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Flights to Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, Lebanon

Beirut Airport – known officially as the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport – serves the city of Beirut, capital of Lebanon. It is located around 9km from the city centre and consists of only one terminal, with a main building and 2 branched wings. The only operational commercial airport in Lebanon as of July 2014, it is served by major airlines such as Emirates, KLM and British Airways and flies to a wide range of international destinations in the Middle East and Europe.

Getting around

To get from Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport to the city, tourists can either rent a car from the airport or grab a taxi. There are no direct buses or trains that connect the airport to the city (as of July 2014), but with the short distance a taxi ride is quick and relatively inexpensive.  

Within Beirut, though, public transport is readily available as the city is served by an extensive network of buses. Run by the Lebanese Commuting Company, public buses are easily spotted as they are marked red and white and, interestingly, operate on a ‘hail and ride’ system. With no distinct bus stops, one simply has to wave at the driver for the bus to stop. These public buses depart every 15 minutes or so and are very affordable, though they may move somewhat slowly. Alternately, renting a car or motorcycle is also an option (though not a popular one – getting used to the local roads and driving styles takes some practice).

What to see and do

When in Beirut don’t miss the iconic National Museum of Beirut, which houses an impressive collection of archaeological artefacts from Lebanon’s past. Have a look at gold jewellery from the ancient Byzantines who used to occupy the city, 5th-century marble statues of baby boys, Phoenician bronze figurines and more. The museum also offers an informative documentary in English or French about the museum and its precious items – a must-see for those wanting to understand the turbulent but colourful history of Beirut and its ancient civilisations.

After immersing yourself in the past, pull yourself back to the present by visiting Beirut’s iconic natural site, the famous Pigeons’ Rock. A beautiful set of rock formations, Pigeons’ Rock – also known as the Rock of Raouché – consists of two poetic-looking offshore rock arches and chalk cliffs on the nearby shores. For a better view, trek down to the cliffs below and you’d also find the hustle and bustle of the city suddenly out of sight and hearing. It is an excellent place for a quiet, pensive sunset or sunrise, but do remember to wear sensible shoes if you are intending to go on a trek.

Before you leave Beirut, do visit the Place des Martyrs for a feel of one of the most historically significant sites in the city. A public square in the heart of Beirut, the Place des Martyrs – French for Martyr’s Square – has witnessed some of the largest public gatherings of Lebanese people in history, including the demonstration on March 14th, 2005, which marked the one-month anniversary of the murder of then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The central bronze statue in the square also symbolises a great national tragedy – it commemorates the Lebanese people who were killed in World War I. 

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