How To Spend 48 Hours In Tripoli, Lebanon

Old souks, Tripoli | © Bertramz / WikiCommons
Old souks, Tripoli | © Bertramz / WikiCommons
Photo of Amani Sharif
Freelance Writer10 April 2017

Tripoli, with its coastal terrain, holds a lot of historical significance. Despite its turbulent past, the people remain hopeful and friendly. The city is definitely a tourist spot with lots of sites to see and one-of-a-kind experiences. Here’s your guide to spending 48 hours in Lebanon’s second-largest city.

Have Breakfast at Akra

If you were to ask any local where to have a traditional Tripolitan breakfast they would say Akra. Its position in the old town and iconic food makes it a destination for both tourists and locals. They serve ful and hummus based dishes like hummus bi taheene and fatteh. The food is very cheap as well, so expect do get a lot for your money and don’t let them overcharge you.

Akra Dishes | © Amani El Charif

Walk through the Old Souks

Travel back to the time of gold, soaps and fragrance with Tripoli’s old souks. Urban progression has not yet touched the walls of these architectural wonders, as a lot of the old-world charm within their pathways still remain. Engage with friendly people in several different khans like the Attareen (fragrance makers), Nahasseen (copper welders), Soap Khan, and Khayateen (seamstresses). These professions, among many, are remnants of ancient guilds that dealt with regional businesses.

Old souks, Tripoli | © Bertramz / WikiCommons

Visit the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles

One of the biggest citadels in Lebanon, the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles in Tripoli was first established in 636 CE by Arab commanders. It was then occupied by Crusaders, Mamelukes and Ottomans because of the strategic advantage it offers. The citadel stands above the old Abu Ali River and is known for its submerged pathways, which are rumored to stretch all the way to Mina.

Opening hours: Mon to Sun, 10:00–18:00

The Citadel, Tripoli | © Shutterstock

Walk around El Tal

This old city center is now a busy metropolitan area with merchants, shops and street food. The European architecture, from buildings to the clock tower, will draw you in. Grab some street food and just wander around as you never know what you might discover in the alleyways.

The clock tower and surroundings, in 1942 | © aussiejeff / Tom Beazley / Flickr

Stay at the Via Mina Hotel

Stay in this rustic hotel, located in a Mina alleyway. The Via Mina is the perfect place to stay for tourists with a penchant for homely abodes. Its place at the center of Mina makes it perfect for late night walks through the district. The old pathways and even older architecture will have you coming back for more.

Via Mina, Mina | ©Amani El Charif

Grab a man’ouche

You can’t come to Tripoli without eating the traditional pastry, man’ouche. Don’t be afraid to walk into a shop and buy one of the cheese or thyme versions, as you’ll never find quite the same taste anywhere else. Locals eat man’ouche regularly as it is a filling and cheap breakfast that has become a tradition in some households.

Man’ouche | © Nsaum75 / Wikimedia Commons

Explore Mina

Sit by the sea in Mina or wander around its streets. The coastal vibe of the district is a definite change from the rest of the city. Grab a cup of coffee from the kiosks and sit on a chair by the sea or stop by at one of the pubs in the inner streets. Mina is a definitely a district for the modern flaneur to explore.

Corniche, Mina | © Amani El Charif

Marvel at Rashid Karameh International Fair center

The Rashid Karameh International Fair center is a an architectural dream. Strewn across the expansive greenery are several different curious structures resembling a giant arch, hollow dome and opera stage. The main building is a glass walled room, half finished, it offers a unique look at the designer’s spirit. All you need to do is walk in and explore.

Arch, Rachid Karami | © Amani El Charif

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