Lebanon possesses much natural and cultural wealth. Beirut, the capital, known for its restless nights and intense banking operations, attracts revellers and business people alike, while the countryside attracts sports fans and naturalists. 155 miles long and 37 miles wide, you need more than a day to discover Lebanon's beauty. Those who travel to Lebanon will be able to enjoy ski runs, the Mediterranean turquoise water and the mountains, all in one weekend. Lebanon also offers you refined cuisine which even the fussiest gourmets will appreciate.
Security: the FCO advises against all travel to parts of the Bekaa Valley and against all but essential travel to southern suburbs of Beirut. The FCO advises against all travel to the city of Tripoli and Palestinian refugee camps and against all but essential travel to the Bekaa valley, to within 5km of the Syrian border, to the southern city of Saida, Hermel, and to areas south of the Litani river. The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Lebanon due to the recent upsurge in violence and wider regional tensions. See full official advice.
Surface area : 10452.0 km2
Population : 4259000 inhabitants
Carpet and jewellery lovers will be delighted. In addition to silver pieces, you will also find ceramics, blown glass, wrought iron, tapestries and antique objects. The shops are open from 9:00am to 6:00pm on weekdays.
You won't find a meal in Lebanon without 'mezze', a delicious array of starters (there can be as many as 40!). On the menu: tabouleh, hummus (a chick pea purée), moutabal (an aubergine purée), stuffed vine leaves and aubergines, etc. Meat (beef, mutton, chicken) is served grilled or on skewers. Falafel are fried balls of dried fava beans and chick peas. They are garnished with parsley and served with sliced tomatoes and a sesame seed purée. They can be served as a starter or a meal. To finish off, ice cream and delicate pastries are usually served for dessert. The Lebanese generally drink 'arrack', a local aniseed liquor, with their mezze. However, you can also enjoy some very good wine, like 'kefraya'. Beer is served ice cold. Keep in mind that alcohol is not served in Muslim restaurants.
The country's archaeological heritage is its main tourist attraction. The sites are once again being maintained (Baalbek, Byblos, Tyr, Anjaar, Eshmoun, Sidon, etc.). You are sure to be amazed as you roam about. Temples, triumphal arches, necropolises, porticos and fortresses take you back over thousands of years of history. However, to reach the sites you'll have to cross landscapes where ruins from the wars lay next to construction sites, or follow the coastline devastated by uncontrolled urbanisation and pollution.