Update Lebanon 2018: Despite the rumours and the political instability from the beginning of 2018, the security situation for tourists in Lebanon hasn’t changed. Lebanon is as safe as always

Today, many people are continuously asking me:

Is it safe to travel to Lebanon? Is Beirut safe? 

That’s because, unfortunately, many travelers believe that safety in both Beirut and Lebanon is an issue.

But guess what! Lebanon, including Beirut, is one of the safest countries in the Middle East. The only reasons why it’s not considered as such are the media and inaccurate Government travel advice and warnings.

With one of the lowest crime rates in the world today, Lebanon can brag about having the lowest number of Islamic extremists in the Middle East. This article aims to tell you the reasons why.

By the way, for further information about Lebanon, you should check:

Beirut travel guide
A 10-day itinerary for visiting Lebanon
Backpacking in Lebanon: How much does it cost in 2018?

 

Is it safe to travel to Lebanon

 

Is it safe to travel to Lebanon?

Here you will find (Jump to any content you want)

Is it safe to travel to Beirut? And how safe is Lebanon?
Non-safe areas you should not travel in Lebanon
Lebanon travel advice and tips on how to visit the sensitive areas of Hezbollah
The isolated case of Tripoli
Extra: Lebanon and Beirut safety tips

 

Are Beirut and Lebanon safe?

Contrary to what people say, there is no war in Lebanon and Beirut

For some reason, people in the West tend to associate Lebanon with war. And I wonder: ”Why?” Whereas it’s true that the country did suffer 25 years of Civil War, this ended in 1991. It was more than 25 years ago! Furthermore, the Lebanese-Israeli war took place in 2006, but it lasted for one month only. For the past 10 years, the country has been able to enjoy peace!

Read: A travel guide to Beirut

Lebanon travel advice
A church destroyed by the Civil War, 25 years ago – Lebanon travel warning

 

In Lebanon, there’s no place for extremism. Did you know that more than 40% of the population are Christians?

Lebanon is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world and today, several different religious groups coexist peacefully. Did you know that more than 40% of the population are Christians? No? Did you know that Sunni Muslims (the branch of Islam that ISIS draws its followers from) only make up 25% of the population?

In this country, there’s no place for extremism. Have you ever heard of any Lebanese who has radicalized and joined ISIS? Normally, they come from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or even Turkey. Lebanon is so culturally cluttered, that the chances of a person radicalizing are low.

Is it safe to travel to Lebanon now
A mosque and a church built side by side – Is Beirut safe?

 

The most liberal country in the Middle East

On the other hand, although religion plays an important role in the life of most families, from a religious point of view, Lebanon is the most liberal country in the entire Middle East. It has the largest number of atheists (especially among young people), beer is available everywhere and drinking alcohol in the street is allowed (and quite common). Surprised?

 

It shares a border with Syria. OK, so what?

Lebanon shares border with Syria. Yes, so what? They are two different countries. The border between them is highly guarded and controlled. The chances of the Syrian conflict moving into Lebanon are non-existent.

 

The investment in military security is huge

We can’t forget that Lebanon is located in a highly turbulent region. The military presence aims to prevent any sort of potential conflict. Soldiers and checkpoints are found in absolutely every corner of the country, especially in Beirut. The Lebanese people love the army. They are accepted in society because it makes them feel safer.

Read: The ultimate 10-day itinerary to Lebanon

Lebanon travel safety
Soldiers in Beirut – Is Beirut safe to visit?

 

Crime rate and kidnappings are non-existent

As in most of the Arab countries, the crime rate is practically zero. No robberies, no violence. In Lebanon, you can walk around without a worry anywhere at any time, even women.

 

NO-GO zones when traveling to Lebanon

I just told you the reasons why Lebanon and Beirut are safe places to travel to.

Does it mean that you could wander freely across the whole country? No, absolutely not.

Whereas it’s true that 95% of the country is safe, the remaining 5% might not be. Why?

Because the few radicals who live in the country are found in those areas. These areas are dangerous, not only for the simple fact that you may meet some extremists, but, since the area is so close to Syria, it also suffers from a spillover from the Syrian conflict.

Where are these no-go zones? Basically, the north-eastern portion highlighted in red. Don’t even get close to this area. The rest of the country is safe. Please note that the below map is an approximation.

Update 2018: The army managed to kick out many of the ISIS troops. The security in this tiny part of Lebanon has also improved.

 

Safety in Lebanon & Beirut: Visiting the sensitive areas of Hezbollah

There are a bunch of areas which, even though they are not classified as dangerous, are considered sensitive. Why? Because they are controlled by Hezbollah. What does ”sensitive area” mean? Hezbollah areas have always been the target of terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State. In fact, the last suicide bombings that occurred in Lebanon (don’t worry, there is one attack per year) happened in Hezbollah areas. They are partially restricted and no journalism of any sort is allowed.

To understand it better I recommend you read: The day I was accused of being an Islamic State spy in Lebanon

 

Which Hezbollah areas are sensitive?

  • Shia Muslim neighborhoods of Beirut, for example, Bourj el-Barajneh
  • Some refugee camps, for example, Ain al-Hilweh in Saida
  • Hezbollah territories located in the south of Lebanon, close to the border with Israel
How safe is Beirut Lebanon?
The Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, Beirut – How safe is Beirut Lebanon?

 

Things to keep in mind when visiting a Hezbollah area

Don’t even think of taking pictures or let anyone see you with a camera

Some locals may be hostile and you might be kicked out for no reason. If you have the chance to go with a Lebanese, then do it

Foreigners will always be treated as suspicious. You’ll pass through several checkpoints where you’ll be checked and interrogated over and over

In these areas, there are no tourists. Many of the residents can’t understand why someone would to come to their area for tourism purposes. Repeatedly, you’ll be asked by the locals: ”What are you doing here”? Simply, answer: ”Nothing, I am just a tourist and I am walking all around the city”.

Today, Hezbollah areas are relatively safe. I say relatively because there’s one suicide bombing per year, approximately. To be safer, stay away from crowds.

Before heading to any of those areas, check the current situation with a local Lebanese. The areas close to the Israeli border require a special permit. To get it, go to any police station in either Saida or Beirut. You will get it instantly. Keep in mind that this permit gives you access to the area, but it doesn’t allow you to take pictures or do anything silly.

Important to mention: These areas have no appeal for tourists. The only reason why you would want to go there is that you are tremendously curious and need to know what the hell is going on in there. I visited everything. In the border with Israel, I was detained by the authorities. In the Shia neighborhood of Bourj el-Barajneh, some locals kicked me out, pacifically, but for no reason. However, I didn’t experience any issues when I visited the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila. If you are as freaky and curious as I am, the experience is definitely worth it.

Read: Visiting Bourj el-Barajneh by Offbeat Travelling 

Lebanon tourism safety
Bourj el-Barajneh (Hezbollah area) – Travel in Lebanon

 

The isolated case of Tripoli

The UK travel advice to Lebanon says that Tripoli is not safe.

Tripoli is a city located in the north of Lebanon and the second most important one. Why do governments consider it dangerous? Since the Civil War, there have been one-off clashes between Sunni and Alawi Muslims who reside in the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, respectively. Throughout the years, these clashes have killed several people.

This is a one-off conflict happening in a specific area, far away from the city center. It’s a fight between two small districts and doesn’t go beyond them. The rest of the city is totally cool and safe. I spent four days in Tripoli, and to be honest, it was one of the highlights of my trip. I also have to admit that, since I’m an extremely curious human being, I also went to Jabal Mohsen. And what can I say? Life there was merely normal. Again, clashes and bombings happen once a year, not more.

Lbanon safe to travel
Jebel Mohsen, a neighborhood in Tripoli which, according to FCO, is one of the most dangerous areas in Lebanon. However, I went there and it was just fine – Lebanon travel

 

Extra: Beirut and Lebanon safety tips

Get proper travel insurance

Lebanon is safe but, truth to be said, it is not the easiest country to travel around because, like many Arab countries, things can become pretty wild.

I always recommend World Nomads. Why?

  • It is the only company that provides unlimited medical coverage
  • You can buy while you are already on the road
  • It covers the largest amount of adventure activities

Get your free quote here!

 

Stay safe by planning your trip ahead – Best books for traveling to Lebanon

The best way to travel to Lebanon safely is to plan your trip properly. For this, I recommend the following books:

Lebanon Travel Guide by Bradt – This is the most updated book guide about Lebanon. Bradt is my favorite brand because they always provide with plenty of local insights and travel tips for independent travelers. Click here to see the latest prices 

The Middle East Lonely Planet Guide – It has only one chapter about Lebanon but the information is updated, so it might prove useful. Click here to see the latest prices 

English-Arabic phrasebook – Extremely useful when you are outside of Beirut.If you can communicate with the locals, you will, of course, be safer. Click here to see the latest prices 

 

Don’t get robbed

In Lebanon, crime is pretty low but this doesn’t mean that it can’t occur. Can you imagine what would happen if you lost your passport or wallet and got trapped in Lebanon? Pacsafe is a very reliable brand that produces anti-theft bags, which are extremely useful for both independent travelers and any kind of traveler. Click here to see the latest prices

 

Use Couchsurfing

In Beirut, Couchsurfing is a big deal and there are plenty of events every week. I suggest you look up for these weekly events and get to know some Lebanese people. Actually, there is a group of local attendants who are organizing trips for foreigners almost every week.

A reminder

As I mentioned previously, don’t go to the northeast of the country and watch out when you are in Hezbollah areas.

And remember to check my other all my other guides about Lebanon:

Beirut travel guide
A 10-day itinerary for visiting Lebanon
Backpacking in Lebanon: How much does it cost in 2018?

 

Conclusion

Is Lebanon safe? The answer is yes, but you need to keep in mind that this country has gone through several conflicts and is located in the heart of the most turbulent region in the world. Travel safe and cautious. If you have any question, leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to answer. Cheers.

I also recommend reading: Is it safe to travel to Iraq?

If you like my website and found this post useful, remember that, if you book any product or service through any of my links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These earnings help me maintain and keep Against the Compass going! Thanks 🙂

Is Lebanon safe?

 

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117 comments

  1. Lebanon sounds like a beautiful country. While I was volunteering in Calais, we sometimes managed to send containers or food and clothing to the refugee camps there, so I can’t really get away from the association in my head. I don’t think I would be scared to travel there, but it must feel quite mad to have the chaos and suffering of Syria so close.

    1. Hi Katie, thanks for your comment. That’s great that you were volunteering in Calais and helping the refugees. I also did some volunteering in a Syrian refugee camp in Iraq. It was a beautiful experience! Which camps in Lebanon did you send containers? I know a couple of them. I understand that you can’t take it out of your head, but a refugee camp in Lebanon isn’t different than the ones in France. Lebanon is just giving refugee to all the Syrians who are escaping from the war.

    1. Hi Jenni, unlike what people think, the crime rate is zero in not only Lebanon but, across all the Middle East. I don’t know what is the reason behind it. I think it’s just a cultural a thing. Seriously, Lebanon is this sort of country where if you forget a $100 bill on the table of a café, you’ll find it there when you come back.

    1. hahaha… You are crazy man. There have been a lot of reports of kidnapping in that area plus it’s a war zone and there’s continuously fight. I think that even if you wanted to go, you wouldn’t be able to pass beyond the check-points.

        1. maryse maryse

          Me too I am from lebanon it is so safe but I don’t think tripoli is that dangerous but never leave money on a table because of course it will be gone depending on wich place did you put it

  2. Tripoli looks amazing. I was surprised to read that the crime and kidnapping rate are non-existent though I guess once you think about it, makes sense. We Americans are just programed to be afraid of those areas.

    1. I think the problem is in America and in the rest of the world. I’m from Spain and here everybody is also really scared about this part of the world. Our media only shows things related to ISIS, war and suicide bombers. But once you are on the ground, things are really extremely different

  3. Happy to hear that Lebanon is still safe to travel to. I’ve never been to the Middle East yet and want to go badly, so this just may be an amazing idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I totally appreciate your insights and take on Lebanon. While you felt safe, it might be different for a woman, especially one traveling solo. It would be cool if there were a map of the Hezbollah areas so we’d know what to avoid.

    1. Hi Debra, I don’t think there’s any problem for a solo woman traveler. The country is pretty liberal and unlike in other Middle Eastern countries, people wouldn’t be starring at you just for being a woman. As I said, 50% of the population are Christian, so they are pretty used to uncovered and more liberal woman. Even outside of the capital, you get to see women wearing western (and slightly provocative) clothes.

  5. I always wanted to visit Lebanon, I found their cuisine so delicious, but I was worried about safety. Thanks for letting us know that is safe to travel. Obviously one has to be careful everywhere he travels.

  6. It’s sad that we’re in a time when “one bombing per year” is considered “safe” but that being said I would definitely go to Lebanon. I love visiting places that basically don’t have anything to see but give a very distinct insight into local life.

    1. Hi Lydia. Thanks for your message. Yes, it’s weird to say that ”one bombing per year” is considered safe but seriously, there’s nothing happening beyond than that. How many bombs and gunshots have occurred in the USA in the last couple of years? Not one per year, but many. And still, the USA is considered a safe country. Yes, you are right, Lebanon is not a place for sightseeing, but a country to enjoy the local life.

      1. Not a place for sightseeing? I went for the first time and was blown away with the amazing sights to see. From the cedars of god, the city of Byblos (Jbail), Medieval and biblical age castles, Roman ruins throughout the entire country, to one of the biggest, oldest and the most amazing underground caves known to man called the Jetta grotto… this is one of the most beautiful sight seeing countries on the planet. The list goes on and on for things to do and see in Lebanon. That doesn’t even include historical sights in Beirut. It’s
        one of the oldest and most important port cities in the history of civilization. Tons to do and see.

  7. Hmmm I have never considered going to this place but its good to know that parts of it is still safe. I’d probably visit other countries first

  8. Hi Joan
    Thanks a lot for your lovely report about Lebanon.Very inspiring! I´m planning to go there on September and so, I´m trying to get as much info as I can, maily regarding the security topic. I would like to hear your opinion about 2 points: 1. I´ve heard that Baalbek is a Hezbollah area. So, is Baalbek included in your sensitive areas? 2. What do you think about reting a car there? Any issue with that? How about the road conditions?
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Tereza

    1. Hi Tereza, apologies. I don’t know your comment went to my spam folder. Anyhow, thanks for your comment. Good that you’re planning a trip to Lebanon 🙂
      1 – Yes, Baalbek is a Hezbollah area but is not as sensitive at the southern part of the country, meaning that you don’t need a permit and you can go there freely. No need to be alarmed
      2 – If you can afford it, renting a car can be great. Petrol is as expensive as Europe though as they don’t have black gold resources. The roads are good. I would just worry about how the people drive, as they are pretty crazy. Have you ever driven in the Middle East, India or any country like that?

  9. Thank you so much for letting people know how beautiful and safe Lebanon is. My husband is Lebanese and we will be visiting this summer. It will be my third time there and cannot wait. They used to call it the Paris of the Middle East and that it truly is. Thank you again for clarification as many do not know and are uncertain of their safety and the beauty that there is.

    1. Hi Amy, Yeah, Lebanon, or Beirut in this case, used to be called the Paris in the ME and what people don’t know, is that this capital is a Westernized city where people in the West can have the same fun they have back home. The mix of cultures is fascinating and I’m really jealous that you have the chance to go there so often! Thanks for your comment!

  10. I was enlightening by ur article and the first of its kind i have found.
    My husband wants me and my 2 year old daughter to travel with him to jabal mohsen next week as his father is unwell.
    I am quiet worried after reading what i can find and dont know of we should go.
    I know my husband wouldnt put me in danger but i also feel like he wants his father to meet our daughter and will do this at any cost.
    I have no idea of what it will be like as my husband doesnt talk to me about it and keeps telling me i will see when we are there and i will enjoy it.
    Do you know anything about my rights while im there and my rights for my daughter?

    1. Hi, Holly, Glad that you’re going to Lebanon!
      all I can say about Jebel Mohsen is what I said in my article. There’s been some tension going on but, it was an occasional fight and now it’s been quite for such a long time. Furthermore, it was not a conflict related to terrorism but a religious conflict between a different kind of Muslims themselves.
      As per your question, in Lebanon, 50% of the population is Christian. This means that the Muslims are already quite used to treat and deal with more liberal women. In Lebanon, you don’t need to worry about anything.
      Have a nice trip

  11. Awesome article man.I’m really happy that you had the experience to visit and share the most beautiful areas in Lebanon.Everything you’ve said is 100% true.I really recommend everyone to visit lebanon.One of the most beautiful and safest countries in the middle east.We haven’t got any terrorist attack since 2015.
    Thanks again joan.
    Proud to be Lebanese

    1. Hello, Moe! I’m very happy to hear this nice feedback from a Lebanese. I’ve to Lebanon twice and spent 1 month in the country, so I got quite a lot of nice local insights! Yeah, Lebanon is 100% safe and I also recommend and promote it very much! Cheers mate!

  12. My husband has lived in Lebanon his entire life except the last 2.5 years and he’s actually back there right now (I’ve never been) and after reading the comments, I asked my husband if its true that there is zero crime (no stealing, rape etc) and it’s as safe as what I’m actually reading about in these comments and he just laughed at me and replied “what do you think the jails here are full of criminals for? They didn’t just end up in jail for scratching their arses”? It’s like any other country in the world…Food for thought..

    1. haha, Hi Shay, your husband comment is hilarious. Yeah, Lebanon is such a misunderstood place and is a country like any… just because it has a neighbor immersed in war, doesn’t mean that it’s dangerous!

  13. Very well written. I have lived in Lebanon for about 7 months and I agree with pretty much everything written in the article. I would add that – to stay safe – one should never get into an argument with another driver over who had a right of way. Driving in Lebanon can be a bit of an adrenaline sport, and whilst most people are just fine (though on the road it’s “everyone against everyone”), one can occasionally encounter a real lunatic (the higher concentration of which seems to be among the shabby bus drivers).

    1. Thanks for your words 🙂 Yeah, I agree, lol. Some of these bus drivers are real lunatic! But probably, I would also be a lunatic if I was continuously driving on those roads!

  14. Thanks for the info! My partner and I are about to start our 1 weeks trip to Lebanon. We have rented a car and plan to travel by ourselves (my partner is used to driving in the Middle East). But I was wondering if it is a good idea to travel alone to Baalbek or would it be safer to go with a tour/driver? Any advice on how to visit Baalbek is welcomed!

    1. Hi! If your partner is used to the crazy Middle Easter driving, then you will be more than fine! Baalbek is safe place, don’t worry about that. Cheers 🙂

      1. My family and I just went there in June and Baalbek was safe and worth the drive. My daughter vlogged our trip to Lebanon and you are welcome to check it out and hope that it makes you feel more comfortable. Here is one link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrScyBfSkao we were there for 3 weeks and she has a vlog for each one. Enjoy!!

  15. I’m Lebanese and man, those sensitive places you went to, I have never been there despite my almost 20 years in Lebanon. Lol you really must be curious. Also I recommend anyone who visits Lebanon to visit the Mount Lebanon governorate mostly. It has Beirut, the most mountains and ski resorts, most grottos, most monasteries, most beaches and nightlife spots, and ruins and ancient cities like Byblos. It’s typically the mostly Christian area especially between the Jbeil-Keserwan districts.

  16. Hi Joantow, My 22 year old granddaughter and have plans to vist Beruit in December for 10 days. We have already booked our flights and reserved out Hotel in the Harma district of Beruit. We also plan to visit the village of my parents birth in the Bekaa Valley. The village is on the border and Syria is visible from there. Did you travel to the Bekaa Valley. Is it a dangerous or waht you call a sensitive area? My Lebanese cousin who lives in Beruit is going to drive us there. Will we be stopped an questioned at checkpoints along the way? Has the recent resignation of Harri, the Lebanese prime minister, made Lebanon less safe?

    1. Hello George, the entire country is completely safe, except for the tiny dot which I am mentioning above and anyways, a few months ago, the small ISIS spillover from Syria was finally expelled by the Lebanese authorities, so I would say that now it’s even. safer. You don’t have to worry about anything, especially if you go to touristic places such as Baalbek. As per the prime minister issue, no one knows what will happen, not even the Lebanese themselves, but there are no signs that the country became less safe according to my local friends. Cheers and enjoy Lebanon

  17. Specifically, Aita Al Foukar is safe?

    And please post any interesting updates as you learn them- pertaining to politics and Lebanon’s continued stability and safety- my concern is that you mentioned there is 1 suicide bombong per year- I do t think that’s happened yet this year- I hope it doesn’t, but I sure hope it doesn’t when my father and daughter are there-very worried mom!!

    1. Hi, Yes I always try to update this post with the latest updates. I don’t know what’s Aita al Foukar, sorry. And as per the suicide bombing, 1 per year it’s just an average. What I meant is that in the past 6 or 7 years there’s been maybe 5 o 6 suicide bombings. That should not concern you at all. The likelihood of being caught by a bomb is soooo low. It’s more likely that you get overrun by a car this morning in your hometown.

      1. Just to make things clear, those suicide bombings ended in 2016. They always attacked the southern suburbs of Beirut, which are considered the Hezbollah headquarters. That happened when ISIS was still in the red spot, but since the border is safe now, the whole country is safe, no need to worry.

  18. I have been living in Beirut for the past year, and feel very safe here. Yes, there are areas in Lebanon (and even Beirut) that should be avoided, depending on one’s comfort and, to a degree, origin. I would not sway anyone from visiting Lebanon, but suggest that you visit your country’s Embassy or Foreign Ministry website for the latest travel info (btw. the U.S. Department of State info on Lebanon is typically exaggerated, given historical context, and should be taken with a grain of salt). The Lebanese seem to be quite weary of fighting, and even if the Hariri resignation leads to the worst (which I doubt it will), another civil war (meaning internal war) is unlikely. This being said, one can never rule out an incident of some sorts, and it would be a lie to say that Lebanon is as safe as, for instance, Switzerland. The statistics show far more bombings than one-per-year, and many messed up people levitated here for decades. It would be naive to think they just disappeared or grew up.

    1. I agree, it’s mostly because of the number of refugees we have, especially from the Syrian war. Those are about 2 million above the 4 million population of Lebanon.

  19. Hello there,
    I’m planning to travel with the ship from Northern Cyprus via Turkey to Tripoli in summer. It’s good to hear some positive opinions about this place, since our German goverment keeps warning about it in a dramatic tone. I can’t imagine that the situation is too dangerous for a one- or two nights stay before heading to Beirut.
    Nice blog, keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Hi Lukas! Awesome, I didn’t know the ship from Cyprus to Lebanon was working… May I ask you how much are you paying and if it leaves every day? Is it a ferry or a cargo ship? Regards,

  20. Totally agree. This shouldn’t even be a question or doubt. But I understand if people are slightly anxious before the visit because I know I was. I was very scared of Pakistan despite it being just so near to where I live (Delhi). But it is only after I travelled with my family there that I lost the fear. Travelling does that to you and you should never be afraid of new places. A point of thought, though – always go with someone you know to new places that are known to be calamitous. Thanks.

    1. Hi Richard! Yeah, totally agree! Once you step into the country’s soil, you see that it’s just a normal place! Newspapers only show us the tiny bad part of it! Cheers mate!

  21. Melanie wilkes

    Wow a great read, interesting and has really put my mind at ease before I head out to do some volunteer work with orphaned refugee kids.
    Thanks keep exploring x

  22. Honolulu, HAWAII

    I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but do not throw caution to the wind. Lebanon is a fabulous country. I’ve been 2x in the last 10 yrs.. The 1st X I was there I was kidnapped by Syrians. They eventually let me go; it was not a pleasant experience. The 2nd X i was there, it was without incident. If the political climate with Israel on one end and Syria on the other end were more stable, I’d love to live in that country because the people are AMAZING! Nevertheless, Lebanon is not in Europe. It is in one of the most precarious spots for any country; especially a country that is riddled with intellectuals, gorgeous people, well-dressed, polite, ingratiating, and outgoing. Lebanon is my most favorite country in the world. Why? The people make that city AWESOME! Even though I would love to be there, today, I’m too afraid…frighten to venture back there with ISIS on one end and the Jews on the other end and Hezbollah and its recklessness with Iran at epic-center. It’s a ticking time bomb. If it is not imperative for you to be there; do not go until Syria, Israel, Iran, and Hezbollah are stabilized.

    1. Hello, I live in Lebanon, and there is no danger right now. ISIS is completely dead in Syria and Iraq, and the whole Lebanese-Syrian border is protected by the Lebanese and Syrian army respectively. As for Israel, nobody wants any escalation from either side, and plus Israel is currently building a wall along the border. Hezbollah on the other hand has no members of its military branch on Lebanese territory except in Hermel, which is on the border with Syria and is has nothing for a tourist to see. Even with that it is still considered safe. I say if you’ve been to Lebanon in the past 10 years then now is definitely the best time of all to be here. Just beware of “Syrians” lol.. Kidnapping did use to happen a lot in Beqaa, but now again it’s safer than ever.

      1. Honolulu, Hawaii

        Nazir, that’s GREAT news!
        Thank you for taking time to respond.
        You’d better extend me your Email address so that I can make sure I AirBnB with you and you make certain I’m safe for 3 – 5 weeks while working and enJOY Bayreuth, Lebanon and other cities too. I’ve been to countless places around the world and the people (their energy & synergy) in Lebanon by far exceed cultures from all around the world. I’ve been as far away as Uruguay to New Zealand (the worse ever is New Zealand)…and Lebanon is still TRUMP! No, NOT DonaldJTrump. …’trump’ as in Champion!
        Kidding aside, I was kidnapped in February 2003. It was not funny at all. The experience was harrowing.

        1. Lol I’m glad you actually loved this country the most and call it trump, even with what happened!
          2003 was a bad time for the whole world actually, and don’t forget that there was Syrian occupation in Lebanon back then.
          Anyway, I’ll hand you my secondary email just for security: [email protected], so when you’re here feel free to ask me anything! Btw, it’s Nizar not Nazir, and it’s Beirut, Bayreuth is a city in Germany.. Sorry for bringing out the grammar nazi in me Lol

  23. Honolulu Hawaii

    GREAT! You must be the Ambassador for the country Nizar. You most definitely have the pulse!
    Will be expecting you to overshadow my trip for the 3 – 5 weeks beginning at the end of May, early June 2018.
    If I had known everything was stable and secure, would have arranged to be there since early 2018 to realize project.
    When I arrive it will be ‘Tourist (High) Season’ and all the entire world will converge on Beirut and all the prices will go through the
    ceiling. I.e., hotels, AirBnB, HouseTrip, Motels… stores etc… We’ll see.
    Again, much thanks!
    Yeah… it’s Birut, Bairut, Beirut. عيسى عيسى, … my bad …I placed your country in Bavaria. LoL! …is all good!

    1. Lol that’s no problem! And you’re welcome, thank you as well, hopefully one day I’ll be an ambassador because why not lol.. There definitely would be a lot of tourists and higher prices, but if you look on the bright side, beach season would have started and all resorts would be open by then. Hope you can make it and enjoy!

  24. Great article-we’re visiting Beirut and hopefully areas outside the city in May for 10 days. Can’t wait. We’ve previously visited Jordan (twice) which is amazing and I’m hoping The Lebanon is as fantastic as you describe. Obviously we will adhere to advice about no-go areas but we know how much false information is spread by governments with their own agenda on the Middle East

    1. Hi Nita! Yeah there are a few NO-Go areas but even there the situation has improved since last summer. I am sure you will have so much fun. I was planning to come back in May as well but I have to delay my trip for one or two months for some reasons!

  25. I am just just back from a week in Lebanon most time spent an hour from Beruit working with refugee children an amazing experience in an amazing country.. Already booked to return for longer!

  26. Lebanon sounds beautiful! I’ve been thinking about traveling here this summer but I have some concerns. Is there much racism? I am Biracial but I’m often confused of being of Middle Eastern descent because of how light my skin is. I know I shouldn’t worry but i can’t help but worry about how the media has portrayed people of color in the Middle East and the hostility against Americans.

    1. Lebanon is the most culturally diverse country in the Middle East and, perhaps, Europe, as well. Therefore, I don’t think that it is a racist country plus all the young people dream of America.

  27. Chicago sees its most violent week of the year: 9 killed, 76 wounded may 8th 2018 food for thought. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-weekend-violence-20180507-story.html read all the crazy stuff that happens here. I’m sure there is some countries you don’t want to go to. Wonder if there is a post from non Americans asking if Chicago is safe to visit? You are gonna find violence an crappy people no matter were you go.Travel smart an enjoy this beautiful planet an all its great people an cultures. 🙂 enjoyed your blog post! Cheers!

    1. Thanks for your insightful comment Mo! Yes, many people judge countries from dangerous when actually, in their home countries there is so much shit going on! We need to be more analytic and read many different media sources. Have a nice day!

  28. Hi!
    Loved to read ur article about Lebanon. I’ve always liked to explore other countries cultures since im born and living in sweden (father from Peru and mother from sweden). Im thinking about travelling to Lebanon. Any specific places that I should visit?

    Best regards, Sebastian

  29. I am part Lebanese and have dreamed of visiting. We have always been afraid to go because of our American passports. We are now considering this adventure! Kibbeh and grape leaves from the mother country are worth it!

  30. Very poor travel advice. Terms like “non-existent” used in article to describe risky areas substantiated with facts or recent statistics? Nah. This is tripe, the State Department travel.state.gov is your source and they say reconsider travel plans to Lebanon.

    1. Hi Jake, thank you so much for sharing your opinion but clearly, you don’t really know what are you talking about… The FCO advice is extremely biased and, on many occasions, it is just based on UK interests, so claiming that it has to be your source of information means that you are not very well-informed or, in any case, a very unexperienced traveler.

      Actually, I am answering you now from Abkhazia. Do you know where is it? Abkhazia is an independent republic. It is actually an independent country but it is not recognized by any other besides Russia, Veneçuela and a few others. Today, Abkhazia has become and extremely lovely place, full of Russian tourists and just peace everywhere. The UK advises against all travel to Abkhazia. Why? Basically, because they don’t recognize it as country, so they are not very interested in you to see what is going on there. Moreover, there is also not diplomatic representation, so they claim that if something happened to you, you would be there on your own. So, should I stay home or go somewhere else just because of this weak advice? There is a higher chance of being killed in a car accident in front of your house than being killed in Abkhazia.

      On the other hand, the FCO also advices against traveling to all countries where there is (or used to be a long time ago) a potential risk of terrorism or any kind of hostility. In some countries, this might be very high, like Yemen for example, but, in others, it is extremely low, like Lebanon. What happens is that even if there is only a 0.0001% of chance of terrorism, they will tell you not to go because, if the unlikely happened, they can blame you for not following their advice. If you had the decency of reading the entire article, you will see that the FCO tells you not to go to Tripoli and all the surrounding area. This is actually quite funny because Tripoli is one of the safest places in Lebanon. There used to be some fight in one neighborhood which is on a mountain, separated from the main city and, in any case, it was a fight between people from the same neighborhood, which didn’t go beyond that. That was some years ago and just ask to any local or anyone who has been there and he will tell you that it is extremely safe. It is funny that, according to the FCO, this area of Tripoli is an orange area but the whole Mexico is green, where there is a muuuuuuch higher chance of getting kidnapped there than in Lebanon. Dude, what I am telling you is that, on many occasions, it based on UK interests.

      And yes, the crime in Lebanon is practically non-existent. Actually, I am extremely tired of having to look after my bag every time I am in a café or just being pickpocketted in my home-city Barcelona. In Lebanon, the crime rates are ridiculously low and you could forget your phone in a restaurant, come back after a few hours and, in most occasions, it will still be there.

      And you think this is tripe? Well, this article was used during a trial in Canada against a father who wanted to take the custody of his daugther, because the mother (who was Lebanese) wanted to take her to Canada. According to the judge, the article was an extremely reliable source and an excellent analysis of the situation in Lebanon.

      Dude, I am not blaming you for always following the FCO advise. If you want to stay at home and don’t enjoy life, it is up to you 😉

      Cheers!

  31. Hi,
    I want to visit Lebanon in the summer but am having a dilemma because I am dual nationality, one of the nationalities being Israeli. I am planning on going to Beirut and then to help in a refugee camp- I would really like to learn about the culture and experience the place. It sounds like an amazing place to see but is the risk too high for someone with my origins in terms of the various groups that are active around there? I would obviously not draw attention to this when there and will not go on the Israeli passport (!) Any comments would be helpful… the FCO advice is so different to what people who have been say that I don’t know what to think!

    1. Hi Momo. I have a friend who is Lebanese but has an American passport and she has been to Israel on her USA passport, without any problem. They just can’t know what is your actual origin because there is no information exchange between the two countries. That is all what I can say, and I believe that it should not be different if it was the other way around, unless you have an Hebrew name, in that case I do’t know what to tell you.

      1. No my name is not a Hebrew name. I know of blogs by people who have typically Jewish names and it has been fine for them too by their account. I just wondered what the bloggers on here think, or if they have heard of / know of anyone in a similar circumstance. I agree with you that there is no way they can know, though.

  32. Robin Brooker

    Hello! I’m traveling to Lebanon next week, to stay with a friend (native Lebanese). We’re spending most of our time in Beirut, where he lives, but are planning on going to Tripoli and Hermel city. I’m aware that the UK home office advises against all travel to these area. I’m just wondering if you know for what reason? And, is it safe to go there? As in, providing you’re cautious and don’t do anything stupid, would you advise against visiting? We’ll be traveling with two Lebanese locals and a driver from Beirut. Thanks!

    1. Hi Robin, the reason is that there have been one-off clashes between Sunni and Alawi Muslims in one specific neighborhood quite isolated and far from the city center, a couple of years ago. That’s why. Ask you friends and they will tell you it is safe. However, since the UK advises against traveling there, just bear in mind that your regular travel insurance will not cover you during your stay in Tripoli.

      1. Robin Brooker

        Hi Joan. Thanks for your reply! That’s very good to know! My friend says we’ll avoid any ‘volatile’ areas. What about Hermel city? Would you say it’s fine to visit that area. The FCO warns against all travel there too. Also, any ‘must see’ places and tips/advice?

  33. Hi,
    Just wanted to say that my wife and I visited Lebanon last year and it was an amazing place to visit. The people are warm and friendly. I had read all the travel advice from the government but never once felt unsafe. We took shared taxis which your told not to take but they are a great way to get around Beirut and cheap too. Hired a driver to take us to a few places, no problem there too, such a lovely old man who had great knowledge of the places we visited, Byblos and as far down as tyre. We enjoyed Lebanon so much 2 of our friends are on holiday there now from our recommendations. We are also going back in September this year, can’t wait!! My advice to anyone would be go and try Lebanon once and no doubt you’d go back again. Just use your head, follow the local customs and you’ll have a great time.

  34. My father worked in Beirut in the late 1960’s and raved about Baalbek. I have finally decided to visit in October as it seems ok post the election. Is it easy and safe to visit Baalbek currently and the odd vineyard. Any restaurant recommendations in the old area of Beirut? Any other recommendations for a 5 day trip?

  35. This might be a dumb question, but how is the language barrier in Lebanon? I see that the official language is Arabic, so being from the United States, will I have trouble traveling / getting around if I travel there without knowing someone inside Lebanon prior to going?

    1. Hi Kyle. Most educated people speak both English and French. Outside of Beirut, it may be tricky to communicate but, in the end, with Google translator and gestures you will be more than fine.

  36. Hello Against the Compass .
    Me and my wife, we are planning to visit Lebanon in November. We really want to visit Beirut but it is our first trip in Middle East.
    Before I read your article, I was worried about the safety of this trip. I feel much more calm now .

    The plan is to stay 3 nights in Beirut. We’ll have 1 and a half day to explore Beirut and maybe we do a day trip in Byblos.
    i) What do you suggest?
    ii) It is worth the trip to Byblos?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi there! Your plan sounds good but I would consider that you make a trip to Baalbek instead of Byblos. It is completely up to you but the ruins of Baalbek are some of the most impressive Roman ruins outside of Rome. The ones in Byblos are not as impressive and one goes there to wander around the old city, which is filled with expensive seafood restaurants. It is pretty, I don’t deny that, but I just prefer Baalbek. This is just a personal opinion!

  37. I have visited Lebanon many times, the first being in 1989 during the civil war when there was a lull in the fighting. Unfortunately the war flared up while I was there and the only airport in Lebanon closed due to the heavy fighting so I had to escape to Syria and beg for a visa at the border (there is no Syrian embassy in Lebanon). This is something to keep in mind especially as Syria is now a different place and not somewhere to escape to.
    Personally I have not enjoyed my trips as much as many of you have. Beirut is extremely hot, humid, overcrowded and polluted. There is a huge issue with refuse collection. The landfill site is full and no other landfill site has been set up. During rainy periods masses of waste flows through the streets. There has been a spike in respiratory infections as a result.
    I first went to Baalbek in 1992 which was astounding and glorious. I took my children in 2010 and it was a whole different experience. It had become fenced off with an entrance fee and hawkers relentlessly followed and pestered us to the point where it was unbearable.
    The Jeita Grotto is truly astounding and immense. I visited these in 1997 with a baby and a toddler. I was a little anxious as the safety railings were minimal. Recently there was a fatal fall so hopefully the authorities have finally improved the safety railing as a result.
    My children and I usually get food poisoning when we go to Lebanon unless I do the cooking and we only drink bottled water.
    We are also allergic to the numerous, pesticide resistant mosquitoes which seem to be around for about 8 months of the year.
    Lebanese go out of their way to be hospitable but the favourite pastime in Lebanon is gossiping so it is more about being liked and showing off than true hospitality.
    The economy is very bad, unemployment is high, all the divisions are still there and lots of Lebanese are trying to get out of the country.
    Yes, Lebanon is a fascinating country with a long history and beautiful places to visit but go there with your eyes open.

  38. Hello, what a great article of Lebanon. We are from Mexico and next year we are planning to go to Israel and are considering extending the trip to Lebanon for one week.
    We have been in Jordan and our guide told us there are some countries in the ME that if you have been in Israel you might not get the permite to enter. Is it true? And if so, is Lebanon one of these countries? Thank you!

  39. I was considering visiting Lebanon in February during winter to avoid the bulk of tourism. I have a Lebanese friend in country that has informed me greatly on the peoples and places. She is Christian so there are many places she has not been herself just for safety precautions.

    My question is, seeing that Lebanese people are generally what I’d call egocentric, how would travel be for a black American? What are the perceptions and race relations? I worry that Lebanese are so outspoken and blunt that I’ll face instances of racism even unintentionally.

    I’d hate to find myself in a situation or provocation that escalates because I may not be prepared for my reception by locals. My Lebanese friend has assured me that she can handle it and that most probably would remark in Arabic so I won’t understand their negative comments anyways.

    1. Hi, to be honest, if you are a foreign tourist, I don’t think Lebanese have any problem based on your race or nationality, so you should be fine.
      Moreover, I don’t understand why you say that Lebanese are so egocentric, as I felt totally the opposite. Whereas it is true that, in the capital, some wealthy Lebanese may seem arrogant, like in most worldwide capitals, other than that, which is the remaining 98% of the population, people were super kind and hospitable.

  40. I was considering visiting Lebanon in March as the weather starts to change. Is there anything regarding the safety situation that has changed since writing this article?

    Also in the event that protests, demonstrations, or incident occur, what advice would you give to a potential traveler?

    1. The security situation hasn’t changed since then. if you see a public demonstration, the normal advice would be telling you to stay away from it, even though I wouldn’t see it a very big problem

  41. James Brigham (Bigg) Bunyon

    RE: “one of the safest countries in the Middle East”. You’re pushing the concept of relative safety. If Lebanon had 99 terrorist bombings in 2017 and all the other countries in the middle East had 100, Lebanon is, in fact, “one of the safest”. However, it’s still not safe. You do your readers a huge disservice by speaking in relative terms and not absolute terms. Per your logic, a crashing jetliner is “safe” moments before it hits the ground. After all, no crash has happened and nobody is dead … yet. When dealing with people lives, don’t offer half baked ideas. If you’re going to claim safety, define your use of the term. You may feel “safe” surrounded by war that has not have filter over into your little community. Others may have a broader definition of the term that they feel keeps them possibly alive longer

    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion but you seriously don’t know what are you talking about. It seems that you haven’t even been there, yet, you are giving non sense statistics. Go to Lebanon, see it with your own eyes and then we can discuss about it 

    2. I agree. Although the article is very inspiring and apprecitable, some of the terms used seem quite generic and not supported by hard data or facts. A balanced review would encourage the reader to think logically. Surely, the media has very much exagerated things and even spred false news. however, Ignoring facts like 2006’s 33 day war, could lead the reader to question all the other postitive points of the article. Instead the author could simply state the fact that there have been incidents just like some of European countries. E.g With all the bombings and stuff London is still one of the most visited cities in the world.

  42. hello,
    Now that the war is winding down in Syria does anyone know if it is safe to take a bus from Palestine to Lebanon via Jordan? My boyfriend lives in Palestine and we would like to travel to Lebanon together since I have only been to Palestine I thought it would be nice to see more of the middle east that way.

  43. My daughter want to visit Beirut and from there to balbek.is it safe for 27 years old woman travel along.i worry about her.in Lebanon she has a family.but visiting a balbek no one.is there any group travel service they have perhaps from Lebanon tot balbek.my email address is [email protected] you can email me. Please I worried for her so much.thank you dear!

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