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Visit the land of milk and honey and immerse yourself in a melting pot of cultures

Known officially as the Lebanese Republic, Lebanon is a small country in western Asia, located on the shores of the Mediterranean. With breathtaking mountains in the north, ancient architecture and beaches lapped by turquoise waters, it’s a great place for a holiday in the Middle East where you can immerse yourself in natural beauty and culture.

Tourism to Lebanon suffered due to the civil war which took place from 1975 until 1991 and subsequent ongoing political and security issues in some areas. Today however many parts of the country are now regarded as accessible, providing an opportunity to explore magnificent archaeological and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the vibrant capital of Beirut and the unique and beautiful countryside. For further information and advice on visiting Lebanon we recommend you consult the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Culture and history

Lebanon is steeped in a rich history that dates back to before 5000 BC and there are some fascinating archaeological sites to visit. Culturally it has an interesting mix of civilisations, from Phoenicians Ancient Romans and the Ottomans, to Christian Crusaders and French Colonists. The architecture reflects this diversity and you could be forgiven for thinking two cities within Lebanon were not in the same country at all.

Lebanon is a place of gastronomical magnificence. Lebanese food is celebrated all over the world as being colourful, flavoursome and healthy. This Levantine style of cooking draws influences from Persia and the Ottomans and makes use of grains, dried fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood. Traditional dishes include hummus, falafel and kebabs.

Things to do

Excursions are available to visit most archaeological sites such as Byblos – one of the oldest Phoenician cities. Although wandering off the beaten track is not advised, you must take some time to explore the offerings of the cities.

Beirut

Beirut is renowned for its Bacchanalian style parties and its great restaurant scene. If the nightlife doesn’t interest you, then be sure to check out the colourful souks where you can pick up a bargain. You can also visit Martyrs' Square, the National Museum of Beirut and Mohammad al-Amin Mosque.

Sayda

Sayda, or Sidon as it’s also known, is a city in the south of Lebanon. With its old architecture, ancient passageways and sea castle, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Lebanon in biblical times.

The Cedars

The cedars are the country’s official symbol and are present on the national flag. Known as the Cedars of God, they were used to build Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The cedar forest has since been preserved from deforestation, with a wall that was commissioned by Queen Victoria.

Flight time

The flight time from London to Beirut is around four hours and 45 minutes.

Currency

Lebanese pound -

The currency of Lebanon is the Lebanese pound.

Passports and visas

Visitors to Lebanon must hold a passport valid for at least three months from the date of entry.

British citizens can apply for a free single entry tourist or family visit visa on arrival. British Overseas Citizens and British Protected Persons will need to get a visa before travelling to Lebanon.

For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.

Phrases

Hello – Marhabaan

Good morning – Sabah alkhyr

Good afternoon – Tab masayik

Please – Raja'

Thank you – Shukraan

Goodbye – Wadaeaan

Yes – Nem fielaan

No – La

Timezone

Lebanon is three hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Electricity

The standard voltage in Lebanon is 220 volts. The frequency is 50Hz. You can use UK appliances in Lebanon, if your appliances are between 220 volts and 240 volts.

Lebanon uses A, B, C, D and G plug types. You will need an adapter.

Language

Arabic -

The official language of Lebanon is Arabic. English and French are also widely spoken.

Tipping

The recommended amount to tip in a restaurant is 10% to 15%, but do check because sometimes this is included in the bill. If in doubt, ask your travel representative.

Climate

Lebanon enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with long hot summers and cool, wet winters. August is the warmest month, with temperatures averaging around 28 degrees Celsius.

Health

We recommend you visit your health professional at least four to six weeks before your trip to Lebanon, to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

The population of Lebanon is around six million.

The total land area is 27,400 Km2 (6,494 sq. miles and is bordered by Syria to the north and Israel to the south.

Smoking

The smoking ban is in effect in many public places, such as hospitals and schools, however as Lebanese culture welcomes the smoking of shisha pipes and cigarettes, some public places do allow smoking.