A holiday in Lebanon certainly won't be run-of-the-mill. Expect to be transported into a country that is filled with diversity through its various cultures and traditions. If you want to see everything the country has to offer, Beirut is a great base. The capital of Lebanon is a vibrant city full of beautiful buildings, parks and a beach on the Mediterranean sea. You can't visit Lebanon without visiting the archaeological sites in Baalbek or Byblos (Joubeil) - a seaside town steeped in history with its many ruins, castles and museums or the caves that make up the Jeita Grotto.
You can get flights to Lebanon with carriers including BMI, MEA, KLM, Lufthansa and Air France. All flights to Lebanon arrive into Beirut Rafic Hariri International airport. Direct flights are only available from London Heathrow with MEA and the flight time is around five hours.
Beirut Rafic Hariri International (BEY) is situated around eight kilometres from the city centre. There are no official bus services, however it is possible to pick up a minibus from outside the arrival terminal that will take you to Charles Helou Bus Station in Beirut for LBP750 (approximately US$1). If you would prefer to travel by taxi, be prepared to haggle as drivers always quote an over inflated price.
There are plenty of cheap hotels in Lebanon which range from US$30 per night upwards. If you are staying in Beirut, it's best to avoid Downtown, the area is very touristy and therefore very expensive. Stick to less busy areas to find good deals and stay away from Ashrafieh if you want peace and quiet as it's the heart of Beirut's nightlife. To ensure you get the best deals on cheap hotels in Lebanon it's advisable to book ahead, especially if you're planning on travelling to more than one destination.
The cheapest way to eat in Lebanon is to stick to the traditional mezze. You can pick up tasty dishes such as cubes of cooked meat on a skewer known as kibbeh and ground meat mixed with herbs and spices known as kefta. If you are on an extremely tight budget, you can also pick up a ka ek - a bagel filled with thyme from local street vendors.
The best times to visit the country are in Spring and Autumn. Summer can sometimes be unbearably hot and as it's peak season, very busy. If you travel outside of the Summer season, you will also find that flight prices are cheaper and you will be able to pick up a more reasonably priced ticket.
Updated 22nd May 2013
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