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Beirut tours and excursions

Beirut tours

Walking tours

The easiest way to discover Beirut is on foot – provided you keep the extreme sport of crossing the road to a minimum. Beirut Old City Walk takes a look at Beirut's history, giving the inside scoop on the city's turbulent past as well as its food scene. Walks start on Sundays at 2.30pm from the entrance of Sagesse School at Ain El Roumaneh.

Tel: +961 70 731 393.

Bike tours

Beirut by bike is exhilarating. Although most tour operators like to keep you within their local area (where they can keep tabs on you), Beirut By Bike can show you a variety of city hotspots. Be warned: tours are only for the intrepid, thanks to bumpy, pot-holed roads, a limited number of pavements and terrifying drivers.

Tel: +961 3 435 524.
Website: http://www.beirutbybike.com

Beirut excursions

Jeita Grotto

This stunning crystalline cave system, located 45 minutes from Beirut in the Nahr al-Kalb (Dog River) valley, is a spectacular natural wonder. Most tours include a walk through the columns and stalagmites of the upper levels and a boat trip through the lower levels, giving an altogether different view of the awe-inspiring limestone rock formations.

Tel: +961 9 220 840.
Website: http://www.jeitagrotto.com

Baalbek

Located in the heart of the Bekaa Valley, two hours from Beirut's city centre, is the fascinating historic site of Baalbek. The ruins date back to 10,000 BC, when the Phoenicians built a temple to the god Baal, from which the city took its name. It's a UNESCO-listed site with some truly breathtaking temples.

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Featured Hotels

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Talal Hotel

Talal Hotel offers bright, clean rooms complete with comfortable beds for next to nothing. Better still, it's within striking distance of Gemmayzeh and Place des Martyrs. The atmosphere is lively and the hotel also has a communal kitchen. The result is friendly but a bit like living as a student.

Regis Hotel

At first look, you could be forgiven for thinking that you'd just pitched up at the Lebanese Fawlty Towers. However, staff are warm and welcoming, rooms are clean and the breakfast is excellent. All rooms have modern air-con, fridges and TVs, but better still is Regis' proximity to the Corniche.

Casa d'Or

The Casa D'Or is a welcoming, comfortable alternative to functional budget hotels or the home-stays that dominate the lower end of the market. It's not especially glamorous but rooms are clean, comfortable and well appointed, and a decent breakfast is included in the price. It also offers low season discounts.

Hotel Albergo

If nothing but the finest will do, make Hotel Albergo your base. With just 30 rooms and a swimming pool, everything screams opulence, including the excellent rooftop bar, complete with fabulous views of the city. Rooms are themed in European, Oriental, colonial and Mediterranean styles, and the lovely Italian restaurant is also well worth a visit.

Pension al-Nazih

Close to the main sites, including the Place des Martyrs, Pension al-Nazih is a small 10-room budget hotel offering pleasantly comfortable rooms complete with cable TV and 24-hour hot water – neither guaranteed in Beirut. Rooms are plane and a little dated, but it's still an excellent budget option. Wi-Fi and breakfast cost extra.

Port View Hotel

It's no Hilton but the Port View Hotel is comfortable, clean and well appointed, which is more than can be said for many mid-range sleeping spots in the Middle East. Set a little off the beaten track in the quiet Gemmayzeh district, it's convenient for the main drag to but still peaceful.