Photo of Beirut

About Beirut

After decades of civil war and instability, Beirut is flourishing. Once referred to as "the Paris of the Middle East", it is quickly reclaiming its status as a fashionable, friendly, vibrant and culturally-dense city. With ancient temples straddling the feet of skyscrapers, crowded and chaotic streets lined with chic boutiques and cosy sidewalk cafes, a glittering Provencal-esque coastline, an infamously wild nightlife and a wealth of historical museums and art galleries, it is a fascinating city to explore. Our collection of the best places to stay in Beirut range from cosy boutiques to sophisticated city stays.

Beirut is steeped in layer upon layer of history. Demonstrative of this lies in how the Lebanese identify themselves: many will deny that they are Arabs and will tell you that they are the descendants of the Phoenicians, a people who settled on occupied areas of the Mediterranean - from Spain to the Middle East - in the ancient world and cities like Tyre, Sidon and Byblos were also settled by the Phoenicians. Nearby Byblos has been inhabited for some 7000 years and is effectively an open-air museum full of Roman columns and 12th-century Crusader castles.

Beirut is much the same, despite suffering damage from decades-long civil strife. Indeed, it is a testament to Lebanon that so much of their history remains intact. Take some time to walk the Beirut Heritage Trail, nearly two miles of Byzantine mosaics, Roman baths, archaic mosques, antiquated underground streets and old cathedrals. Beirut has some fascinating museums to feast-your-eyes upon, particularly the Beirut National Museum, which charts Lebanon's tale from its prehistoric origins through to the Arab conquest, displaying a fine range of ancient artefacts. Its art scene is also incredible with a burgeoning scene of local artists: the Sursock Museum is a great place to start, but be sure to check out the smaller galleries, like that of Marfa' and Sfeir-Semler.

Reclaiming its status as "the Paris of the Middle East" takes some work, and the recent restoration of the downtown areas and the newly refurbished waterfront speaks volumes, giving the seaside promenades an almost Miami-style feel to it. Older neighbourhoods like that of Mar Mikhael and Badaro are lined with charming boutiques and cafes and the architecture is a pleasant mix of French colonial and Arab styles. This curious dance between European and Arab styles is symbolic for the city-at-large. Many people are trilingual and you can hear French, English and Lebanese spoken within the same seamless breath as you stroll through the crowded streets. It is no wonder that Lebanon is also the most religiously diverse nation in the Middle East, and Beirut is a city where church bells and Muslim prayer calls blend into one.

You can't talk about Beirut without mentioning its nightlife. Unlike many other nations in the Middle East, alcohol is not banned so whether you're going to fancy bars where jazz plays or underground raves, you will be dancing until dawn. Your experience will be most helped by the fact that Beirut produces some of the world's best rose wine. To cure your hangover, forget bacon sarnies - Beirut is the spiritual home of hummus, fattoush and falafel - which you can find in droves.

What not to miss

  • Walk along the Beirut Heritage Trail, past Byzantine mosaics, Roman baths and ancient underground streets.
  • Head out to the Beirut National Museum and immerse yourself in Lebanon's fascinating history.
  • Enjoy the hustle and bustle of old charming neighbourhoods like Mar Mikhael and Badaro.
  • Check out the local art scene at galleries like Sursock Museum and Marfa.
  • Get yourself to Byblos for a day-trip, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world - truly, Byblos is an open-air museum in itself.
  • Lounge on one of the many beaches.

To start planning your trip to this vibrant city browse through our selection of the best places to stay in Beirut.

The best places to stay in Beirut

Boutique charm

  • Villa Clara: a charming family-run hotel in the heart of the city with a lovely blue facade, offering colourful contemporary rooms and a French restaurant. A great base to explore the city from.

City style

  • The Phoenicia: romantic and seamlessly sophisticated, this hotel is ideal for couples looking for glamour. With a pampering spa, elegant rooms, sumptuous restaurant, lush decor and truly enchanting views, it surely one of the grandest hotels in the city.
  • Le Vendôme Beirut Hotel: a genteel hotel melding elegant French-inspired interiors with welcoming service. Enjoy a central location, spectacular views and complimentary access to the nearby Phoenicia’s spa and pool.

Pure luxury

  • Le Gray: a luminary of Beirut's luxury hotel scene, with spacious suites decorated in bright contemporary styles, a rooftop infinity pool, upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge, making it one of the trendiest places to stay in the city.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments to suit all tastes.

Travel information

  • Fly to Beirut-Rafic Hariri Airport.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
  • The best time to go is during the autumn when the temperature ranges between 16 and 30 degrees.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Beirut

  • Villa Clara Beirut (Mar Mkhayel) 7 rooms from £143

    This charming, family-run property keeps one foot in the present and another in the glamorous past. Bursting with character, it’s a colorful respite from the bars, restaurants and galleries that electrify one of Beirut’s trendiest neighbourhoods.

    Foodies  -  Standing at the heart of this boutique hotel is a delectable family run french restaurant.
    Lively  -  Located in Mar Mikael area in Ashrafieh, surrounded by restaurants and art galleries
    Great walks  -  Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Corniche.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the ever impressive Grand Omari Mosque.
    Check Availability
  • The Phoenicia Beirut 446 rooms from £219

    The grand dame of Beirut’s hotel scene, The Phoenicia has been accommodating the city’s most glamorous visitors since its inception in 1961. Expect lavish decor, world-class facilities and excellent people-watching.

    City Style  -  The height of sophistication in the heart of the city.
    Sights nearby  -  A trip to Beirut is incomplete without stopping by the impressive Grand Omari Mosque.
    Great walks  -  Take a romantic evening stroll along the Corniche.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor and outdoor pools.
    Check Availability
  • Le Vendôme Beirut Hotel Beirut 73 rooms from £227

    This genteel hotel melds elegant French-inspired interiors with welcoming service. Enjoy a central location, spectacular views and complimentary access to the nearby Phoenicia’s spa and pool.

    City Style  -  A chic boutique property boasting an enviably central location and fabulous sea views.
    Sights nearby  -  Be sure to visit the impressive Grand Omari Mosque.
    Great walks  -  Take scenic strolls along the seaside corniche.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Check Availability
  • Le Gray Beirut Central District 103 rooms from £410

    As glamorous as Beirut itself, Le Gray is integral to the city’s luxury hotel scene. From its sprawling suites with contemporary decor to a rooftop infinity pool, upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge, this sophisticated five-star spot shows guests how to lead the good life in Lebanon.

    City Style  -  A chic urban crash pad complete with rooftop pool and spa.
    Sights nearby  -  Soak in some of the city's history on a trip to the Grand Omari Mosque.
    Great walks  -  Take a sunset stroll along the Corniche seafront promenade.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
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