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A fashionable and historic Mediterranean coastal city
Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, is located on the Mediterranean Sea. It has a phenomenal history that goes back more than 5,000 years, with periods of great prosperity dashed by periods of invasion, occupation and war. It’s location on the Mediterranean has attracted travellers and conquerors alike for thousands of years, and Beirut is a proudly cosmopolitan city with a diverse religious element that includes Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Protestants, Sunni Muslims, Shi'ite Muslims and several other denominations. Once known as a byword for a war-torn city, Beirut has reinvented itself as a sophisticated, modern tourist destination, perfect for history-seeking European tourists. Beirut is now often voted among the liveliest and most exciting places to visit by travel experts and tourism surveys and has been called ‘the party capital of the Arab world’.
Beirut is a vibrant city with tons of things going on all the time. Almost wilfully diverse, holidays in Beirut can combine ancient historical sight-seeing with high street shopping among the uber-fashionable outlets of Gucci and Versace, before an evening of fine-dining and partying. Spend the day recovering on the beach with a dip in the Med.
When to Go?
The best time to visit Beirut is between April and September. With a Mediterranean climate, Beirut has fantastic dry, hot summers with temperatures in the 20-30 degrees bracket. In June, July and August rain is virtually unheard of and the temperature reaches its peak around August. A pleasant breeze blows off the sea throughout the day. As with many destinations, tourism is more prevalent in summer, so booking early is advisable.
How to get there?
You can get direct flights to Beirut from London Heathrow Airport with either BMI or Middle East Airlines, Lebanon’s national airline, which is based at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport. Indirect Beirut flights are also available from several regional airports with Air France and KLM, stopping off in Paris and Amsterdam respectively. The airport is about 6 miles south of the city centre.
Visit the National Museum of Beirut to see some of the ancient and mediaeval artefacts on display, while The Sursock Museum, housed in a beautiful Venetian style building, holds a fantastic collection of contemporary Lebanese art. Experience the flourishing fine art scene in Beirut at the Beirut Art Centre in the Jisr El Wati district. There are several examples of impressive old buildings that survived the war here dotted throughout the city, but one of the best is the Church of Saint Louis near the Roman Baths in downtown Beirut.
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