An interesting mix of tradition , culture, art and food, Lebanon’s capital Beirut has many surprises up its sleeve. After all within a two-hour radius, this is the place where you can ski on the mountains, chill on the beach and hit a restaurant in the night.
WHY GO NOW
This is an ideal time to visit Beirut as its people are fun loving. This is the place where you can explore a myriad range of activities from art, music, fashion, shopping, sightseeing and more.
BEST THINGS TO SEE
The National Museum of Beirut is the place to come up close with Lebanon’s history and includes Achilles Sarcophagus with scenes from the Iliad and The Abduction of Europe mosaic. Also stop at the Sursock Museum that has recently reopened and houses both modern and contemporary art in a stunning former private residence.
A stop at Byblos, believed to be the oldest city on earth that has ancient Phoenician temples, an old Mosque, the turrets of the Crusader castle, Memoire du Temps museum that sells exquisite marine fossils and old souks will certainly take you back in time. The Music Hall, run by Michel Elefteriades, showcases the best of Middle Eastern and world music. Hire a bike and head to the Corniche to see a slice of the local life.
BEST THINGS TO EAT
The Souk el Tayeb is an open-air weekly farmer’s market that happens every Saturday at Beirut Souks and on Wednesdays at the Gefinor Centre and is the best place to sample local fare. Do try the lamb cutlets, fattoush salad and regional dishes made with local produce that is not found in restaurants. Pierre and Friends has some delectable seafood grills in Lebanon. Kalei Cofee Co. has a roastery and is the place for a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Hamra is one of the best known party destinations in town and has a vibrant night life. Cafe Em Nazih dishes up authentic homestyle Lebanese food at pocket friendly prices as well.
BEST THINGS TO SHOP
Mar Mikhael has a mix of artisanal beauty products, upscale boutiques and Souq al Tayeb has some local stores where your shopping is a way to give back to the local community. And while you are here, do not miss the beautiful street art an ode to the city’s rich art side. Beirut Souks is the place for luxury lifestyle shopping with a mix of designer boutiques and is home to some of the best Lebanese designers. Souk alAhad is a marketplace run by locals and if you are here over the weekend head under the highway bridge near Corniche al-Nahr for local wares that come at bargain friendly prices.