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Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, Beirut

One Day Downtown Beirut Exploration

HomeLebanon Tours
Code: LB101
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If you are in Beirut for a day, it is highly recommended that you follow this classic day tour, to visit two of the most iconic museums and learn about Lebanese history and culture, get a taste of the city's modernity at the popular Place de l 'Etoile and Beirut Souks, while head to the beach in the evening to experience the unique charm and rich nightlife of the Mediterranean coastal city. In just one day, you will see a multi-faceted Lebanon.

► Route: National Museum of Beirut → MIM Mineral Museum → Gouraud (lunch) → Martyrs' Square → Place de l'Étoile → Beirut Souks & Downtown Beirut → Zaitunay Bay

Accommodation Suggestions:
It is recommended that you stay the night before near the National Museum of Beirut in the downtown, where it is convenient for you to start this day tour. The 5-star Nest 1 Hotel and The Smallville Hotel, and the 4-star Hotel De Ville, and Sodeco Suites around the museum are good choices. If you want a room with a sea view, you can choose the high-end hotels in the Ain Al Mraiseh area along the coastline of the Zaitunay Bay.
  • National Museum of Beirut
    National Museum of Beirut
  • Zaitunay Bay
    Zaitunay Bay
8:40 – 9:00 Start: Walk or take a taxi to National Museum of Beirut
Since the museum doesn't open until 9:00 am, you can sleep in. Wake up naturally and enjoy your breakfast. If you choose to stay in one of the aforementioned hotels near the museum, you can walk just 5 to 10 minutes to reach the National Museum of Beirut. If you stay near the Zaitunay Bay, you'll need to take a taxi to the museum. It takes about 15 minutes to get there by taxi or Uber and costs LBP 85,000 to 120,000.

► Tip: It is some difficult to get an Uber in Beirut. Many drivers are reluctant to use the app. Taxi fares are determined by individual negotiations, not by meter or app, so you need to have a good idea of how far you're going and the approximate fare, and then you can negotiate with the driver.

9:00 – 10:30 Must-see: National Museum of Beirut
Built in 1937, the National Museum is Lebanon's most important archaeological museum. There is a screening room on the right side of the entrance, where you can watch an introductory video about the museum for free. There are three floors: one underground and two above ground.

  What to See: The first and second floors exhibit the museum's extensive collection of objects from different periods, including prehistory, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine and Mamluk Period. Among them, you can see many statues, sarcophagi, and the world's first alphabet invented by Phoenicians. The underground floor features an eye-opening restoration of the tomb of a king named Tyre.
  Opening Hours: 9:00 – 14:00; closed on Mondays
  Telephone Number: +9611426703
  Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 to 2 hours
  Ticket Price: LBP 5,000

10:30 – 12:30 Special Visit to MIM Mineral Museum
Just a 3-minute walk northwest from the National Museum of Beirut along the Damascus Street, you'll find the MIM Mineral Museum on campus on your right. This is a private museum. Unlike other history museums in Beirut, it shows the wonder of nature and gives you an interesting experience.

  What to See: More than 2,000 minerals and crystals are on display, with different species from 70 countries. Nature created these mineral artworks millions of years ago, giving them amazing aesthetics featuring stunning colors and various geometric shapes. After visiting the exhibits, you can also drop by the museum's shop, where you can buy ornaments or small gifts made from natural stones or crystals at reasonable prices.
  Opening Hours: 10:00 – 13:00; 14:00 – 18:00; closed on Mondays
  Telephone Number: +9611421672
  Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 hours
  Ticket Price: LBP 10,000

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch Break at Gouraud
For lunch, you are recommended to go to the lively Gouraud block, which is full of good restaurants, cafes and bistros. From the MIM Mineral Museum to Gouraud, it takes half an hour to walk and 10 minutes to take a taxi or Uber with a cost of about LBP 70,000. Pay attention to negotiate with the driver and confirm the fare before getting on a taxi or Uber.

Lebanese cuisine dates back thousands of years to Phoenician times. As a result of the long rule of different civilizations, the Lebanese menu has retained Turkish, Arab and French cooking styles. It features a vegetarian diet and extensive use of nuts and lemon juice flavorings. You can try the local side dishes tabbouleh, fattoush and labneh, and main courses like falafel, kibbeh, kofta, shish taouk, and shawarma.

14:00 – 16:00 Martyrs' Square & Place de l'Étoile
After the lunch break, you can take a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk west to Martyrs' Square, home to the iconic memorial to national martyrs. South of the square, you can visit the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque because of its 48-meter-high blue dome. Please note that ladies need to pick up a black robe at the entrance and put it on to enter the mosque.
  Opening Hours: 11:00 – 19:00
  Telephone Number: +9613306237
  Recommended Time for a Visit: half an hour
  Ticket Price: Free

Next, visit the Saint Georges Maronite Cathedral, just to the west of the mosque. It's an imposing neoclassical church rebuilt after the Lebanese civil war.
  Opening Hours: 6:30 – 17:00 from Monday to Friday; 6:30 – 19:00 on Saturday; 6:30 – 14:00 on Sunday 
  Telephone Number: +9611981191
  Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 hour
  Ticket Price: Free

Five minutes’ walk further north is the Place de l'Etoile, one of Lebanon's most popular sightseeing spots. It's a lovely square where you may feel like you're in Paris. You can walk around and admire the architectural beauty, or you can find a nice cafe and have a drink.

16:00 – 17:30 Shopping at Beirut Souks & Downtown Beirut

If you are a shopaholic, you should not miss Beirut souks. Three minutes north of Place de l'Etoile are the Beirut Souks and the Downtown Beirut, which form an urban complex and open-air mall with a variety of specialty shops and restaurants, as well as cinemas, arcades, and children's rides. You can wander around, see the modern side of the old city, and buy something you like or gifts for your family and friends.


17:30 – 19:00 Dinner and Nightlife at Zaitunay Bay
In the evening, continue walking north for about 15 minutes to reach the Zaitunay Bay. This place is highly recommended, featuring a promenade by the marina. There are many boutiques, cafes, and sea-view restaurants, with great atmosphere and various food options. Find a classy restaurant for dinner, and then you can take a walk, take photos, and enjoy the views of the Mediterranean coast and the docked yachts collection. The night view here is also very charming.

After a great day with your fellow travelers, you can walk or take a taxi or Uber back to your hotel.

► If you've just landed in Beirut and only have half a day to make your own arrangements, follow this route:
Half Day Walking Trip of Beirut: Hamra, Corniche & Sunset

► If you don't have much experience in independent travel, it is recommended that you book a guided tour with us to make all the arrangements for you:
7 Days Beirut - Deir Al-Qamar - Sidon - Tyre - Beirut - Baalbek - Anjar - Harissa - Byblos - Beirut

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