Tips for Travelers
Land and Climate
Lebanon covers 10,452 spuare kilometers. A low coastal plain domintaes the west but gives way to Lebanon mountains in the east. Nestled between the Lebanon mountains and the anti-Lebanon mountains on the Syrian Border is the fertile Bekaa valley. Lebanon is home not only to its more famous cedar, pine, and cypress treees but also to olive, citrus, apple and banana trees. The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and long warm summers. In Beirut the average daily high temperature is 14 C (57 F) in winter and 32C (90 F) in summer. It is cooler in the mountains in the summer. Snow falls in winter at the higher elevations and can last year-round.
Arabic is the official language in Lebanon and is spoken by all. It is common for people to speak more than one language, even three or four, thus; French and English are widely spoken among the Lebanese. Foreign newspapers and magazines are available, and the prolific local press publishes in French and English as well as Arabic. Communication is definitely not a problem!
Lebanon has been deeply influenced by its long association with the West. At the same time, traditional values and attitudes continue to be important, creating a unique society. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a background in international finance, Lebanon is striving to restore its former status as a modern and progressive country.
Hospitality is prized tradition in Lebanon. People feel honored to have guests in their homes, and they also enjoy visiting others. Hosts usually serve coffee or tea to guests. Etiqette requires that such an offer be accepted. If invited to a meal, guests might bring flowers, a plant, a special dessert, or something for the home.
Lebanon has a good hotel capacity, including a number of outstanding luxury establishments. In Beirut, there are also many small, well-run hostels. Furnished apartments, which offer self-service facilities, are found throughout Greater Beirut and in other populated centers.
Post and Communications
A state-of-the-art telecommunications network has been built and expanded to all areas. Hotels as well as private business centers offer advanced business services, and internet cafes are popular in the major cities. Cellular phones are widely used and can be rented for a limited time.
The area code for Lebanon is: 961
Regional Codes are as follows:
Mount Lebanon: 04
Mount Lebanon (South): 05
North Lebanon: 06
Keserwan & Byblos: 09
South Lebanon: 07
Zahle & Bekaa: 08
Cellular/Mobile Network: 03 / 70
While there still only a few public post boxes in Lebanon, the mail delivery service has improved with the recently privatized postal service known as LibanPost.
Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diner’s Club International are recognized, along with local credit cards such as Investment Credit Card, Cashless Card and Link.
Lebanon’s transportation system is being rebuilt. New bridges and tunnels have been completed, as has a 15 kilometer highway in the south. A northern highway and a circular one around Beirut are being built, and a road between Beirut and Damascus, Syria is planned. Car rental agencies are found in all major cities. Public transportation is also available, buses and taxi-service taxis go to almost every town. Taxis have red license plates, are comfortable and reasonably priced. Most families own cars, and traffic can be heavy in urban areas.
No vaccinations are required for entry into Lebanon. Good medical care is available especially in urban areas, and doctors generally speak French and English. Public facilities exist, but for high quality care, private clinics and hospitals are more recommended.
The Duty Free allowance for entry into Lebanon is two bottles of alcohol and 500g of tobacco (400 cigarettes or 20 cigars). No duty is payable on personal possessions, and there are no restrictions on bringing foreign or local currency into or out of the country.
Passports & Visas
Visitors are required to obtain visit visas to enter Lebanon, their passports must be valid for a minimum of 6-months when applying through any of our embassies and consulates.
Lebanese local time is GMT + 2 hours. Daylight Saving Time takes place on the last weekend of March and resets on the last weekend of October.
Emergency Phone Numbers:
Tourist Police: 112/160 or (01) 350 901
Ambulance: (01) 865 561
Red Cross: 140 or (01) 863 295
Fire Department: 175 or (01) 310 105
Civil Defense: 125 or (01) 425 244
Lebanese Currency & Banking
Movement of currency in and out of the country and all exchange transactions are completely free of any kind of control. Foreign currency can be exchanged at any bank or at money exchanges found in main business areas. Travellers cheques are accepted. The monetary unit is the Lebanese Pound. Currently, over 80 banks operate in the country and transactions are performed efficiently and at low cost.
The currency is the Lebanese Pound (LBP).
Notes are available in the following denominations:
500 – 1,000 – 5,000 – 10,000 – 20,000 – 50,000 – 100,000
50 – 100 – 250 – 500 – 1000
Daily exchange rates of LBP vs. USD
What to Bring
Everything that you might require during your stay can be bought in Lebanon at prices comparable to those in Europe or America. In summer, light cotton clothing, a hat and sunglasses are essential. Visitors during winter months will require warm clothing .
|Government Offices||8.00am – 2.00pm|
|Banks||8.00am – 12.30pm|
|Shops||8.00am – 5.00pm|
|Private Offices||8.00am – 5.00pm|
Information Services in Lebanon
Information: 120/113 or (01) 200 100
International Operator: 100 or (01) 885 801/ 425 107
Airport: (01) 628 000
Tourist information can be acquired from Embassies of Lebanon or from the
Ministry of Tourism in Beirut:
550 Central Bank Street,
Tel: (01) 340940 /4 or 343 074
Fax: (01) 343279 or 343 945
Ministry of Tourism in Byblos:
Near the Crusader Castle
Tel: (09) 540 325
Ministry of Tourism in Zahle:
Chamber of Commerce Building
Tel: (08) 802 566
Ministry of Tourism in Tripoli:
Tel: (06) 433 590
The British Council Tel: (01) 803 979
The French Cultural Center Tel: (01) 805 880
The Italian Cultural Center Tel: (01) 749 801
The Russian Cultural Center Tel: (01) 340 217
The Spanish Cultural Center Tel: (01) 352 448