The Lebanese capital is a unique vacation destination; once you’ve been, you can’t help but sing its praises. From the restaurants, rooftop lounges, luxury hotels, and shisha cafes to the mosques and monuments, it promises to be a memorable trip from the moment your flight lands.
There’s no denying Lebanon’s turbulent past has left its mark, but Beirut’s famously hospitable residents don’t focus on that; they acknowledge their history, but look to the future. What you get as a result is an utterly modern city center, from the European-style boutiques, cafes, and courtyards of Place de l’Etoile to the hip venues of Gemmayze. And never far away are the carefully preserved historic sites, such as the Place Des Martyrs (Martyrs' Square) and the St. George Maronite Cathedral. If you have enough time for a day trip from Beirut, you can visit other interesting historic sites, including the ancient city of Byblos.
There are also plenty of opportunities to get outdoorsy. Beirut is famous for being one of the few places where (depending on the season) you can ski in the mountains in the morning and be sunning yourself on the coast in the afternoon. The ski season runs from mid-December to early April. March, when the snowfall is more consistent, is the best month to go.
The après ski culture is rather different from Europe’s though—no one lingers in a lodge on the slopes drinking hot chocolate. Generally, once you’re done skiing, you head back to your home (or hotel) to relax and get ready for the evening. Beirut’s reputation as the nightlife capital of the Middle East is well deserved—you might find that you don’t see much of your hotel at all.