19 Must-Visit Attractions in Beirut

Downtown Beirut | © Francisco Anzola/ Flickr
Downtown Beirut | © Francisco Anzola/ Flickr
Photo of Amani Sharif
Freelance Writer30 May 2017

Beirut, the Capital of Lebanon and its largest city, is a hub of culture and history. The city has survived the ravages of time and war, but there’s still much to see. Here are our suggestions for must-visit attractions in Beirut.

Beirut Souks

Market, Shopping Mall
Map View
Beirut Souks | © n.karim/ Flickr
Looking for a place to shop in Beirut? The souks are your answer. An architectural wonder Downtown, the Beirut Souks are the hub of designer and mid-range brands. Walk around the popular shopping area, dine, peruse and maybe spend some money. Beirut is one of the Middle East’s fashion capitals, and this place is one of the reasons why.

Martyrs' Square

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Martyrs' Square, Beirut | © Elias Zaghrini / Wikimedia Commons
An important landmark in Lebanese history, Martyrs’ Square is dedicated to those who were executed during Ottoman rule. It is also the traditional dividing line between East and West Beirut. First constructed in 1931, the monument has remained relevant due to the repeated political assassinations in Lebanon’s recent past.

Nijmeh Square

Map View
Al- Nejmeh Square | ©Alper Çuğun/ Flickr
In the heart of Beirut, Nijmeh Square was part of the extensive reconstruction Beirut underwent after the civil war. Home to the parliament, two cathedrals and a museum, the square is one of Beirut’s activity hubs. Grab a cup of coffee or a meal overlooking this square’s 1930’s Rolex clock.

Hamra Street

A center of Beirut’s 1960’s intellectual activity, it is no surprise that this street was called the city’s Champs Elysees. It is a popular place with tourists and locals alike, who gather here to try to absorb the remnants of the intellectual city. Hamra is home to several bookshops, three universities (including the American University of Beirut) and a rich nightlife.

Zaitunay Bay

A posh yachting dock, Zaitunay Bay is the place for brunch in Beirut, so is part of most locals’ weekend plans. Try places like Babel Bay, Paul and Coast for a relaxing meal by the docks.

Pigeon Rocks, Raouche

Natural Feature
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Pigeon Rocks, Raouche | ©marviikad/ Flickr
Located in the sea by the historical Raouche, the Pigeon Rocks are a Lebanese natural treasure. In the area surrounding the rocks, evidence of ancient human existence in Lebanon has been found. Walk on Raouche’s Corniche and marvel at these amazing sights.

Holiday Inn

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Holiday Inn Beirut, destroyed by the Civil War and one of the remnants of Beirut's 1960's boom | © Melie Nasr/ Shutterstock
An abandoned hotel in the heart of Beirut, the Holiday Inn still stands as a monument to the destruction of the Lebanese Civil War. The hotel was gutted in 1975, at the start of the war. It was only functional for a year before becoming a battlefield. Today, the hotel is a reminder of what Beirut was.

Sursock Museum

Historical Landmark
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Sursock Museum
Sursock Museum | ©Luciana/ Flickr
A major contemporary art museum in Beirut and home of Lebanese culture, Sursock is a private villa-turned-attraction. The house itself is a marvel as it is the perfect example of Lebanon’s older architecture, having been built in the 19th century by the Sursock family.

Beit Beirut

Building, Museum
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Beit Beirut | ©rabiem22/ Flickr
A ruin in the heart of Beirut, Beit Beirut will be renovated, with construction starting soon. The house was built in 1932, and was know as the “Yellow House”. Ravaged by the civil war, the building was a sniper base because of its strategic location. Today, it stands as yet another result of the war’s devastation, and is set to become a cultural hub of Beirut.

American University of Beirut

Museum, University
Map View
Opened in 1866 with the approval of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the American University of Beirut is a landmark of Lebanese society. Ranked first in the country and among the top 300 in the world, the 150 year old university is home to many intellectual historical sites and is home to an archaeological museum.

Saifi Village

An upscale residential area in Beirut, Saifi Village is definitely worth walking through. Built in the French Colonial style, the village is home to several art galleries and an upscale farmers’ market.

Saifi Village | © Lebnen18/ Wikimedia Commons

Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque

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Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque
Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque | ©Karan Jain / Flickr
Also referred to as the Blue Mosque, this marvel is located in Downtown Beirut. It was built after the donation of the Late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and continues to be a symbol of his work. The mosque is only one of the achievements of this late Prime Minister. He shifted his business focus to rebuild Downtown Beirut to what it is today, provided students with educational scholarships and encouraged foreign investment in Lebanon.

Beit Ed-Dine Palace

Museum, Building, Theater
Map View
Beit Eddine Palace | © Peripitus/ Wikimedia Commons
Home to a museum and an annual music festival, this palace is worth your time. Construction began in 1788, and took 30 years. Legend has it that the prince had the architect’s hands cut off so that the palace could not be duplicated. Visit this one-of-a-kind marvel, which reflects a lot of what it means to be Lebanese.

The National Museum of Beirut

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National Museum, Beirut
National Museum, Beirut | © Hrag Vartanian/ Flickr
The main archaeological museum in Lebanon, the National Museum is home to many treasures. The collection rranges from the prehistoric period through the Roman period and into the Arab era. The museum itself is a marvel as it was destroyed in the civil war, and fully restored in 2011.

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