AUGUST 2019: BEIRUT (Lebanon)
It was amazing!
Okay, I may be biased, I was staying with one of my best friends for the first ten days before moving out to an Airbnb to be a little more productive… But yep, I definitely recommend going to Lebanon!
It’s insane to think about the history of the country, it’s a key location on the Med linking Europe to Africa and Asia so it had a strategic importance for thousands of years! Different cultures, different religions all living in the same country – didn’t see any conflict when I was there, but it is rather clear that they still have a lot of scares
This may sound stupid, but my favorite part of Beirut was going on road trips, the entire country is basically made of mountains (hence loads of valleys) and the view from up there is just fantastic – we went to the top of Mount Lebanon while on our way to the Bekaa Valley (to visit the ruins in Baalbek) – and were above the clouds… Driving all the way up woundy roads was a true pleasure!
All in all here were my favorite road trips:
1- To the Baalbek ruins in the Bekaa valley (you get to see loads of poppy plantations on the way too :S)
2- Byblos & Batroun (can be done together in one day) – really nice places to just enjoy a beer by the water –> If you go to Batroun we went to Colonel Beer Microbrewery for a beer on the beach while watching the sunset, it was magical
3- Doing a wine tour would be amazing, they have some really good wine growers in the region (especially Chateau Kefraya) but otherwise Jeita Grotto is highly recommended! (I didn’t go, but heard GREAT things!)
Now don’t get me wrong, as much as I love road trips I really enjoyed staying in Beirut itself!
During my stay downtown I stayed in Gemmayzeh, which is a really nice part of town! It’s close to Armemia, which is the road with all the bars, but it’s still really quiet, so was the perfect mix for me! Hamra (another neighborhood) is really nice, a bit more higher class and less young I believe.
One of my favorite things to do in Beirut was walk on the corniche (the road is called Paris..) next to the lighthouse during sunset, there’s loads of people there just soaking in the last sun rays
The “Place of Martyrs” is worth going to – you’ll have the view on the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and from there you can easily walk to Place de L’etoile, the Roman Ruins (not super super impressive) and then heading to the Souk or just get a coffee in the expensive part of town is quite fun, it’s a totally different side than what you’d expect!
Now for the important part…
I have to say, I love eating a manou2she for breakfast, would that be with Zatar or whatever – my two favorite places for that was “The Lebanese Bakery” and Fern Ghattas, but that being said, wherever you go I’m sure they’ll be great!
Now a more random list of places I enjoyed the food is T Marbouta in Hamra, it’s nothing special, but great food 🙂
Cafe Em Nazih is a more or less really touristy place – but they have a decent amount of choice and you can play backgammon while having a beer or food 🙂 It’s also next to Coop D’Etat which is a rooftop bar
Two more random (and further out) recommendations are Falafel Abou Andre, it was the first place I ate when I got there, and we got hummus with pine nuts, it was amazing! I got addicted 🙂 La Girouette in Broummana (there’s a few places with a nice view of Beirut) has live music with an amazing musicians every thursday – friday and saturday (call ahead to make sure but that was the schedule when I was there!)
Coin Perdu was a fun place to have dinner too (mainly because it was close to where I lived :P) on the St Nicolas Stairs, Loris is another nice spot!
There’s also loads of good places for food, for falafel sandwiches, grilled haloumi etc etc, I’m sure where ever you go it will be amazing!
Oh and make sure you try out local beers, try loads of different coffee shops and get lost in the city
The only downside Beirut has, is it was too hot in August, I was sweating a bit too much for my liking, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back one of these days!
Enjoy your trip!
Oh and I actually enjoyed going to museums when I was there! That’s me saying that yep… Rather surprised about that myself! We went to the National Museum of Beirut, which was rather cool! (You get to see the times when Egypt occupied Lebanon)