wine cellar with a variety of bottles, and it serves French meals that you could enjoy on a wonderful rooftop or an air-conditioned garden.
Location: Mar Maroun street

Onno Bistro: one of the top rated restaurants in Beiru, Onno Bistro serves Middle Eastern meals and Lebanese ones.
Location: Badaro Street, Borj Hammoud, Hamra

Mayrig: another top rated restaurant in Beirut, Mayrig has a certain ambience to it and an oriental décor, with a fine menu of delicious meals, both international and native.
Location: 282 Rue Pasteur, Beirut 

 

BEYOND BEIRUT: DAY TRIPS OUTSIDE THE CITY
Why stay in one place when you can make use of your trip and go exploring nearby? There are over 10 fun (and family friendly!) day trips you can take just outside of Beirut, from water parks to ancient temple ruins, and a whole lot of natural wonders in between.  

 

HOW FRIENDLY IS BEIRUT?: FEMALES, FAMILIES, AND FURBABIES

FEMALES
Beirut welcomes its solo female travelers with open arms! Locals are very accustomed to seeing foreigners exploring the city, and Lebanese people are social and hospitable by nature, so many of them are happy to get to know you and even show you around the city. That said, attire is no issue around Beirut – break out the shorts and tees all summer long, just don’t head to the beach topless. However, some neighborhoods are more conservative than others, so bear that in mind when exploring the city or visiting religious sites. If you’re traveling alone, avoid taking a servees at night and exercise the same vigilance you would in any other major city.

FAMILIES
Despite being quite the millennial milieu, Beirut actually offers a lot of family-friendly options for those looking to bring the munchkins along for some adventure. From museums to music festivals,  shopping, and a few adventures too far from Beirut itself,  there’s plenty of family fun to be had in Beirut. If your more of an outdoorsy family, any of Beirut’s beaches, parks, or gardens are an optimal choice; you can also grab a meal at Zaitounay Bay and enjoy a stroll along the seafront – ideal for family photos, by the way.

FURBABIES
Beirut’s a pet-friendly city in general, so you and your furbabies can easily go for a stroll and explore together. But if you’re looking to enjoy a meal or a drink, these are some of Beirut’s pet-friendly places to be.

 

WHERE DO I PRAY?: RELIGIOUS PRACTICE IN BEIRUT
Lebanon’s religious landscape is pretty diverse, with over 20 religions and sects. Half the population is Muslim, while the rest is comprised mainly of Maronite Christians (a few Orthodox and Armenian Catholic Christians, too), as well as Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists. That said, Beirut is filled with churches and mosques for those looking to pray; if you’re more interested in visiting Beirut’s historic or iconic religious institutions, there are a few mosques and churches worth mentioning.

Al-Awza’i Mosquevia Lebanon Mosques

Imam Al-Awza’i was born and raised in Lebanon, and was later buried next to the southern wall of the mosque that was named after him. The mosque was built during the Abbasid Dynasty and is one of the oldest mosques in Beirut.

Location: Bourj el-Barajneh, Autostrad Street

Al-Omari Grand Mosquevia Islamosfera

Al-Omari Grand Mosque embodies much of Beirut’s dynamic – and at times turbulent – history in one building. Originally believed to be a Roman temple or bath dating back to third century AD, the building was then transformed into the Byzantine Church of St. John in the 12th century during the crusades, and later transformed into the city’s Grand Mosque by the Mamluks in 1291. You’d think that’s enough for one building, but it was then damaged during the Lebanese Civil War and refurbished in 2004. As it stands, the mosque’s architecture reflects all three eras it’s witnessed.

Location: Waygand Street, Beirut Central District

Mohammad Al-Amin Mosquevia Travel Notes

Al-Amin Mosque – usually known as the Blue Mosque because of its stunning architecture – has become an iconic landmark in Downtown Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square. One of the biggest and oldest mosques in Beirut, this mosque was built as a Sufi zawya (corner) for Sheikh Abu el Nasr.

Location: Martyrs’ Square, Beirut Central District

Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedralvia Travel Notes

Currently the seat of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Beirut, St. George was originally The Anastasis Cathedral back in the fifth century before getting destroyed by an earthquake in 551 AD. Since then, the site has seen a few too many cathedrals built and destroyed for various reasons, and was most recently reopened in 2003.

Location: Rue Gouraud

St. Maroun Churchvia 4b Architects

Kneesit Mar Maroun, as it’s known in Arabic, is a Roman-style church built in the late 19th century and dedicated to Saint Maroun who was the founder of Maronite Christianity – Beirut’s predominant Christian denomination. It’s known for its well-preserved architecture and stained glass windows.

Location: Rue Mar Maroun from George Hadad Street, Gemmeyzé

Also worth noting is Maghen Abraham Synagogue, Beirut’s only synagogue, which was built in 1925 but is unfortunately no longer open to the public as of 2017. 

  

SOS: HEALTH & SAFETY IN BEIRUT

Beirut's a pretty safe city overall, but like any other destination you may end up at, shit happens. It's always good to have a list of emergency numbers that may come in handy if something goes sour.

Lebanese Red Cross: 140, +961 5 924 017,+961 5 924 018,+961 5 924 020, +961 1 322 986
Ambulance Services: (01) 386675, (01) 386676, (01) 863299
Police (operation): 112
General Security Offices, Adlieh, Beirut: +961 1 425 610
Internal Security Forces: +961 1 425 650
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +961 1 333 100
Fire Brigade: 175, +961 1 445 000

There are some vaccinations recommended by the CDC, which you might want to consider taking before you travel to Beirut as a precaution.

  

BANKING & ATMs
Beirut is relatively card-friendly, but smaller vendors and shops aren’t likely to have credit card machines so it’s always best to have cash on you just in case. Places tend to accept both the Lebanese Pound and the US Dollar, but expect your change back in LBP no matter what currency you’re paying in.

Should you find yourself strapped for USD or LBP, there are exchanges all across the Beirut core. Make sure you spend all that LBP you get back in change, since exchanging LBP outside of Lebanon is nearly impossible.

 

PRO TIPS

Beirut’s traffic is hectic and its drivers a bit chaotic, so look seven times before crossing the street, then, just when you think it’s safe to cross, look again. This doesn’t apply if you’re from Egypt, India, the Philippines, or any other country that doesn’t believe in separate lanes.

If the distance you’re traveling within the city is walkable, walk it. There’s lots to see and experience along the way, and, given the traffic situation, you’ll probably get there faster on foot anyway.

Whether you’re walking or hopping in a taxi or servees, learn landmarks not street names. Most people don’t know or use street names when it comes to giving directions, but they’re well aware of the city’s famous landmarks.

Should you cross paths with a military checkpoint, don’t freak out – they’re usually just there for precaution and won’t affect you at all if you’re not up to no good.

Read up about Lebanon before you visit and be open to conversations and learning more . While heated discussions about politics and current events are the norm in Beirut, be mindful not to offend the locals – an angry Arab isn’t exactly the most enjoyable local experience.

Already been to Beirut? We’d love to share your story