Visiting Beirut

Inside info

The capital of Lebanon, Beirut, is located on the Mediterranean coast and is often called the ‘Switzerland of the Middle East’ as it is a hub for businesses and banks. A city with two million inhabitants, this charming and lively seaside town is rich in heritage, architecture and history.Take a walk on the Corniche early morning and enjoy breakfast at one of the many cafés along the promenade whilst watching the sun rise. After breakfast, continue along the Corniche until you reach the Pigeon Rocks in Raouche, a famous natural feature of Beirut with outstanding views. During the summer, boat tours are organised around the rocks and caves.A great way of exploring the city is by bike and the best time to do this is on Sundays when the centre of town is a no-car zone. Take the opportunity of visiting the Roman Baths – a bit of history amidst the modernity. The best time to visit is at night when they are lit up, a great photo opportunity!For traditional Lebanese cuisine, Al Balad restaurant, located in the centre, is recommended. A favourite spot for many local people, the food here is authentic. Try their baked cheese roll appetisers, lahm bajeen (flatbread covered in minced meat, tomatoes and spices) and moutabal which are mashed aubergines mixed with garlic, and lemon served with olive oil, parsley and red peppers accompanied with pitta bread.

Travel review

My boyfriend is originally from Beirut, so he regularly goes back to visit his family. Last year, I went with him for a couple of weeks to see his family for the first time and absolutely loved the city. I had imagined it to be a war-torn city, but it wasn’t anything like that. Obviously there are areas that are run down and damaged by war, but most of the city is beautiful with a fantastic array of things to do!We regularly took bike rides along the Corniche and stopped for coffee and to smoke ‘argilla’ (a favourite pastime of the locals). I loved watching the sea and fishermen going about their business. My boyfriend took me on a day trip to the Temples of Baalbek for the day. The ruins at this World Heritage Site are absolutely amazing. It’s incredible that people were capable of constructing these buildings with such limited resources in those days. We then visited the souk nearby and bought quite a few souvenirs. However, the actual town of Baalbek was quite disappointing, there wasn’t much choice in the way of restaurants and I felt a bit unsafe to be honest.Apart from Baalbek, I had a fantastic time in Beirut. A fascinating city and culture waiting to be discovered!

Did you know ?

Beirut used to be known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ before war broke out.

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