Visiting Lebanon is at first thought for some people, not a great idea. The image that foreign media has given of Lebanon is really very frustrating for Lebanese people.
Luckily, when tourists arrive in Beirut, their whole perspective on our country changes.
They realize that Lebanon is a beautiful country and have a hard time leaving.
Lebanese people are very welcoming and generous by nature. This is how they are wired. This is how they want everyone to see them. The warmth and love Lebanese people offer to everyone is a thing that makes foreigners really fond of this country. This friendliness creates a bond that is, in these modern days, rare to find between strangers.
Tip: For all you travelers planning on coming to Lebanon, be careful not to say "I like that!" when you see something at a Lebanese house unless you don't mind the thing being shipped to your country!
Lebanese cuisine is an internationally recognized cuisine famous for its healthy and delicious meals. It is like nothing you have tasted before and will certainly make your taste buds happy. From tabouleh to hummus and shawarma, Lebanese cuisine offers you a balanced diet. Apart from the food, the breakfast, lunch, and dinner gatherings are ones to remember, sometimes lasting up to 5 hours!
Tip: If you intend on remembering these gatherings, easy on the arak! If you're invited to a lunch or dinner, it's customary to bring sweets or dessert with you.
Lebanon has always been described as a melting pot. Muslims and Christians coexist peacefully and that is exactly what the media doesn't want you to know about Lebanese people. The population is very diverse thanks to the country's rich history. In a single day, you can run into people from different religions, social backgrounds and origins, all in one place! So many different viewpoints, experiences, and opinions, so many to discover.
Tip: Don't limit yourself to one area of Lebanon, go out and start the adventure. You will most probably run into people who have survived the war, those who came back after, those with money, those without any, refugees and millionaires alike all live here.
The hidden gems
Whether it is the beauty of nature, the ruins of an old Roman city or a small eccentric pub in Hamra, wherever you go you will definitely learn something new about Lebanon. It is a country full of surprises, where you can spend an unplanned day in a very productive and instructive way.
Tip: Get informed before hitting the sites, especially if it is in a remote area where maybe you will need to pack a bag and stay overnight!
The small size of the country
Lebanon's area is 10,452 km². It is a very small number considering that the United States is approximately 964 times bigger. When people come from abroad, and from big cities which they do not know entirely, they find it really amusing that you can travel the entire country from North to South only in one day.
Tip: You have indeed heard about the fact that you can swim and ski in Lebanon on the same day. Keep in mind that it is possible around March and April when the snow still stands and the water is not freezing!
The western touch
Lebanon is a middle-eastern country but it does not totally feel like it. You will hear people speaking Lebanese, Arabic, English, and French... all in the same sentence. Besides languages, Lebanese people are very influenced by western cultures due to the French Mandate of the early 20s of the last century. Oriental vibes are preserved as Souks and modern architecture is still adopting old oriental traits.
Tip: Lebanese people are very educated, they are trilingual and meet tourists from all over the world each year. In case you have something to say and you don't want anyone to understand, chose the right language!
Looking forward to seeing you!