Just 2 weeks ago we announced we wanted to expand to Beirut. We received many applications, and assembled a really great team of Spotters within a week.
Tickets to Beirut were cheap at this time of the year, and we couldn’t wait to visit this city we’ve read so much about. So we visited last week to meet our Spotters and check out as many of their favorite spots as possible!
Getting to Beirut is easy. We flew Middle East Airlines – Lebanon’s national carrier – which has a modern fleet, reasonable prices and many destinations. Visitors from most countries don’t need a visa, the airport is modern and efficient and the people at passport control and customs are relaxed (just make sure you don’t have any proof of visiting Israel in your passport or bags). The only small disappointment: we always like to start our trip by taking public transport from the airport – however long it takes – but the only option is a taxi (USD 25) or using a taxi app.
Beirut is a fantastic mix of modern architecture and photogenic beautiful old (often sadly abandoned) buildings. Beautiful chaos! While walking from one end of town (we were staying in the far Northwest – Hamra) to the other, you go from super posh, to very poor to gentrified “cool” area several times. We could just walk around here for weeks without getting bored…
Beirut is not a green city, but if you plan your walk well there are plenty of spots to chill and people watch (our alltime favorite activity). The American University of Beirut (AUB) is an oasis of calm in this chaotic city. You can enter the premises, but need to be accompanied by a designated student “guide”. They can drop you off at the Archeological Museum though, and you’ll have the chance to walk around by yourself after your visit.
Beirut is an artsy city. There are an impressive amount of cool jewelry, fashion and art designer shops and there is some really original street art from local artists.
And the food… yes it is even more amazing than the Lebanese food we have eaten all over the world. We love eating food on the streets, so for breakfast and lunch we had about every type of Man’oushi (lebanese “pancake” / “pizza”) and falafel there is to be found. We also sampled Kibbeh (raw lamb meat) for the first time – it’s really good!
Our Spotters are writing about their favorite spots as we speak (and reading the articles makes us want to go back already…). We plan to launch the Beirut city guide in March.
Next destination in the Middle East: Cairo. Do you know any locals there? Please ask them to spread the w word to their friends, and apply via https://www.spottedbylocals.com/become-a-spotter/. Thank you!