How to Spend 48 Hours in Beirut, Lebanon

Raouche Rocks | © Maya-Anaïs Yataghène / Flickr
Raouche Rocks | © Maya-Anaïs Yataghène / Flickr
Photo of Amani Sharif
Freelance Writer9 March 2017

If you’re looking for a complete adventure in one city, from historical to contemporary activities, Beirut is for you. Immerse yourself in the unique vibes that this metropolis has to offer, its resilience pervading every street. Here is your guide to spending 48 hours in the capital of Lebanon.

Day 1

Head to Downtown Beirut

From Roman ruins to upscale shops, Downtown Beirut has it all. Visit mosques, churches, and landmarks, all while partaking in a unique shopping experience. Walk through the shopping mecca Beirut Souks for brands that range from Adidas to Jimmy Choo. Don’t forget to grab some snacks at different shops for that boost of energy you’ll need for the rest of the day. While you’ll never get enough of the glamorous vibe that this outdoor mall has to offer, you’ll have to move on because there is so much more to see.

Downtown Beirut | © [Cazz]/[source, Flickr]

Visit the National Museum of Beirut

Once you have had your fill of shopping, it’s time for a dose of history, and the National Museum of Beirut fits the bill. From prehistoric relics to early Islamic marvels, this museum has a diverse collection and offers you the metanarrative of walking through history while searching for it. The building itself is a testament to Lebanon’s history as it has stood strong since 1919, withstanding war and strife to become what it is today. Keep your energy high as there is more history to see.

Sarcophagus in the National Museum of Beirut | © [Caroline Granycome]/[source, Flickr]

Stroll down Hamra

Hamra is perhaps one of the most fascinating places in Beirut. It’s a curious mix of old cosmopolitan spirit and progressive modernity. Marvel at the bustling activity the street has to offer, where you’ll see locals and tourists alike. Sit in the coffee shops between students and professors as the area is rich in well-known universities such as the American University of Beirut (AUB). Who knows? You might also walk in the middle of a street festival in the fall.

Hamra street sign | © [Alper Çuğun]/[source, Flickr]

Have lunch on Bliss Street

Nothing defines Hamra like Bliss Street, as it is rife with many historical buildings. Grab lunch among the locals, and due to the presence of the AUB, visit all the shops that define the students’ lives. If you’re a photographer or just a city aficionado, you’ll surely find what you’re looking for on this street.

A college hall at AUB | © [marviikad]/[source, Flickr]

Enjoy a drink on Uruguay Street

What better way to end the day than to sit back and grab a drink at a cozy pub? If that sounds good, then Uruguay Street is for you. The constant city vibe and the relaxing atmosphere are sure to have you appreciating the day in Beirut even more. As a street in Downtown Beirut, it’s not far off from the theme of the day.

Day 2

Have breakfast in Raouche

Another upscale district in Beirut, you’re sure to enjoy your breakfast on Raouche. Marvel at the Mediterranean Sea and the Raouche Rocks; you’re in a place the holds a lot of history. Some excavations in Raouche have helped in unearthing some of the oldest evidence of human existence – surely another example of Beirut’s unique relationship with history and modernity.

Raouche Rocks | © Maya-Anaïs Yataghène / Flickr

Shop for antiques in “Souq el Ahad”

Don’t forget to pass by the local flea market as you never know what you might find. The Sunday Market, or “Souq el Ahad,” is a great place for you to discover cheap merchandise, and the local merchants will welcome you and give you an authentic Lebanese experience.

Souq el Ahad, Beirut | © [craigfinlay]/[source, Flickr]

Have an adventure around abandoned buildings

Forget hiking – this is a new trend in Beirut that speaks to one’s inner cosmopolitan. More and more, people in the city are visiting abandoned buildings in hopes of uncovering their stories and maybe finding some artifacts. This activity is one of the ways the city turns the tragedy of war into a fascinating tale. So find yourself a building and marvel, but make sure to be safe and be aware of the building’s age.

Abandoned mansion in Beirut | © craigfinlay/ Flickr

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