Follow Me on Pinterest
This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you consent to our use of cookies unless you have disabled them.

eMag | Directory | TNT Travel Show 2017 | Events Search | TNT Jobs

Travel Guide: Beirut and Lebanon. Travel writing awards entrant 2009.

12th Oct 2011 2:04am | By Editor

2009 travel writing awards entrant

Author Adam Paddick

Beirut and Lebanon as a whole is a fantastic destination, and I simply can't recommend the place enough! Beirut itself is like a phoenix trying to recover and find itself again, and thankfully succeeding.

There is a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere wherever you travel in the city. The downtown area has had some serious re-development and looks a bit too new and clean, but where else will you be able to find old churches, a mosque that's only six months old, fancy bars and shops that wouldn't look out of place in Bond Street, all side by side? Although, take a closer look down the road and you will still see bullet holes and the scars of war, (which is precisely why the re-development has been able to occur as this area was flattened). The national museum is a good size and American University of Beirut really does feel like those typical American Universities you see in films and has a small archaeological museum that's worth a visit. No matter where you go to eat order lots of mezze - it is simply divine, especially the rice and aubergine stuffed vine leaves.

The best way to get around is in a shared taxi as you can speak to the taxi driver and the locals as most people speak English and will only cost £1 to go anywhere in Beirut or £5 to travel to must other places in Lebanon. Do not however, catch a taxi from the airport as these are ridiculously expensive ($50); start to walk out of the airport to the main road and you will get stopped by a taxi where you will get one for a much better price. Travelling elsewhere though is extremely easy as Lebanon is so small everywhere is a short day trip away. I only had time to visit Balbeek, and to have entire ancient city practically to yourself is well worth the trip. Driving there is certainly an experience, as road rules simply don't exist, but that just adds to the charm.

Lebanon is also incredibly cheap and the people the most genuinely welcoming and happy to see you that I have ever come across in my travels. It's also very safe, so whatever you hear about Lebanon in the news, don't let that cloud your judgement. The place certainly deserves more people visiting it (although I quite like being pretty much the only tourist).