Please read all sections of this travel advice carefully. The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller and the traveller is responsible for his or her personal safety for the duration of his/her trip.
Irish citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution in all areas of Lebanon, to avoid military sites, refugee camps and border areas, to avoid all travel to areas south of the Litani River and to avoid all non-essential travel to the Tripoli area of northern Lebanon. Irish citizens are also advised to avoid non-essential travel within 15 kilometers of the Syrian border.
The political situation in Lebanon is reasonably stable but it is fragile, with potential for the overall situation to deteriorate quickly and for dangerous incidents to occur. Regional developments have the potential to trigger popular unrest. Any Irish citizens in Lebanon are advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings.
Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Protests, sectarian violence and kidnappings of foreigners have occurred throughout the country, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli.
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Lebanon. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Safety and Security
If you decide to travel to Lebanon you should exercise due caution and a high level of vigilance at all times in public places. Avoid military sites, refugee camps and border areas.
On 19 October a an explosion occurred near Sassine Square in the area of Achrafieh in Beirut causing 3 deaths and a great number of injuries. There were protests and violence in several places across the country for several days following this incident.
Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Protests, sectarian violence and kidnappings of foreigners have occurred throughout the country, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli. Any Irish citizens in Lebanon are advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings.
There have also been a number of attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants, mainly in the south. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Lebanese Government interests, particularly the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), have been targeted for attacks by some of the militant groups, some of these involving fatalities. Unexploded ordnance, particularly in the South, and in the Bekaa Valley, also presents a risk.
Irish citizens are advised against all travel to areas south of the Litani River and against all non-essential travel to the Tripoli area of northern Lebanon. Syrian military forces have made several incursions into Lebanese territory recently; citizens are advised to avoid non-essential travel within 15 kilometers of the Syrian border.
The risk to tourists from petty or violent crime is low, though vehicle crime is on the increase.
On 23 March 2011, a group of seven Estonian tourists were abducted by armed men close to the town of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley and held captive for a number of months before being released. Irish citizens visiting Baalbek or other parts of the Bekaa Valley are strongly advised to keep to the main roads and larger towns.
The road to the airport is subject to sporadic closure due to various factors, including local sectarian classes, civil unrest in Syria and protests against government policies.
As road standards are variable, you should avoid driving outside the main cities at night. Should you choose to drive your own car in Lebanon, you should be aware that vehicles with diesel engines are now banned.
An international driving permit is compulsory in Lebanon. This must be certified by authorities on arrival. The accident rate in Lebanon is high.
Local Laws and Customs
Although Lebanon may seem less conservative than its neighbours in the region, it is advisable to dress modestly when visiting sites of religious significance, and areas outside the main cities.
During the holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking or smoking in public in certain areas may cause offence.
Irish citizens are reminded that whilst in Lebanon, they are subject to local laws, including ones that may seem harsh by Irish standards.
Parents in particular should be aware that local laws regarding custody etc of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland.
Possession, use and trafficking of controlled drugs are all serious offences in Lebanon, which carry custodial sentences.
It is prohibited to photograph or videotape government buildings or military personnel, equipment and installations.
If you are required to engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law, you are strongly advised to seek professional legal advice.
Natural Disasters and Climate
The temperature in certain areas during the summer months in some areas can reach over 40 degrees celcius. Visitors are reminded to drink plenty of water to avoid dehyrdation.
Lebanon is in an earthquake zone and travellers to Lebanon should familiarise themselves with what to do if an earthquake occurs.
Bush and forest fires offten occur during the summer months in Lebanon (usually June to September) particularly in heavily forestred areas.
Sand and dust storms are common.
Additional Country Info
Irish citizens require a visa to enter Lebanon. For entry requirements for Lebanon, please contact the Embassy of Lebanon in London.
Any Irish citizen in Lebanon (resident or visitor) or who intends to travel there is advised to register their details with the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo. Please click here to do so.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also operates a 24 hour emergency service for citizens in need of consular assistance on 00353 1 4780822.
In general tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is cheap and readily available.
Having Israeli stamps in your passport, or entry/exit stamps from Egypt’s and Jordan’s borders with Israel will prevent your entry into Lebanon.