Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city, has a number of ancient sites.
Saida is the third-largest city in Lebanon, located on the Mediterranean coast.
Baalbek, City of the Sun. Holds some of the world's historical Roman sites.
Anjar is the most unique archaeological experience you’ll have in Lebanon.
Tripoli's dates back to the 14th century BC. Home to the largest fortress in Lebanon.
Travel Information
Passports
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. You can pay in cash in U.S. dollars or Lebanese pounds. The price of a 15-day visa is US$17 (LL25,000). A single entry, three-month visa is US$35 (LL50,000). Contact the Lebanese embassy or consulate in your country or see the General Directorate of General Security website for additional visa information http://www.general-security.gov.lb.

Important Note: Travelers holding passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel are likely to be refused entry into Lebanon.
Customs
Examination of travelers' luggage is carried out rapidly and courteously. All ordinary personal effects are exempt from customs duty.
Currency

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.

The US$/LL exchange rate is relatively stable, hovering around US$1=LL1,500. The appreciation of the Euro since early 2002 has benefited European travelers. Check the Yahoo! Currency Converter for the latest exchange rate before you go.

Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diners Club) are accepted at most large establishments throughout the country. ATMs are also widely available in Beirut and larger cities and will usually dispense both U.S. dollars and Lebanese pounds.

Exchanging tourist checks is carried out in some Lebanese banks. As for local or foreign currencies, they can be exchanged at the exchange offices that are spread in the cities.

It is not uncommon to pay “tips” at café houses and restaurants. A tip value ranges between 5% and 10% of the total value.
Language
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 French and English.
Time
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.
Business Hours
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.

Banking hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:30-12:30. 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
Holidays
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. 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 (three days)
  • Eid Al-Adha (three days)
  • Al-Ashoura
  • Mawlid An-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad's Birthday)
Communications

Telephones

Telephone system in Lebanon is well-developed and many public pay phones are available.  International phone calls are expensive, and phone cards are available and less expensive from dialing directly from your hotel room. These cards are sold at newsstands, from service shops, and telephone and OGERO centers.

 Most Lebanese use mobile phones, and coverage extends throughout the country.

The country code for Lebanon is (961). This is followed by the local area code and the telephone number. If you are dialing Lebanon from outside the country, omit the (0) in the area code.
 

Telephone Service

Since 2004, there have been public telephone centers in the main districts and cities. Pre-paid phone cards are used for domestic and international communication. These cards are sold at newsstands, from service shops, and telephone and OGERO centers.
 

Telephone Number Codes in Lebanese Cities:

Beirut: 01

El Matn (Brummana, Beit Meri): 05

Baabda – el Shouf (Deir el Qamar, Beiteddine): 05

North Lebanon (Tripoli, Zgharta, Bsharreh, Ehden): 06

South Lebanon (Sidon, Tyre): 07

Beqaa (Zahleh, Baalbeck): 08

Kesrouan (Jounieh, Byblos): 09

All numbers starting with the code 03, 70, 71, 76  belong to the Mobile net. 

The Post – The Internet 

Post service in Lebanon is provided by “Liban Post”, a company whose offices are spread in Beirut and in the Lebanese regions. Its offices open from Monday to Friday (8,00a.m. – 5,00p.m.; and on Saturday till 1:30p.m.. There are public post boxes in different parts in Beirut.

In Lebanon, there are also private companies for quick post service.

Addresses of “Liban Post” In Beirut

Tel.: 01-629629 – www.libanpost.com.lb

Makdissi street (Hamra), Riad Solh Street (City Centre), Omar Bin el Khattab Street (el Basta), Gouraud Street (Gemmayze), Sassine square (Ashrafieh), Boulevard Saeb Salaam (Mazraa), Taqiyyiddine el Solh Street (Raouche/ Koreitem), Baabda, Borj Hammoud, Adlieh and Badaro.
 

Internet 

There are Internet cafés available throughout Lebanon, and many larger hotels now offer high-speed and wireless Internet access for free or for a small fee.

 

Electricity
Electric current is 220 volts, 50 cycles. A two-pin plug, with round pins is commonly used (Type C, similar to many European countries), but other types of plugs are also in use so it is best to check before you go.
Weights and Measures

Metric scale is used in Lebanon.

Health Care

No inoculations are necessary in order to enter Lebanon. Visitors are advised to drink bottled mineral water with intact caps as most Lebanese People do since pipe water in the houses is not always good for drinking. Most Lebanese water companies are professional. In order to avoid infectious diseases during the first days of your stay in Lebanon, it’s advisable to abstain from eating sea foods, raw foods and unwashed vegetables. As is the general traveler’s rule, to be absolutely safe, do not take ice in your drinks, and eat only cooked food and fruits that you can peel.

Lebanese foods are delicious, and sometimes they are difficult to digest. On sunny days, it’s better not to be exposed to sunlight for a long time.

Pharmacies are plentiful and well-known for their professionalism. Some of them offer free home delivery services.

Beirut hospitals are well-known for their professionalism.
 

Emergency numbers in Beirut:

Doctors under request:  01-444400

Ambulance:  01-865561

Red Cross:  140

American University Hospital:  01-350000

Hotel Dieu Hospital 01-615300

St. George Hospital:  01-585700

Rizk Hospital:  01-200800

Transportation

Getting to Lebanon

By Air & Sea

Beirut International Airport at Khaldé officially called Rafic El Hariri Airport (7km south of Beirut) is Lebanon’s only international airport. The airport is served by many international airlines, as well as the national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA) www.mea.com.lb. Connections to cities in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa are frequent. http://www.beirutairport.gov.lb/

In addition, several steamship lines connect the ports of Beirut www.beirutairport.gov.lb, Jounieh and Tripoli with the rest of the world.

By Land

There are four border crossing points between Lebanon and Syria: Masnaa (on the Beirut-Damascus Highway), Qaa (at the northern edge of the Békaa Valley), Aaridé (north of Tripoli along the coast), and Aabboudiyé (northeast of Tripoli).

You can travel between Lebanon and Syria by private/rental car, bus, private taxi, or service taxi. Nationals of many countries can get a Lebanese visa at the border.

 

Getting Around

Transportation:

Getting Around in Lebanon

For the independent traveler, it is possible to make your way to the main attractions in Lebanon via a combination of buses and taxis, or rental car. The small size of the country makes such trips very manageable. High-quality traditional and ecotour operators also offer a wide variety of tours and packages that explore destinations throughout the country.

 

From Beirut International Airport

Taxis are widely available at the airport, and most hotels in Beirut can arrange for a taxi driver to pick you up from the airport. The price is usually around US$25-30 from the airport to a hotel in downtown Beirut.

 

Buses

The two main bus companies in Lebanon are the public bus company, OCFTC, and the private bus company, the Lebanese Commuting Company (LCC). Both OCFTC and LCC have buses that run on extensive routes from Beirut to towns throughout the country. The price of a one-way ticket is usually LL1,500 to LL3,000 (US$1 to US$2) per person. The two main bus stations in Beirut are Cola roundabout (for destinations to the South and Beqaa valley) and Charles Helou Station (for destinations to the North). Charles Helou is the only formal station and is divided into three signposted zones:

  • Zone A For buses to Syria.
  • Zone B For buses servicing Beirut (where the route starts or finishes at Charles Helou).
  • Zone C For express buses to Jounieh, Byblos and Tripoli.
  • Zones A and C have ticket offices where you can buy tickets for your journey. In the other stations (Cola and Dawra) ask any driver for your bus (if they don't find you first).
  • Dawra transport hub Lying east of Beirut and covering the same destinations as Charles Helou, it's usually a port of call in and out of the city.

 

Taxis

Alternatively, you can hire a taxi and driver from one of the many private taxi companies to take you on a return trip to a destination outside of Beirut. You should be sure to agree on a round-trip price ahead of time. Round-trip prices range from US$50 to US$125, depending on the destination and type of car desired. The taxi will pick you up from your hotel.

Shared service taxis (“servees”), which run on set routes in Beirut and between towns throughout the country, are also widely available. These are a less expensive option than hiring a private taxi. Fares are LL2,000 (US$1.33) in and around Beirut, and LL2,000-LL10,000 (US$1.33-6.67) for destinations outside of Beirut.

 

Rental Cars

Rental cars are widely available in Lebanon. Rental costs may range from US$25-100 per day, or higher, depending on the type of car. Most rental companies will also provide a driver with the car, for an additional fee of US$25-50. Fuel prices are relatively reasonable in Lebanon, by European and American standards.

Drivers in Lebanon should exercise caution. In general, traffic jams are common, parking is difficult, and traffic rules are not enforced. Outside of Beirut there is a shortage of road signage, and those signs that do exist are usually in Arabic.

An International Driving Permit is required if you want to drive in Lebanon.

 

Organized Bus Tours

A number of traditional tour companies take tourists on full-size, air-conditioned buses to the main tourist destinations in Lebanon. Check with these tour operators for tour package options.

 

Outfitted Trips

Another option is to see the country as part of a small, outfitted group. Outdoor adventure and ecotour operators will arrange transportation for packages in different price ranges. An added bonus is that guided outdoor or cultural activities are included and tailored to your group’s interests. Other than independent travel, an outfitted trip can be the best way to truly explore the country and experience Lebanon’s culture and nature.

Bicycle

Lebanon's steep terrain and the state of many urban roads demand a rugged, all-terrain-type bicycle. There are no designated bike lanes or routes.

 

Accommodation

Lodging places are plentiful in Lebanon: Hotels, camps, youth houses, residence with families and so on. The Lebanese are known for their hospitality; they are always willing to welcome tourists. Accommodation prices (at hotels) depend on feast days and seasons. High season times in Lebanon are summer time, mainly June, July, August and September. This period is the most costly one with the arrival of Lebanese emigrants to Lebanon from the Gulf or western countries. Low season time begins in October and ends in May. Costs of hotels accommodation are negotiable in this season.

Hotels
In Lebanon, hotels vary in quality; they are classified from one-star to five-star hotels. There are “A” or “B” hotels with respect to the services. The international classification of hotels that are top in quality and have good services is applied on hotels spread at the sea-side and whose services are well developed. In Beirut there are hotels linked to an international chain of hotels that offer the best kind of services and most of which have electronic web sites. There are also hotels that offer cheaper prices and services. A brochure containing a list of all the names of Lebanese hotels is available at the Public Bureau of Tourism.
Homes and Monasteries

Lodging in a room belonging to a monastery or a guest house whose prices are moderate is possible.   03-513766 – 01-614678 or go to:

Monday - Friday, 9am - 6pm.
Bookings can only be made online.
www.hotelibanais.com

 

Youth Homes
The number of these places has been increasing in Lebanon. For more details contact the Lebanese Youth Homes Union (FLAI) from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.   01-369760 or 01-366099. In Lebanon there are eight youth homes:
  • The Christian Association for Youth in Ras el Matn.   01-486331
  • Ecology Club in Bsharreh.   06-678488 – www.ecoclub-becharre.org
  • Beit el Kahen in Maad.   09-750370
  • Beity Kfardhibyan.   09-711257, or go to gwww.beity
  • Deir St. George in Bahrdaq.   04-914002
  • Fares Camp in Ras el Matn.   01-486331
  • Association of Forest Development and Conservation (AFPC) in Rmaileh,   05-280430.  www.afdc.org.lb
  • Longue Vie – Mont Joli, Bahr Saaf.  04-982571. www.longuevie.com
  • Deir St. Michael in Maaser ech Shouf.    05-350451
  • St. Joseph Center in Damour.   05-602642
  • Taanael Reserve.  08-544881
  • Zefta in Nabatiyeh.  07-505950
  • Jammal Motel in Baalbeck.  08-370649


 

Camps
There are not large numbers of Camps in Lebanon. Three of these camps are set in: Aamshit, Mnytra Reserve.   01-498774, (www.areserve.com.lb) and Barouk:     05-240251.
Lodging

Lodging service in some old newly rebuilt houses is offered (Batroun, Ghabaleh, Choueir, Beit Meri).

One may contact el Mashrek Apartments.   03-664138
 

Furnished Apartments
There many furnished apartments in Lebanon. Contact the Public Bureau of Tourism to get a list of these furnished apartments.

 

Skiing and sports
Lebanon is one of the few winter sports centers in the Middle East and certainly the most extensive. The season begins in December and continues until April in a winter landscape surprising in its variety and beauty. The largest resorts have hotels, chalets and other facilities, including good ski lifts. There are six winter resorts: The Cedars (2,300 – 2,850 meters), Laklouk (1,840 – 2,000 meters), Faqra (1,765 – 1,975 meters), Qanat Bakiche (1,840 – 2.000 meters), Zaarour (1,700 – 2,000 meters), Mzaar Kfardebian (1,946 – 2465 meters). 

http://www.skileb.com    http://www.skiinglebanon.com/

Lebanon’s long varied coastline and its Mediterranean climate make it an ideal place for water sports. Numerous resort complexes, beaches and swimming clubs have aquatic amusements and sports on offer, including water skiing, surfing, underwater fishing, sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling.

Equipment for water skiing and scuba diving can be rented from clubs and shops.

As tempting as the seaside is, many more sports opportunities await the visitor. Tennis, squash and football are all popular. There are fitness clubs where it is possible to work out, as well as groups interested in judo, karate, yoga, gymnastics, parasailing, golf www.golfclub.org.lb, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, mountain climbing, potholing and caving  http://speleoliban.org/ http://www.alesliban.org.

Practical Tips

Hotels

  • Before checking in, read the contract and make sure the prices and taxes agree with those stated when you made your reservation.
  • Before leaving the room, make sure you place your valuables in the safe provided.
  • Check if tap water is safe before drinking it.
 

Shopping

  • Prices are stated in Lebanese Lira (LL), although US Dollars are widely accepted. Check the price and the Label of the goods.
  • Try to buy products without involving intermediaries.
  • Check the expiry date of food and beverages (in particular canned food).
  • Tourists departing from Lebanon are entitled to a VAT refund, at either Beirut
  • Airport or on the borders, on goods purchased from the Vat refund shops.  
     

How to redeem your VAT

In Lebanon there are many opportunities to benefit from Tax Free Shopping, more than 1200 retail outlets are offering the service. The affiliated stores are displaying a well-known Tax Free Shopping logo, and helpful staff will guide you through the process. VAT refunds are processed by Global Refund company.

You pay 10% VAT on the purchases you make; the VAT rate is common in all registered shops no matter the type of goods. Tourists departing from Lebanon are entitled to a VAT refund on goods purchased during their stay. Every foreigner or Lebanese person residing abroad, and whose stay in Lebanon does not exceed three continuous months, is entitled to ask for a VAT refund. A VAT refund is not applicable to services (hotels, telecommunications, car hire, guided tours, flowers Lebanon, etc.), Lebanese foodand beverage (restaurants, cafes, supermarkets), fuel, or tobacco.

Example: If you make your purchases on April 10th, you must leave the country no later than July 9th. Assuming you have spent the amount of LBP100,00 (around US$100) including VAT, the VAT amount will be LBP13,636 and the refund amount LBP11,000 which is always 80% of the VAT amount, after deduction of the handling expenses.

3 steps to claim back your VAT at Beirut International Airport or on the borders:


1- In the store:

  • Shop where you see the "Tax Free Shopping" sign.
  • Simply ask for your Refund Cheque and shop invoice
  • Spend at least LBP150,000 tax included per shop per day to qualify for VAT refund



2- Through customs show the following:

  • Global Refund Cheque
  • Purchases along with shop invoice
  • Passport and a photocopy showing arrival and departure dates
  • Make sure you have your Global Refund Cheque stamped by customs' inspector. Slip all mentioned documents with a photocopy of your passport into Global Refund's mailbox to process your transaction.



3- To collect your refund you can choose between:

  • Cash up to a limit of LBP750,000 (at the airport only)
  • Transfer to credit card within 35 days
  • Bank cheque sent to a chosen address

 

Transportation

  • Taxis in Lebanon have a red license plate.
  • Ask the driver to tell you the rate upfront.
  • Should there be any problems, make sure you write down the taxi driver’s name and license plate number.
  • he following is a list of prices for journeys from Beirut Airport to other destinations
 

in the country:

For comments/complaints, contact the Airport Police Department on the

following telephone numbers: 961-1-629625 961-1-629517/8

 

Car Rental

  • Lebanese Rental cars have green license plates with numbers preceded by the letter “ M”.
  • When renting a car, carefully read the contract and the insurance policy before signing for it.
  • Observe public safety and respect traffic regulations.

 

Travel Agencies

  • Before buying any guided tour check the services provided.
  • Only use Tour Guides who carry a permit card issued by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • Before employing the services of a local tour guide, check the tariff affixed at the entrance of a tourist site.
     

 

Restaurants, Night Clubs & Beaches:

  • Check that the bill is in order and the prices match the prices listed in the menu.
  • Make sure that the prices listed include VAT and Service.
  • When using a credit card, verify the validity of the operation before proceeding.
  • Tipping is optional.
  • Avoid eating food that has been left out in the open / in places that are not clean.
  • When using Valet Parking make sure you collect your ticket before handing over your car to the attendant.
  • Keep all your bills and receipts to be able to present any complaints.

The Tourist Control Department at the Ministry of Tourism is the appropriate reference which receives all kinds of complaints concerning the touristic institutions and treats them. Keep all your bills and receipts to be able to present any complaint. Hotline: 1735 / complaints@destinationlebanon.gov.lb

 

Contacts

Call Us

Ministry of Tourism
Hotline: 1735

550 Central Bank St. Hamra Beirut
P.O.Box: 11-5344. Beirut, Lebanon 
Phone: 00961-1-340940/4 
Fax:
 00961-1- 340945 
Website: www.destinationlebanon.gov.lb 
Email: info@destinationlebanon.gov.lb 
 

Tourist Information Offices

The office of Tourism in Hamra opens from Monday to Saturday (8:30a.m. – 4 p.m).

Call Us

Beirut – Hamra 
Tel: 01-343073 
Tel: 01-340940/1/2/3/4 ext: 313

Tripoli Office
Karami square, Ahmad Karami Bldg. 
Tel: 06-433590

Jeita Office 
Near Jeita Grotto 
Tel: 09-218451 

Baalbeck Office 
Tel: 08-370645 

Paris 
Lebanon Tourist Office 
124, Street  Faubourg St. Honoré. 
75008 Paris – France 
Tel: (33)-1-43591036 • (33)-143591213/4 
Fax: (33)-1-43591199 
E-mail : libanot@aol.com  

Tourist Police
Tel: 01-752428 
Tel: 01-752429


Byblos Office
Near Byblos Castle 
Tel: 09-540325

Batroun Office 
Tel
: 06-741522

Airport Office 
Tel
: 01-629769

Cairo 
Lebanon Tourist Office 
1-Talaat Harb Street ( Midan Al Tahrir) 
Cairo – Egypt 
Tel & Fax: (202) – 3937529

Complaints 
Tel
 :01-343127 
HOTLINE: 1735

complaints@destinationlebanon.gov.lb

 

Tourist Control Department

Tel: +961 1 343209

Fax: +961 1 743763

complaints@destinationlebanon.gov.lb

 

Police Touristic Department:

 Tel: +961 1 752428-9

Fax: +961 1 343504

 

Other important contacts

 

General Security

Hotline: +961 1 612401 or 1717

Headquarter

Tel: +961 1 425610-1-2

Airport

Tel: +961 1 629150

Fax: +961 1 394302

webmaster@general-security.gov.lb

www.general-security.gov.lb

 

Emergency Numbers:

Fire Brigade: 175

Civil Defense: 125

Internal Security: 112 (Emergencies)

Police Headquarters: 160

Phone Information: 120

International Operator: 100

OGERO (Telephone Service): 1515

Lebanese Red Cross: 140

Civil Defense: 125

Weather Forecast: 1718

Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport:  150

 

Syndicates

Syndicate of Hotel Owners in Lebanon

Sodeco Square - Beirut

Tel: +961 1 202059 / +961 1 201002

Mob: +961 3 862000

 

Syndicate of Furnished Appartment Owners in Lebanon

Hawai Tower – Karakas - Beirut

Tel: +961 1 808620 / +961 1 860196

Mob: 961 3 213611

 

Syndicate of Touristic Seaside Resorts In Lebanon

Jounieh  Chiir -  Lebanon

Tel: +961 3 203340

Fax: 09-915582

 

Syndicate of Restaurants, cafés, night clubs and pastries owners in Lebanon

Tel: +961 1 363040

 

Syndicate of Arabic Sweets Owners in Lebanon

Hamra -Beirut

F: +961 1 792198

 

Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon

Berty Pharmacy-  Achrafieh - Beirut

Tel: +961 3 705502 / +961 1 395600

Fax: +961 1 200176

 

Consumer Lebanon Association

Tel: +961 1 750650

Fax: +961 1 750650

www.consumerslebanon.org / info@ consumerslebanon.org

A land of golden beaches and stunning mountain landscapes. Landscapes that change with the seasons, but are always bathed in the warm sun. The daylight rising over Lebanon brings endless opportunities of fun, beach, nature and outdoor activities. You’ll never know what to choose.
DID
YOU
KNOW ?
Lebanese time is G.M.T. +2 hours in winter (October to March) and +3 hours in summer (April to September)
While Arabic is Lebanon's official language, English and French are widely spoken.
All foreigners must have a valid passport and visa to enter Lebanon.
The official Lebanese currency is the Lebanese pound or lira (LL).
All personal belongings are exempt from ordinary customs duties.
Lebanon is a developed country with relatively good health facilities.
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