Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Beirut

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Beirut each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

Twelfth day of the third month of the Islamic calendar (date changes each year): Mawlid (Birth of the Prophet, national holiday)

This festival celebrated on the twelfth day of Rabi'al-Awwal commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and is one of the most important days on the Islamic (or Hegira) calendar. Lebanese Muslims use this opportunity to recall the values advocated by the Prophet. It is also a day when families gather to share a traditional meal in a festive atmosphere.

January 6: Epiphany (celebrated nationwide)

Celebrated by Christians in Lebanon, this festival commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Infant Jesus, the manifestation of the divinity of Christ at his baptism, and his first miracle at Cana. Processions are held in the Christian districts of Beirut.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

Ninth month of the Islamic calendar (dates change each year): Ramadan (celebrated nationwide)

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, is an especially pious time for Muslims in Lebanon. Fasting begins each day at sunrise and ends at sunset.

First two days of the tenth month of the Islamic calendar (dates change each year): Eid al-Fitr (national holiday)

This two-day festival marks the end of Ramadan and is a time for family celebrations by Muslims across Beirut, with exchanges of gifts, especially new clothes, and great feasts bringing together all family members. Music, dancing and street processions are also a prominent feature.

Late July–late August: Baalbek International Festival (local event)

Less than an hour's drive from the Lebanese capital, Baalbek hosts this international festival every summer, a major event on the Lebanese cultural calendar featuring performances at the Temple of Bacchus and other venues by leading artists, in a programme ranging from classical music to theatre, dance and jazz.

August 1: Lebanese Army Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the day in 1945 when the Lebanese Armed Forces were placed under the full authority of the national government, two years after Lebanon gained independence from French rule. Celebrations begin with official ceremonies and military parades early in the day and continue into the evening with concerts and fireworks in various districts throughout the city.

November 22: Independence Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the end of the French mandate over Lebanon in 1943, after 23 years of colonial rule. It also honours the unwritten power-sharing arrangement between Lebanese Christians and Muslims known as the National Pact (al-Mithaq al-Watani) that laid the foundations of the Lebanese state. Festivities in Beirut include concerts and fireworks.

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Beirut

Beirut enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and humid summers, and some 300 days of sunshine every year. Winters are mild and rainy, with occasionally violent storms. In April and May, the khamsin, a strong wind from the north, coats the city with a fine layer of sand.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 11/52 17/63 191/7.5 Not the best period to go
February 11/52 17/63 133/5.2 Not the best period to go
March 12/54 19/66 111/4.4 Not the best period to go
April 14/57 22/72 46/1.8 Good period to go Good period to go
May 18/64 26/79 15/0.6 Good period to go Good period to go
June 21/70 28/79 2/0.1 Good period to go Good period to go
July 23/73 31/88 0/0.0 Good period to go Good period to go
August 23/73 32/90 0/0.0 Not the best period to go
September 23/73 30/86 0/0.0 Not the best period to go
October 21/70 27/81 60/2.4 Not the best period to go
November 16/61 23/73 101/4.0 Not the best period to go
December 13/55 18/64 164/6.5 Not the best period to go
Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport

Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport is located about 7 kilometres (4 miles) south of the city centre.

  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Beirut and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the Ouzaï highway
    • Short- and long-term parking facilities are available at the airport, with a total of 2,350 spaces (LBP 5,400 for up to 1 hour, LBP 21,000 for 24 hours).
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall.
  • By bus
    • At the present time, there are no public transport services between the airport and the city centre, although a project is underway to introduce regular bus service along this route.
  • By taxi
    • Certified airport taxis, displaying the airport's logo on the side, are available at the ranks outside the arrivals hall. Their fares are regulated by the airport authorities: about LBP 25,000 for the 15-minute trip to the city centre. Standard taxis are also available, but the fare must be negotiated beforehand.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +961 (0)1 62 80 00
  • Website: http://www.beirutairport.gov.lb

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

GETTING AROUND Beirut

Getting around Beirut is pleasant and easy. Taxis are plentiful, rental cars are readily available, and a large number of bus routes criss-cross the city. All these options make exploring Beirut incredibly simple.

By bus

Two public transport companies serve the city. The state-owned blue-and-white buses of OCFTC run on a comprehensive network of routes within Beirut. LCC, a privately owned company, has a fleet of more than 200 red-and-white buses (mostly minibuses) operating throughout the city. The LCC buses are slightly more comfortable than the OCFTC buses, but fares are inexpensive for both (about LBP 600 for OCTFC buses and between LBP 1,000 and LBP 1,500 for LCC buses). There are few official bus stops in Beirut. However, if you stand on the side of the road and wave to get a driver's attention, he will stop to pick you up.

By taxi

Taxis are ubiquitous in Beirut and are therefore an interesting option for shorter stays. Official taxis are those with red-coloured licence plates. Expect to pay between LBP 12,000 and LBP 15,000 for a trip within the city centre.

By car

If you would prefer to drive, renting a car is certainly a viable option in Beirut. Car rental agencies are dotted around the city. It is also quite easy to find parking, with a choice of free street parking or paid private parking. Some city streets are equipped with parking meters. It is best to remain very alert and drive carefully in the city, especially in areas under construction, where traffic patterns change frequently.

On foot

Given the short distances between sights in Beirut, it is an especially pleasant city to discover on foot. Note that many local streets have names not corresponding to those indicated on tourist maps.

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Beirut, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Online guide to Beirut

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Further information available online for visitors to Lebanon

The official website maintained by the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism provides a wealth of information on Beirut.

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. Prior to any admission, medical facilities in Lebanon always verify that patients are able to pay for care or have coverage in place. It is therefore recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation before you leave home.

Vaccinations

Booster doses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio vaccines are recommended. Depending on the length of your stay and hygiene conditions, the following additional vaccinations are also recommended: typhoid, hepatitis A and B.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Drinking tap water in Beirut is not recommended. It is advisable to drink only bottled water sold in sealed, tamper-proof containers.

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Administrative procedures

Entry requirements for Lebanon

Travellers from all countries must carry a visa to enter and stay in Lebanon.

For further information, visit the website of the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism:
http://www.mot.gov.lb

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Arabic phrases that will make your stay in Beirut a little easier:

Good morning: Sabah al-khair (response = sabah al-noor)

Good evening: Masaa al-khair (response = masaa al-noor)

Good-bye: Maasalama

Yes: Na'am

No: Laa

Thank you very much: Shukran jaziilan

No, thank you: Laa, shukran

Please: Min fadlik

I don't understand: Laa afham

Could you repeat that: Mumkin a'id hatha?

What time is it: Kamis saa'ah?

Excuse me: Afwan

Airport: Mataar

Train station: Mahattat al-qitaar

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Funduq

Hospital: Mustashfaa

Bank: Bank

Telephone: Telephone

I'm (…): Anya (…)

I'm looking for (…): Ab hass ane (…)

How much is (…): Bikam (…)?

Do you have (…): Hal 'indaka (…)?

Where can I find (…): Ayna ajed (…)?

Where can I buy (…): Ayna ashtarii (…)?

I'd like (…): Urid (…)

Click here to add or remove this item from your selection.

Good to know

00 961
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Beirut)
0 : 00
of time difference with
Moscow
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

BANKS

Usually open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Beirut, it is customary to leave a tip, with the amount depending on the quality of service received. In restaurants where an additional service charge (usually between 10 and 15 percent) has not already been added to the bill, a tip amounting to about 10 percent of the bill is common practice. Tipping taxi drivers is neither expected nor required.