Lebanon Destination Guide
Colorful, bustling bazaars, rugged desert landscapes, crusader castles, breathtaking ruins of great civilizations, and the grace of some of the world’s most hospitable people — all this and more combine to make luxury travel in Lebanon a truly remarkable experience. Our team’s knowledge and expertise provide you with an insider’s look into this less-traveled region during your Lebanon vacation.
These ancient lands, which have captivated pilgrims and travelers for centuries, will exceed even the most discerning traveler’s expectations.
Lebanon and its neighbors, Syria and Jordan, are regarded as the “Cradle of Civilization” and are undergoing remarkable political and historical transformations. During your Lebanon tour, witness Beirut, emerging from its war-torn past, once again reclaiming its place as the “Paris of the Near East.” Our Lebanon tours will transport you to Beirut’s glamorous streets, where chic galleries and cosmopolitan open-air bars rub elbows with buzzing souks and gritty (read: tasty) food stalls. And let’s not forget the importance of where you stay during your Lebanon tour. We know this en vogue city’s hotels well — from the charming 10-room boutique property to the spectacular luxury modern hotel — and we’ll recommend the perfect place to stay on your luxury Lebanon vacation.
Venture outside of Beirut on your tour of Lebanon and you will be further enchanted by its historic and geographic wonders. Explore the Jeita Grotto cave labyrinth, home to the longest stalactite in the world. Trek in the Chouf Mountains and meet the Druze population that lives there, or head to the Cedars Nature Reserve, proudly packed with Lebanon’s spectacular cedar trees, reminiscent of ancient times when cedars thrived throughout the country. Observe the centuries-old tradition of hauling grapes from the vineyards of Bekaa Valley (with a glass of red in hand), and don’t forget a stop in Baalbek on your private luxury tour in Lebanon for a look into Lebanon’s past; it’s the oldest continuously populated city in the world dating back to Phoenician times. Explore Crusader Castle, built by the crusaders in the 12th century, and the remains of ancient Phoenician temples.
During your tour of Lebanon, witness this Middle Eastern gem’s past and present. When traveling with 1Papaya, rest assured that during your private luxury travel in Lebanon, our team is working around the clock to ensure every logistical detail is taken care of so you can relax and take in the breathtaking scenery, rich traditions and sophisticated culture that will make your luxury travel in Lebanon an unforgettable experience.
- Discover Byblos, the oldest city in the world with over 7,000 years of history.
- Hit Lebanon’s world-class ski slopes just twenty minutes from the Mediterranean Coast.
- Explore the Jeita Grotto cave labyrinth, home to the longest stalactite in the world.
- Stop by the Corniche at sunset to watch the sun’s soft colors fall on Beirut’s Pigeon Rocks.
Lebanon is famous for its exquisite beauty, diversity, glamour, European flavor, and hospitable people. Its rich culture and history have placed it on the “must see” list of every world traveler. Lebanese cities are among the most famous names in ancient history and majestic ruins still stand today as a testimony to the greatness of people who lived in this land.
The nature of Lebanon makes it the only country in the Arab world that embraces four seasons yearly. No matter what the season, there is always something special to enjoy. In the winter season, ski resorts offer tourists slopes that are comparable to even the best resorts in Europe. In the summer, international festivals all over the country – in Baalbek, Byblos, Beiteddine, Batroun, and Jounieh – bring together Lebanese and foreign artists to perform in stunning archaeological and historical sites. These events have given Lebanon an enviable place on the cultural map of the Middle East.
Lebanon has it all! Visitors to Lebanon enjoy outstanding service in world-class hotels and resorts, restaurants, casinos, theaters, cinemas, and nightclubs and luxury shopping centers along with advanced communication and transportation services. Lebanon also offers access to cutting-edge medical centers.
A Modern Capital with prestigious past
This cosmopolitan and modern city is the home of more than 1 million people, and constitutes the very heart of the country’s economic and cultural life.
Beirut teems with a perceptible vitality and energy that are reflected through its position as the Lebanese capital from a geographic standpoint: a headland that drives through the deep blue sea while dominated in the background by the breathtaking mountains.
Daughter of Venus, Beroë mother of the laws, Lebanon’s star … all these epithets do not suffice on their own to summarize several centuries of rich history.
Legend has it that the city was founded by the god EI in homage to his beloved wife, the goddess Berout. In order to protect the city, he offered it to Poseidon, god of the sea, and to the Cabiri, the gods of navigation.
The Semite name of the city ( be’erot (“wells”)) is derived from the word “bir”, Phoenician for well. The city was given the name after several underground sweet water wells were found in it.
The city boasts a glamorous past.4000 years ago, it was a prosperous port on the Canaanite-Phoenician coast, and an important commercial center,as well as a crossroad for eastern and western civilizations. In the renowned tablets of Tell- Al-Amarna in Egypt that go back to the 14th century BC, the city was said to be well-defended under the ruling of King Ammunira.
In the Roman era, the city became a prosperous colony that was dubbed “Colonia Julia Augusta Felix Berytus” in homage to the daughter of the emperor Augustus. With Augustus at the helm of the city, the inhabitants enjoyed tax exemption according to the “ins italicum” law, since it was a Roman colony. Septimus Severus chose the city in the 3rd century to be the site of the law school that attracted students from all over the world. The school was the tribune of many prominent jurists such as Papinianus, Ulpianus, Gaius, Paulus and the praetorian prefect of Illyria Anatoly the Beiruti, and it shone over the east region. Justinian assigned many professors who taught at the Beirut law school to put forth the legislative code that was the source of western laws for centuries.
The city lived a golden era until the Byzantine epoch. Throughout a 1000 year-span, the city gradually lost its past splendor until the 18th century. Just like other coastal cities, Beirut was occupied several times, and each occupation brought along destruction and bombings separated by intermittent periods of prosperity. This is why, when walking in the city, you feel the ancient presence of Canaanites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and French; unravel a warm mixture of cultures, and communicate with a populace that mixes current tendencies with reinvented nostalgias, languages, civilizations, and disturbed rebirths of historical problems.
During World War I, the Turkish governor Azmi Pasha ordered that most of the ancient quarters and neighborhoods be demolished in order to build a new city that combines oriental style and Mediterranean charm using an urban European conception. Built with yellow stones and decked with small balconies, the ancient city’s buildings go back in majority to the ottoman era and the French mandate.
About Lebanon / General Quick Facts
Population: Approximately 4.5 million
Area: 10.452 square kilometers
Monetary Unit: the Lebanese Lira
Flag: The Lebanese flag is divided into three wide horizontal stripes with red on top and bottom, and a wider white stripe in the middle. In the center of this stripe is a green cedar tree, the emblem of the country.
Beirut was destroyed and rebuilt 7 times (this is why it’s compared to the Phoenix.)
Lebanon is the only Asian/African country that doesn’t have a desert.
Lebanon is one of the most populated countries in its archeological sites, in the world!
There are 15 rivers in Lebanon (all of them coming from its own mountains)
There’s 4.5 Million Lebanese in Lebanon. There’s around 10 Million Lebanese outside Lebanon!
People say that the cedars were planted by God’s own hands (This is why they’re called “The Cedars of God”, and this is why Lebanon is called “God’s Country on Earth.”
The first alphabet was created by Cadmus in Byblos (city in Lebanon)
The only temple of Jupiter (the main Greek god) is in Baalbeck, Lebanon (The City of the Sun)
Lebanon’s name has been around for 4.000 years non- stop (it’s the oldest country/ nation’s name in the world!)
Lebanon is the country that has the most books written about it.
The name LEBANON appears 75 times in the Old Testament
Lebanon has been occupied by over 16 countries/civilizations: (Egyptians-Hittites-Assyrians – Babylonians- Persians- Alexander the greats Army- Romans -Byzantine- Arabian – Crusaders- Ottomans -Britain- France- Israel)
All foreigners must have a valid passport and visa to enter Lebanon. Passports must be valid for at least six months. Visas can be obtained in advance at Lebanese embassies and consulates around the world. Nationals of many countries can also obtain business or tourist visas upon arrival at the Beirut Airport and at other ports of entry on the Lebanese border. At the Beirut Airport, visa stamps can be purchased at a window directly across from passport control.
The official Lebanese currency is the Lebanese pound or lira (LL). Notes are available in denominations of: LL1,000; LL5,000; LL10,000; LL20,000; LL50,000; and LL100,000. There are also LL250 and LL500 coins. U.S. dollars are used widely throughout the country. Restaurants, hotels, and stores often quote their prices in U.S. dollars, and many establishments will convert and provide U.S. dollar prices for you upon request.
While Arabic is Lebanon’s official language, English and French are widely spoken. Most Lebanese speak at least two or three languages, and visitors will find no problems communicating. Many establishments provide signs, menus, and information in both Arabic and English.
Lebanese time is G.M.T. +2 hours in winter (October to March) and +3 hours in summer (April to September), when daylight savings time is observed.
Shops and businesses are typically open Monday through Saturday, 9:00-18:00. Hours vary, and in summer many establishments close early. Restaurant hours vary, and many restaurants, especially in Beirut, are open late. Sunday: official shutdown (Except big stores and trade centers).
Private institutions open from 8:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.
Shops open from 9:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. except on Sunday.
Big stores and trade centers open daily even on Sundays and holidays (from 9:00a.m. to 11:00p.m.). Small shops open in local areas almost all day long.
Museums open daily from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.
Historical sites maybe visited every day from 9:00a.m. till sunset.
Banking hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:30-14:00. Working hours for government offices and post offices are typically 8:00-14:00 from Monday to Thursday.
Friday: 8:00-11:00- Saturday: 8:00-13:00
Thanks to its diverse population and different religious groups, Lebanon has a full calendar of official holidays. Although all banks, government offices, and schools are closed on holidays, it is often possible to find shops and restaurants open for business.
Most important Islamic holidays are based on the Lunar calendar and therefore their dates are not fixed.
Holidays with Fixed Dates:
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Christmas (Armenian-Orthodox) – January 6
- St. Maroun’s Day – February 9
- Commemoration of the assassination of PM Rafic Hariri – February 14
- Labor Day – May 1
- Martyrs’ Day – May 6
- Annunciation Day / Resistance & Liberation day – May 25
- Lady Mary Assumption– August 15
- Independence Day – November 22
- Christmas – December 25
Religious Holidays with Moveable Dates:
- Catholic Good Friday
- Orthodox Good Friday
- Catholic Easter
- Orthodox Easter
- Ras As-Sana – Hegire (Muslim New Year)
- Eid Al-Fitr (two days)
- Eid Al-Adha (two days)
- Al-Ashoura: in memory of the death of Hussein (the prophet’s grandson).
- Mawlid An-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday)
Lebanon: A destination for unique experience
Ecotourism, also known as ecological tourism, is a form of tourism that appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals. Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the planet. It typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.
The blue sky and the warm water of the Mediterranean Sea, the fresh air and the pleasant chill of the snow melted-fed rivers make Lebanon a perfect destination for Ecotourism.
Lebanon’s nature is outstanding, it is an outdoor adventure-lovers’ paradise. Thus most of the ecotourism activities and sports can be practiced in Lebanon.