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Raouche Rocks, Beirut

Half Day Walking Trip of Beirut: Hamra, Corniche & Sunset

HomeLebanon Tours
Code: LB104
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When you land at the Beirut Airport in the morning, after a short rest, you have half a day to explore downtown Beirut in the afternoon, so it is highly recommended that you check out this route. Beirut's core area is not big and you can get around it on foot.

Accommodation Suggestions & Activities Summary:
If you are looking for an affordable hotel, it is advised to stay in the Hamra or Snoubra area, which has a wide choice of accommodation and is lively and convenient. If you want to stay on the Mediterranean coast, you can choose a room with an ocean view at an upscale hotel in the Raoucheh area. After checking into the hotel for a short break, you can stroll through the bustling Hamra Street, have lunch, visit the American University of Beirut, and then finish off a perfect afternoon with a stroll along the Corniche for sea views and sunset.

► Time: 5 hours
► Walking Distance: 5 km (3.1 mi)
► Route: Hamra Street → American University of Beirut → Archaeological Museum (on campus) → Corniche El Manara → Beirut Lighthouse → Beirut Luna Park  → Pigeon Rocks (Raouche Rocks)
  • Corniche, Beirut
    Corniche, Beirut
  • Pigeon Rocks
    Pigeon Rocks (Raouche Rocks)
13:00 – 14:00 Hang out on Hamra Street and have lunch
Our recommended first stop, Hamra, is Beirut's famous and popular commercial street. If you live in the Hamra or Snoubra areas, you can walk here in a few minutes. If you live on the beach or somewhere far away, it is advised to take a taxi or Uber to get to Hamra to start an afternoon hike.

► Note: A taxi or Uber from seaside to Hamra Street takes 5 to 10 minutes and costs about LBP 70,000 to 100,000. Before getting on a taxi or Uber, you need to negotiate the fare with the driver in advance.

Beirut is known as the ‘Little Paris of the Middle East’, while Hamra has been the busiest area of Beirut since the 1970s. Although the streets here are narrow and crowded, and the buildings are old, Hamra is still prosperous, with a distinct French town style. There are hotels of various grades, and the prices are relatively low. With many restaurants, cafes, and souvenir stores, it is really a good place to shop, eat and hang out.

You can have lunch at a nice restaurant and try local specialties such as fattoush, hummus, kebbeh, kafta, raqaqat, and manaqeesh. Also, you can choose a favorite cafe to order a Lebanese white coffee, or if you like, try a hookah to experience the unique entertainment of the locals.

14:00 – 16:00 Visit American University of Beirut & Archaeological Museum
Walk north from the Hamra neighborhood and follow Jeanne Darc Street for less than 10 minutes until you reach the intersection of Jeanne Darc and Bliss Street, and here you’ll see the main gate of the American University of Beirut (AUB). Known as the ‘Harvard of the Middle East’, the university was founded in 1866 and has trained many political and business leaders.
  Opening Hours: 8:00 – 17:00; closed on Saturdays and Sundays
  Telephone Number: +9611350000
  Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 to 2 hours
  Ticket Price: Free

Admission to the campus is free, but you need to register and leave within a set time, usually two hours. At the gate office, the staff are very friendly to visitors. Please show your passport and register your information in order to enter. Walk in and you will see a beautiful campus, full of green trees, antique buildings and cute cats. Standing on the hillside, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Mediterranean in the north.

You can’t miss the Archaeological Museum on campus, which is very informative and interesting. Built in 1868, the museum focuses on archaeological finds in Lebanon, exhibiting artifacts from the remote antiquity to the ancient Rome age. There are also collections from Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, and Iran. Admission is free and there is a free audio guide.
  Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00; closed on Saturdays and Sundays
  Telephone Number: +9611759665
  Recommended Time for a Visit: half to one hour
  Ticket Price: Free

16:00 – 17:00 Leisurely Walk along Corniche
Head north to go out of the university from the AUB Sea Gate, and here you’ll reach the start of the Corniche. Extending from the Saint Georges Bay to Ramlet Al Baida area, the 5.5 km (3.4 mi) long Corniche is Beirut's most famous promenade. You are recommended to walk the most scenic northwest stretch, from the Corniche El Manara to the Pigeon Rocks. It takes about 40 minutes to complete the 3.2 km (2 mil) section without stopping. Of course there are several places worth visiting along the way, so take your time and see them as you go.
  Opening Hours: 24 hours
  Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 to 2 hours
  Ticket Price: Free

Walking southwest along the coast from the Corniche El Manara, you'll see people from all walks of life. There are many strollers, joggers, sunbathers, amateur fishermen, and professional swimmers and divers. Walk about 10 minutes and you will see the Beirut Lighthouse, a popular place to take pictures. There are big tides here several times a month, and it’s exciting to watch the high tides and strong waves. To the southeast, you can see the Old Lighthouse in the distance, another historical landmark of Beirut.

Turn south along the coastline and there are many waterfront facilities such as sea-view restaurants, clubs, swimming pools, gyms, and playgrounds for kids. After another 10-minute walk, you'll arrive at the Beirut Luna Park, which features a ferris wheel with amazing views of the coast and the whole city.

Walk 20 minutes further south from the Luna Park, and you'll see the famous Pigeon Rock.

17:00 – 18:00 Watch Sunset at Pigeon Rocks (Raouche Rocks)
Pigeon Rocks, also known as the Raouche Rocks, is a natural landmark of Beirut and one of the city's best sunset spots.
  Opening Hours: 24 hours
  Recommended Time for a Visit: half to one hour
  Ticket Price: Free

Off the shore of the Mediterranean west of the city, the Pigeon Rocks are a pair of large, specially shaped rocks with natural hollows in the middle. There is a viewing platform on the shore, which is usually crowded with tourists, locals, and even couples taking wedding photos. You can sit in a restaurant or a cliff cafe and watch the sunset. Or, you can spend USD 10 to take a boat ride through the caves, giving you a different angle to see the rocks up close. On the boat, the west is a breathtaking sunset over the vast ocean, while the east is a cityscape of tall buildings along the shore. You'll be impressed by the contrast.

► Tip: The sun sets earlier in winter, usually around 17:00. You can ask the hotel staff for the exact sunset time, and flexibly adjust the above walking route and time, so that you won't miss the sunset.

► If you have a full day to explore Beirut, check out this self-guided tour:
One Day Downtown Beirut Exploration for Independent Travelers

► If you're not good at independent travel and want to enjoy your trip in ease and comfort, you can contact us to book a guided tour at a reasonable price:
5 Days Beirut - Jeita - Byblos - Anjar - Baalbek - Sidon - Tyre - Beirut

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