Jet-set Beirut Weekend (BEY)
If you are looking for a glam weekend, stunning scenery, and fantastic food - Beirut should be on your list of places to visit! It's a vibrant city, full of charm and great places to explore - despite some of the problems it has had in the past. The people seem to live life to the fullest - and they know how to have fun. Whenever I'm in Beirut, I can barely find time to sleep in this non-stop Mediterranean hot spot! Here are some of my favorite places to explore:
Raoche - Pigeon Rock - La Corniche
If you only have time to do one thing in Beirut - - you MUST go to Raouche and see Pigeon Rock. The views are jaw dropping and spectacular to say the least. Pull up a seat in one of the cliffside cafe's and soak in the view. I spent hours absorbing the beautiful rock formations and azure ocean panoramas!
Once you tear yourself away from the view, start down the hill and walk along the ocean boardwalk (La Corniche). On top of great vistas - it's full of life!! Its a complete hoot to watch all of the kids, teenagers, and men jumping off of the rock formations. You will be hard pressed to resist the screams of joy and not plunge in yourself!! The whole experience is totally uplifting for some reason.
Nejmeh Square and Area
Your next stop should be Nejmeh Square. This is the heart of Beirut's historic district - and a great place to explore on foot. It almost feels like an outdoor museum - and there are sites to take in at every turn. Some of my favorites include St George Church and the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque. The best part is just walking around and soaking up the atmosphere. If you get tired at any point - there are cafes and fab eateries on almost ever corner.
The French took control of Lebanon after World War I (and it become independent in the 40's). In a relatively short amount of time - they left a significant imprint on the country. Everywhere you turn you see french influences - -and it's easy to think you are in France! You hear a lot of people speaking french, you can dine in some outstanding french establishments, and there is a strong continental style through-out the city. Ladurée, the historic Parisian tea house, is a beautiful (and popular) establishment in Beirut - -and if you are on the look-out for a tasty macaron this is your place
Em Sharif Restaurant
Lebanese cuisine is popular through out the world - from Australia to Argentina! I love it - -and on my last trip I had the chance to visit what many consider the best Lebanese restaurant on the planet: Em Sharif.
I can't say this forcefully enough - -this place is going to BLOW you away. Don't eat anything all day - - as you are going to be flooded with dish after dish of Lebanese favorites (with a twist!). I loved the ambiance - and it was oosing with glam. The waiters are all in tuxedos and the food doesn't stop - EVER. From the minute you sit down - your table is full of cold appetizers - and it builds from there. Soups, salads, meats, seafood, stuffed vegetables - -and on and on. Just when you think they can't possibly bring any more on - the fill the entire table up with desserts. I felt like an anaconda by the end of this meal!
If you are coming from most countries in Europe of North America you won't need a visa. The boarder agent will issue one upon entry at the airport. However, you need to be careful. If you have any stamps or evidence in your passport that you have visited Israel they will, sadly, deny you entry. Hopefully this will change in the near future.
If you are looking for a special, premium, local treat to bring home - look no further than Blessing. This is a local chocolatier, purveyor of sweets, and surprises that is sure to delight. I brought home two boxes on my last trip - and my office mates could not stop raving!
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