Things to do in Beirut

Slap on those salopettes

Lebanon might not be up there with the Trois Vallees when it comes to famous skiing areas, but the Mount Lebanon mountain range is home to no fewer than six ski resorts, all within an hour’s drive of the capital. Arguably the best is Faraya Mzaar Kfardebian (commonly known as Mzaar), which offers excellent skiing between December and April (tel: +961 70 103 222;

Party on the site of a former prison camp

In a town renowned for its party scene, B018 (tel: +961 3 810 618) is its most controversial nightclub. Housed in the semi-industrial Karantina district, site of some of the worst atrocities during the civil war, it’s said to be built on the site of a former Palestinian camp. Nowadays known as an after-party destination (don’t go there before 2am), it has a sliding roof that opens up to reveal the rising sun.

Hitch a ride to the sky in a cable car

Don’t attempt this nine-minute cable car ride if you suffer from vertigo – although the unique view you’ll get of the city definitely compensates for any discomfort. The Telerifque (tel: +961 9 936075; picks up from the bay of Jounieh, 16km (9 miles) outside of Beirut, and alights at the Our Lady Of Lebanon shrine in Harissa. Somewhat gallingly, there’s a Burger King at the top.

Forget the city at Pigeon Rocks

Pigeon Rocks is one of Beirut’s true natural landmarks and a brilliant spot to seek out if you are finding the city a little claustrophobic (you wouldn’t be the first). The two rock arches are just off the coast of Raouche; take the track from the cliff’s southern side that leads down into the lower cliffs, where you can creep between shadowy cliffs and inlets. Aaaaaaaaand, breathe.

Robert Mouawad Private Museum

This neo-Gothic palace (tel: +961 1 98 09 70; is home to the vast collection of businessman Robert Mouawad. A cornucopia of art, jewelry, ceramics and antiquities, it is the best local museum to visit if you want to see classical Lebanese artifacts. The building it’s housed in is just as impressive, and propped by gleaning Roman columns throughout.

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