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)
CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN BeirutBeirut 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|
|May||18/64||26/79||15/0.6||Good period to go|
|June||21/70||28/79||2/0.1||Good period to go|
|July||23/73||31/88||0/0.0||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|
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
- Website: http://www.beirut.com
The official website maintained by the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism provides a wealth of information on Beirut.
- Website: http://www.destinationlebanon.gov.lb
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:
- Address: 38 Quai de Jemmapes 75010 Paris
- Website: (http://www.vaccinations-airfrance.fr)
- Telephone: +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00
- To make a vaccination appointment: :
- online (click here)
- call the centre at +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00
Drinking tap water in Beirut is not recommended. It is advisable to drink only bottled water sold in sealed, tamper-proof containers.
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:
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)
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
Train station: Mahattat al-qitaar
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 (…)
Good to know
of time difference with
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October
Usually open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
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.