My BEIRUT❤ The top things to do in the Capital of Lebanon

It’s not easy to talk about it so how much easier can it be to express it in words? Trust me it’s not and why is that? First because it is my Home my childhood my youth my memories my blood it’s my beloved country!

Second and mostly! Because maybe Over almost all the news and tabloids Beirut is the unstable city of war and unsafety, the city where we struggle to progress and live. BUT that is not the whole truth!

I want to show the whole world the real image of our Capital, this vibrant city that despite everything, was still and will always be the Heart of the Middle east.

So here I am, keeping my word 😀 World, family and friends let’s all Enjoy it!

TIP! Beirut is a small Capital; you can visit it in maximum 2 days depends of course on your pace and how you like to discover the cities.

Therefore, my most important recommendation to you is to plan your vacation, by taking into consideration to go on day trips departing from the city.

And HEY! Don’t worry I will be telling you all you need to know about those road trips, in another article called “Discover Lebanon”.

MY DEDICATION

They say our city was destroyed and rebuilt seven times. What I believe is that our City gets rebuild from within from the tears and blood of its citizen and each time grows stronger.

Dramatically damaged during the 15 year long civil war dating (1975-1990), it was reconstructed and reformed in a splendid urbanistic way keeping its old charm and adding a touch of the new world.

What I see?

A city of heroes, a city that can never die knowing that each one of its citizen would fight for it till his last breath! But why do we love this city so much? Knowing that it’s a small one not as fancy and prestigious as all the other big Capitals and not as famous and Glamourous.

Simply because it is BEIRUT! The small capital of 20 Km2 that has it all and is desired by all!

After all…..

Home is Where the Heart is❤

and my heart will always be with YOU!

I have prepared a small Article that includes all you need to know about Lebanon before visiting it! Here is your link! Check it out😊

MY LEBANON: Generalities, Tips & Extras!

And if you are looking for the best places in the Capital for you to have some great food and delicious drinks, check out this article: The top cool Restaurants and bars in Beirut❤

This being said, now you are ready to Go! let’s discover together what are the top 8 things to do & Visit in Beirut!😍
  1. Martyrs Square
  2. Nejmeh Square
  3. Beirut Souks & Shopping streets
  4. Beirut Waterfront
  5. Beirut by Bike
  6. Raouche Rocks
  7. Beirut by walk
  8. Let’s talk Museums

1- Martyrs Square

Well first and foremost you will witness the existence of a Mosque and a Church one next to the other in the Middle of our Martyrs square and that to symbolize our union in this Country.

Can we visit?

Yes! Both religious monuments are open for public and can be visited.

Quick history about our Martyr’s square statue!

The bronze statue that you see in the middle of the square was raised as a tribute to a group of Lebanese nationalists sentenced to death for rebelling against Turkish rule in 1916!

2- Nejmeh Square

Nejmeh is the Arabic word for Star. Also known as la place de l’etoile, and as its name describe it it’s a square with a star shape and each of its narrow streets lead to either shops, roman ruins, actual monuments and restaurants.

In the middle of the square erects the Rolex Tower watching over the city.

Some important structures!

  • The Lebanese Parliament
  • Al Omari Grand Mosque
  • St Georges and St Elias Churches
  • St Georges Crypt Museum

Tip: Make sure to walk through the glamorous Rue Maarad that features arched façades and street arcades inspired by Parisian architecture.

Have a walk there and whatever you do don’t miss out on the city ruins! Try to find them in those narrow streets trust me they are so close!

3- Beirut Souks & Shopping streets

For all of you ladies and Gents who are a fan of the glamorous fancy shopping. Here it is in our down town. In those rebuilt new streets, you can find the finest brands displayed in newly designed modern buildings.

So go ahead and enjoy your stroll there!

During your shopping make sure to walk towards the north west area, to enjoy some amazing architectural works and some hidden historical ruins!

Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for any direction, anyone would help you locate what you are looking for!

Is it only a street Area?!

Well no its not! Beirut Souks covers an entire district in the City and in addition to those streets there is a newly opened modern Mall that reopened in 2009.

A bit of history

What once was Souk al Tawileh, that was once an extensive oriental Bazaar and destructed during the civil war, represents today this modern structure that kept a bit of the old aspect of the city but with no doubts represents today an Urban edifice with numerous luxury brand stores.

Newsflash!

For all architecture lovers here is for you the new Souks building, the extension of the Beirut souks that is under construction and expected to be done by next year.

The Architect behind this masterpiece is no one else than the famous Zaha Hadid.

Tip: Even if you don’t feel like shopping don’t hesitate to take a look and visit the area, its streets and hidden ruin and gems are worth your time!

4- Beirut Waterfront

I know that many of you would want to visit Beirut for its location on the Mediterranean and its beautiful weather.

Although our Country is all over the coastline and most of us go to the beach outside of the city, Beirut Waterfront still has its Charm! And why is that?

Well from an eye of an engineer, I would say definitely because of its newly majestic skyscrapers standing all along the bay giving Beirut the touch of this modern city without losing its Historical Mediterranean identity!

Zeituna Bay

The posh Marina! This is what Zeituna bay is! With all the yacht parked there and the views of the magnificent modern structures surrounding hotels and buildings you get the impression of being transported in another city.

This is actually my favorite part of the city! Day or night it has its charm and I invite you to visit it both day and night!

My Preference!

I would rather hit the Marina bay in sunlight and enjoy a good Breakfast or brunch in Zeituna Bay, to continue afterwards my day in the city.

Here are for you my favorite places for Brunch!

If you’d like a kind of Lebanese breakfast, try Zaatar w Zeit its very delicious and has some customized Lebanese specialties.

If you are looking for an international Brunch head to Bar tartine and trust me, you won’t be disappointed their food is Amazing! 

The waterfront by night!

Hey it’s true that I prefer to enjoy the Marina area by day especially because of the great weather that we have in our city. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go there by night! Go ahead and get impressed by the lights of the skyscrapers and the amazing scenery that it creates along with the bay area.

Tip: Have dinner in Zeituna bay and head afterwards to the Four seasons Hotel’s Rooftop to have a drink in a cool atmosphere while enjoying the most amazing view of the city from top.

5- Beirut by Bike

If you’d like to visit Beirut by Bike, you can rent a Bike and do it!

It is not something very common to bike in our city, but it’s getting more and more trendy.

Where to get the bike?

You can either rent a Bike from Beirut by bike on waterfront or head to Cyclo sport in Gemayzeh.

Where to bike?

My favorite ride would be along the coastline towards the Raouche Rocks. From Beirut waterfront city towards Ain el Mrayseh and the Beirut Cornich where you can stop for a walk or for a coffee with a sea view.

Tip! Don’t stop before you reach Manara! And try to make it around Sunset! This is when you will get to enjoy our one of a kind Orange Sunset.

Recommendations!
  • Make it a day tour! I wouldn’t recommend any activity of this kind at night.
  • Pay attention and be Careful while biking, the city is very busy with cars.
  • Stop for a Coffee or some sunset Drinks at Riviera Hotel and stay by its restaurant on the Deck by the sea.

6- Raouche Rocks

Also known as the Pigeon rocks, this is one of the Most landmarks visited in Beirut.

Standing majestically in the Mediterranean Sea our Raouche Rocks became the icon of Beirut Coastline.

A bit of history!

You might wonder how those rocks were made? Well here is your answer, it was actually formed after a huge earthquake that hit the Beirut area back in the 13th Century. This disaster actually let behind it this iconic 60 m high iconic landmark.

Tip: If you are arriving to Beirut during the day, take a look through your window minutes before landing! You will get surprised by the view!

When to visit?

 Raouche Rocks are located close by the Manara Cornish. I would suggest an early morning or an afternoon visit!

That way you either take a walk along the Cornish and sit for a small Coffee break, or chose to have a fancier experience and have a Brunch in one of the close by hotels with the sea view.

Recommendations!
  • If you’d like to wake up with this view book the Raouche Arjaan by Rotana 
  • For one of the best Brunch Experience in the City, chose to have the Sunday Brunch at the Kempinski Hotel and Resort.
  • For some Sunset or evening drinks visit the Skyline Rooftop Bar the rooftop of the Movenpick hotel. Cheers!

7- Beirut by walk

When I travel around the world I love to discover the city by walking because you get to see the city in all its angles.

And not only that! Each time I walk around in the hidden streets of a city, I get surprised by finding some beautiful spots and areas and of course some hidden gems.

Well guess what?

Since Beirut is my city! I am here to help you out search and walk through those beautiful areas. As I told you before, Beirut is a very small Capital and that leaves you the possibility to easily do it by feet.

SAIFI AREA

The Saifi area is situated in the upper east part of down town Beirut and consists of mostly a residential but also artistic area.

Saifi Village

Don’t miss out the walk in the Narrow streets of the Saifi Village a major residential complex. The design of this complex was inspired by the traditional Lebanese architecture with a touch of modern art. The result is simply amazing!

This village was set to become a hub for Galleries and Antique shops.
Saifi Village’s Quartier des Arts is growing into a meeting place for artists from around the world.

Any attractions?

It is mainly all about the Beautiful architecture and colorful buildings but you might also find some cool Restaurants and cafes, a small Park and two beautiful Churches.

It is lovely to visit Saifi area for a Brunch or an afternoon Coffee!

Tip! For an outing at night, Keep in mind this name Centrale Beirut. A French restaurant & Bar one of the Coolest places in town!

BACHOURA & MONOT STREET

Stroll down Monot street that is one of the Vibrant streets of the city with its bars and restaurants around. And make sure to walk it till the end where you will find one of the most incredible buildings that withstood the Civil war the Beirut Explosion and is still standing!

Hey by visiting this area keep in mind the location and to get back there at Night because well it has some cool places to try!

  • Pacifico for Mexican food & and great Ambiance
  • L’entrecote de Paris for a fine steak restaurant
  • Em Cherif for a fine Lebanese restaurant

The yellow house

Once you walk through this area make sure to pass by our iconic building! The one that hides all the history and secrets behind its wall, the one with it’s façade that says it all!

One of our heritage buildings, the one that remained standing during all the civil war and the 4th of August blast, The famous unique building called The yellow House!

The Yellow house or Beit Beirut can be found on google map in case you get lost! Whatever you do don’t miss out the chance to see it!

http://www.beitbeirut.org/english/historyen.html

Gemayzeh & Mar Mkhayel area

The Gemayzeh area is famous for its Rue Gouraud which is a mix of residential and commercial street. You can find there some cool galleries and art shops in addition to some of the greatest designer’s products.

Although this area is mostly visited to have a drink, make sure to Wander in the narrow back streets of Mar Mikhayel, trust me you will be surprised by what you will find!

Recommendations:

For your ultimate guide in the area, check out my article: The top Cool Restaurants and Bars in Beirut.

8- Let’s talk Museums

Despite the ancient history that we have and the fact that our land knew many civilizations, we unfortunately don’t have many museums like most of the Capitals around the world.

In other words, our gems were not really kept, and there is not much to be seen. This being said, we still have some nice small museums to be visited.

The National Museum

The national museum is our major cultural institution. So if you are into history and mostly archeology this is definitely the place you should be visiting!

The museum offers an overview of the different civilizations that impacted our country. Noting a collection of Phoenician glass and Phoenician statues of our famous Phoenician ancestors, some Byzantine Mosaics, Egyptian gold and the head of Bacchus from the Roman Empire.

Tip: A 12-minute documentary is screened in the audiovisual room, and played every hour on the hour between 9am and 4pm. Check it out!

Visit the official website for more information: http://museebeyrouth-liban.org/

Sursok Museum

The Sursock Museum, which is officially known as the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum, is a modern art and contemporary art museum in Beirut. Known for its stunning rustic white façade, this museum illuminates the sky of Beirut with its colorful lights.

   Unfortunately, it is temporarily closed following the 4 August blast.

Visit the official website for more information: https://sursock.museum/

 Address: Greek Orthodox Archbishopric Street Ashrafieh, Beirut

MIM Museum

This is one of the most impressive museums that I have ever seen! It is a private museum that presents more than 2000 minerals brought from all around the world. A private collection that was displayed by its owner to the public.

Don’t miss out the chance to be blown out by the various magnificent gems of the earth.

Visit the official website for more information: http://www.mim.museum/home

Address: Université Saint-Joseph Campus de L’innovation et du Sport (CIS), Beirut

Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour in my Capital! And If you are looking for the top cool places in the City, Click on the link below😎

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