You will certainly need more than one day in Beirut to see the City properly and see all of Beirut’s attractions but if you are limited on time or want to dedicate one day exploring the ‘touristy’ things to do in Beirut, follow this guide as I’ll tell you how to get from East Beirut to West Beirut seeing a lot of the popular areas and attractions in just one day.
I visited Beirut after being in Turkey, I got a Pegasus Airlines flight from Istanbul and woke the following morning wanting to go out and see Beirut but not sure what to do, where to go and how to get around and I wish I had had this post to read!
There are many hotels in Beirut in many areas and for many budgets, I stayed at The Meshmesh Hotel which is in Gemmayze in the Western Side of Beirut not far from the iconic Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque aka the Blue Mosque.
I’d really recommend saying at The Meshmosh Hotel as in my opinion, it’s the best hotel in Beirut! To find out why you can read my review here.
One thing to also note about Beirut is that it’s not pedestrian friendly, you can definitely walk about, I did walk a lot and you can walk to all of the places I have detailed below but Uber is a popular way to get around if you have wifi and if not there are plenty of taxi’s, just agree a fare before you get in.
Did you think Lebanon and Beirut was expensive to travel to and around? Think again – The Cost of Travelling To Lebanon – How Much I Spent in Lebanon!
To help you see where everything is, here is a map and each point I’ve detailed below is a point on the map:
Things To Do in Beirut in One Day
Start your day at the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque which can’t be missed, literally, it’s huge. It only opened in 2005 and cost millions of dollars to build. Before you walk in, if you are female there are abayas just outside the main door so you don’t have to worry about wearing clothing that covers you or taking covering clothes with you. The inside is so grand and impressive do make sure you do go inside.
Next door is the Saint Georges Maronite Cathedral which isn’t as impressive inside but it’s worth a look and seeing these 2 religious sites so close together will give you a good idea of how religion is perceived in Lebanon, people in Lebanon do not fight or argue over religion, and there so many different communities living in Beirut.
Next to the Cathedral are some Roman Ruins, you’ll actually see lots of ruins whilst walking around the city.
Nijmeh Square is next and like me you’ll probably be so surprised with the architecture, the buildings around here are very French and the facades are still the same as they were pre-war.
Before you leave the square be sure to head into Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, you can’t take photos in there but wow is it incredible, it’s so colourful and so detailed!
If you’d rather see Beirut with a Guide and get a better understanding of it’s history, which is incredible! Have a look at this this walking tour and this one on Viator, Viator is very popular for booking day trips in and from Beirut as there are not any travel companies to book with in person in Beirut I found.
Then head towards the Beirut Souks, now if its quaint old souks you’re looking for, you’re not going to find them here. In fact before the war this area did used to be the Souks and where traditional Souks but they were destroyed and when it came to rebuilding the area Beirut decided to build a modern shopping complex instead. Although it hasn’t got much character it’s interesting to see.
There are a range of high street stores and designer brands a long with some cafes and restaurants. Most importantly for tourists there is free wifi and toilets.
Before you leave, be sure to snap a photo with the I Love Beirut sign!
To make the most of your time in Lebanon be sure to actually leave Beirut, I did 2 Day Trips which I recommend and you can read about here:
Downtown Beirut is interesting, it’s very fancy with lovely French architecture. Although there is a lot of traffic it is pretty walkable thanks to its sidewalks and pedestrian crossings (when the drivers stop at the green pedestrian light that is).
Make your next stop Zaitunay Bay as it’s a popular place in Beirut to visit and to get there I would recommend walking along Bab Idriss, the architecture here is so contrasting too, there are huge, fancy sky scrapers of apartments and hotels and below them smaller Villa looking properties.
Before you get to Zaitunay Bay be sure to look out for an abandoned building with holes in the side. This is the old Holiday Inn Hotel of Beirut, it was completed in 1974, just a year before the war of 1975-1990 started, it had a revolving restaurant at the top and you can still see the circle where it would have gone over the edge. It’s interesting to see and a stark reminder of the war which is why, despite Beirut being a City lacking in space, it hasn’t been taken down, yet, anyway.
To SEE this walk around Beirut, have a look at my YouTube video here!
Zaitunay Bay is located around Beirut Marina where many yachts are docked and there are various places to eat, drink and get a coffee including the likes of Starbucks.
After the marina walk along Rafic El Hariri, it’s a busy road but before long you will be right on by the ocean. Despite Beirut being a coastal City, you don’t really see the coast that much thanks to the many huge buildings and busy roads that line the coast.
There is a pedestrian walking path which continues along the coast and by the road of Paris, it’s also known as the Corniche. From here I saw lots of locals swimming and enjoying the sunshine, if you feel brave enough, take some swimwear to join them too if it’s a hot day.
Also look out for Beirut Luna Park alone the Corniche which would be a fun thing to do with kids in Beirut.
After awhile the American University of Beirut will be on your right side, this indicates the area of Hamra one of Beirut’s major commercial districts. Cut through the University and into the streets of Hamra.
If you need lunch I would recommend a really good, cheap and local place called Falafel Khalife, I randomly went in there and not only was the Falafel good but the owner was so local and really interested in chatting to me about Lebanon and my time there.
Now it’s onto one of the most popular places to visit in Beirut, or at least one of the most photographed I’d say- Raouche Rocks. From Hamra you will have to walk through Manara and a long a few streets that may be quite busy and lacking in pavements but if you aim for the road by the rocks you’ll get there and won’t be able to miss them!
Raouche Rocks are a unique rock formation and also known as Pigeon Rocks. There will most likely be people trying to sell you boat rides around the bottom and it is possible to walk down to the side of them.
I won’t lie to you, and you’ll know anyway if you watch this video, that I wasn’t a huge fan of them. I was pleased to see as apart from the Blue Mosque they are the only photo I had really seen of Beirut and the rocks themselves are cool to see but I noticed the rubbish along the side of the coast straight away and when I decided to walk down I was walking through so much trash and it really smelt, so much so that I turned back!
As the Rocks are West facing it’s said to be a good place to watch the sunset although I didn’t see it myself and be warned the road along the coast here is a main, busy road so it wouldn’t be that peaceful.
From here you would have done a lot of walking and I would recommend getting a taxi back. There are taxi’s all around the City or you can get an Uber, if you don’t have a local sim you could use the wifi in Starbuck’s like I did to order an Uber.
This will be a good way to spend your first day in Beirut so you can see a lot of the popular places to visit in Beirut and get a good feel for the city.
If you want to visit some Museum’s in Beirut, here are some popular and good ones:
- National Museum of Beirut
- Beit Beirut Museum
- Sursock Museum
If you are in Beirut on Tuesday I would really recommend the Free Walking Tour of Beirut on at 5:00pm every Tuesday from the Souks, it was really good, one of the best free walking tours I’ve done actually and the guide explained the history of Beirut from the start to the present day and it was very interesting and engaging! If you are not there on a Tuesday but want to do a walking tour with a guide to explain the history of Beirut, which is incredible, have a look at this this walking tour and this one on Viator, Viator is very popular for booking day trips in and from Beirut as there are not any travel companies to book with in person in Beirut I found.
Of course walking around the city is free and a good way to keep costs low when travelling to Lebanon but if you want more ideas of Free Things To Do in Beirut, check out Steph’s post from Big World, Small Pockets.
I hope this helps you plan your time in Beirut, if it’s helped or you have any questions let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
To SEE this walk around Beirut, have a look at my YouTube video here!
For more of my Lebanon Posts and Ideas for your trip to Lebanon and Beirut, have a look at: