Beirut (Arabic: بيروت, French: Beyrouth) is the capital city of Lebanon with a population of approximately 2.1 million people in its metropolitan area. The city is on a relatively small headland jutting into the east Mediterranean. It is by far the biggest city in Lebanon. Due to Lebanon's small size the capital has always held the status as the only true cosmopolitan city in the country, and ever since the independence, has been the commercial and financial hub of Lebanon. 20km to its North is Jounieh, a city very closely associated with Beirut.
Charles Helou Station lies approximately one kilometer east of Nejmeh Square, on Charles Helou Avenue, facing the Beirut Port. From there you can take the city buses or hop onto the larger coaches that link Beirut with the neighboring cities. The two other main hubs are Cola in the south of the city and Dora in the north-eastern suburb of the same name.
Beirut has survived a rough history, falling under the occupation of one empire after another,. Originally named Bêrūt, "The Wells" by the Phoenicians, Beirut's history goes back more than 5000 years. Excavations in the downtown area have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Arab and Ottoman civilizations.
Following World War II, Lebanon gained its independence from France and Beirut became its capital in 1943 - Bechara El-Khoury and Riad El-Solh, Lebanon's first president and prime minister respectively, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and national heroes. Beirut thrived as a major commercial and tourist center of the Middle East. It was a top destination among wealthy Arabs and European tourists, due to Beirut's unique geography, climate, diverse culture, and freedom. Beirut was seen as the "European gateway to the Middle East" and vice versa, and was often called the "Paris of the Middle East".
The city has severely suffered from a 15 year long civil war that ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990. It quickly was divided in a Western part controlled by Pan-Arabist Lebanese and Palestinian militias inclined to socialism and an eastern part under control of nationalist Lebanese militias leaning towards fascism. The front line was for most of the time along the roads Damascus Street and Old Saida Street. The central area of the city, previously the focus of much of the commercial and cultural activities, became a no-man's land. You can still find many buildings damaged or completely ruined especially on the verges of Downtown but there are hardly any efforts to keep the memory of those bloody days alive. The conflict is often misleadingly portrayed as a religious conflict that divided the city in a Muslim and a Christian part. While it is true that there were massacres along religious lines many Christians lived in West Beirut throughout the war and vice versa and most militias had Christian, Muslim, and - at least some communist factions - atheist members.
Since the end of the war in 1989, the people of Lebanon have been rebuilding Beirut. The city has undertaken an aggressive rebuilding policy. It has been working hard to regain its status as a tourist, cultural and intellectual center in the Middle East which it has lost to Cairo as well as a center for commerce, fashion and media which is dominated by Dubai and other rich Gulf states. However Beirut with the rest of the Middle East has gained momentum.
Most areas of Beirut have a friendly atmosphere and Beirutis have a reputation for being very polite, friendly, sociable and outgoing. The locals are used to the sight of foreigners and many of them are happy to get to know you and even to show you around the city.
Secterianism is still prevalent in Lebanon, as a result of the Ottoman religious system and of the French colonial policy of divide and rule, which is both reflected in the political system and social networks. Many Lebanese, especially Christians and the middle and upper classes, identify culturally with Europeans, particularly the French, and some denying Arab identity altogether. Many of them, and this might especially true for Christians, prefer to identify themselves as Phoenician (referring to their ancestral roots in ancient Phoas Chrienicia.) Many Muslim Lebanese on the other hand identify culturally and ethnically with other Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East. A minority claims to be Syrian in the sense of a Greater Syrian civilization stretching from Cyprus and Sinai to west Iran and from southern Turkey to northern Saudi Arabia.
Most Beirutis love going out and the city offers with Tel Aviv the best night life in the whole region. If (and when) you go out at night, depending on the venue, dressing up well will most certainly get you some respect. The locals like to see that foreigners are doing what they can to fit in. Expect to be offered a drink or a cigarette. Alcohol is very cheap in shops and supermarkets, yet in night venues, prices can easily exceed European standards (aka: 8,000L.L/Beer, 15,000L.L/Cocktail)).
Smoking is very common in Beirut and a large portion of the people smoke. A ban on smoking indoors in public places began September 3, 2012 but it's not easy to find a smoke-free place that enforces the laws.
Beirut enjoys Mediterranean climate. Come in April to June for warm, dry days and long, cool evenings (15–25°C). Temperatures in July and August rise above 30°C and humidity can be somewhat overwhelming. A room with air conditioning can help to escape the heat and to sleep easily as even the night temperatures hardly drop below 25°C. The wettest months are December to February and can bring thunderstorms with lots of rain for days so bring a good coat and umbrella. Lebanon's ski season runs from December till early April.
Despite the diverse climate that changes noticeably per season, the weather is very predictable; the weather forecast, on radio and TV stations are normally very accurate, so you normally shouldn't find yourself caught in a sudden downpour in the winter months.
Due to Lebanon's diverse religions and sects, many public holidays are celebrated, some of which more than once: New Year's Day, Armenian-Orthodox Christmas (6 Jan), Eid al-Adha – Feast of Sacrifice, celebrating the last day of Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Al Hijrah – Islamic New Year, Feast of St Maroun (9 Feb), Eid Meelad an-Nabi – The Prophet's (Muhammad) Anniversary, Good Friday and Easter Monday (Apr), Labour Day (1 May). Martyrs' Day (6 May), Liberation of the South (25 May), Assumption (15 Aug), Eid al-Fitr - Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, All Saints' Day (1 Nov), Independence Day (22 Nov), Christmas Day (25 Dec). Based on the lunar calendar, Islamic holidays move forward approximately 11 days every Western year.
Anything goes in Beirut. Shorts and T-shirts are perfect for the summer heat, for both men and women, while heavier clothing is necessary during the winter.
You should cover up if visiting religious sites, such as mosques and churches. Some neighborhoods are more conservative than others, so bear that in mind when exploring the city. Going out at night is a smart affair, so dress fashionably to fit in, although this does not mean dressing up in a suit; you will find many men in sporty t-shirts, dark jeans, and smart running shoes at even the trendiest nightclubs.
Beirut is very culturally diverse, quite cosmopolitan and thus multilingual. Lebanese Arabic is the native language but everyone understands (but rarely speaks) Standard Arabic, the official language, while English and French (especially the former) are also spoken by many people.
Shop signs are in Standard Arabic, English, French, and sometimes in Beiruti colloquial. Most restaurant menus, event listings, and such are also in English alongside Standard Arabic and sometimes in French. Road signs, however, are in Standard Arabic and French.
Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport  (IATA: BEY), is the country's only international airport and the hub of Lebanon's national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA ). Most international airlines have daily flights between Beirut and the major European capitals. The airport is located 7km south of Beirut, and is roughly a 10 to 15 minute drive from the city center.
Car parking is available at the airport for around 2.5 USD per hour. Please note that when parking the time is rounded to the upper hour (i.e. 1.1 hours ~= 2 hours). Hariri is one of the first airports that provided free wifi access to the internet and still does. Due to heavy charges in phone calls (Greek phone 1,23 Euro/minute to Lebanon), its best to log in to the airports wifi and use Skype mobile for the necessary calls (Taxi).
At the moment, there is no public transportation to or from the airport, but there are private minivans serving as public transport across the car park in front of the airport on the only road connecting the airport with the city. You might have have to walk a little further if no buses run past you.
There is no official bus company serving the airport, but private minibuses depart from the 2nd (departure) level just outside the exit. These are white and sometimes red or green minivans (majority are Kia Besta) with red plates but no numbers in their windows, which pick up airport service people and bring them to Beirut. There are no bus stops but the buses will stop anywhere where people flag them down or give them signs with their eyes. The fare to any destination is LL 1000, but bear in mind that the buses are minivans and you might be expected to pay for an extra seat for your luggage if you need one. Minibuses from the airport go to Dora (the 'o' is pronounced like the 'ou' in house and the 'r' somewhat like the Spanish, Italian, Polish or Bavarian 'r'), a suburb in the north-east of Beirut, and cross right through Beirut on their way. Ask the driver for Dora when they stop.
The buses run the route Airport-Dora on the transport OpenStreetMap of Beirut which is the same as line A on the Zawarib bus map (some lines outdated! more details under the bus section on this page). On their way the buses pass the local hubs Jisr al-Matâr (Airport Bridge, but several kilometers from the airport though!), Barbeer, Bechâra El-Khoury, and Sâhat esh-Shuhadâ (Martyrs' Square) and then follow the coastal city highway to Dora. From the places mentioned you can catch buses going to Ramlet El-Baida, Rawche, and Manara (number 15 from Barbeer, stop around 8pm), Hamra (number 4 from anywhere between Barbeer and Sâhat ash-Shuhadâ, usually minibuses unlike other city lines, don't stop before midnight) and Achrafieh (numbers 2 and 5 from Bechâra El-Khoury, stop around 7pm) for example. After Sâhat esh-Shuhadâ on the edges of Downtown the airport buses go past Gemmayze and later Ge'itâwi, where most of the few Beirut budget hostels are located. Tell the driver where you want to get off as you enter and they will tell you once you're there.
The bus service to the airport stops around 11pm and might stop much earlier in the opposite direction. At night you may be able to catch a service taxi (see below) if you walk along the only road leading away from the airport for about 10 minutes, just after passing a highway flyover. You might be expected to pay twice the service price, called "serveeceyn", to anywhere in Beirut because of the long distance. Even if you have to catch a taxi from there it will be much cheaper with no more than LL 10'000 compared to LL 30'000 at the airport. (All airport bus information as of June 2015).
Uber operates in Beirut and is advantageous for tourists as there's no haggling - you and the driver get a fair price.You can choose whether to pay cash or by your credit/debit card. An Uberx from the airport to Hamra will cost around $15.
There are plentiful and comfortable taxis that are authorized by the airport. They are parked next to the terminal in the arrivals level and have an airport logo on the side (official airport taxi fares ). The official price is 25 USD, or you can try to agree with any of the drivers for less. If you are not in a hurry, ask to be dropped at the closest hub, and then from there grab a "service".
Organized Companies Taxis
Upon your arrival in Airport simply call a taxi from a regulated taxi company which uses standard fares and a pick up from the airport will be available in 5-10 minutes after the call, at the most. Price is fixed to 30000LL (Allo Taxi) or 27000LL (Allo city smaller cabs) in December 2014. However if you want to use Allo city its best to pre book the taxi from their web page due to availability issues on spot, that will drug you to a more expensive Allo taxi solution which is always available. From city centre to airport simply stop a modern-good condition taxi and prompt the driver to ride you in airport with no more than 20000LL. He will accept, cause this is the reasonable and most used price at the moment, if you dont like to make phone calls and have a scheduled pick up. Generally taxis are plentiful in Beirut and you can find them anywhere. The above is the safest and most standard fare way especially upon your arrival to airport. After the call you will wait the taxi at exit 4 of the arrivals.
They are also available and are located a little farther from the airport, but these are not guaranteed and are to be used at your own risk. The aproximate rate Airport - Hamra street is around LL 30000 as of December 2014. However, the so-called regulated taxis' drivers, will ask you anywhere between $ 30 to 50 for any downtown locations. So, start bargaining from $10 and stop at $15 as the upper limit, both ways to and from the Airport. Considering this is only a 7 km long drive, and gas price is approx $ 1.5 / litre in Beirut, this price is definitely a rip off that taxi drivers would not miss. Taxi types are wildly changing, so pick the best and newest looking ones to guarantee aircon, and collision safety in Beirut traffic.
All major car rental companies have booking offices inside the airport. More information can be obtained through the airport's webpage on the issue: 
Adonis Car Rental - Local car rental service. Will deliver/pickup your car at airport or anywhere else in Beirut and nearby suburbs. $25 /day. Green Zone Tel: 961 9 222900, 216729/30. Mirna Chalouhi Center Tel: 961 3 100132, 491400, firstname.lastname@example.org [www.adonisrentacar.com]
Beirut is linked with all coastal cities through the coastal road. Entrances/exists off this road connect it to districts adjacent to the coast such as Maten and Kesrwen (and others). Beirut is linked to Zahle and Baalbeck (and the rest of Bekaa) through Dahr Al-Baydar road (linked to Emile Lahoud highway at the entrance of Beirut].
There are four border crossing points between Lebanon and Syria:
You can travel between Lebanon and Syria by private/rental car, bus, private taxi, or service taxi.
Note: Please stay updated with safety conditions in Syria if coming from there. There are no reports so far that border points were closed; however, check the news to stay up-to-date. As of April 2013 the road is open and safe to travel in total Syrian army control.
Buses connect Beirut with Damascus and the south of Lebanon arrive at an intersection next to the Cola bridge. The bus stop is known as "Cola" among the locals. This place is in the southern part of Beirut - in area known as Mazraa.
Refer to the Get Around section for information on how to get to other parts of the city.
There are currently two public transport companies. The OCFTC that operates a fleet of blue and white city-buses, and the LCC  with a fleet of red and white minibuses; Bus fares cost either 500LL (OCFTC bus 24) or 1000LL ($0.33 to 0.67). The service is very efficient and the buses come very often. To get onto a bus you must stand at the side of the road and signal with your hand as a bus approaches; the buses will stop anywhere. The service of the numbered big buses halts between 7 and 8 at night whereas the minivans go at least until 11pm. The minibuses running along line 4 run all night but stop at the northern end of Damascus Street and don't go all the way to Hamra.
Unfortunately, the bus companies don't provide any helpful information neither on the internet nor through printed maps of the lines and the bus lines underlie constant change. The Beirut transport map of openstreetmap is the most accurate bus map as of June 2015. To get a brief overview there is also a 2013 bus map by Zawarib, but it isn't up to date any more. Apparently, line number 5 connecting Ain Mreisse and Choueifat, line 7 and line 8 don't exist any more. Lines still existing as of April 2015 are lines 2, 4, 5 (Hamra-Jdeide), 6, 12, 15, and 24. Now there is also a seaside ('bahry'/'ba7ry') number 15, so don't be surprised if you find a bus with a big 15 in the front screen running between Ain el-Mreisse and Dora along the shore and make sure which one you enter when you're east of Beirut river. To make matters more complicated there are also inter-city buses sporting the same numbers so you might find a bus number 6 for example in a very different area (such as Hazmieh) than expected and some private school buses sometimes also have numbers in their front screen. But don't worry, it's not so bad because bus drivers and fellow commuters are very helpful and ready to give advice and everybody knows about those difficulties and is confronted with them. Just give the bus drivers a sign to stop and ask for your destination as it is common in Beirut.
There are also minibuses, usually white, sometimes red or green, connecting different destinations. Some of those buses run the same route as the official line 4 and they also sport a big red 4 in their screen. Most of them don't have numbers though, and you have to know respectively ask where they go. It's best to ask people waiting for a bus or a taxi by the roadside or the bus driver how to get to your destination.
Service (pronounced the French way [ser'vees] but with a rolled R) is a very common form of transport, especially with daily commuters. They are regular taxis which operate as shared taxis and cost 2000 LL compared to up to 10000 LL for a cab. Taxi drivers decide on the spot to operate as a shared taxi. A driver will try to pick up more passengers along the route, but often you will go all the way by yourself. Service drivers may choose not to take you if you are not going in the same direction as them. They also won't go the shortest way, but take some small detours in search of more passengers.
Hailing a service or taxi usually entails yelling your destination to the driver when he slows down. It is important to remember that if you want a service you should give the name of the general district you want to go to and not a specific address. If the driver nods or gives you a sign to get in when they stop for you this means they accept the service price of 2000 LL. If they don't accept they will drive by or tell you "serviceyn", "taxi" or the amount they want to have and which is up for negotiation then. When you get close to your destination the driver will ask you where you want to get out. It's handy to know a landmark close to your destination as the drivers usually only know the names of the main roads and use landmarks for navigation instead. The service drivers will not take you to the exact address, unless it's on a main road, but will drop you at the closest point of the main road and will tell you in which direction to go. Of course you can also ask to be dropped off once you recognise the area you want to be in. When you enter the car you can ask "service?" to make sure you only pay 2000 LL, but if the driver doesn't tell you a price right away this means they accept the service price and you should by no means feel obliged to pay more once you get off. People usually pay when they get off.
Taxi drivers in Beirut are notorious for overcharging tourists much more so than in neighboring Syria. Most will demand absurd fares and demanding 2-3 times the service rate is very common. If you're pressed for time paying the double service price, called "serviceyn" may be a compromise (4000 LL), otherwise you may have to wait a bit to find an honest cab driver willing to take you for 2000 LL. Virtually no one tips cab drivers unless some extraordinary service has been rendered, like a very long wait time while you run an errand or something. Some drivers will ask you for a tip particularly near holidays. Payment is usually at the end of the journey.
There are two types of taxis in Beirut; the (sometimes old and battered) hail-taxis, and the prebooking taxis.
Keep in mind the names of the landmarks around the city, as they will come in handy when traveling by public transport (some drivers aren't that good at orienting!).
Driving in Beirut is not to be recommended for much of the day, particularly in the city center. Traffic is heavy, and impossible during rush hour. There is so much to see and being stuck in a traffic jam is the last thing anyone would want to spend their time doing. Walking around the city is much more of an experience, and is in fact necessary in the very center since that part of the city is a pedestrian area.
It can be difficult to find parking other than in multi-story and off-street car parks. On-street parking, if you are lucky enough to find one, is allowed for a short time of two hours. Tickets must be purchased through the parking meters usually located at either end of a street. They can be paid by either cash or card. Overstaying your time may get you a ticket. Enforcement of the parking limit isn't done very efficiently, but obviously the last thing anyone would want to find is a ticket that will ruin their day and set them back financially.
As all major towns and sights are easily accessible by public transport renting a car is recommended only if you're planing to go out into the countryside where public transport isn't operating, or maybe simply to enjoy the Lebanese "see-and-be-seen" lifestyle. Car rental prices range from economical 40.000L.L/day (€20.00/day) to luxury and exotic standard prices. Those can change according to season, so make sure you contact the car rental company beforehand to check prices as well as pickup/drop-off locations.
If you are traveling to the country during high season make sure to book your car rental in advance since it is normal to find that all rental companies are completely booked.
Driving in Beirut is on the right-hand side of the road.
Only the central areas of Beirut have traffic lights operating, though plans have been made to cover all of the city.
Beirut is not a bike friendly city and you will hardly see people riding bikes apart from the wide sidewalk by the shore. There are some bike rentals though for the brave and the shore-cyclers. Every month a small group takes part in the worldwide Critical Mass rides.
As the city is quite compact, walking is the best way of getting around, and perfect for getting off the beaten track to find unexpected surprises. Most people however will not walk throughout the city, rather they will walk within certain districts and take cars/taxis to get from one district to another. Streets are poorly signposted, often giving a number instead of the street name you will have on your map, and few Beiruti locals would know how to navigate according to their names. Directions are usually given by building placement and landmarks ("straight down the road until you reach building X, turn left there, then right..."), and many streets have local nicknames that wouldn't match the map either. That said, if you find yourself lost in the streets, simply ask any passer-by for directions; no one will refuse to help! Otherwise you can stop at the nearest hotel or shop and ask. Hotel concierges and shop keepers will most definitely speak at least some English.
Some roads and especially pavements in Beirut are in poor condition. Not so much in Downtown, but especially the farther you get from Downtown the more road works you will most probably find. Very often the pavement is used as a parking lot or it will feature a huge trash container, a street sign, a street light or some other pole right on it making it difficult or impossible to pass. So do it as the locals and walk on the streets next to the cars.
You can always check out a Beiruti-run walking tour called Walk Beirut. They offer weekly tours around the city.
Beirut was once the self-proclaimed "Paris of the Middle East". It still has an outdoor cafe culture, and European architecture can be found everywhere. Many Beirutis (as well as other Lebanese) speak French and/or English, to varying degrees, along with Arabic.
Each district has its own sights and places to visit. The following listings are just some highlights of things that you really should see if you can during your visit to Beirut. The complete listings are found on each individual district page.
Museums and galleries
Parks & Squares
For a guide to Beirut's parks visit Beirut Green Guide.
Festivals & Events
To stay up to date on Beirut's nightlife scene, visit any Virgin Megastores branch to ask about any upcoming events. Many live concerts are held throughout the year with international musicians and DJ's. Beirut has hosted some of the world’s biggest names in Dance music such as Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Above and Beyond, Bob Sinclar, Hernan Cattaneo, James Zabiela, Cosmic Gate, Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Nick Warren, Anthony Pappa, Sasha, John Digweed, Danny Howells, Steve Lawler and others. Alternatively keep an ear out for the radio or on underground party websites:
There are many things to do in Beirut. Check the different districts to find out what each has to offer. Meanwhile, here are a few highlights:
Lebanon is famous for its food and in spite of the increasing influence of Western and other cuisines there is an appreciation of farmer work and Lebanese cultural food heritage. The best places to buy traditional such as syrups, pickles, za'atar, olive oil or non-food items such as soap are
Clothes, fashion and boutiques
Beirut is the fashion capital of Lebanon and the region, with many prominent Lebanese designers located here, including (Elie Saab , Tony Ward , Basil Soda , Pierre Katra  and Robert AbiNader .)
There are several shopping districts around the city.
Flea markets are surprisingly hard to find, occasional organized markets are held that are made to resemble flea markets.
Lebanese Lira and USD are accepted in most (if not all) stores. Exchange rate is fixed at 1500LL = 1USD (as of July 2013). American 'cents' are however not used. Once payment is made, change can be received in LL, USD, or a combination of both.
Lebanese cuisine is a mix of Arab, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences, and enjoys a worldwide reputation for its richness and variety as well as its Mediterranean health factor. Olive oil, herbs, spices, fresh fruits and vegetables are commonly used, as well as dairy products, cereals, fishes and various types of meat. A visit to Beirut includes the traditional Lebanese Mezze (Meza), an elaborate variety of thirty hot and cold dishes. A typical Mezze may consist of salads such as the Tabboule and Fattouch, together with the dips: Hommos, Moutabal, Muhammara, and more, and some patties such as the Sambousseks and finally, the stuffed grape leaves waraq 'inab, with of course the Lebanese flat pita bread which is essential to every Lebanese Mezze.
Lebanon is a great country to eat vegan since many dishes, especially those part of Mezze, are traditionally made without animal ingredients. Not to speak about the delicious fresh fruit and veg. Some of the sweets are also vegan, depending on the confectioner.
Beirut's different cultures brought different tastes for food, and restaurants of all different origins have opened all around the city. Restaurants have different price ranges, depending of course on the quality of the ingredients used; check the different districts for the listings.
If you're on a tight budget it's best to rely on fruit and vegetables and to occasionally go to one of the eateries serving Lebanese fast food such as falafel, hummus, French Fries sandwiches and of course man'oushe which is by far the cheapest option. International fast food chains are considerably more expensive, but all major international fast food chains have opened restaurants in Beirut (KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, Hardee's, TGI Fridays, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Dunkin' Donuts, Subway etc...). Many local fast food restaurants have sprung up to compete with the major franchisers.
Nightlife: Alcohol is readily available in Beirut. Many of Beirut's districts have their own fair amount of cafes, bars, and clubs, although many areas are "dry" or, while serving alcohol, do not have a vibrant nightlife. This said, two of the hotter nightspots, with the highest concentration of pubs and nightclubs, are Uruguay Street in Downtown, and Mar Mikhael, both located within close range in the Ashrafieh district. Hamra has quite a few pubs and bars as well. The best way to find out what's in and whats not is by checking the local press or simply going there and seeing for yourself. There is no curfew in Beirut, though expect most pubs and bars to empty by 3:00am-4:00am, and most nightclubs to empty between 5:00am and 5:40am.
During the summer, Mar Mikhael tends to be much less busy, as many open-air clubs outside of the area tend to dominate the nightlife in Beirut. Uruguay street remains popular year-round.
Locally brewed beer include Almaza and Laziza (non-alcoholic). There is also a microbrewery that started producing several styles of more flavorful beer in 2006, called "961 Beer". In 2010, a new beer was launched called "LB Beer", which is brewed without the use of any corn or rice. it has gained a large following by the younger, independent minded crowd and is a regular staple at locally organized parties. All are worth a try when visiting.
There are lots of hotels in Beirut's metropolitan area, ranging from cheap hostels to luxury suite hotels. Prices and quality vary across the spectrum, but if you look well enough, there's bound to be the perfect hotel inside whatever budget you set. Check the different districts to find places to sleep.
Since 2009, Lebanon has become a safe place and the number of tourists is dramatically increasing (more than 2 million in 2009), although the number has peaked since then. The US government's warning to travelers visiting Lebanon was lifted in mid-September 2009. Due to recent terror attacks in Lebanon carried out as part of the Syrian civil war, caution in necessary and it's advised to check security threats before travelling.
Tourists (including Lebanese expatriates) are especially vulnerable to scams in Beirut, and often these relate to overpricing. There is a broad perception that all foreigners have a wealth of riches, and more disturbingly, that they are powerless to complain in the event of being ripped off.This apply mostly for the Arab countries wealthy people that come to enjoy free vacation to the country and are a target of scams due to their high income. A lack of regulation for many basic services in Lebanon (e.g., public transport) mean that the threat of a complaint will do little to set things straight, and your best bet is to be as vigilant as possible in the first place.
Public Transport and Taxis
When traveling in Beirut, always:
1. Let someone know where you are going and have someone expecting you on arrival. Try to avoid traveling alone.
2. Always carry your mobile phone in an easy to reach spot.
3. If traveling by taxi, always agree to the fare in advance, and pay only on arrival.
4. Ask for local recommendations on cab companies/operators - people are less likely to give you a bad experience if there's reputational damage involved.
5. In cabs, always pretend to be interested in the services of your taxi driver for future use (e.g., day rates, extended private touring) even if you are not - entertain this by asking for a contact number and tell your driver you'll "get back in touch, maybe (insert random day here) next week". If you have a good experience, it might even be a handy number to have.
You may be warned about carjackings by your car rental company; a known trouble spot is the Emile Lahoud Autostrade linking Mt Lebanon (Bikfaya area) with Beirut. Heed any recent advice.
Street signs in Beirut are generally poor, and those placed on motorways often provide insufficient notice of an impending junction or exit. Unless you're certain about your route, try to avoid driving at night, which can lead to hours of frustration.
While the Lebanese are an affectionate (and genuinely friendly) lot, beware of anyone random introducing themselves to you on the street with a hug or a handshake that draws you in to an embrace - often with a line like "oh, its you! how are you!". The assailant then threatens the victim to hand over money/wallet/phone/jewelery in a way that avoids public spectacle.
If you are unlucky enough to fall ill, head straight for the American University Hospital - aka 'the AUH' (near the AUB campus) - you will need to pay around $40 USD upfront (cash or major credit card) and be reimbursed later by your insurer.
Pharmacies in Lebanon are able to prescribe drugs on-the-spot. While this is likely to be a boon for a minority of travelers, it can leave you even more ill than when you came in to begin with. Don't chance it - see a doctor first.
Escaping to the mountains near Beirut is a good option for those about to burn-out. Aley and Beit Mery are both near enough to the city (at least 20-30 minutes by car, depending on traffic) and connected by buses from Dora (Beit Mery) or Cola (Aley). They are generally quiet, clean and green and are considerably cooler than Beirut.
Radio in Beirut is quite popular, particularly with the younger people who listen to the English-spoken stations as all events and concerts are advertised through those. Arabic and French broadcasted stations are plentiful, and are worth a listen if you'd like to experience the traditional culture. Below are radio stations that are broadcasted in English:
Virgin Radio(89.5) 
Official Newsboxes can be found throughout the commercial areas in the city, mainly in Sassine Square ashrafieh, Verdun st. Verdun, Concorde st. Hamra. All Minimarkets/Supermarkets/Hypermarkets distribute newspapers and magazines as well.
There is a huge variety of Arabic newspapers of all sorts, as well as ethnic newspapers such as the Armenian Aztag Daily.
Many cafes and restaurants provide free WiFi to customers. Internet Cafes are plentiful in Beirut, and they should all provide printing and copying services as well as web surfing. The inner-city internet cafes tend to be more expensive (approx $2-3/hr) than those in the residential areas (approx $0.50/hr), but are also usually 'nicer' eg: providing a faster internet connection with new fast computers:
Payphones  can be found on all main streets all around the city, however, they can only take smart cards called Telecarte which provide a specific amount of prepaid calling time and can be used from any payphone. Telecarte denominations come in 10.000L.L (€6.6) and 30.000L.L ($20.00). Telecarte can be purchase at OGERO Sales Offices and MoT offices (most Minimarkets/Supermarkets/Hypermarkets as well as Mobile phone stores sell them).
Once you leave Beirut, visit any of the other cities in Lebanon. The country is relatively small but because of traffic jams the journey to Tripolis or Tyr can take more than three hours. Depending on the season visiting, you can go skiing in one the six mountain resorts, or go to the beaches in Tyr or one of the beach resorts in Jounieh. Visit the national heritage sites around Lebanon; every city in the country has at least some form of ancient or historic site.
Buses that head to the North city of Tripoli or to Syria and Jordan operate from the Charles Helou bus station, which is also the station for long-distance taxis that link Beirut to neighboring cities as well as Syria and Jordan. Charles Helou is located next to Port of Beirut. It can be difficult to understand the main bus routes at first but you can always ask, bus drivers are like everybody else in Lebanon, friendly and may be able to communicate in English or French.
Buses that head south (Sidon, Tyr) and to the Beqa'-Valley (Zahlé, Ba'albek) leave from the Cola intersection. Buses that head north (Je'ita, Harissa, Byblos, Tripolis, Bcharré) leave from the Dora roundabout.