Here is a list of some of my favorite experiences in Beirut:
1- Take a walk in Achrafieh.
Walk down the memory lane of one of Beirut’s oldest districts. Admire the beautiful European feel architecture and elegant neighborhoods in Achrafieh. In my last visit to Beirut I stayed in Sofitel hotel in Achrafieh. The location of the hotel was perfect for walks.
2- Visit the colorful stairs at Gemmayzeh
Armenia Street and Gouraud Street of Mar Mikhael and Gemmayzeh, are the beating hearts of youthful Beirut. With their bohemian style, graffiti, hip culinary scene, galleries and colorful stairs. It is definitely worth stopping once or twice.
3- Day trip to Jaita grotto.
The famous crystalized caves are situated in the Nahr al-Kalb valley about 20 km from Beirut. Go on a walking tour to the upper caves and a boat ride on the lower parts of the caves. Don’t miss the small garden on your way out.
4- Shop at Aswaq Beirut (Beirut Souks)
I was there during the festive season in December. There is something about Christmas decoration that makes my heart full of joy. Christmas is celebrated widely in Lebanon you can also spot the decorated Christmas trees from apartment windows on the street.
5- Unleash your inner bookworm at Antoine bookstore.
I loved this bookstore. The collection of books in Arabic and English were great. The branch in Beirut souks had a photography gallery showing beautiful work curated in Paris.
6- Have Kunafa on kaak
You must try it at least once! Wash it off with some Turkish coffee.
7- Shop for fresh fruits
You simple can’t resist stopping at the small grocery shops on the road and buy local grown fruits.
8- Have Turkish coffee at Café Younis
Café Younis roaster originally opened in 1935 in downtown Lebanon. Café Younis coffee shop in AlHamra was only opened in 2008. I really enjoyed the beautiful details about the café. The coffee was great too. I still use the Turkish coffee I bought from Café Younis.
9- Ain El Mraiseh
Walk or jog on the Cornish, watch the fishermen and enjoy the Mediterranean shores. The area is full of hotels and restaurants.
10- Have a manqoosha
It comes in different shapes, sizes and flavors but they are all tasty and it is the official breakfast meal in Lebanon. Have it with zaatar (thyme) or labneh.
11- Taste Armenian cuisine in Bourj Hammoud
Bourj Hammoud’s heart beats at a different pace to the rest of Beirut’s. A product of war in Armenia, during which refugees from Anatolia settled down here. Walk around and get of a sense of its distinct atmosphere. Experience the senses, sounds and sights of another culture. Get to Onno for authentic Armenian-Lebanese cuisine.
12- Oslo ice cream
A small ice cream shop in Mar Mikhael street founded by a Lebanese chef living in LA. The flavors are so carefully crafted and so addictive. You can visit their website here to know more about the concept and flavors.
13- Lookout for Ashekman’s Street Art
Look for Ashekman’s amazing murals in Achrafieh and all over Beirut. Stay up to date with their projects through Instagram @Ashekman
“We mainly do graffiti in Beirut city, we cover the war leftovers with our art, where we paint our graffiti on walls full of bullet holes or we simply cover the politicians posters and militias slogans with our tags, the street us ours, we rule the street with our art and spray cans no need for guns and politics!” – Ashekman
14- Take a photo of the Rock of Raouche
You can’t visit Beirut without stopping at its famous rock. Pigeons’ Rock (also known as the Rock of Raouché). Located at Beirut’s westernmost tip, the two huge rock formations are a popular destination for locals and tourists. You can enjoy the beautiful view while sipping coffee at seaside cafes overlooking the rock.
15- Shop at ABC mall
Enjoy Beirut’s fanciest mall in Achrafieh. You can find everything here from cloths to books and food.
16- Hamra street
It is the main street for the city of Beirut. Famous for the cafes, theatre and local hangouts.
17- Go on a day trip to Byblos (Jbail)
Escape the busy life of Beirut to visit this little gem listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk on the cobblestone streets, buy local souvenirs from the old souq and watch the beautiful sunset at the fishing harbour. Also don’t forget to try eat sea food here !
18- Visit the Rose House
One of the last traditional houses standing in the middle of Beirut. ‘The Rose House’ is a 19th Century mansion in Manara, Ras Beirut. I was lucky to visit the Rose house when it was hosting Tom Young’s exhibition.
What’s your favorite things to do in Beirut ?