Welcome to Lebanon!
If you want to learn more, just continue reading. I'm sure you'll book your flight after this :)
Lebanon, officially the Lebanese Republic, stretches along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, strategically placed between the East and the West. With a total surface area of 10,452 Km2, Lebanon is one of the smallest countries in the world. What it lacks in size, however, it certainly makes up for in geographical diversity. It has a narrow coastal plain, the inland peaks of Mount Lebanon, the Bekaa plateau and the Anti-Lebanon mountains chain.
Lebanon has a typical mediterranean climate, with four distinct seasons. Summer (June- September) is hot on the coast and cooler in the mountains. Spring and Autumn are warm and pleasant and are the ideal times to visit for sightseeing. Winter (December- mid March) is the ideal time for ski with plenty of snow.
Lebanon's diverse patchwork of Mediterranean-lapped coast, rugged alpine peaks, and green fertile valleys is packed into a parcel of land some 225km long and 46km wide – an area approximately the size of Cyprus or Connecticut. An ancient land, Lebanon features in the writings of Homer and in the Old Testament. Its cities were major outposts and seaports in Phoenician and Roman times, just two of the great civilizations that touched this important Middle Eastern crossroads.
The cosmopolitan flair of modern-day Beirut, the gastronomic renown of the country's food and wine, and an educated and outward-looking population complement a country that is both traditional and progressive in outlook. For all the flavors of its storied past and rugged natural beauty, Lebanon is a well-kept tourist secret that begs exploration.
There are four main geographic regions in Lebanon, differentiated by topography and climate. From west to east, they include: the coastal plain, the Mount Lebanon Range, the Békaa Valley, and the Anti-Lebanon Range.
The Anti-Lebanon Range is a stretch of arid mountains that rise to the east of the Békaa Valley and form part of the country's eastern border with Syria.
The Békaa Valley, known in ancient times as “the breadbasket” or “granary” of the Roman Empire, is still the country's main agricultural region. Located on a high plateau between the country's two mountain ranges, the river-fed Békaa supports the production of tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, olives, and grapes, even despite summers that are hot and dry.
Besides some of Lebanon's best wineries (Ksara, Kefraya, Massaya), the Békaa's major attraction is the ruins at Baalbek. Originating as a place of worship to Baal, the Phoenician Sun God, Baalbek was known in Greco-Roman times as the famous Heliopolis, or “City of the Sun.” Perhaps because of the region's agricultural importance in feeding the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, some of the largest Roman temples ever constructed were erected at this site. The construction lasted over 200 years, and the well-preserved temples honor Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus.
The lovely Lebanese coast is framed by the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Mount Lebanon Range to the east, its temperate climate bringing in sunny, hot summers and cool, rainy winters. The daytime temperature in the summer, which averages 30°C (86°F), encourages people to head to the beach or to the higher, altitude-cooled mountain slopes. In the coastal cities of Saida (Sidon) and Jbail (Byblos), tourists can enjoy the rare opportunity to snorkel amongst long-submerged Phoenician ruins, while excellent hiking is a mere hour away in the Chouf region of the Mount Lebanon Range.
The Mount Lebanon Range includes numerous rivers that fizz with snowmelt, steep-walled gullies that shade grottoes once the hideout to those fleeing persecution, and also Lebanon's highest summit, Qornet Es-Saouda (3,090m). In winter, the high peaks are blanketed with snow, lending Lebanon its name,Lubnan, the Arabic word for “white.” Lebanon boasts a number of world-class ski resorts, one of only a couple countries in the Middle East where you can ski. The ski season runs from December until April.
The Mount Lebanon Range is also the location of Lebanon's Cedar Reserves. The great cedar forests of Lebanon, now protected, are famous for their use in the construction of some of the holiest buildings in the region, indeed the world, including Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock and Solomon's Temple.
To visit Lebanon is to dispel preconceived notions that linger from a relatively short moment in a long, vivid, and fascinating history: drink in the energetic, urbane vibe of revitalized Beirut; explore a diverse and beautiful landscape that lends itself easily to an unforgettable (and largely untrammeled) multi-sport adventure; marvel at archaeological wonders that are windows into the cradle of civilization; and simply enjoy the welcome of a people who are naturally hospitable, friendly, and gregarious.
Lebanon has a huge number of public and private hospitals, many of which have succeeded in earning a world renowned reputation.
Our exchange program has managed to become established in Lebanon's most prestigious hospitals. We are proud of the fact that our incoming students have the option of choosing between four leading hospitals, each of which plays an undeniable role in the creation of the next generation of physicians.
1. American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC): to which students applying for American University of Beirut (AUB) are sent.
2. Hotel Dieu de France (HDF): to which students applying for Saint Joseph university (USJ) are sent.
3. University Medical Center-Rizk Hospital (UMC-RH): to which students applying for Lebanese American University (LAU) are sent.
4. Saint George Hospital - University Medical Center (SGH-UMC): to which students applying for University of Balamand (UOB) are sent.
5. Makassed General Hospital (MGH): to which students applying to Beirut Arab University (BAU) are sent
One cannot but speak greatly of these five hospitals that have become well known not only in the Mediterranean region but also worldwide.
Beirut Rafic Hariri International airport is the only operating commercial airport in Lebanon. It is located 9 Km from the city center in the southern suburbs.
In Lebanon, there are two forms of cabs:
- Private taxis (or simply taxi) that you call ahead of time to pick you up and get you straight to your destination. Even though these are more comfortable, they are more expensive.
- Service taxis (or simply service) that you can pick up on the road. These are far less expensive costing you around 2000 LBP- 4000 LBP per ride. They are, however, less comfortable since they usually carry more than one customer at a time and hence end up making more than one stop.
Whichever cab you end up taking, always make sure the car has a red license plate.
Should you choose to take a trip outside Beirut, you will need to resort to public buses:
- To go up north (i.e. Dbayye, Kaslik, Jounieh, Jbeil, Batroun or Tripoli), you have to take a bus from either the station at Dawra (Beirut) or the Charles El Helou station at Saifi (Beirut). Both are easily accessible via a cab from your area of residence. Bus fee will be as little as 1500 LBP (destinations closer to Beirut) and as much as 4000 LBP (destinations further away from Beirut).
- If you want to go south (i.e. to Damour, Jiyye, Saida or Sour) or towards Mount Lebanon or the Bekaa, you’d have to take a bus from the station at Cola (Beirut), which is also easily accessible via a cab from your area of residence. Fees for these buses are similar to those of buses going north.
- Beirut - the city that has been destroyed 7 times and yet still managed to gain a reputation of being a bustling capital with a vibrant cosmopolitan nightlife.
- Jeita Grotto that was once considered as a finalist for the New 7 Wonders of the World. With its upper and lower galleries and an underground lake seen by boat, Jeita Grotto is a spectacle that defies description.
- Our Lady of Lebanon with its mesmerizing view - especially when you’re riding the cable car.
- The Bekaa Valley with Baalbeck, the city of the Gods, and the ruins of Anjar that have been classified as a world Heritage site by UNESCO.
- The ancient city of Byblos - the birthplace of the alphabet. With its famous Citadel, picturesque medieval port and notorious nightlife, Byblos has been labeled a must-see for every visitor to Lebanon.
- The Chouf District with its Cedars, the external symbol of Lebanon, the fascinating village of Deir el Qamar and the Palace of Beiteddine, a masterpiece of the Lebanese architecture.
- The South of Lebanon with its major cities of Sidon and Tyre.
During your stay in Lebanon, we will make sure you get a taste of our highly diverse Lebanese cuisine and master our traditional Dabke.
What religions are practiced in Lebanon?
Lebanon hosts 19 “official” religious groups, including 5 Muslim groups, the most important are Sunnis, Shiites and Druze; 11 Christian denominations, representing the 3 main branches of Christianity- Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant- but the main Christian group is Maronite.Lebanon hosts 19 “official” religious groups, including 5 Muslim groups, the most important are Sunnis, Shiites and Druze; 11 Christian denominations, representing the 3 main branches of Christianity- Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant- but the main Christian group is Maronite.
For more information, be sure to check out our Incoming Students' Booklet :)
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What should I do in case of emergency?
Here are some useful numbers for emergency cases:
- Tourist Police: 1735
- Lebanese Red Cross: 140
- Civil Defense: 125
- General Security: 1717
- Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport: 150
What is the weather like in Lebanon?
Lebanon enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with an average of 300 sunny days a year. July and august are often hot and humid, with temperatures around 30° Celsius. It almost never rains between June and September. Winters are generally cool with heavy rain on the coast and snow in mountains.what is the currency in Lebanon?The currency in Lebanon is Lebanese Lira, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere, and Euros are accepted mainly in touristic places.
Where can I find the embassy or consulate of my country in Lebanon?
Or call the Tourist Information Office: 0091 1 343 073
What are the national public holidays in Lebanon?
Holidays with fixed dates:
- New year’s Day January 1
- Christmas (Armenian Orthodox) January 6
- St. Maron’s Day February 9
- Annunciation 25 March
- Labor Day May 1
- Assumption Day August 15
- Independence Day November 22
- Christmas December 25
Religious Holidays with moveable dates:
- Catholic Good Friday
- Orthodox Good Friday
- Catholic Easter
- Orthodox Easter
- Al Sini Al Hegira
- Al Mawled Al Nabawi
What languages are spoken in Lebanon?
Arabic is the official language. A distinction should be made between spoken Arabic (the Lebanese), and written Arabic which is common to all Arab countries.
French and English are spoken by a big number of Lebanese
Where can I find a hotel or bungalow in the Touristic cities and villages in Lebanon?
You can easily check the website online
Or upon arrival pass by our office at the airport any kind of touristic informations, or the main office in Hamra, central bank Street.
Where can I exchange foreign currency?
In exchange offices which are spread in main streets everywhere in Lebanon and at the airport.
Where is smoking prohibited?
In all enclosed public places, including hospitality sectors:
Airport buildings, hospitals, cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels, Taxis, buses, Malls, shopping areas, supermarkets, offices, schools, universities…
Is tipping mandatory? What are the rules for tipping?
Tipping isn’t really mandatory, but to be expected indeed as for 10% minimum at what the client wishes to offer.
Can I request reimbursement of VAT?
You can simply ask for the VTA application in all the shops that have a VAT agreement, in order to reimburse it at the airport, for a 100 us dollars of a minimum amount.
How do I call to and from Lebanon?
All you have to do is dial the country code which is (+961)
Then the area code which could be a cell phone ( 03 – 70 – 71 – 76 ) or a regular land line for all districts
- 01 – Beirut
- 04 - Metn
- 05 – Mount Lebanon
- 06 – North
- 07 – South
- 08 – Beqaa
- 09 – Kesrwan
Accompanied by 6 digital numbers at the end
Ex + 961- 1 – 343283
+ 961- 3- 343283
How can I go online and check my e-mails?
You can go online and check your e-mails from the hotel where you are stay in, or simply ask for the net password in any restaurant, café shop or could be a pub ( that if you have your laptop or phone ) other wise just ask for any near internet café.
What should I know about outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing etc.…)?
At Lebanon’s many sports and health clubs you can play golf, tennis or squash, swim or practice in team sports.
Fitness training is very popular and hotels and clubs usually allow foreigners to access their facilities.
Thanks to Lebanon’s varied geography, opportunities for outdoor activities abound. It takes a little more than an hour to teach the snow covered mountains for the best skiing.
For an unusual sports combination, try skiing in the morning and spending the afternoon swimming on the coast. Water sports of all kinds are available most of the year along the shore scuba diving is popular too, and there are lots of diving clubs.
If you want even more adventure, the are clubs that can take you paragliding at the Cedars, or paddling down the Awwali river in a Cuneo or Kayak, or explore deep caves.
Organized trekking, hiking or rock climbing is a wonderful way to experience Lebanon’s natural beauty.Is it possible to travel to Lebanon by car? What documentation is required?
Indeed it is possible to travel to Lebanon by car, but only by entering through the Lebanese Syrian borders. For more info about the required documentation will be given by the general security.
+961 – 8 – 620016