“Why Lebanon?”

Asked many locals I had a conversation with during my recent visit to the country. I understand the sentiment. If I met a solo female traveller in Nigeria who wasn’t in the country for business, I might be tempted to ask the same question. But after spending a few days there, I have a different question.

“Why not Lebanon?”

For a relatively small country, Lebanon packs in quite a punch! Within only a few hours from its capital city, Beirut, are sandy and pebble-stoned beaches, historic towns and souks, beautifully preserved ruins, cedar forests and stunning mountainous backdrops!

It is no wonder it is fast becoming a destination of choice for many Nigerian travellers. The fact that it offers Nigerians fairly easy visa and entry requirements also contributes to its rise in popularity.

Beirut city pictures
Beirut and Beyond – A 7-Day Lebanon Travel Guide! Click To Tweet

Nigeria to Lebanon: Visa on Arrival Requirements

At the time of this writing, Lebanon offers a conditional visa on arrival to Nigerian travellers for a small price of $2, and for a stay of up to 15 days. The conditions to be met include, having a return flight ticket, paid accommodation in a 3-5-star hotel or private residence and $2,000 in cash.

As I mentioned in my previous article, this cash requirement may seem quite steep but as Lebanon is currently a heavily cash-dependent country, it is imperative to hold enough money to cover your stay.

That being said, you may not be asked for this requirement, and you may be allowed boarding and entry if you have paid for your activities and tours in advance. Several Nigerian travellers have reported this being the case for them.

I also had a similar experience, where no one asked to see any of the requirements before boarding my flight in Cairo and upon arrival in Beirut.

Fouha Guesthouse Batroun

Nigeria to Lebanon: Visa on Arrival

However, the flip side of the coin is that you may be asked for all documents and cash and risk deportation or being denied boarding if you do not meet the conditions fully.

The alternative recommendation here is to apply for your visa at the Lebanese Embassy in Abuja if possible. That way, you do not need to present the $2,000 in cash.

Now, if you’re considering travelling with only a small amount of money, intending to use your cards or withdraw from an ATM when you arrive, you may want to seriously reconsider that option and here’s why.

Why You Should Travel with Cash (USD) to Lebanon and Never Use Your Cards…

At the time of my visit, the official exchange rate was 10,000 Lebanese Lira (LL) to 1 USD but the rate on the country-wide accepted black-market averaged out to be 95,000 LL to 1 USD.

To give an example of why paying for services with your card might be a bad idea; imagine you eat out at a restaurant and the bill comes to 950,000 LL. If you pay with cash in USD, you will be charged $10. But if you use a card (that’s if the establishment will even accept it), that $10 meal just became a whooping $95!

Are you Dangote? No? Don’t use your credit or debit cards in Lebanon! So, what if you get stranded for some reason and find yourself running low on funds?

How to Receive or Change Money in Lebanon

Well, first, try not to let that happen. You can do this by travelling with the required cash and paying for your accommodation in advance – these are requirements after all. Also, you should prepare a proper daily budget and cost breakdown and be sure to include enough buffer to take care of contingencies.

On my BuymeaCoffe Page, you will find details of my itinerary and how much I spent on this trip.

Fouha Boutique Hotel Cafe and Bar Batroun

If you do all the above and still run out of money, know that there are Western Union stalls or those of similar services dotted all across the country. You can easily send yourself some money if you an app (like MPESA) that enables you to do so or ask your family or friends back home to help facilitate the process on your behalf.

Similarly, you can change your money easily within the country and OMT stalls usually have the best rates. Since the black-market rates fluctuate daily, I recommend changing a bit at a time. Many establishments also accept USD cash payments, so save your Lebanese Liras and Pounds for taxi rides and street food.

Getting a SIM Card in Lebanon

Another thing you may want to do when you arrive in Lebanon is to get a SIM card. There are two main network providers in the country – Alfa and Touch. From my brief online research, there doesn’t seem to be a difference in terms of their offerings. So, you can go with either.

To save money on this purchase, be sure to only buy the SIM card from an official store. I registered and got mine, with 5GB worth of data for $14 from an Alfa Store – I used less than a GB during my stay. Before this, other vendors had charged me between $38 and $50 for the same value of data and probably a pre-owned SIM card.

visiting Lebanon as a Nigerian

Getting the SIM at an official store not only saves you money but also ensures that you’re not using a card from a questionable source. Note that you will need your passport to obtain the SIM card.

I believe I have covered a lot of the basic things to note while preparing for your trip. Now, I’ll get into the details of what I did during my time visiting Lebanon. I’ll include places I didn’t get to visit but are certainly worth including in your itinerary if you have the time.

First up, Beirut.

Beirut and Beyond – A 7-Day Lebanon Travel Guide: Day 1 in Lebanon – Arrival in Beirut

Martyr's Square Beirut

I arrived in Beirut on a red-eye flight from Cairo and deviated from my original plan to head straight to Batroun. Rather than doing so (and thank God I didn’t), I spent a night in Beirut first. My hotel of choice was the Crown Plaza on Hamra Street.

I could spend four free nights here by utilizing points I had accumulated during my time in Cairo. For a free stay, this place was great but if I was paying for accommodation in Beirut, I would have chosen to stay somewhere else.

Hamra Street Beirut

After settling in and taking a much-needed nap, I hit the streets of Hamra on foot, both to get familiar with the area, as well as, to get a SIM card and change some money. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t find a favourable store for the SIM card on Hamra Street, so I walked for a bit longer until I found one and bought it there.

Later in the day, I walked over to the famous Raouche Rocks, from where I watched a beautiful sunset and ended my first day in Lebanon.

Day 2 in Lebanon – Jeita Grotto, Harissa, Byblos and Batroun

The next morning, I hired the services of a taxi driver to take me to Batroun, with stops in Jeita Grotto, Harissa and Byblos. Our first stop for the day was Jeita Grotto and I arrived just after opening time.

After getting my ticket, I waited in line for the train shuttle to take us to the upper grotto. There, we were asked to leave our phones in a locker. The attendants were not very strict, and for a moment, I considered ‘smuggling’ my phone inside :).

Jeita Grotto Train

Exploring Jeita Grotto in Lebanon

Anyway, because I didn’t, I got to enjoy a quiet and enchanting visit inside the cave. And when I say this place is enchanting, I am not exaggerating! In my few travel years, I have never seen anything quite like it.

A walkway from the entrance led me through a breathtaking view of stunning limestone stalactite and stalagmite formations that have been meticulously crafted over thousands of years.

Jeita Grotto

Because I was one of the first ones in, I enjoyed a quiet, cool and peaceful walk through the cave and formations. As I left, a larger group came in and their loud chatters echoed throughout the cave. I felt happy to have had a quiet moment earlier with other respectful tourists.

After seeing the upper grotto, I rode the shuttle a short way down to the lower one, which was just as impressive as the first. Instead of a walkway, this grotto is accessible via a serene boat ride along an underground river.

Jeita Grotto Photos Lower Grotto

PS: Here, the attendant allowed me inside with my phone but warned me against taking pictures with the flash on. PPS: The grotto closes every Monday, so plan your trip around that.

A Quick Stop in Harissa…

After this delightful stop, we drove up to Harissa, instead of taking the cable car ride, to see the churches there, as well as the Statue of Our Lady of Lebanon overlooking the Jounieh Bay.

The views of the coastline along the way were stunning and I imagine that those from the cable car will be equally so. I spent a little time here before heading to Byblos.

Visiting the Historic City of Jbeil, aka, Byblos…

This city is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to an alluring mix of ancient ruins and structures from different eras.

Most of my time here was spent walking through the old souk, which I loved. I loved all the restaurants and stores, the alleyways, and the arches. I enjoyed watching street performers and their audience, and generally, it was a short, but sweet visit.

Finally, we arrived in Batroun, the last stop of the day and the place where I would spend the next two nights.

Our Lady of the Sea at Sunset

Day 3 -4 in Lebanon: Staying in Fouha Hotel, Batroun Old Souk

Here, I stayed at Fouha Boutique Hotel in the old souk, and it was the highlight of my visit to Lebanon. The plan for my time in Batroun was to simply relax and this hotel provided exactly that – a stress-free, lovely, and welcoming atmosphere to just kick back.

FOMO took a backseat and I felt zero pressure to tick off the activities on the list of things I had seen to do in Batroun. PS: there are quite a few exciting things to do here.

Instead, I enjoyed wine and delightful conversations at the Fouha Cafe and Bar with the owner and staff, I took long endless walks through the souk and the town itself and watched stunning sunsets from Our Lady of the Sea church.

It was here that I met up with my friend, who by sheer luck, was in Lebanon the same time I was! It was also here that I met a family who kindly invited me to their home in Beirut and a vacation home in the mountains. Though I ended up not visiting, I felt very grateful for their warm hospitality towards me. I felt this way throughout my stay in Batroun.

Walking tour of Batroun at sunrise
Solo Female Nigerian traveller Batroun Old Souk

I would have stayed longer if I was able to find accommodation, but most places I was looking at, including Fouha, were fully booked. So, I decided to return to Beirut, after spending most of day four in Batroun.

Day 5 in Lebanon – Short Beirut City Tour

In Batroun, my friend introduced me to her guide, Joe, who she had enjoyed touring with. He had such a wholesome personality, and you could tell that more than being just a regular tour guide, he was someone who enjoyed showing off the beauty of his country and meeting people.

He shared a city guide for Beirut with us and so I began my morning using this guide to see the best parts of Beirut.

I started in Gemmayzeh and visited this neighbourhood multiple times during my stay for dinner, and ended the day watching the sunset in Zaitunay Bay.

Day 7 in Lebanon – Day Trip to Baalbek

After a failed attempt to visit Chaowen Lake on day six, I was looking forward to my day trip to Baalbek with Joe. This was my last full day in Lebanon, and it was a good one!

Joe picked me up from the hotel in the morning, and then we grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading out. We made a few interesting stops, including visiting Aïn Saoufar, the Baalbek Stones, a beautiful mosque, and the historic Palmyra Hotel before arriving at the Baalbek Temples.

It was fascinating to learn about the history of this city and to see the beautifully preserved Roman ruins, which are some of the largest in the world. We spent an ample amount of time walking through the complex and admiring the structures.

I would write more about this visit and place, but this article has already gone way beyond the word limit for a typical post on this blog! 🙂 So, I will save all additional details for another post and the comment section!

Baalbek Temple of Jupiter

After leaving the temples, we made a quick stop at a vantage point to enjoy views of the city below. It was a cloudy day, but the views were splendid, nonetheless. And with that, the day trip came to an end. We returned to Beirut, and I later to Cairo.

Raouche Rocks Sunset Pigeon Rocks Beirut

7-Day Lebanon Travel Guide – Additional Places to Visit…

My time in Lebanon was relaxing. I did not pre-book any tours in advance or feel the pressure to do anything. Though I had prepared a well-detailed itinerary including several stops, I simply chose to go with the flow once I arrived.

I had wanted (and attempted) to see Chouwen Lake – I will arrange this with a guide for next time, Beit ed-Dine and Shouf Cedars, Baatara Gorge Waterfall and considered a day trip to Tripoli, Sidon and Tyre. I guess this means I have something to look forward to when I return to the country!

Zaitunay Bay Beirut

I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide, as much as I have enjoyed writing it! In a separate article, I will go into a more detailed review of the hotels and services I used while in the country. I will also recount my experiences – the good, bad and ugly, as a solo female traveller in Lebanon.

Overall, this was a wonderful spontaneous trip that was worth taking for me. Pairing it with Egypt was also a smart decision, as it not only helped me save money, but I got to visit these two countries quite seamlessly; a seemingly rare feat for a Nigerian passport holder these days!

Related: 19 Fun Things to Do in Cairo!

Tell me, have you visited Lebanon or do you have plans to go? Share some of your favourite experiences in the country with me in the comment section below!

Also, please feel free to leave me any questions you may have about visiting, either solo or with your friends or partner. I will be glad to respond to them to the best of my knowledge! 🙂

I love to hear from you, Leave a comment here!


  1. It seems you have a great vacation and the photos are gorgeous. It is an incredible place! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Even the photos seem so relaxing and peaceful! What a beautiful country!! I would love to visit one day.

    P.s looking forward to reading more about Balbek

    • I know right?! It is truly the Pearl of the Middle East and I hope she shines brightly again! I’ll be following your adventures virtually when you go 🙂

  3. This is wonderful. I really look forward to pairing Egypt and Lebanon for my next trip. Thank you for sharing

  4. Wonderful as usual. This just came on my list because I have somewhat lost my travel spirit and it seems like the perfect place to kickstart it.

    • Definitely a good option to consider! Not overly expensive, relatively short flight time if you fly directly and a good variety of sites and activities.