Lebanon is a small fascinating nation in the Middle East, surrounded by Syria in the West and North, Israel from the South, and the beautiful Mediterranean sea on the Eastern side. Lebanon is an undiscovered little gem in the Middle East that is nothing like what Westerners imagine of a typical Middle Eastern country.
Being home to more than 6.8 million people, Lebanon is a half Christian, half Muslim country with an incredibly rich history and stunning nature. While an abundant number of European and Asian holidaymakers visit Lebanon every year, this country is not a known and popular destination among American and Canadian tourists. If you’ve never visited Lebanon or if you’re about to visit Lebanon, read this post to get familiar with the things to do in Lebanon, and the destinations in Lebanon.
1- Foodies Haven
Lebanese cuisine is a mixture of Middle Eastern and French cuisine. The foods are unbelievably delicious. The most famous Lebanese dishes are:
- Maneesh: an Arabic version of a flatbread pizza, mostly served for breakfast.
- Hummus: a Middle Eastern dip, spread, or savory dish made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Mostly used as Mezza (Appetizer) while sometimes getting served as the main course.
- Baba Ghannouj: Mashed cooked eggplant mixed with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and various seasonings.
- Tabbouli: A delicious fresh salad, made of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and sweet pepper.
One of the best restaurants in Lebanon to try authentic Lebanese cuisine is Em Sherif Restaurant in Beirut. This restaurant has a traditional decor that makes it majestic and cozy. You need to make a reservation in advance which is completely worth it. They would bring you all sorts of traditional Lebanese dishes that enable you to taste most of the Lebanese dishes at their finest during one meal. However, depending on the season, their menu could change a little.
Lebanon’s restaurant industry also offers all sorts of international cuisines. Since Lebanon was a French colony, you get to try all sorts of international cuisines including French, Italian, and Asian. For a list of the best restaurants in Lebanon, click here.
2- Spectacular Beaches
Lebanon has a long coastline alongside the Mediterranean which means that Lebanon has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Middle East. If you are not residing at a beach resort, the best public liberal beaches in Lebanon are located in Southern Lebanon in the city of Tyre.
The Tyre Beach (Sur) is a dreamy beach with white sand and crystal clear water. The food beside the beach is also fresh and delicious.
Chir Bay in Jiyeh (a seaside town, 20 minutes away from Beirut) is a private resort, perfect for a weekend with your family or friends. The homemade food only makes the joy of relaxing at this clean sandy beach better.
3- World-Class Hotels and Resorts
Lebanon has always been a tourist destination for Middle Eastern and European travelers. And for the same reason, it has a wide range of accommodations to choose from. From budget hotel rooms for $20 to luxury resorts that would cost up to $1500 a night, Lebanon would suit travelers’ needs with any budget.
For the best hotel deals in Lebanon, click here.
4- Amazing Wine at Great Prices
Lebanon is one of the oldest places in the world that continuously has wine production. The Lebanese wine industry is too old that The Israelite prophet, Hosea who lived in 780–725 BC has said, “they will blossom as the vine and fame be like the wine of Lebanon, their fragrance will be like that of Lebanon” when he was encouraging his followers to return to God.
Most of the major wineries have their vineyards in the southern Beqaa Valley. The largest and one of the oldest wineries in Lebanon (Est. 1857) is Château Ksara which holds about 70% of Lebanon’s wine production.
Driving in Lebanon as a tourist could be risky since the driving culture is nothing like what Western tourists are used to. So, it is better to book tours for visiting sightseeing places throughout the country. One of the best tours for visiting Château Ksara is Lebanon tours and Travels which includes the pick-up, drop-off, and lunch. Their guides speak both English and French which makes it much easier to communicate.
5- Beautiful Landscapes
Although Lebanon is a small country in size, it has different climates.
- the 210 km (130.49 mi) long shoreline, rocky in the north and sandy in the south, including several bays and islands
- the narrow coastal plain, approximately 3 km (1.86 mi) wide
- the western Mount Lebanon range
- the Beqaa Valley
- the eastern Anti-Lebanon mountains
This makes Lebanon a compact place to experience different climates in one place. The landscapes in Lebanon are to die for. The country’s flag is also inspired by a green Cedar tree, that fills most of the jungles in Lebanon.
6- Fascinating History
Lebanon is one of the oldest countries in the world that has been mentioned in different religious and historical books throughout history. Most of the ancient civilizations have left their trace in Lebanon. There are countless Roman ruins around the cities, each having a uniquely fascinating story behind them.
You don’t even have to leave the place of your residence to visit a historical site in Lebanon. You can probably find one near you if you walk for 10-20 minutes around.
7- Byblos, One of the Oldest Continuously Inhabited Cities in the World
the Northern city of Byblos in Lebanon is among the cities listed as candidates for the distinction of ‘oldest city in the world‘ as it has been continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years.
Byblos is where the first inscriptions containing the modern Western alphabet were found. Visiting this old city is highly recommended.
8- Lebanese Nightlife Culture
Forget about all of the news about Lebanon. Once you arrive there, you will discover the happy nights under all the daily stresses and challenges that the Western media mostly focuses on. Lebanese people are known as the party people. Whether it’s a family gathering, or the nightclubs and concerts, an average Lebanese is usually having fun at least once per week.
9- Shopping Paradise
Lebanon has a good variety of shopping stores. From the world-famous luxurious brands such as Burberry, Chanel, and Dior to affordable handcrafts of Lebanese artists. If you’re a shopping lover and looking for a luxury shopping experience in Lebanon, visit the big malls like ABC Mall or City Centre Beirut, or City Mall for more affordability. Both of these shopping complexes are beautiful and will satisfy your shopping fever.
To experience traditional ways of shopping that are still somewhat more common among Lebanese people, visit a Souk (bazaar in Arabic) like Souk El Tayeb where you can find local products at very affordable prices.
10- The Fashion Industry
The capital of Lebanon, Beirut is believed to be the fashion capital of the Middle East. Famous Arab designers like Elie Saab, Reem Acra, and Zuhair Murad all started their careers in Beirut. The people of the city are mostly Fashion-conscious as well. Lebanese designers are constantly becoming world-famous after starting their careers in Beirut.
11- Lebanese People
One of the main reasons that international tourists go back to Lebanon is its people. Lebanese people are very warm, and hospitable. They speak fluent French and English and would love to invite strangers to their homes for a cup of tea or a full meal.
Lebanon is the most liberal country in the Middle East in practice (the law has yet to meet the standards) that makes it easier for Westerner tourists to explore more and worry less about breaking a social norm.
12- Ski Resorts
Don’t get surprised to hear that Lebanon has natural snowy mountains and gorgeous ski resorts. Lebanon is one of the very few countries in the world where you can ski in the morning and have lunch at a warm beach. A lot of international Ski enthusiasts visit Lebanon each year to enjoy skiing at one of the ski resorts in Lebanon.
One of the best Ski Resorts in Lebanon is Mzaar Kfardebian.
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