About Lebanon

Lebanon's diverse patchwork of Mediterranean-lapped coast, rugged alpine peaks, and green fertile valleys is packed into a parcel of land some 225km long and 46km wide – an area approximately the size of Cyprus or Connecticut. An ancient land, Lebanon features in the writings of Homer and in the Old Testament. Its cities were major outposts and seaports in Phoenician and Roman times, just two of the great civilizations that touched this important Middle Eastern crossroads. 
The cosmopolitan flair of modern-day Beirut, the gastronomic renown of the country's food and wine, and an educated and outward-looking population complement a country that is both traditional and progressive in outlook. For all the flavors of its storied past and rugged natural beauty, Lebanon is a well-kept tourist secret that begs exploration. 
 
FLAG
The Lebanese flag is divided into three wide horizontal stripes, with red on the top and bottom and a wider white stripe in the middle. In the center of the white stripe is a green cedar tree, the emblem of the country. 
 
ECONOMY
Lebanon capitalizes on the initiative of its people and its geographical location to make up for a lack of natural resources. Traditionally, a substantial percentage of the country's income derives from remittances sent by the millions of Lebanese residing overseas. A service-based economy, its trading, banking, and financial facilities, as well as its free currency market, made Lebanon the region's commercial and tourist center before the war. With peace established and reconstruction underway, Lebanon is once again serving as the commercial and tourism capital in the area. 
About 38% of the country is under cultivation, with wheat, vegetables, fruit, tobacco, and olives the main crop categories. There is considerable livestock farming as well. Industry ranges from cement to textiles, clothing, furniture, canned goods, and light metals. Tourism, one of the mainstays of the pre-war economy, is being revived. 
To help strengthen the economy, the government has initiated a low income tax schedule to provide investment incentives, increase disposable income, and expand the tax base. 
 
CURRENCY & BANKING
Movement of currency into and out of the country and all exchange transactions are completely free of any kind of control. Gold and silver coins may be freely exchanged, imported, and exported. The official monetary unit is the Lebanese pound issued in LL50, LL100, LL250, LL500, LL1,000, LL5,000, LL10,000, LL20,000, LL50,000, and LL100,000 denominations. 
Banking is a major industry in Lebanon with strict banking secrecy one of its important features. More than 80 banks operate in the country, and transactions are performed efficiently and at low cost. 
 
GOVERNMENT:
Lebanon is a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government and a cabinet headed by a prime minister. Its constitution is based on the separation of executive, legislative, and judicial power, with a president elected for a six-year term. The 128 members of parliament are elected by universal adult suffrage for a four-year term. 
 
ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS
The Lebanese Republic is divided into six regional administrative districts, or Mohafazaat: Beirut, Mount Lebanon, North Lebanon, Békaa, South Lebanon, and Nabatiyé. 
 
EDUCATION
There is a nationwide network of elementary and secondary public schools, which is supplemented by many private schools. Instruction is given in at least two languages. The general educational spirit of Lebanon looks outwards, both to the East and West. Many Lebanese students pursue higher education in Europe, the United States, and Arab countries. 
 
VISAS
All foreigners must have a valid passport and visa to enter Lebanon. Passports must be valid for at least six months. Visas can be obtained in advance at Lebanese embassies and consulates around the world. Nationals of many countries can also obtain business or tourist visas upon arrival at the Beirut Airport and at other ports of entry on the Lebanese border. At the Beirut Airport, visa stamps can be purchased at a window directly across from passport control. You can pay in cash in U.S. dollars or Lebanese pounds. The price of a 15-day visa is US$17 (LL25,000). A single entry, three-month visa is US$35 (LL50,000). 
Contact the Lebanese embassy or consulate in your country or see the General Directorate of General Security website for additional visa information. 
(Important Note: Travelers holding passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel are likely to be refused entry into Lebanon) 
 
CURRENCY
The official Lebanese currency is the Lebanese pound or lira (LL). Notes are available in denominations of: LL1,000; LL5,000; LL10,000; LL20,000; LL50,000; and LL100,000. There are also LL250 and LL500 coins. 
U.S. dollars are used widely throughout the country. Restaurants, hotels, and stores often quote their prices in U.S. dollars, and many establishments will convert and provide U.S. dollar prices for you upon request. If you plan to use U.S. dollars, it is advisable to bring small bills (US$1 to US$20 notes). 
The US$/LL exchange rate is relatively stable, hovering around US$1=LL1,500. The appreciation of the Euro since early 2002 has benefited European travelers. The Euro/LL exchange rate has fluctuated from €1=LL1,400 in June 2002 to €1=LL1,800 in April 2006. Check the Yahoo! Currency Converter for the latest exchange rate before you go. 
Money or travelers checks can be exchanged at banks, private money exchange shops, and major hotels. Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club) are accepted at most large establishments throughout the country. ATMs are also widely available in Beirut and larger cities and will usually dispense both U.S. dollars and Lebanese pounds. 
 
LANGUAGE
While Arabic is Lebanon's official language, English and French are widely spoken. Most Lebanese speak at least two or three languages, and visitors will find no problems communicating. Many establishments provide signs, menus, and information in both Arabic and English. 
 
TIME
Lebanese time is G.M.T. +2 hours in winter (October to March) and +3 hours in summer (April to September), when daylight savings time is observed. 
 
BUSINESS HOURS
Shops and businesses are typically open Monday through Saturday, 9:00-18:00. Hours vary, and in summer many establishments close early. Restaurant hours vary, and many restaurants, especially in Beirut, are open late. 
Banking hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:30-12:30. Working hours for government offices and post offices are typically 8:00-14:00. 
 
WEATHER
Lebanon is blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate and four distinct seasons. Summer (June to September) is made for sun worshippers and water enthusiasts, with temperatures along the coast ranging from 20-32°C (68-90°F). Clear skies and little rain are perfect for outdoor cafés and seaside fun. Alternatively, head to the mountains for nice walks and cooler weather, typically 6-22°C (45-70°F). Summer is the season for sampling mouth-watering cherries and vineyard grapes in the Békaa Valley. 

Essential Lebanon

Day 1
Arrival at Beirut International Airport; meet & assist by our representative. Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
 
Day 2
After breakfast at hotel, our day starts by visiting the Chouf mountain ---- the heart of Lebanon. Starting by Beiteddine Palace the Presidential Palace in the summer which is considered as a masterpiece of oriental architecture. And then proceed to Deir El-Kamar the Emirs capital, continue to Barouk Cedars Forest the national reserve. And then visit downtown, enjoy the special night in modern Beirut. Overnight at the hotel. Lunch in Lebanese farmhouse with plenty fresh wild vegetables and traditional Lebanese cuisines. Dinner in Little China.
 
Day 3
After breakfast, our day starts by visiting Baalbeck ---- Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshiped here, Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design. Continue to discover the only remainder of the Omeyyade period in Anjar. And then proceed to Ksara to witness the wine industry. Overnight at the hotel. Traditional Lebanese lunch in Zhaleh. Cuban dinner in la Dodeguita del Medio.
  
Day 4
After breakfast, Visit the jewel of the Middle East called Beirut, starting by pigeon rock, and then National Museum, proceed to discover the city of the most ancient port in the world in Byblos, claimed to be the oldest city in the world continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years. You will see remains of Neolithic, Middle Bronze Age, Amorite, Egyptian, Hyksos, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Crusader origin. Byblos, cradle of civilization gave its name to the Bible. Byblos provides more than archaeological interest as the town itself retains much of its ancient charm. Lunch in Little China. Dining and enjoying the night in the most famous entertainment place in the Middle East ---- Casino du Liban. Overnight at the hotel.  
 
Day 5
After breakfast, visit of Sidon: the "Castle of the Sea", a 13th century Crusader fortress, and visit the souk, the caravan serail, the soap museum, mosques… Continue to Tyre and visit the city. Tyre offers two impressive sites dating back to the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and crusader periods. The “bass” site contains one of the largest hippodromes existing from the Roman period and a very big necropolis amongst other vestiges. The other site ‘the imperial city’, by the sea-side, has a very beautiful mosaic and marble Roman alley, an arena for two thousand people, baths, and remains of the Phoenician wall of the city. Return to Beirut, overnight at the hotel. Lunch typical Lebanese fast food Shawarma and Italian cuisine with pizza in ABC Shopping Center. Shopping in the rest evening.
 
Day 6
After breakfast, Check out from the hotel, Transfer to Beirut International airport where full assistance will be offered with the departure formalities.
 

Best Of Lebanon

Day 1
Arrival to Beirut International Airport; meet & assist by our representative. Transfer to the hotel. Proceed to discover the city of the most ancient port in the world in Byblos. Traditional Lebanese lunch then visit of the city: claimed to be the oldest city in the world continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years. You will see remains of Neolithic, Middle Bronze Age, Amorite, Egyptian, Hyksos, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Crusader origin. Byblos, cradle of civilization gave its name to the Bible. Byblos provides more than archaeological interest as the town itself retains much of its ancient charm. Dining and enjoy the night in the most famous entertainment place in Middle East ---- Casino du Liban. Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 2
After breakfast at hotel, our day starts by visiting the Chouf mountain ---- the heart of Lebanon. Starting by Beiteddine Palace the Presidential Palace in the summer which is considered as a masterpiece of oriental architecture. And then proceed to Deir El-Kamar the Emirs capital, continue to Barouk Cedars Forest the national reserve. And then visit downtown, enjoy the special night in modern Beirut. Overnight at the hotel. Lunch in Lebanese farmhouse with plenty fresh wild vegetables and traditional Lebanese cuisines. Dinner in Little China.
 
Day 3
After breakfast, our day starts by visiting Baalbeck ---- Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshipped here, Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design. Continue to discover the only remainder of the Omeyyade period in Anjar. And then proceed to Ksara to witness the wine industry. Overnight at the hotel. Traditional Lebanese lunch in Zahleh. Cuban dinner in la Dodeguita del Medio
 
Day 4
After breakfast, visit of Sidon: the "Castle of the Sea", a 13th century Crusader fortress, and visit the souk, the caravan serail, the soap museum, mosques… Continue to Tyre and visit the city. Tyre offers two impressive sites dating back to the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and crusader periods. The “bass” site contains one of the largest hippodromes existing from the Roman period and a very big necropolis amongst other vestiges. The other site ‘the imperial city’, by the sea-side, has a very beautiful mosaic and marble Roman alley, an arena for two thousand people, baths, and remains of the Phoenician wall of the city. Return to Beirut, overnight at the hotel. Lunch typical Lebanese fast food Shawlma and dining Italian cuisine with pizza in ABC Shopping Center. Shopping in the rest evening.
 
Day 5
After breakfast, visit St. Charbel monastery ---- the representative of holly land of Lebanon. Pass by Batroun visit Phoenicia Wall and have Lebanese traditional seafood lunch. Proceed to Tripoli, to discover the Arabic aspect of the city & buy traditional Lebanese sweets. From the earliest times Tripoli in North Lebanon was an unusual city due to its configuration for it was not one city but "three cities in one", hence its name Tripoli or the "Tri-city". Forty-five buildings in the city and twelve mosques, many dating from the 14th century, have been registered as historical sites. Overlooking the city is the imposing Citadel of Tripoli known as Qal’at Sinjil (Saint Gilles) which has been renovated and changed many times during its history. Begun in 1294 and completed in 1315, the Great Mosque was built on the ruined 12th century Crusader cathedral of St. Mary of the Tower. And then back to Beirut, rest overnight in hotel.
 
Day 6
After breakfast, Visit the jewel of the Middle East called Beirut, starting by pigeon rock, and then National Museum, Lunch in Little China. And then proceed to the famous Jeita grotto has already cut the breath of thousands of visitors. Two grottos superimposed linked by a cable car, sink at thousand meters inside the mountains. The lower grotto could be visited with a bark. The upper grotto could be explored on foot. Stalactites & Stalagmites evoking the fauna and the flora, water falls, lakes and natural columns.   Transfer to Beirut International airport. 

Typical Lebanon

Day 1- Beirut 
Arrival at Beirut International Airport; meet & assist by our representative. Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
 
Day 2- Beirut – Jeita - Byblos – Beirut
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for the visit of the famous Jeita grotto has already cut the breath of thousands of visitors. Two grottos superimposed linked by a cable car, sink at thousand meters inside the mountains. The lower grotto could be visited with a bark. The upper grotto could be explored on foot. Stalactites & Stalagmites evoking the fauna and the flora, waterfalls, lakes and natural columns. Continue to Byblos, traditional Lebanese lunch then visit of the city: claimed to be the oldest city in the world continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years. You will see remains of Neolithic, Middle Bronze Age, Amorite, Egyptian, Hyksos, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Crusader origin. Byblos, cradle of civilization gave its name to the Bible. Byblos provides more than archaeological interest as the town itself retains much of its ancient charm. Dining and enjoy the night in the most famous entertainment place in Middle East ---- Casino du Liban. Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 3- Beirut – Beiteddine – Sidon – Tyre
After breakfast at hotel, our day starts by visiting the Chouf mountain ---- the heart of Lebanon. Starting by Beiteddine Palace the Presidential Palace in the summer which is considered as a masterpiece of oriental architecture. Continue to the South, visit of Sidon: the "Castle of the Sea", a 13th century Crusader fortress, and visit the souk, the caravan serail, the soap museum, mosques… Continue to Tyre and visit the city. Tyre offers two impressive sites dating back to the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and crusader periods. The “bass” site contains one of the largest hippodromes existing from the Roman period and a very big necropolis amongst other vestiges. The other site ‘the imperial city’, by the sea-side, has a very beautiful mosaic and marble Roman alley, an arena for two thousand people, baths, and remains of the Phoenician wall of the city. Return to Beirut, overnight at the hotel. Lunch typical Lebanese fast food Shawarma. Cuban dinner in La Bodeguita Del Medio.
 
Day 4- Beirut – Baalbeck – Ksara – Beirut
Breakfast at the hotel, departure for the visit of
Baalbeck: Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshipped here, Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design. Visit of Ksara: A tour of Ksara Winery is a good way to see how wine and arak are made. This winery was a grotto discovered by the Romans. The tunnels were enlarged to their present size during World War I by the Jesuit Fathers. Return to Beirut, overnight at the hotel. Wine tasting and lunch in Ksara. Dinner in Little China.
 
Day 5- Beirut:
Breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Beirut International Airport for departure.