Fly To Beirut, Lebanon
As the preferred playground of wealthy Arab and European tourists, Beirut certainly doesn’t lack elegance, luxury or entertainment. The outdoor café culture and European architecture gives it an atmosphere that’s been likened to Paris and the multicultural environment is invitingly warm and sociable.
Beirut’s citizens are renowned for their friendliness and outgoing natures. You’d never guess many of them have lived through a civil war. In fact, this lively city has seen a long history of invasion, occupation and war in its time, and its modern peace and security is relatively new-found and hard-won. If anything, the resilience that has seen Beirut move from strength to strength in recent years is a large part of the charm this city now has. It’s not gone unnoticed by the tourism industry either, and has received several accolades, including a place on the Top Ten Liveliest Cities, and a New York Times recommendation as the best city to visit.
See for yourself why Beirut continues to garner attention from visitors coming from around the world. Book your flights on Travelstart for the cheapest prices, and a hassle-free journey to this Lebanese gem.
Visa Requirements & SA Embassy Details
- South African Passport holders do need a Visa to visit Beirut, or anywhere else in Lebanon. Leave plenty of time for Visa processing, and don’t forget to check that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date, and that you have 3 blank pages available for entry stamps.
- There is a South African Honorary Consulate in Beirut. Bizreh Building, Taqi El Deen El Solh Street, Qreitem, Beirut. Phone: + 96 11 804 100.
See and do
Beirut’s history is long, and there are museums aplenty documenting the city’s evolution over the years. The National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum, the Beirut Art Centre and the AUB Museum are all worth visiting if you’re interested in Lebanese culture and history.
Beirut isn’t a place to spend all your time indoors, however, and the Mediterranean is guaranteed to vie for your attention. The beach clubs are a luxurious way to soak up the sun and sea, but try a boat trip around Pigeon Rocks for something a little different. Scuba diving is also popular, and with 36 shipwrecks, walls, canyons and underwater caves to explore, you’ll be tempted to spend your whole trip under the waves.
The Jeitta Grotto is a short drive from central Beirut, but it’s absolutely worth making the effort to see. The crystallized caves and underground river form cathedral-like vaults filled with dazzling shapes and colours that are a wonder to behold.
As the fashion capital of Lebanon, and home to several famous designers, Beirut is a shopping paradise for lovers of couture. For a more down-to-earth experience, try the local markets instead. Burj Hammoud is your best bet for souvenirs, especially in copper and brass, but remember to bargain hard to get the best deal.
Service (pronounced ser-vee-s) are the most common form of transport in Beirut, and these shared taxis are run on a fixed fee rate. There are also two fleets of buses, which are very efficient, but you need to flag them down, as they won’t stop if you don’t. Hiring a car is an option, but traffic is heavy, especially in the city centre and during rush hour. For trips to neighbouring towns, or outlying suburbs, a rented car/private driver is still the most convenient way to get around.
Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport – BEY
Food and beverage: Café Matik is located in the arrival zone, and there is another café after customs.
Currency Exchange: BankMed has a branch at Beirut International Airport, and offers currency exchange services, as well as ATMs.
Lost Luggage: Lost hold luggage should be handled by your individual airline’s help desk. Report items lost or found within the airport terminal to the Middle East Airline office in the arrival hall, or ask security to direct you appropriately.
Airport Hotels: None on site. Nearby: Padova Hotel, and Habtoor Grant Hotel.
Car Hire: Dealers, Hertz, Avis, Budget, National, City Car and Lenacar.
Airport Hub: Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (code BEY) is a hub for Med Airways, Middle East Airlines, TMA Cargo and Wings of Lebanon.