What are the top things to do and see in Lebanon?
Explore the country’s historic sites
Much like many other countries in the Middle East, Lebanon’s history is long and incredibly rich. Following your flights to Lebanon, make an effort to discover some of the country’s most important historic sites. Among the most famous are Byblos Citadel, the Sidon Sea Castle, and the Temples of Baalbek, including the Temple of Bacchus and the Temple of Jupiter. Join a guided tour to learn more about each site’s history and significance to Lebanese culture, and be amazed by the structures that date back thousands of years. If you want to know more about Lebanon’s heritage, the National Museum of Beirut, located in the country’s capital, is another great place to visit.
Discover Lebanon’s natural beauty
Although Lebanon’s urban centres are certainly well worth exploring, the country’s natural beauty is among its greatest assets. If you have time to venture beyond Beirut’s city limits, take time to reconnect with nature at one of Lebanon’s spectacular natural attractions. Discover the towering Cedars of God in the country’s north, wander through the enchanting Jeita Grotto, or pack a pair of hiking boots and see the best of the UNESCO heritage-listed Kadisha Valley. Whether you prefer to spend time by the water, explore on foot or simply see the highlights, there are plenty of fantastic places to encounter once your flights to Lebanon arrive.
Eat like a local
No visit to Lebanon would be complete without delighting your tastebuds with authentic Lebanese fare. Lebanese food is fresh, diverse and incredibly delicious, and encompasses a wide selection of sweet and savoury dishes, from classic fattoush and tabbouleh salads to flavoursome shawarma (thinly sliced marinated meats), falafel and kofta (meat skewers). For dessert, treat your sweet tooth to baklava (layered pastry with honey and nuts) or knafeh (cheese pastry with pistachios and a sugar syrup). To find the most authentic, and perhaps tastiest dishes, head beyond the popular tourist districts once you arrive on your flights to Lebanon and be sure to keep an eye out for eateries popular with the locals.
What are the top tips for first-time travellers to Lebanon?
If you plan to travel beyond Beirut, Lebanon’s cosmopolitan capital, it’s a good idea to pack some modest clothing items, especially if you’re considering visiting mosques and religious sites during your stay. Look to pack items that cover your shoulders, arms and knees If you’re thinking of visiting a mosque, women should wear a head covering too - be sure to add a scarf or shawl to your luggage before leaving home on your flights to Lebanon.
During your stay in Lebanon, it’s a good idea to drink bottled water. Tap water is generally not safe to drink, and most locals also choose to drink bottled water instead of the direct water supply. If you don’t want to have to continually buy and throw out plastic bottles, consider packing a drink bottle with an in-built filtration system before boarding your flights to Lebanon.
Although vegetarians may have trouble finding meat-free meals in other countries around the world, Lebanese cuisine boasts an abundance of vegetarian-friendly options. From light snacks to hearty dishes, classic mezze menus feature items such as hummus, marinated olives, labneh, falafel, manoosh and baklava.
Don’t be alarmed if you see armed police and soldiers or military checkpoints while travelling around Lebanon. This presence is focused on keeping the peace following several years of political upheaval.
Lebanese roads are notoriously difficult to navigate for tourists, and local road rules aren’t always followed. Take care when crossing roads, especially in Beirut, as vehicles may not always stop as directed.
What are the major events and festivals held in Lebanon?
Baalbeck International Festiva
First held in 1955, the Baalbeck International Festival has grown to become one of the Middle East’s leading cultural events. Featuring an eclectic lineup of performances that span classical orchestral pieces, to theatre and ballet and pop music, the festival offers something for just about every taste. Taking place in the grounds of the historic Baalbeck precinct, the festival is made all the more special by its spectacular setting.
Held at the historic Beiteddine Palace, Lebanon’s Beiteddine Festival is a celebration of music, theatre, dance, art and more. Happening annually in July and August, the summer festival first took place in 1984 and has seen the likes of Elton John, Phil Collins and Mariah Carey take to its stages. Offering a fantastic lineup of local and international artists, it’s easy to see why the festival has become so popular; attracting close to 50,000 spectators each year. If you’re wanting to experience the Beiteddine Festival, book your flights to Lebanon today to coincide with the festival period.
Which airlines fly to Lebanon?
Flights from New Zealand to Lebanon are serviced by airlines such as Qantas, Emirates Airline, Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Etihad Airways.
How long is the flight to Lebanon?
There are currently no direct flights to Lebanon from New Zealand, so the length of each flight varies depending on the chosen flight route, the number of stopovers and the length of each stopover. On average, the journey to Lebanon from New Zealand takes more than 27 hours.