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Things to do in Beirut

Things to do in  Beirut

Welcome to Beirut

Ancient yet charming, mysterious yet hospitable, Beirut—situated on the banks of the Mediterranean—has a multi-faceted allure that continues to entice travelers. Lebanon’s capital city was once known as the Paris of the East, and it seems to be reclaiming that nickname. Today, the renovated downtown brims with stylish professionals and gleaming skyscrapers, and a central business district offers boutiques, a stunning archaeology collection at the National Museum, and plenty of cafes serving thick black coffee and tasty mezes (small dishes). Outside of Beirut sit the ruins of some of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations, and tours that conveniently link multiple sites can maximize your sightseeing potential. First-time visitors will want to journey to the limestone caves of Jeita Grotto, 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Beirut, followed by Byblos, one of the world’s oldest cities, and Harissa, known for its Virgin Mary Statue as well as its sweeping views. Another tour links the Roman ruins of Baalbek (two hours from Beirut) and the Umayyad ruins of Anjar with Ksara Caves, a series of ancient caverns used as wine cellars. Or you can combine the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tyre, an ancient Roman city around an hour from Beirut that’s still inhabited today, with the holy sites of Sidon and the monument-studded city of Maghdouche. Whatever tour you choose, you’ll return to Beirut in time to hit up some of the city’s famous bars and nightclubs.

Top 15 attractions in Beirut

Jeita Grotto

Lebanon’s spectacular Jeita Grotto makes an exciting day trip from Beirut. Once considered as a finalist for the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this dramatic cave is divided into two levels: a lower grotto and an upper grotto, which contains the White Chamber, home to the world’s largest stalactite.More

Byblos (Jbeil)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Byblos (Jbeil) has been home to a wealth of civilizations over the last 8,000 years. A historic harbor, a Crusader castle, an atmospheric medieval center, and a fascinating archaeological site add heritage charm. During summer, there’s a vibrant party scene as well as outstanding seafood eateries.More


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lebanon’s Baalbek ruins are some of the best-preserved Greco-Roman structures in all the Middle East. The site was once a thriving Phoenician city known as Heliopolis (“Sun City”), and today, the Temple of Bacchus, Temple of Venus, and Temple of Jupiter offer visions of past glories.More


Founded in the early eighth century, at the start of the Islamic period, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anjar is a fascinating example of an Umayyad fortified city. Set in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley astride an important trading route, Anjar highlights include the remains of palaces, a mosque, and Roman-style public baths.More

Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban)

On a 1,970-foot (600-meter) hilltop just north of Beirut overlooking the Bay of Jounieh stands a painted bronze statue of the Virgin Mary with her hands outstretched toward the city. The shrine to Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban), the nation’s patron saint, was erected in 1908 and has become one of the world’s most important shrines to the Virgin Mary and attracts millions of pilgrims and visitors each year. It's also occasionally known as Our Lady of Harissa.Getting to the base of the white statue requires 10-minute ride up the hillside from Jounieh aboard ateleferique, or cable car. The views of Beirut and the sea beyond from Harissa’s base are worth the ride in their own right.More


Known for the enormous Casino du Liban and the Téléferique gondola lift that runs to Our Lady of Harissa above, Jounieh is a party-friendly high-rise beach town about 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of Beirut. The main attractions here are eating, clubbing, and barhopping, although the old souk has charm, and paragliding is possible.More

Chateau Ksara

Founded in 1857, Château Ksara is one of Lebanon’s oldest wineries and an ever-popular stop on Bekaa Valley tours. Situated at around 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level, the estate has vineyards across Lebanon. Star of the show at the winery, besides the wines themselves, are the historic 1.5-mile (2-kilometer) cave cellars.More

Tyre (Sour)

Known to locals as Sour, the port city of Tyre in southern Lebanon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular vacation destination for Beirutis. Ruins here date back over 4,000 years and span the Phoenician, Roman, Crusader, and Ottoman eras—and beyond. But white sand and fresh seafood mean Tyre is not just for history buffs.More

Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth)

With its grand neoclassical frontage, the landmark Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth houses Lebanon’s most important archaeological collection. Artifacts span the gamut from prehistory through to Renaissance times, and include gorgeous sculptures, sarcophagi, and jewelry.More

Sidon (Saida)

Mentioned in the book of Genesis, the ancient port city of Sidon is known to Lebanese as Saida. Its scenic old town boasts attractive souks, historic mosques, a Crusader sea castle, a 17th-century khan (trading inn), and a fascinating soap museum. Close to town lies the Temple of Eshmun, Lebanon’s best-preserved Phoenician ruin.More

Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)

Prized in biblical times, the cedars of Lebanon are the remnants of an ancient forest. The Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab), a cluster close to northern Lebanon’s Qadisha Valley, is recognized with UNESCO World Heritage status. These majestic trees, a distinct species known as cedrus Libani, can live more than 1,000 years and grow to 130 feet (40 meters) tall.More

Qadisha Valley (Wadi Kadisha)

The rugged slopes of the Qadisha Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are home to mountain wilderness, ancient monasteries, the pretty village of Bcharré, and even the occasional hermit. Carved by the sacred river Qadisha and mentioned in the Bible, it’s also known as the Kadisha Valley, Wadi Kadisha, Ouadi Qadisha, and Kadisha Gorge.More

Martyrs' Square (Place des Martyrs)

On May 6, 1916 a group of Lebanese nationalists were hanged for rebelling against Turkish rule. In 1965 a bronze statue was erected in their memory in what is today called Martyrs’ Square (Place des Martyrs). Since then it has served as Lebanon’s most important public gathering places and the site of the massive March 14th demonstration in 2005, which brought 1 million Lebanese to the square on the one month anniversary of the murder of Hariri.More

Gibran Museum

In the town of Bcharre, in northern Lebanon, the Gibran Museum is a converted 19th-century monastery devoted to the poet and artist Khalil Gibran, best known for The Prophet, a book of poetic fables. It houses Gibran’s drawings, paintings, manuscripts, library, and furniture, returned to Lebanon from New York after his death in 1931.More

Mim Mineral Museum Beirut (Mim Musée des Minéraux Beyrouth)

Along Beirut’s aptly-coined 'museum mile' is a real gem of a collection, housed at the Mim Mineral Museum Beirut (Mim Musée des Minéraux Beyrouth) on the Saint Joseph University campus. Featuring local engineer Salim Edde’s private collection of more than 1,400 minerals, the museum showcases precious stones from around the world, attracting chemists, collectors and enthusiasts alike.With a tour of the Mim Museum, you’ll see over 300 different minerals from more than 60 countries and learn about mineral formation and history from various interactive screens. The minerals are organized by room, with radioactive elements found in the main exhibit and more precious pieces like gold, silver, emerald, ruby and topaz displayed in the treasure room.Considered to be one of the most impressive private collections of minerals in the world, the Mim makes for a great stop on a tour of Beirut museums, and is a must-do for those with even a passing interest in precious stones.More
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Trip ideas

Top Ancient Sites Near Beirut

Top Ancient Sites Near Beirut

Top activities in Beirut

Jeita Grotto - Harissa - Byblos Trip

Jeita Grotto - Harissa - Byblos Trip

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All about Beirut

When to visit

After its rainy winters, Beirut dials up the activity levels, with visitors arriving for its comfortably warm and sunny spring days, and numbers climbing again for July and August’s blazing heat. A steady flow of events keeps the atmosphere upbeat, starting with June’s Cultural Festivals and often culminating in the head-banging of September’s Metal Fest.

Getting around

Moving quickly in the city can be a challenge thanks to Beirut’s traffic, turning even short-distance trips into epic journeys. Shared taxis and ridesharing apps are easy to use and your best bet for traveling between neighborhoods. But if you’re looking to explore locally, then there’s no better way than on foot, especially in more pedestrian-friendly districts such as Hamra, Gemmayzeh, Achrafieh, and the downtown area.

Traveler tips

Lebanon counts no less than 18 official religions, and you can find traces of them all in Beirut. Head downtown to Martyrs’ Square to see two side-by-side religious landmarks that testify to the city’s mixed heritage: the spectacular, domed Sunni mosque of Mohammad Al-Amin, open to non-Muslim visitors, and St. George Maronite, a Catholic Italianate cathedral famous for its ornate, gold-painted interiors.

People Also Ask

Is it safe to travel to Beirut?

The US State Department currently advises against all travel to Beirut, citing risks including crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, and kidnapping. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office also considers Beirut unsafe and unstable. Sadly, now is not the best time to plan a Beirut vacation.

Is Beirut in Lebanon or Syria?

Beirut is in Lebanon, a small, proud nation with thousands of years of history. But it is close to Syria: in fact, the Syrian border is just a 40-mile (65-kilometer) drive from Beirut. In some historical periods, the name Syria meant an area much larger than modern-day Syria and that sometimes included Beirut.

How can I spend a day in Beirut?

No day in Beirut would be complete without a feast of delicious Lebanese cuisine and a taste of the city’s buzzing nightlife scene. In between, visit Pigeon Rocks, tour mosques and ruins, or explore art at the Sursock Museum or history at the National Museum of Beirut.

What is Beirut known for?

Beirut’s tragic recent history—civil war, a huge port explosion, and economic collapse—can sometimes overshadow its charms. Long known as the Paris of the Middle East, this cosmopolitan city is famous for food, culture, and heritage. Its history dates back to the Phoenicians, long before ancient Rome.

Is Beirut worth visiting?

When times are right, Beirut is a wonderful place to visit, with all the charms of Lebanon right on your doorstep: cedars, ski slopes, beach clubs, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and more. Despite its war-torn past, the city itself offers plenty of history, delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and friendly people.

How expensive is Beirut?

Travel in Lebanon is cheaper than Israel or Jordan but more expensive than Egypt. Elite Beirut hotels such as Le Gray will run to hundreds of dollars, but a cheap hotel or vacation rental can cost under US$50 per night. Budget-conscious travelers can eat falafel and shawarma for very little money.


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