With a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and a climate to match, Lebanon is a traditionally mercantile country and is a very important commercial hub for the Middle East.
The diverse patchwork of Mediterranean-lapped coasts, green fertile valleys and rugged alpine peaks make up part of this ancient land. Its cities were prominent outposts and seaports in Phoenician and Roman times, which are just two of the great civilizations that touched this important Middle Eastern crossroads.
Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon and its largest and main seaport. Often cited as a financial and business hub, the economy is service-oriented with the main development sectors being banking and tourism.
Modern-day Beirut has a great deal of cosmopolitan flair and is known as the Middle East’s most glamorous city. The gastronomic delight of its food and wine, storied past, rugged natural beauty and its tradition make Lebanon a well-kept tourist secret which deserves exploration.
The Beirut Central District is a nexus of numerous mosques, churches, and uncovered remnants and ruins of the Roman era. Boasting a mixture of French architecture and Venetian Gothic architecture mixed with Arabesque, it is truly unique.
The area also boasts a variety of restaurants, cafes, pubs and shopping stores – mainly in Beirut Souks. The marina and seaside promenade can be found nearby with many high-rise hotels and towers. Corniche Beirut is another extremely popular tourist destination in Beirut.
Almost five kilometers of pedestrian promenade encircles the capital’s seafront from the Saint George Bay in the north to Avenue de Paris and Avenue General de Gaulle south of the city. The Raouche Rocks can be seen from its highest point above sea level at Raouche, a high-rise residential neighborhood standing tall over a giant white limestone cliff.
Bustling Hamra Street is a long cobblestone street connecting the coastal Raouche area with the Beirut Central District. The street offers a huge variety of outlets including boutiques, shopping stores, restaurants, banks, street vendors, sidewalk cafes, newspaper kiosks and a vibrant nightlife.
Gemmayzeh is the Bohemian quarter of Beirut and is otherwise known as ‘’Soho by the Sea’’. It is full of narrow streets and historic buildings from the French era. It borders the Saifi Village and is located East of the Beirut Central District. The area is filled with trendy bars, restaurants, cafes and lounges; with most located on Rue Gouraud.
Jeita Grotto is a system of two separate but interconnected karstic limestone caves, spanning a length of nearly nine kilometres. The caves are located in the Nahr al-Kalb Valley within the town of Jeita and can be accessed by cable car. The caves are breathtakingly beautiful and popular amongst tourists.
Meanwhile, rumoured as the best preserved archaeological site in Lebanon, the Temples of Baalbek are a must-see when visiting Lebanon. Located in the ancient Phoenician city of Baalbek, east of the Litani River in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, the temples are northeast of Beirut and north of Damascus.
Hartmut, General Manager, recommends:
‘”For me personally, I simply adore Mounir’s Restaurant in the town of Broumana. They serve excellent Lebanese food and are uniquely situated in the middle of a pink and oak forest with its own private vineyard, gardens, waterfalls and stunning panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea. It really is a wonderful place to dine, definitely go."
‘’Another one of my favourites has to be the Oriental restaurant, Em Sherif. For some American cuisine, I would thoroughly recommend The Mayrig in Beirut, it succeeds in combining America’s classic dishes with a dash of Lebanese and Mediterranean influence. For seafood lovers, Byblos Fishing Club - Pepe Abed is the place to eat. It’s an hour’s drive outside of Beirut but it’s got the best views on the old port and fresh seafood.”
“For those getting out and about of Beirut, I’d recommend two traditional and well-preserved villages - Beiteddine and Deir El Qamar. Both villages include interesting attractions such as the Mosque of Emir Fakhr Eddine and Beiteddine Palace which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.’’