The Republic of Lebanon is a small country located in the Middle East region, counting 3.7 million inhabitants and with Beirut as the capital city. It boasts a rather long coastline on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a border with its warring neighbour Syria to the north and the east, and a much shorter border with Israel to the south. Unfortunately, this country is considered unsafe since its neighbor Syria is in a long war that has left consequences on Lebanon, too.
If you’re planning on traveling to Lebanon, keep in mind that this is a country of immense natural scenery from beautiful beaches to mountains and valleys. It is one of the few countries where you can go skiing in the morning and then casually stroll to the beach in the afternoon and Lebanese people take pride in that fact, even though this is actually possible only for a few days in the year when winter shifts to spring and/or summer shifts to autumn.
Warnings & Dangers in Lebanon
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Generally, Lebanon isn't a safe country to visit, because of its complicated political situation and turmoil that took over the country and its neighbors. Be careful when traveling to Lebanon.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
When it comes to transport, it isn't too safe. Generally, the roads in Lebanon are in good condition, but the problem is the amount of reckless drivers. Also, street names are non-existent so be prepared to a lot of roaming around, and if you plan on mountain driving, keep in mind that it is particularly hazardous. Traffic jams are the norm in Lebanon.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpockets do operate in Lebanon and tourists are commonly the victims of pickpocketing or bag snatching. Be careful in crowded places such as bus and train stations and keep your valuables in your accommodation.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
Lebanon is susceptible to many natural disasters, like severe earthquakes which are the most dangerous threat to this country. They are probably associated with tsunami. Minor natural hazards that hit Lebanon include floods, forest fires, landslides and drought.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
You should definitely be careful when it comes to violent crime in Lebanon. Organized criminal activity exists in the Beqa' Valley and includes drug trade that mostly has nothing to do with tourists, but there have been some kidnappings involving foreigners. Travelling in groups is recommended in this part of the country.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Lebanon. The threat comes from Islamist extremist groups that are known for targeting the Lebanese state, security services, and civilians, and even foreigners inside Lebanon. Extremist groups have are active within the city of Tripoli, Palestinian refugee camps and in areas close to the Syrian border.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams exist in Lebanon and you should use your wits while in this country. Double check your change, never pay anything upfront and negotiate everything in advance. Be very careful around ATMs and be wary of people trying to distract you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Lebanon isn't dangerous for women particularly, but it is advised for tourists in general, regardless of their gender, not to roam around unaccompanied by someone who knows the safe and unsafe parts of the country.
So... How Safe Is Lebanon Really?
Lebanon is a country filled with extremely friendly people, but you should know that there is a complicated political situation currently in Lebanon, which makes it unsafe to travel there. For instance, traveling to eastern, southern, and northern areas which are close to the Syrian and Israeli borders is strongly advised against due to the spillover from the war with Syria and the conflict with Israel. Also, you are recommended to avoid cities like Hermel, Dannieh and others close to the Syrian or Israeli border.
Israel’s capital, Beirut is still reasonably safe as are many other parts of the country, and the chances of something happening to you are small. You should also be very careful in South Beirut, Baalbek, Sidon and Beqaa valley, as they have also suffered sporadic clashes and/or had security incidents but these are sporadic events that aren’t too common and usually don’t affect foreigners.
What you should always keep in mind is that it is extremely important that you make sure to avoid any discussions related to politics or religion. This country is home to a variety of ethnic and religious groups and any comment, and your comments might be taken as an offense even though they may not be malicious.
- Visas - Many countries do need a visa in order to enter Lebanon. Luckily, a one-month visa can be easily acquired on arrival at Beirut International Airport or any other port of entry at the Lebanese border. Make sure your passport is valid for at least the next six months. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Lebanese pound is the official currency in Lebanon. ATMs are widespread throughout the country, and credit cards are accepted in most establishments. US dollars are also widely accepted in the country.
- Weather - Climate in Lebanon is Mediterranean with long, hot and dry summers and short, cool and rainy winters. Lebanon's location the African continent and the eastern Mediterranean area determine the climate of the country.
- Airports - Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport formerly known as Beirut International Airport, is Lebanon's primary airport. It is located 9 km from the city center.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Lebanon, since it covers not only the costs medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.