Are you seeking breathtaking beaches, a resilient population, a lively nightlife scene, and rich history? Then look no further, Lebanon has got you covered. Lebanon just “wow-ed” me and I’m sure it will wow you too!
This complicated, but incredibly idyllic country is located on the Mediterranean Sea in Western Asia (Middle East) wedged between Israel and Syria. It boasts beaches, deserts, cities (of all sizes), waterfalls, and ski resorts! You can also marvel at the ancient Roman ruins, beautiful castles, and historic churches and mosques.
Lebanon is extremely culturally diverse with the majority of religions being Muslim (67%) and Christian (34%). There’s also a large Armenian population and over 18 other recognized religions in the country.
You’ll also find that it is a compact country making it quite easy to base yourself in Beirut and explore the country. I visited Lebanon in 2021 while there was an economic crisis, gas shortage, and the pandemic still happening. However, I still had an incredible time.
It’s important that I don’t gloss over Lebanon’s continued political and economical complexities. The resiliency of the Lebanese human spirit is astounding after years and years of war and turmoil and after visiting you’ll know exactly what I mean. The Lebanese people are wonderful!! Lebanon even hosts 210,000 Palestine refugees who live in 12 official refugee camps.
Planning a trip to Lebanon and don’t know where to start? Keep reading to discover the best things to do in Lebanon.
Is Lebanon Safe?
You may wonder if Lebanon is safe when it’s in the news every so often for political violence and economic turmoil. However, Lebanon is much safer than you may think. I went during the economic crisis and gas shortage and felt extremely safe as a woman. In a world full of violent crimes and uneasiness, I think Lebanon is a great travel destination for both women and men.
Another fun thing I noticed about Lebanon is that some parts feel very European (which makes sense being so close to the Mediterranean and Europe) whereas other parts feel very Middle Eastern. This has to be because of the convergence of the Christian and Muslim cultures.
No matter how safe a country is, I always recommend getting Travel Insurance. This could help cover trip interruptions due to natural disasters or even civil unrest. You never know when an unforeseen security situation could arise, so travel insurance helps ease my mind when traveling. I use WorldNomads for my travel insurance and have found it to be extremely helpful.
How To Get Around Lebanon
It’s important to note that Lebanon doesn’t exactly have a strong tourist infrastructure and getting around can potentially be hard without a tour or a group. I happened to go with a few friends for the first half and then a group tour led by my friend Alex from Alex in Wanderland and Jess (a past Lebanon resident). It was nice to have all of the transportation figured out on a tour.
However, they do have transportation, so if you are traveling solo there are options!
Servis (shared taxi): Most major cities in Lebanon have these shared taxis that pick you and other passengers up along their route. These typically aren’t regulated, but this is how a lot of locals get around the country.
Uber or Taxi or Careem (local version of Uber): Uber is active in Beirut while taxis can be found in other places in Lebanon.
Long-distance bus: You can usually find these from Beirut to larger cities in Lebanon, but public transportation isn’t extremely reliable in Lebanon so just make sure to do your research ahead of time.
Rent a car: If you want to spend a lot of time outside of Beirut, this might be your best bet. Just beware that drivers in Lebanon are wild!
Lebanon is located in Asia on the Easton Shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Syria borders both the east and the north of the country, with Isreal in the south and you would need to cross Israeli borders to visit some of the bordering countries.
What Is Lebanon Known For
Lebanon has so much to offer! The country is known for its ancient Roman ruins, such as the Baalbek ruins near the Syria – Lebanon border and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. Lebanon also has a variety of gorgeous castles, including the Citadel Saint-Gilles from 636 CE. There are 2,405 churches and 1,502 mosques to marvel at as well.
After you explore the history of the country, admire Lebanon’s beautiful landscapes. This includes laying out on one of the breathtaking beaches and beach clubs. Beirut is home to some of the most famous beaches, including Bonita Bay Beach, White Beach, and Oasis Beach. We will get to some of my favorite beach clubs in a moment!
Let’s not forget about the delicious Lebanese food! Some famous dishes include baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, falafel, and shawarma. You truly can not go wrong with any dining experience in Lebanon!
After you relax and eat your way through the country, experience the nonstop nightlife in Beurit of Batroun. I will highlight some of my favorite places throughout this post.
Customs & Etiquette In Lebanon
Understanding customs & etiquette in foreign countries can be stressful. But don’t worry I have some travel advice for you, so you feel prepared when traveling to Lebanon.
Dress Code – While we may be in the Middle East, Lebanon is very Western in wardrobe and there isn’t a dress code. In fact, you may see some people wearing pretty revealing outfits—especially in Beirut and Batroun. That being said you can pretty much wear what you are comfortable with when visiting Lebanon. As an American, I didn’t change too much about my dress from what I normally wear in the USA. Just keep in mind to be respectful, depending on which places you are visiting in the country. Outside of the city, you may find that people dress a bit more conservatively.
Tipping – It is customary in Lebanon to tip just like it is in the United States. While many are used to tipping 20% in the USA, it is normal to tip anywhere from 10-15% in Lebanon. Servers are expected to get paid less hourly in Lebanon due to them making most of their money off of tips. Note that the currency in the country is known as a Lebanese Pound.
Greetings – You will see a lot of handshakes and smiling when Lebanese locals greet each other. This is the most popular way you will be greeted, especially at a Lebanese event. You may also hear “marHabā / مَرْحَبا” , which is the first greeting taught to foreigners when they are learning Lebanese Arabic.
Eye Contact: The Lebanese people will maintain eye contact during interactions. But only for a short amount of time. It is known to show sincerity, especially when meeting someone.
Invitations – If you are invited to a Lebanese event, it is typical to bring flowers. If invited for a meal, you can bring sweets or pastries. It is common to greet people in order of their age, beginning at the oldest. You can also expect your host to push you to have multiple servings of the meal. This is how they show their hospitality and it is polite to have more than one serving. Which I think is a good problem to have!
Punctuality – Late often? Don’t worry, punctuality is not strict in Lebanon. People are commonly late to meetings and appointments. The average lateness you can expect is around 20 minutes. Anything later than that is considered rude.
Gift Giving – It is customary to offer gifts with either the right hand only or with both hands. You should receive a gift the same way. If the person you are giving a gift to has small children, it is recommended to bring them something small as well.
Now that you know some basics of Lebanese culture, I am going to showcase my favorite Lebanese travel destinations. Let’s talk about the best things to do in Lebanon!
What are the Best Things to Do in Lebanon?
1 – Visit Beirut
Beirut, the capital of Lebanon is one of the artsiest, most liberal, and fun cities in the Middle East. It reminded a bit of Israel and has a slightly European feel. It’s also known for fun nightlife, beach clubs, and party scene!
Beirut is a fun place to stay any time of the year. The temperatures range from 52°F to 86°F throughout the year. Summers are muggy, while winters are cool and wet. I went in August and it was pretty hot—especially because there happened to be a lot of power outages. Early fall or spring would be a great time to visit.
Be sure to visit the neighborhoods of Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze, also known as the hippest areas of Beirut. Take in the design and architecture of the buildings and shops.
Grab a local coffee at Sip before dining at one of the following amazing restaurants:
I loved walking around the Souk El Tayeb artisanal market and taking a cooking class here. They hire women from surrounding villages to preserve local traditions!
Don’t forget to explore the famous Pigeon Rocks, located on the western tip of Beruit near the upscale neighborhood of Raouché. This natural landmark draws visitors from all over! What makes it unique? These two rock formations are rumored to be the remains of a sea monster that Greek hero Perseus killed to save Andromeda.
If it’s a hot day, you can head to Hamra Urban Gardens to enjoy a dip in the pool and time in the sun. Try ordering the Almaza (Lebanese beer) Mexican style. It’s a popular version of the beer with freshly squeezed lemon in a glass with a salt rim.
Here are some fun tours you can take in Beirut through Get Your Guide!
There is no better way to explore Lebanon than by sipping wine in Bekaa Valley. This valley is located in the Eastern part of the country next to the Syrian border. There are over eighty wineries in Lebanon, most being in this region.
A wine tasting experience in the Middle East is a great way to learn about the culture with a local’s touch of course. Start by visitingChateau St Thomas’, a family-owned winery in Bekaa Valley. Try their chocolate-paired wine tasting for the best of both worlds.
After, make your way over to Chateau Heritage. A winery that provides stunning views of the Bekaa Valley. It is run and owned by a fourth-generation Touma Family. Taste the day away while talking to your Lebanese hosts.
I also personally loved Chateau Kefraya and loved going on their little wine train through the valley!
The best time to visit this unique wine region is in the springtime. The weather is beautiful for sitting outside and sipping on local vino.
Where to Stay in Bekaa Valley
Why not experience some agritourism while you’re in Lebanon? We stayed at Al Haush and absolutely loved it. It’s directly on a farm and the farm-to-table food is to die for.
3. Visit the Epic Lebanese Beach Clubs
If you are visiting Lebanon in the summer, you have to experience a Lebanese beach club! These clubs line the shore and are the epitome of fun in the sun.
Located just twenty minutes south of Beirut is the Lazy B Beach Club. Swim in their three freshwater pools or head down to the beach itself. They even have a quiet relaxation area where you can shut off and recharge.
Next up visit Jungle Beach, where you can swing over the beach of Amchit. The best thing about this Lebanese beach club is that it is free during the week! Spend the day swimming in the sun or sip a cocktail on their colorful hammocks. Jungle Beach is located just forty minutes north of Beirut, a quick drive away.
You can learn more about five of the most epic beach clubs in Lebanonhere.
4. Explore Batroun
Batroun is just about an hour’s drive away from Beirut and will transport you into a different world. This beach town has a stylish vibe and energetic restaurants and nightlife.
Plus, the beaches surrounding Batroun are incredible and luxurious and one of the main things to do while in Batroun. We spent our time doing rooftop yoga at Dharma Ji, eating dinner at Bolero or Bahsa by al Mandaloun, and walking around the town. We also stopped at Colonel Reef Beach for a beer and if you want a fun beach club, go a bit further north and you’ll find, Rocca Marina!
Where to Stay in Batroun
We stayed at Village Paradiso and it was a great option directly in the center of town near fun shops and restaurants. I also have heard great things about Blue Marlin, plus it’s super cute.
5. Visit the Ancient Ruins of Baalbek and Anjar
Explore the ancient ruins of Lebanon by visiting Baalbek and Anjar. Here’s a great tour you can take! Baalbek is home to two of the largest Roman ruins, the Temple of Bacchus and the Temple of Jupiter. The archeological site is a holy city for Romans and Greeks. The beauty of this UNESCO world heritage site will blow your mind.
The ruins here are two thousand years old! I’m surprised they aren’t more famous than they are as they rival Petra and the ruins in Egypt! It is a great way to travel back in time during your trip to the beautiful country of Lebanon. Therefore, be sure to take in all of the rich history at these unforgettable ruins.
6 – Qurnat al-Sawdāʾ
Lebanon has its own version of a Rocky Mountain High, the Lebanon Mountain Range. The highest peak in Lebanon is the astonishing Qurnat al-Sawdāʾ which sits at At 10,131 feet (3,088 meters). The peak is northeast of Beirut, about forty-minute away.
The Lebanese mountain range is quite impressive and a visitor favorite. Stretching 150 miles, the entire length of Lebanon and paralleling the Mediterranean coast! A must-see for those who want to marvel at the mountains. Just don’t forget to bring your camera.
Did you know that Lebanon’s flag has a cedar tree on it because the land used to be plentiful with cedar trees? Now, they have them preserved in certain areas but they are still the national symbol. When a cedar tree dies, instead of removing it, they create art from it.
In other words, Cedar Groves of Lebanon are an important staple in the country. These old cedar trees are now a small national park, where new trees have been planted and protected since the 19th century. Visiting the Forest of the Cedars of God is a must-see in Lebanon. Don’t miss your stop by this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8 – Ski at a Lebanese Ski Resort
When you think of Lebanon you probably don’t immediately think of ski resorts. To your surprise, this unique country has six of them. Spend some time hitting the slopes or enjoying the snowy mountain views.
The largest ski resort in Lebanon isMzaar Kfardebian. This resort offers over 62 miles of slopes to adventure on. The resort is located only one hour away from the capital of Beirut, making it a convenient location.
If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, don’t worry. The resort offers snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and a plethora of other winter activities.
One of the best ways to explore a new country is by hitting the hiking trails. Hiking offers a fun combination of exercise and scenery. Luckily Lebanon has some exciting trails for you to explore on foot.
The most popular is theBaatara Gorge Waterfall Trail. Which is an easy 0.6-mile out and back trail located in North Lebanon. This gorgeous waterfall drops 837 ft into the Baatara Pothole, a cave of limestone located on the Lebanon Mountain Trail.
For a harder hike, take on theHaouqa-Qadisha Trail. Also known as hiking the Sacred Valley. This 7.3-mile trail is rated moderate, with an elevation gain of 2,106 feet. Take in the stunning views of the lush green trees and mountains on this longer trail.
10 – Jeita Grotto
Located about 25 miles north of Beirut is one of Lebanon’s greatest natural wonders,Jeita Grotto. Explore these two limestone crystallized grottoes which are sculptured naturally. You can wander the upper and lower caves by taking one of the walking tours.
You can even take the cable car which provides 360 views of nature and surroundings. End your trip to Jeita Grotto by dining at their on-site restaurant which offers traditional Lebanese Cuisine.
11 – Ride the Gondolas of the Teleferique Aerial Cableway
Get ready to ride in the sky on the Gondolas of the Teleferique Aerial Cableway. These cable cars are one of the oldest and most popular attractions in Lebanon.
Take in the views of the bay of Jounieh and the infamous Our Lady of Lebanon Statue. After you get to the top, grab a bite to eat at the food court & playgrounds, which offers full meals or delicious ice cream.
Plan your trip ahead of time. You can check out their rates and scheduled time slots on the website here.
Calling all History Buffs! Lebanon has fifteen museums for you to explore.
The National Museum of Beirut is a favorite when visiting Lebanon. Marvel at the archeological artifacts and the Phoenician gilded bronze figurines. The museum highlights the history of Lebanon and its civilizations.
In North Lebanon, you can visit the Nabu Museum. It is named after Nabu, the Mesopotamian god of knowledge and writing. So you can probably already guess that this museum highlights the historic writings and tablets from ancient times.
13 – Visit the Beiteddine Palace
Live the royal life by visiting the Beiteddine Palace, a 19th-century palace in Beiteddine. The palace is famous for its stunning architecture and disturbing story. It is rumored that the emir ordered that the architect who built the palace have his hands cut off so that the Beit ed-Dine Palace could not be replicated.
Today, you can go and walk around the palace and see the irreplaceable designs for yourself. Enjoy the handmaid mosaics and 19th-century-style buildings. A must-see on your list of things to do in Lebanon.
Lebanese cuisine is known for its healthy food accompanied by bold flavors. Some popular dishes include lamb, chicken, fish, hummus, yogurt, and fresh vegetables. Hungry yet? Throw in some yummy flavor combinations such as mint, sesame, and lemons. A balance of flavors that will blow your mind. Become a foodie in Lebanon by visiting some of the country’s authenticrestaurants.
15 – Enjoy the Nightlife Scene
Lebanon is known for its partying scene! Hamra Street in Beirut is where the magic happens. This vibrant street is lined with local shops, authentic dining and so much more. Hamra Street was known for having the top movie theaters and houses. It was also the hot spot for Beirut’s glamor in the 1960s and 1970s.
Looking for a nightcap? End your evening in the fun neighborhoods of Gemmayzeh or Mar Mikhael. Another great spot for cocktails is the House of Butlers and Jackie O for food and drinks on the rooftop!
16 – Qadisha Valley
Explore the Qadisha Valley, one of the early Christian monastic settlements in the whole world. This treasure is located in North Lebanon about an hour and a half from Beirut. The valley is known for its rugged cliffs and monasteries. A historic place to spend your day.
The Cedars of Lebanon is located next to the valley. For those wanting to venture out into the serene wilderness of the forest. In addition, there is free entry into the valley, so get ready to spend your day outdoors among beautiful scenery.
17 – Zaitunay Bay
Soak up the sun at Zaitunay Bay in Beirut! Visit this luxurious area and spend your day walking along the harbor. Similarly, you can enjoy dinner while watching the sunset over the water at one of the many waterfrontrestaurants.
In addition, in the summer months, you can partake in water sports nearby. Such as jet skiing or even renting your own private yacht for a day trip out on the bay. Zaitunay Bay is a gorgeous waterfront area and a crowd favorite when looking for things to do in Lebanon or Beirut in general.
Located in Batroun, Lebanon is the historic Phoenician Wall. This ancient sea wall was first made of sand dunes. Later on, rocks were placed forming a solid wall. The wall was used to protect the area from storms and invaders.
Today, this little slice of history still stands and attracts travelers from all over. Casually stroll alongside the wall and take in the soft sea breeze. It is a fantastic item to add to your Lebanon itinerary since it can be visited any time of the year!
Byblos is arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Lebanon located to the north of Beirut on the ocean. It’s one of Lebanon’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites because it’s one of the oldest Phoenician cities known for helping to create the Phoenician alphabet. It was a trade center known for distributing papyrus and some of the earliest known books! As a visitor now, visit the Byblos Castle, walk along the sea, and stroll souks for fun souvenirs.
Tyre is located in southern Lebanon and is known for Roman ruins that happen to be beautifully located near the sea. This city is super walkable and, similar to Byblos, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its history as being one of the 20 oldest cities!
While in Tyre, definitely check out the beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, and souks, and walk through the colorful streets!
In conclusion, and as you can see, Lebanon is a wonderful place to visit! I hope you get a chance to come to this wonderful country! To follow along on more of my adventures, come over to Instagram or Tiktok!
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.