First time I decided to go to Beirut was with a dear friend in 2010. We wanted to go to a destination in the Middle East, somewhere we could immerse ourselves with traditional culture but where contemporary living still exists. Our choice fell on Beirut, known by people for being Paris of the Middle- East. We experienced Beirut as being a fascinating, multi-cultural city steeped in traditions; home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world. It embraces traditional and modern, and where different cultures and religions coexist side by side. We experienced Beirut as being magical.
Since then, I returned three times and planning to go there again very soon.
There are many areas to choose from and even more Hotels and Apartments to decide between. We chose Hotel Napoléon in the Hamra area. The hotel is decent and for a very good price. The staff is sweet and helpful, they recommended us a tiny little place close to the hotel where they serve best local Lebanese food ever. It is not a fancy place, but the food is delicious and the experience delightful!
Hamra is a vibrant area with always many things happening. During the summer Hamra is overloaded with people, and be careful if chosing a very low budget hotel you might experience electricity and water cuts. Hamra Street located in the same neighbourhood is filled with stores, restaurants and cafes.
This section gathers all the different things that you can do both in Beirut and outside. There are so many things making it very difficult to mention all, so I gathered my 10 favorites and hopefully there is a taste for everyone.
- Go to a beach resort. (top 3: Rivieira hotel, Cyan, Pierre and friends)
- Dress to impress and spend the night partying at Skybar, the best rooftop club in Beirut.
- Stroll around the American University of Beirut, it’s a beautiful place and sightseeing in itself.
- Spend the evening at Uruguay street
- Go for dinner or a drink at Gemmayze
- Visit Mohammad Al-Amin mosque, and then walk around downtown Beirut to grab some lunch
- Eat Lebanese mezza at a local restaurant
- Take a boat ride and see the pigeon rocks of the raouché.
- Stroll through the streets of Hamra, and enjoy the dynamic vibe.
- Take a service instead of a taxi for short distance trips. Its a shared taxi for a low and fixed price.
In order to explore Beirut and the areas around it, you would need to take long holidays. However if you are there only for a short trip, there are some places that are a must see.
If you want to be impressed try to visit one of the wonders of the world, called the cave of Jeita. It is located 20km north of Beirut and is not only known to be the longest cave of the Middle East but also a true wonder.
Byblos, also known as Jubayl in Arabic is a thriving modern town with an ancient heart. If you want to do some sightseeing visit the castle, or the archeological site. Otherwise enjoy the view and the breeze by one of the cafés near the main port.