Safety and security
The risk to tourists from petty or violent crime is moderate. There is a risk of vehicle crime and bag snatching. Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.
There have been incidents of armed robberies and physical attacks against passengers in shared taxis (known locally as service taxis) with passengers being attacked by either the driver or other passengers. Don’t use shared taxis or taxis hailed on the street. Only use taxis from recognised companies. Hotels can advise on firms with cars that are recognised as being safe and well maintained.
In December 2017, the Lebanese Interior Minister advised people in Lebanon not to use Uber taxis, saying “I call in your name on all Lebanese not to use this Uber transport service because we do not consider it to be safe and there are taxi offices to use instead”. The full statement (in Arabic) is available on his official Facebook page and Twitter account.
There have been clashes in recent years between Lebanese security forces and militants in Tripoli (Trablous) and in areas north of there, including in Minyeh and Banine resulting in civilians, soldiers and militants being killed and/or injured.
Palestinian refugee camps are volatile environments where the Lebanese state has limited capacity to impose law and order. There has been a long pattern of violent clashes in particular in Ein El Helweh camp near Saida (Sidon) in southern Lebanon.
There is a UN peacekeeping presence in the area south of the Litani River. Although de-mining operations have been carried out unexploded ordnance, including cluster bombs, remain in remote areas.
There’s a military checkpoint located approximately 7km south of Tyre on the Naqoura-Tyre-Saida (Sidon)-Beirut highway. A pass from the LAF office in Saida (Sidon) is necessary to continue your journey further south towards the Israeli border. However, as the office is located in an area of Saida (Sidon) to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should carefully consider whether your need for a pass is essential before you travel.
Land mines are present in Lebanon and are not always clearly marked. Only use well-travelled tracks and do not stray from their edges. Avoid remote abandoned properties. Use local guides and seek local knowledge if you’re unsure.
Roads, including the Beirut airport road, are subject to closure without notice.
You must hold either an International Driving Permit, which must be certified by the Lebanese authorities on arrival, or a Temporary Local License to drive in Lebanon. Temporary Local Licenses are likely to be more time consuming and expensive than an International Driving Permit.
Driving standards are poor and the accident rate is high. Traffic lights are not always observed. It may be better to hire a car with a driver if you’re inexperienced. You must wear a seat belt (if fitted). Avoid travelling at night outside towns if possible. Vehicles with diesel engines are banned.
Carry ID with you at all times and be prepared to stop at check points to show your papers. The army have set up check points on major and minor roads.
Celebratory gunfire into the air is common throughout Lebanon, including in response to speeches and messages by political leaders. If you find yourself in an area where there’s celebratory gunfire, take cover in a building and move away from windows.
The security situation can deteriorate quickly. Demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest can occur at short notice and often turn violent. Lebanese issues or regional and international developments can have an impact on the local security situation. Monitor local media and avoid all protests.
Stadiums and Venues
Security and safety standards at stadiums and venues in Lebanon may be lower than in the UK. Take care if you’re planning to attend events with large numbers of spectators.
Radio One 105.5 FM
Voice of Lebanon 93.3 FM
Radio Orient 88.3- 88.6 FM
Sawt El Ghad 97.1- 96.7 FM
BBC Arabic 93.1 FM