ABOUT Lebanon's diverse atmosphere and ancient history make it an important destination which is slowly rebuilding itself after continued turmoil. Lebanon offers plenty: from ancient Roman ruins, to well preserved castles, limestone caves, historic Churches and Mosques, beautiful beaches nestled in the Mediterranean Sea, world renown Lebanese cuisine, nonstop nightlife and discothèques, to mountainous ski resorts. The Lebanese cuisine, mostly resembling Turkish cuisine, combines the exotic ingredients of the Middle and Far East with the sophistication of European cuisine. Although the Lebanese cuisine has a recent popularity throughout the world, its history dates back to pre-biblical times. Outstanding and mysterious, shady and giving, Beirut is a city which provides and conceals simultaneously. Bursting with sunshine, Beirut is brimming over with life. From the sea cornice to streets swarming with people, the effervescence is constant. The main tourist seasons in the country are the beach seasons in Summer and the skiing season in Winter. Beirut witnesses the largest number of tourists in the country with its luxurious hotels, refurbished central district and sea promenade, and its glitzy nightlife and shopping areas. Seafood lovers there is one place you should be on Friday night, Mosaic at the Phoenicia Hotel Beirut. Sushi, fish, crab salad, oysters and oh so much more! The already lavish and gorgeous Mosaic Restaurant has once again been newly renovated offering a lovely décor to go along with the generous and delicious food. One of Lebanon’s best well kept secrets amongst its regulars, is Marinella’s it is located in a small alleyway, and its owner and chef Sophie Shoucair, dressed in an apron, speaks modestly of what is in fact a little Italian gem, closely run by this finely seasoned cordon-bleu. A cross-generational attraction, the place draws an eclectic crowd of professionals, artists, travellers, and other fine food connoisseurs who come here for a catch-up, a business lunch, a cliquey get together or a cozy celebration. I particularly enjoy sitting at the bar and having a good meal on a weekday.
CLIMATE Springtime April-May is one of the most pleasant times to visit Lebanon. The near perfect weather, 0-15°C in the mountains and 15-25°C along the coast, makes it a great time to enjoy a Mediterranean spring. Summer June-September in Lebanon is made for beaches, mountain escapes, and cultural festivals. The clear skies and warm temperatures along the coast, 20-32°C. Autumn October-November brings cool, crisp weather that is perfect for taking in Lebanon's rich historical treasures. Temperatures range from 5-20°C in the mountains and from 15-28°C on the coast. Winter December-March presents visitors to Lebanon with a host of contrasts. Winter along the coast is a mild affair, characterized by warm days and cool evenings, with temperatures ranging from 10-20°C.
BEWARE There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners like hotels and restaurants. Terrorists have used vehicle bombs, hand grenades and small, improvised bombs. A number of foreigners have been kidnapped in Lebanon. While most recent kidnaps have taken place in the Bekaa Valley, kidnappings in Beirut have been reported and could take place anywhere within Lebanon. The risk to tourists from petty or violent crime is low, but there is a risk of vehicle crime and bag snatching. Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. There are increasing reports of armed robberies in shared taxis (known locally as service taxis) with passengers being robbed by either the driver or other passengers. Don’t use shared taxis or taxis hailed on the street. Only use taxis from recognised companies.