If you want to travel to Lebanon, you might discover that the country is more expensive than you’d think. I was blown away about the prices in Lebanon but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for the world. But how expensive is Lebanon really? Can you visit Beirut and Lebanon on a budget? Here is my 10-day travel budget breakdown to show you how expensive Lebanon really is.
Is Lebanon Expensive? My 10-Day Lebanon
Travel Budget Breakdown
Help Beirut and the people of Lebanon after the harbor explosion of August 4, 2020
My trip to Lebanon
On all my trips, I keep track of every penny and dime I spend. Usually, I don’t really set a budget per day, but I do make conscious decisions about going out to eat and not order the most expensive item on the menu. I do this, so I can share my expenses with you!
As a solo female traveler, especially in the Middle-East, my safety and peace-of-mind is my most valuable asset and I spend quite some extra money on feeling safe and being comfortable. In my old days, I used to sleep in 16-bed shared dorm rooms and consider reading a book on a park bench a well-spent afternoon. Now, I go out, explore more and make the most of what the country and culture have to offer.
During my trip to Lebanon, I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored and all my opinions (and expenses) are my own. Probe around the Globe does use affiliate links. If you decide to book or buy something via one of my links, I earn a small commission. This comes at no extra cost to you.
Money in Lebanon
Lebanon has the Lebanese pound (LBP), also known as the Lebanese Lira (LL). It is the official currency of the country but it is hard to get abroad. Since 1997, the rate of the LBP is set at 1507.5 LBP for 1 US Dollar. Roughly, this translated to 1500 LBP per 1 US Dollar.
You can get notes of 1,000 LBP, 5,10, 20, 50 and 100 thousand LBR. Uncommon but possible, are the coins of 500, 250 and 100 LBP.
Lebanese Pound or US Dollar
The Lebanese Pound is strongly linked to the US Dollar. One dollar is 1500 LBP and it is very common to pay (or get your change) in US Dollars. As a traveler, this is super easy and saves you time and money.
If you arrive in Lebanon, there is no need to go to an ATM or exchange office to get Lebanese Pounds. Of course, you can exchange money at Beirut Airport or at the many exchange offices in Beirut and across the country. It is just not necessary.
If you bring some US dollars, you can pay with those. You can even choose to receive the change in Lebanese Pounds or in US Dollars. As everyone uses the same exchange rate (1500 LBP for 1 US Dollar), you get the same, whatever that is in your hotel, by the hands of your cab driver or in the supermarket.
Prices in Lebanon
Prices in Lebanon are indicated usually in Lebanese pounds, or with LL (Lebanese Lira) on a sign. Usually written as 2,000 LL or something on the market. A taxi driver or a bus driver will hold up 2 fingers, to indicate you need to pay 2,000 Lebanese pounds.
In general, I found the prices across Lebanon pretty much the same. A shared taxi ride, either in Beirut or the south or the north of the country, will cost you 2,000 Lebanese pounds. Gas prices and entrance fees were pretty similar across the country.
The deviations start with food and drink prices. On the same street in Beirut, you can get a falafel sandwich for 3,000 LBP or 13,000 LBP. The same goes for tours, private drivers and the likes. It is well worth to haggle in those situations or compare prices.
I visited Lebanon in 2019, before the protests and the changes in the government. Prices and valuta deviations can occur, depending on the developments within Lebanon. Check for the current rates and currency exchange rates here.
What did I spend in Lebanon?
So, how much did I spent during my 10-day trip to Lebanon? A lot! Lebanon is surprisingly expensive as it has a lot to offer. I’ll break my travel expenses for Lebanon down in separate categories, and when possible I’ll offer money-saving tips.
Prices to fly to Beirut, Lebanon
Beirut International Airport is the only way to enter Lebanon at the moment. The border with Israel remains closed. At the time of my travels, the border with Syria was closed, but it has opened near Anjar but this is still not a reliable way to travel. You can enter Lebanon by boat or by plane.
Several airlines have direct flights to Lebanon, like Gulf Air, MEA, Lufthansa and Transavia. All direct flights will go via the Middle East (Jordan, Turkey, Cyprus, Saudi-Arabia, Bahrein etc) or some countries in Europe. Search for your best flights via this website.
Low-cost airlines to Beirut
I’m based in the Netherlands, and a local, low-cost airline called Transavia offers direct flights from Amsterdam to Beirut. You can easily fly to Amsterdam, explore the city for a day or two and then continue to Beirut, Lebanon.
Budget TIP: One-way flights from Amsterdam to Beirut go for as low as €49, up till roughly 100€. This is the basic fare, that doesn’t include sitting together or adding a piece of hold luggage. As the flight is over 5 hours, I decided to treat myself to the ‘plus’ package, which includes one piece of hold luggage, two pieces of carry-on luggage and a bigger seat with extra legroom.
I booked my flight roughly 5 months in advance and I paid €265 for the return flight Amsterdam-Beirut.
That is $294, 225 GBP or 443.725 LBP.
Search your low-cost flight to Beirut by clicking on this link here. Depending on your dates, you can score a return flight for as low as 98€. They also have direct flights to Beirut from Lyon and Paris Orly.
Hotel Prices in Lebanon
Now, once you’ve booked your flight to Beirut, Lebanon, it is time to decide where to stay. Lebanon has a wide range of chain hotels (mostly in Beirut), boutique hotels, self-catered accommodations, and hostels.
Depending on where to stay, depends also on what you’ll do during your time in Lebanon. Will you use Beirut as a base and take day trips from there? Or will you travel around the country? This decision will influence your budget greatly.
Hotel prices in Beirut
Beirut has by far the best offer of hotels and accommodations. You can book several hotels for $1000 a night, or go as low as 20$ in backpacker accommodations.
Budget TIP: If you book several nights in a row, hotels in Beirut can offer nice deals and discounts so it really pays to compare your hotel prices in Beirut.
In general, you’ll want to stay in the Hamra area or in the North-West of the city, near the corniche and the beach or downtown. Don’t just book the cheapest hotel you can find, because Beirut has some serious no-go areas for tourists.
I decided to book 3 nights in Beirut, at the J Hotel and Spa in the Hamra area. I had a private double room with mini-fridge, bath and breakfast included.
For these 3 nights, I paid €141, which was quite a low to mid-range price for Beirut.€141 is $157, GBP120 or 236.048 LBP.
High-end options in Beirut are:
- Radisson Blu SAS Martinez Hotel
- Lancaster Plaza
- Or the Raouche Rock Suits with views of the famous rock of Beirut.
For more budget-friendly options in Beirut, check out the following hotels:
I found that most of Beirut’s budget accommodation options are more like apartments in a bigger complex with a small kitchen and a bed. They don’t always have a reception, breakfast options or tour information. Although cheaper, to cater for your own food, it might not be the best social option and not for everyone.
Hotel prices in the rest of Lebanon
When I decided I would rent a car, and drive around Lebanon I needed to find accommodations in the rest of Lebanon. I quickly noticed that options are much more limited and prices are much higher in the rest of Lebanon than in Beirut.
For example, 10 nights at J Hotel and Spa in Beirut would have only cost me €548. Instead, I spent €659 for 10 nights across Lebanon.
I always use this hotel booking website. They have the most accommodations in Lebanon, a lot of reviews, good pictures and in most cases, you can cancel free of charge too.
Where I stayed in Lebanon and how much did I pay?
So, as you can read from above, I spent a total of €659 on hotels. That is $732 or 562 GBP or 1,103,900 LBP. Where did I stay and what did it cost? Check the prices below.
- 3 nights in Beirut at the J Hotel and Spa for €141 ($156, GBP120 or LBP 235.979) that is €47 a night for a double room with AC and breakfast included. It was located right in the heart of Hamra and I could walk around the neighborhood at night without any problems. They also have a Spa, but I was too busy exploring Beirut so I didn’t get to that.
- 1 night in Jbeil/Byblos at the Aleph Boutique Hotel for €65 ($72, GBP55 or LBP 108.796). Once I saw images of this lovely boutique hotel, I was hooked. They offered free on-sight parking, a view of the Byblos beach and ruins and an amazing breakfast buffet that was included in the price. I’d stay here again in a heartbeat.
- 1 night in Tripoli at Azur Apartments for €52 ($58, GBP 44 or LBP 87.032). There were not that many options to stay in Tripoli. This apartment had a fully equipped kitchen and was located in the safe El Mina area. There was free parking in the street. The owner went out of his way to accommodate and welcome me. But in the end, it might be easier to stay in a luxury beach resort just south of Tripoli and take a half-day trip to Tripoli.
- 2 nights in Bcharre in the Qadisha Valley at Bauhaus Chalets for €183 ($203, GBP 156 or LBP 306,188). That is €91,50 per night. This was a fully equipped apartment that sleeps 2 people. As it was only me, I paid full price. It was centrally located and it felt like a comfortable home-base in Bcharre. There were other resorts that were much more expensive or more budget options but they all looked very shabby and run-down. In the end, I was happy with my choice but it was a lot of money for very little square meters.
- 2 nights in Zahlé at the Beit el Kroum Boutique Hotel for €153 ($170, GBP130 or LBP255,946). That is €76,50 per night. I choose Zahlé as a 2-night base to explore the Bekaa Valley. Of course, you can also stay in Baalbek but I choose Zahlé as a base. The city had several options for hotels, but I chose this home-stay option instead. With free parking and great views, it really is a good base to explore the Bekaa Valley by car.
- 1 night in Barouk at the Palais des Cedres Hotel for €65 ($72, GBP 55 or LBP 108,774). This is what I call very affordable luxury. The hotel was amazing. Big bright rooms with views of the cedars, amazing beds and a warm and welcoming feel. It has an on-site restaurant which comes in very handy as there isn’t much else around. You really need a car to get here but you’re almost staying inside the Cedars National Park.
As you can see, I tried to stay around the €50 per night range, with some exemptions on the higher end. For €50 a night, you can easily stay comfortable in Beirut but then you have to take more expensive day trips to see the rest of the country.
Use Beirut as a base vs staying in different places in Lebanon
For me, this was quite a hard decision to make. If you look at accommodation prices, staying in Beirut as a base, is cheaper than traveling around the country.
Local buses are cheap and shared taxis are not expensive too. So you can see a lot of the main highlights of Lebanon on a budget. However, you do need to keep in mind some other factors when you use Beirut as a base:
- You need taxis to drive you from Beirut to the intersections where the buses leave
- Buses are infrequent, somewhat uncomfortable and you need to wait until full. It will cost you a lot of time to get to the more remote areas.
- Exploring Lebanon by local transport is not impossible but some really nice areas are quite remote. It will take a lot of buses and taxis to get there in the end.
On the other end, car rentals and hotels across Lebanon are not that cheap either, but it does give you endless amounts of freedom to go explore where you want, how long you want and see more local life in Lebanon than just Beirut.
If you’re really trying to squeeze every penny from your budget and you’re a solo traveler, it might be more economical to stay in Beirut. You’ll not see the same amount of sights as with a rental car and a circular itinerary across Lebanon, but it might save you some money.
Budget TIP: If you travel with 2 persons or more, I think renting a car will reduce the costs of travel and sightseeing in Lebanon greatly. You can divide the cost of the car rental between more people and when you rent an apartment you’ll only a little bit extra for more persons.
How much to pay for tours, entree fees and sightseeing in Lebanon
But I didn’t come to Lebanon to spend all my time in Beirut. I wanted to explore the rest of the country and I did my best to see as much as possible, in the little time I had.
In general, entrance fees for sites are very affordable, ranging from 6.000 or 7.000 LBP to 15.000 LBP to visit Baalbek. The exception was the LBP 18,315 entrance fee for the Jeita Grotto, just north of Lebanon.
What I paid for tours and entrance fees in Lebanon
Below, I’ll give you a list of all my expenses and entrance fees that I spent during my 10-day trip to Lebanon. If you wish to have a more detailed breakdown of what these sights are or what I did there, I recommend reading my 10-day Lebanon itinerary.
Free things to do in Lebanon
Luckily for you, not all things in Lebanon are expensive. As a matter of fact: there are some splendid things to do for absolutely free. Here is a list of free things to do in Beirut and Lebanon:
- Walking tour of Beirut. I spent the whole day walking around Beirut. I passed mosques, government buildings, Roman Ruins, and amazing Beirut buildings. The history of the city unfolded before my eyes, aided by general information of my guidebook or informative signs across the city.
- Walking around the Corniche in Beirut and take in the Raouche Rock (especially at sunset) is also free!
- Cedars of God National park has no entrance fee, although a tip is highly appreciated.
- Hiking or exploring the Qadisha Valley is free of charge!
- Wine tasting in Zahlé is free.
Entrance Fees in Lebanon
In general, most sites require a (small) entrance fee. For children, elderly or students, massive discounts exist (some enter for free) but for the rest, expect to pay some entrance fee. You can pay in Lebanese Pounds or US Dollars.
- Roman Ruins in Tyre: 6.000 LBP
- Castle of Sidon: 4.000 LBP
- Entrance to Jeita Grotto: 18.315 LBP
- Entry in Byblos ruins: 8.000 LBP
- Castle of Tripoli: 5.000 LBP
- Tannourine National Park entrance: 5.000 LBP
- Faqra Roman Ruins: 3.000 LBP
- Entrance to Baalbek (without a guide): 15.000 LBP
- Ruins of Anjar: 6.000 LBP
- Entrance to all parks of the Shouf Cedars: 7.000 LBP
In total, I paid 80,595 LBP. That is €48 or $53 or GBP 41. For 10 days of sightseeing (independently), that is not that much. None of this included a guide or a guided tour. As you can see, the entrance fees are not the biggest cost.
Add in a driver, transport cost or car rental and a tour guide, then the amount adds up quickly.
Transport Cost in Lebanon
Although Lebanon is a tiny country, it does cost money to get around. If you don’t have your own transport, you need to add up the costs of shared taxis around the city. Local buses or a driver or tour.
Shared Taxis in Beirut and other cities
The perfect solution in big cities like Beirut. I used quite a few in Beirut, Tyre and in Tripoli. As I had my own rental car for the other areas, I don’t have any experience with shared taxis in Byblos or the Bekaa Valley.
In general, all taxis are shared taxis unless it says so otherwise. In Beirut, it is really hard to find a private taxi. Just wave a taxi down and get in. Expect to pay LBP 2.000 per shared ride. Tell the driver where you want to go and either pay right away or when you want to get out.
From the Hamra area to the Cola intersection, it was a quick 10-20 minute taxi ride and I paid 2.000 Lebanese pounds each time. Even if it is a little bit further, the fare will always be LPB 2.000 as it is super easy to exchange money this way.
In Tyre I also took shared taxis. Although the distance was far less than what we drove in Beirut, it was also 2.000 LBP. In Tripoli, it was a bit cheaper and I paid LBP 1.500 for a ride from El Mina to downtown but I gave the driver 2.000 LBP anyways.
Private Taxis in Beirut
If you’re coming from the Airport and want to get to downtown Beirut, a private (pre-arranged) taxi is super useful. No waiting or haggling. Just someone waiting for you with a sign in his hands.
I arranged my taxi with my hotel, but you can also use Allo Taxi app or book your Taxi transfer here.
Expect to pay 27$ (40,000 LBP) when you come from Beirut Airport and want to go downtown. From downtown to the airport, it is much cheaper. Expect to pay LBP 25,000 ($16,50).
Budget TIP: With all private taxi rides, make sure to negotiate the fare before you leave. Does the fare include a single journey or a return journey? Is there waiting time involved or not? If you can’t communicate with your private driver, especially for tours and trips, odds are there will be some miscommunication and you might pay more than you bargained for.
Local buses in Lebanon
I only used local buses in Lebanon to get from Beirut to Tyre and Saida. But buses frequent the rest of Lebanon too. Getting along the cost to Byblos or Tripoli is super easy. Also, Zahlé and Baalbek have regular bus services from Beirut.
Getting to the Qadisha Valley and the rest of the Bekaa Valley or the more remove Shouf Cedar park needs more time. Expect several buses, shared taxis or even private taxis if you’re coming from Beirut.
I paid LBP 2.000 for the bus ride from Beirut to Saida. From Saida to Tyre was another LBP 2.000 and back was the same price. These were the local buses from Cola Intersection. They leave when full and it can take some time. There is not that much space for luggage either.
Expect to pay more on the private buses going to Tripoli. They run less frequently but at set times. They run on a schedule and have luggage space.
For more details on my day trip to Tyre from Beirut, including the breakdown and comparison of local buses vs tours and private transport.
Car Rental in Lebanon
As you know by now, I rented a car in Lebanon. After 2 full days in Beirut (of which one was a day trip by local transport), I returned to Beirut airport to pick up my car rental.
Lebanon is a small country and a rental car offers you the ultimate freedom to visit more remote areas and stop wherever you want.
Budget TIP: Book your car rental as much in advance as possible. Odds are: prices will only go up. Especially in high season, lock down that budget car rental price! Find the best rates and conditions here.
Renting a car and driving in Lebanon is not for everyone, so make sure to read my guide.
8 days of car rental in Lebanon
I decided to do it anyway. I rented a car from Beirut airport for 8 days after spending time in Beirut. All car rental offices were closed on Sunday, except for the ones at the airport. The prices were somewhat in my favor, so I was happy to go to the airport and pick up my rental car.
I booked my car rental for 5 months in advance and rented the smallest car. It was also the cheapest one. I was very happy with my Kia Picanto as it fitted me and my luggage. If you’re with more people, you might want to trade up for more space and comfort.
I paid €227 for 8 days or car rental. This included unlimited mileage, but also full protection. This means I would pay 0.0 € in case I’d damage the car. As driving in Lebanon isn’t without risk, I’d say this is insurance well spent! In the end, I didn’t need it but it was a small price to pay for peace of mind.
The car rental fee was €140, plus €87 for the added insurance. Totals: €227 (or $252, GBP 193).
I needed to refuel twice, once for 25.000 LBP and the other 32.000 LBP. The total amount of gas was: 60.000 LBP, €36, $40 or GBP 30,50.
I drove 681 km (423 miles) and spent a total of €263 ($292 or GBP223,50) for gas and the car rental. That is roughly €33 per day. If you’re going with 2 or 3 or even 4 people, you pay exactly the same as I did as a solo traveler.
Parking fees in Lebanon
I only had to pay LBP 2250 at the Jeita Grotto for parking. Everywhere else, it was free to park my car. I did look deliberately for hotels with free parking but overall, I found parking fees in Lebanon not really a thing. Even at the very touristic Baalbek ruins, there were free parking places.
Tours in Lebanon
The reason why I decided to rent a car in Lebanon, was the high costs for tours and private drivers. Expect to pay 100$ for a driver for the day, tips and entrance fees not included.
Lebanon does offer a lot of guided tours. For example, a guided day trip from Beirut to visit the Jeita Grotto, Byblos and Harissa is a completely carefree day. You don’t need to worry about logistics, waiting for transport or hiring a guide. Check for prices and options here.
Another great tour to book is a day trip to explore Anjar, Ksara, and Baalbek, including guides, transport, and lunch. Check for options here.
Whichever day tour you decide to book, always ask about the pick-up location. Is transport included? Is a dedicated guide included or will the driver just point out some things along the route? What is the maximum number of participants and are entrance fees included?
Weigh all your options carefully. If you’re with a small group, it can be beneficial to just rent a car for 1 or 2 days and venture off on your own. If you’re looking for a company, the guided day tours from Beirut are super sociable and a great way to meet new people.
Cost for food and drinks in Lebanon
A woman gotta eat, right? And where better to do it than in Lebanon?! I found the cuisine of Lebanon abundant with lush and delicious fresh foods from all walks of life. They make amazing kebabs, falafel, and salads. Their grilled meats are mouth-watering but almost all dishes can be vegetarian or even vegan too. Wherever you go in Lebanon, you can expect freshly cooked foods, seasoned options and a colorful spread of yumminess.
I’m not going to list all the meals I had in Lebanon, but here is a list of things I ate or drank and their price:
- 30.000 LBP for a Halloumi salad with drinks in Beirut
- 3.500 LBP for a street-side kebab with drinks in Tyre (best I ever had)
- 7.000 LBP for cheese zawouk with soda in Byblos
- 12.000 LBP for quesadillas and potato wedges to go in Tripoli
- 22.000 LBP in Bcharre for a sit-down dinner with fattoush salad and cheese rolls.
- 8.000 LBP for a club sandwich and a soda in a roadside stop
- 24.000 LBP for hot mezzes and kofte dinner in Shouf
- 14.000 LBP for a drink and croissant at Starbucks
I visited several supermarkets that really have everything under the sun for sale. I noticed they either have a really big package that feeds the whole family, or small, one-bite wrappers. The price level for a bag of rice, canned tomatoes or bread was similar to what I pay in Europe and North-America in supermarkets.
I mostly bought breakfast food, snacks, and drinks at the supermarket.
In total, for restaurant food, drinks, and supermarket supplies, I paid: €210 ($233 or GBP 179 or LBP 351,187.)
That is roughly €21 or $23 a day, which is quite a lot if you consider I didn’t have a sit-down lunch, breakfast was mostly included or I bought my own at the supermarket and at dinner I chose cheaper options.
Budget Tip: Some of the best food I had, was from street-side vendors. Some have a small table and a chair, others only serve food to go. If you’re looking for a quick kebab or falafel, then this is the place to go.
Tipping in Lebanon
Tipping is not mandatory in Lebanon, but like everywhere in the world: highly appreciated. In some restaurants, I left a tip of 2 to 5.000 LBP but not in all cases. Remember that Lebanese people are super friendly and welcoming. They will accept a tip with modesty and delight but don’t feel you must tip everyone with 20%.
Beirut has everything. You can go to Syrian restaurants, American dinners, French jazz clubs, and chain fast-food restaurants. African, Middle-Eastern and European influences are everywhere and Beirut Nightlife is buzzing.
If you plan to stay in Beirut for some days or intend to explore the nightlife, bring a lot of money. Cocktails don’t come cheap, alcohol is widely available, but not the cheapest option on the list.
I didn’t drink alcohol while I was in Lebanon. It is available and accepted (some establishments excepted) to drink but I didn’t want to pay 3 to 5 times more for a simple beer. If you do drink or want to enjoy Beirut’s nightlife, expect to pay top dollar!
Budget Tip: Don’t drink alcohol. It will increase your budget enormously. If you do feel like drinking, look for happy hour and other bargain deals at cafés.
Other things to buy in Lebanon
Of course, you can buy a house or business in Lebanon, a car or a nightclub. You can buy the world of souvenirs and spend all the money you own. It is easy and possible.
I always have a category of ‘other travel expenses’. In the case of Lebanon I spent the following amounts:
- $50 for a Lebanese SIM card with 5GB + some minutes to call. Nobody calls in Lebanon though. Everyone sends each other speech messages via Whats-App. I used up quite a lot of GB as Wi-Fi in hotels was slow and patchy and as a travel blogger, I like to share my travel videos and pictures directly with you!
- 28.000 LBP for some antibiotics at the pharmacy. I got quite ill in Lebanon because of a stomach bug and I needed something to calm my stomach. I also got some rehydration drinks for that amount too.
- Soap souvenirs. It was hard not to buy soap, shawls, and jewelry at every boutique shop and bazaar I passed. Lebanon has so much amazing stuff to buy. In the end, I bought some small blocks of soap for 2.000 LBP and one bigger one for 10.000 LBP in Tripoli.
In the end, together with some tips here and there, I spent LBP 120,875 or €72 ($80 or GBP 61,50).
Budget Tip: The best Lebanese souvenirs you’ll find at the bazaar. Wander around, find a bargain and haggle for the best prices.
How to get money in Lebanon
Well, that more or less sums up what I’ve spent in Lebanon. We briefly discussed the currency in Lebanon and how to pay around Beirut. But I’d like to delve a little deeper into how you can get money in Lebanon and how you can pay for things.
Credit Cards in Lebanon
I have two credit cards. One is from MasterCard and has the maestro logo and was widely accepted in the bigger hotels and chain restaurants (like Starbucks). I also carry an American Express which gave some issues here and there but overall was also accepted in most places that accepted credit cards.
Especially in Beirut, it was easy to pay with a Credit Card. The hotel, the rental car, the restaurants I ate at in Beirut, they all accepted cards.
Outside Beirut, things were a bit more difficult. I only paid for a few hotels with credit cards, the rest was mostly cash only.
Cash is King: Lebanese Pounds or US Dollars
It is best to have cash in Lebanon. Especially because you’ll pay a small amount everywhere. 2,000 Lebanese pounds for a shared taxi. 4 US Dollars for the entrance fee, a few thousand Lebanese pounds for a street-side kebab.
It is best to come to Lebanon with US Dollars and pay with them as you go. For example, you go out to dinner and you need to pay 35 $. Give 100$ and you’ll get the 65$ back in change but in Lebanese pounds. Enough to pay for the shared taxi ride home and some souvenirs at the bazaar.
Lebanon on a budget: backpacker tips
Now, as you can see by now, Lebanon definitely was not cheap. If you travel on a backpacker budget, then I have some tips for you:
- Buddy up. Solo travel allows for infinite ranges of freedom but is also more expensive. If you take a taxi, the rate is the same for 1 person or 2 people. If you’re with a group of 4, you can negotiate better prices for tours and trips.
- Sleep in a dorm room in Beirut. Beirut has quite a small range of shared hostel-style accommodations to meet other solo travelers, hang out and have a cheap place to sleep. Find your hostel here. If you can, buddy up with someone else and rent an apartment or room with the two of you.
- You can book a tour, rent a car or share a taxi, but you can also travel by local transport. It takes longer and you cannot do as much in one day, but you’ll meet a lot of locals and explore the country on a budget.
- Eat local food. Small kebab shops, shawarma, and falafel are your best friends. For a few thousand Lebanese pounds, you can have a fulfilling meal for the day.
- Look for low budget airlines to fly to Lebanon. There are now several budget options from Amsterdam to Beirut. Find your cheap flight here.
How expensive is Lebanon? The grand total
Well, YES Lebanon is expensive. We cannot escape that. For such a small country, 7 to 10 days is quite a good amount to first get to know the country and see some amazing sites.
But because of this, you might cram a lot of sightseeing into your itinerary, and then the costs go up.
When I look at my separate travel costs for Lebanon, the amounts are not that high. 4 dollars here, 10 dollars there. But things add up to a whopping amount.
This is what I spent:
- Return flight from Amsterdam to Beirut: €265 ($294 or GBP226). This did include 1 piece of hold-luggage, 2 carry-on items and a seat with more legroom.
- 10 nights of accommodation: €659 ($732 or GBP562)
- 10 days of food, drinks and supermarket purchases: €210 ($233 or GBP179)
- 8 days of car rental, petrol and parking fees: €261 ($290 or GBP222)
- 10 days of taxis, shared taxis and buses: €60 ($67 or GBP51)
- 10 days of tours, sightseeing and entrance fee: €48 ($53 GBP41)
- and 10 days of miscellaneous expenses like a SIM card, souvenirs, and tips: €72 ($80 or GBP61,50)
In total, I spent 2,638,418 LBP (€1.575, $1,749 US or £1.343) for 10 days in Lebanon.
That is a lot of money! It comes to over €150 per day which is a lot of money. And I was quite careful. I didn’t eat out 2 times a day nor did I drink alcohol or chose the most expensive thing on the menu. And I did skip on some sights and attractions because I found it too expensive. However, I did choose comfortable double room accommodation across the country and I rented a car. I also opted for a slightly more expensive flight.
My Lebanon budget breakdown
As you can see from my pie-chart with my Lebanon travel expenses, you can see that the flight was a small percentage of the travel costs. Only 16.8% of the total expenses. If you can travel carry-on luggage only and don’t mind where you’re sitting, you can strike a good deal for the airfare.
The cost of accommodation is a whopping 41.8% of the total costs. Which sounds absurd to me. But I did spend numerous hours searching online for the best accommodations. I weighed the costs against the options of driving into town, parking fees and lesser accommodations. In the end, I was very happy with the hotels and pensions I chose, so no harm there.
Transport, car rental, and entrance fees make up for 23.5% of the total budget. I think this is very reasonable if you consider I saw a lot of Roman Ruins, Unesco World Heritage Sites and other historic places and sights. In the end, the rich history of Lebanon was the main draw to visit the country, so it comes at a price.
13.3% for food is also not that bad. It doesn’t seem excessive but I think if you like long sit-down dinners, with drinks and copious amounts of mezzes and salads, the bill will be much much higher than what I’ve paid for. In the end, you have to be careful with every meal.
Is Lebanon expensive?
There is no other way to answer this question with a loud: YES. Lebanon is very expensive. In the end, I thought it was worth every single Lebanese pound and US dollar that I’ve spent. I’ve spent a similar amount for 10 days in Jordan, but that didn’t feel nearly as satisfying as my trip to Lebanon.
Sadly, travel costs money, but in the case of Lebanon, it was very well worth it.
If you want to read more travel tips or be inspired to travel to Lebanon, consider reading my other stories about Lebanon:
Do you keep track of your travel expenses? Do you set a travel budget before you travel? If you’re considering a trip to Lebanon, I hope I got to answer the question of how expensive Lebanon really is and what your money can buy you in Lebanon.
Leave a comment below if you wish to share your experiences with travel in Lebanon or keeping track of your travel spending. If you found this useful, feel free to share it on social media.