The ever-intriguing Beirut

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As the illustrious capital of the ever-intriguing Lebanon, Beirut is actually difficult to put into words. It is a place with a fascinating mishmash of beliefs, from Druze to Islam and a series of Oriental influences packed together in a beautiful, bustling, sometimes overwhelming city. So everything you hear about Beirut is true and it's a fact that you will not get bored in this fascinating capital.

Beirut is chaotic, only half-functioning and very corrupt. People are either very poor or very rich. There is hardly any middle class, yet it is still one of the free-est and most democratic cities in the Arabic region. You will find highly educated friendly people in Beirut and you can join them for nice conversations in the pub.

Nice neighborhoods in Beirut

Downtown Beirut is a "modern city center" which is not reserved for the average Lebanese. Built after the civil war, this part of the city is extremely luxurious, modern and almost empty of people on the street. So for us almost everything that is not in downtown is interesting to visit. 

One neighborhood feels strongly Arabic, the other looks like a messy Italian city. The area with the trendiest restaurants and bars is Mar Mikhael. It's a very nice neighborhood with many vegan hotspots and the perfect place for drinks and going out.

Hamra is also an amazing neighborhood. This neighborhood is still very local and here you will find the nicest and cheapest restaurants. This feels a bit like the "real" Beirut, with many coffee shops. Because Lebanon, just like Turkey, has a real coffee culture. You can taste the tastiest coffees everywhere.
If you are looking for a break, Gemmayzeh is the right place to be. Refurbished, but not snobbish, unpolished, but accessible, Gemmayzeh consists of various narrow streets and historic architecture. It is also an area rich in street art.

Transportation in Beirut

We did everything with Uber which is very cheap in Lebanon. You can also agree a fixed price with a taxi. In addition, the city has a good bus network, but there are no metro or trams.

Best time to visit

The best travel time for Beirut is from October to May. However from December to February you might experience a bit of rain. In summer it can get very hot in Lebanon with temperatures that rise above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Compared to other countries in the Middle East, the temperatures are somewhat lower in Beirut. Click here for more average weather details.

Where to stay

We loved staying at the Standard II appartments. It has a great location in the middle of Hamra and yet it is super quiet. This is because it is located in a small dead end street. The rooms are well kept and spotless clean. On they get an average rating of 9.5 and you can book it here.

If you are more on a budget you could have a look at the map below

This article was last updated on March 31, 2020.