Beirut’s charm lies in its combination of history and pleasure. Take a stroll through the beautifully maintained campus of American University of Beirut – and imagine what life was like prior to civil war!
Hamra Street was once known for being at the crossroads between East and West; today it continues as one of Lebanon’s top tourist spots with art galleries and bars galore. Don’t miss visiting Jeita Grotto – Lebanon’s national treasure with stunning stalactites and stalagmites covering an amazing karstic limestone cave!
Pigeon Rocks (Arabic: Raouche), Lebanon’s only natural offshore rock formations, offer an unforgettable sight at Beirut’s western-most tip. Famous among both locals and visitors alike, this landmark offers magnificent sunset picnic sites along the Mediterranean Sea skyline as well as spectacular vantage points for viewing Mediterranean Sea skylines from above. You can take a boat out to explore their caves or even pass under one of their natural archways!
Raouche is an upscale residential and commercial neighbourhood known for its luxury apartment buildings, fine restaurants, cliff-side cafes and long seaside promenade known as the Corniche. Joggers and strollers flock here in the evenings and weekends; it provides stunning panoramic views of Beirut’s coastline while leaning back against its banister or sipping coffee at one of Raouche’s many cafes or restaurant terraces.
This area of the city is defined by its diasporic identity and can feel very distinct from the rest of the city, leading some residents to feel as if they have accidentally found themselves in Anatolia. A visit here offers visitors a taste of another culture, along with tasting some unique cuisine such as pastirma (cured beef), ajvar, dolmas and baklava!
Saifi Village is an idyllic urban retreat. Its cobbled streets, green spaces and French colonial architecture create the ideal atmosphere for strolling and shopping – as well as browsing art galleries, design studios and antique shops that line its streets. Additionally, on Saturday mornings vendors converge in Souk el Tayeb selling fresh produce and handicrafts.
Hamra Street was Beirut’s hub of art, theater, restaurants and bars during its heyday in the 1960s, boasting art galleries, theater productions, restaurants, cafes and bars. Today it remains an idyllic mix of East meets West where residents and visitors alike can gather. A great place for strolling the streets with friends while sipping drinks from its many bars and cafes!
Saint George Maronite Cathedral is one of Beirut’s top attractions. Known for its exquisite stained glass windows and mosaics, its architecture makes it even more magnificent – visit in the evening when the Mediterranean sunset makes it more enjoyable!
Experienced visitors should not leave without exploring its sophisticated shopping malls and boutiques, with Saifi Village as a starting point – featuring some of the city’s premier boutiques like Bokja Design, Nada Debs and Vick Vanlian Gallery as well as delicious eateries and coffee shops that provide perfect lunch breaks.
Discover over 2000 minerals on display from over 450 species from 70 countries at the MIM Mineral Museum located at Universite Saint-Joseph Campus of Innovation and Sport in Lyon. Don’t miss its impressive phosphorescent crystal room!
Beirut Art Center is an absolute must for art enthusiasts, serving as a non-profit space that promotes both local and international contemporary art. All programs offered here are completely free – making this an excellent way to discover Lebanon’s rich culture and history!
The Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum is another must-visit destination in Beirut. Housed within the former residence of an aristocrat in Beirut, this museum specializes in modern and contemporary art as well as having an impressive collection of sculptures, graphic arts and paintings on display.
If you’re seeking some natural beauty, head over to Jeita Grotto. This natural cave features amazing stalactites and stalagmites as well as some of Lebanon’s lush vegetation.
Mohammad al-Omari Mosque should also be on your itinerary. This elegant sandstone structure captures Lebanon’s long and convoluted history – originally constructed as a Crusader church before becoming a mosque under Mamluks – through its intricate details that span Christian, Islamic and Ottoman influences. It will bring delight and intrigue.
The Roman Baths at Beirut reveal many layers of its history. Its elegant sandstone mosque began its life as a Crusader church before being altered by Mamluks; later still, Arabic and Turkish motifs create an intimate yet welcoming space within. Plus there’s always the adjacent Garden of Forgiveness filled with remnants from prehistoric settlements as well as a Phoenician altar to explore!
The Grand Serail, also known as Beirut’s Palace of Culture and Art, is an important cultural asset. This grandly decorated neo-Gothic building hosts Beiteddine festival as well as being home to a museum. Inside is an eclectic array of art and ephemera reflecting jeweller Robert Mouawad’s eccentric tastes and wealth; items on display here range from sacred to profane including antique mosaics as well as Heidi Klum’s $11 Million Fantasy Bra.
Visits to the Grand Serail are essential activities for anyone interested in art and history, while the neighborhood of Sanayeh, nearby, offers boutiques, restaurants, cafes and public gardens that make up its beautiful setting – making Sanayeh one of Beirut’s premier spots for shopping, dining, relaxing and socializing!
Muhammad Al-Amin Mosque, commonly referred to as the Blue Mosque, is an outstanding example of postmodern Middle Eastern architecture and should definitely be on your itinerary when visiting Beirut. Completed in 2008 and widely revered among worshippers and visitors from across the globe alike for its striking designs, its completion brought a beautiful sight into Beirut skyline and is a popular location among worshipers as well as tourists looking to admire its stunning design.
No visit to Beirut would be complete without exploring Downtown, with its eclectic mix of shops and restaurants that meld modern with traditional Middle Eastern styles. At nightfall, this area comes alive with church bells ringing out across the cityscape as music fills its walls – an excellent opportunity to witness how locals live their daily lives until dawn arrives!
Corniche el-Manara, one of Beirut’s most breathtaking spots, offers a seafront promenade brimming with activity. Stretching for one kilometer along Beirut’s beachfront (where you can enjoy the view with a game of online poker on platforms described at https://centiment.io), this seaside promenade is home to numerous cafes, restaurants and attractions such as Pigeon Rocks: two 60 meter-tall rocks offering fantastic vantage points.
Hamra Street adds an East-meets-West charm, boasting art houses, bars and restaurants until the civil war severely damaged it. Today it has returned to its former glory and makes for an enjoyable destination for drinks or dinner – or just wandering aimlessly and people watching!
Chateau Ksara is Lebanon’s oldest and largest winery, located in the Bekaa Valley. Paying them a visit will provide an enlightening journey into their rich history of production while giving a fascinating peek into life far removed from city streets. Visitors can stroll vineyards, taste local produce and take in breathtaking views from this hilltop winery.
Beirut is known for its passion for art, and this is best displayed at Beirut Art Center, an independent non-profit space which exhibits contemporary local and international artists. Furthermore, this gallery serves as a hub for cultural activities by hosting lectures, workshops and other events throughout the year.
Sursock Museum, once the residence of an affluent aristocrat, is another landmark on Beirut’s arts scene and one of the must-do activities in Beirut. It features modern art collections as well as Japanese engravings and Islamic paintings; all among a rich mix of other offerings that make this attraction truly worthwhile.
Baalbek Temple Complex is one of the region’s must-visit monuments and an invaluable cultural heritage site, dating back to Phoenician merchant trading activity and including an impressive Roman bathhouse dating back to 1st century, still standing and open for visitors today. Additionally, its stunning temples boast rich carvings and reliefs that provide visitors with an invaluable historical attraction.