Who wouldn’t want to go to a lovely country on the Mediterranean with many ancient religious sites? Not to mention Beirut, a city long considered the Paris of the Middle East with lovely people? Even though Lebanon is popular among religious people and history buffs, it has fallen to 148 (out of 163) on the Global Peace Index and the World Economic Forum lists it at 94 (out of 141). This is due to Lebanon’s unrest, instability, and economic problems caused by the war nearby in Syria, which makes it dangerous for any traveler, but particularly, women. The arrest of an Uber driver in December 2017 of the rape and murder of a woman who worked at the British embassy is a reminder of the dangers (the Interior Minister advised against taking Uber). In isolation, of course, this incident would be a unique tragedy but unfortunately, Lebanon has become more dangerous in general. As such, Lebanon is ranked number three on our Eight Most Dangerous Countries for Women Tourists.
Many countries have published advisories or travel warnings for Lebanon. New Zealand lists travel in Lebanon as Extreme Risk in the Northern Governate due to a significant threat of terrorism, unpredictable security, and strong threat of kidnapping, high risk elsewhere except for Beirut, which is deemed Somewhat Risky. All of this is due to the war in Syria on one of Lebanon’s borders and constant influx of refugees mixed with some terrorists. Villages in Lebanon are subject to shelling from Syria on a regular basis. The United Kingdom advises against all travel to a large variety of locations in Lebanon and to avoid all but essential travel to what almost seems like the remainder of Lebanon because the security situation can deteriorate quickly; for example, because of clashes between security forces and terrorists. The Brits are concerned about terrorist attacks on aviation and generally throughout Lebanon. They note that roads, including the one to the Beirut airport, can close without notice. The British advise you check local news regularly to avoid protests. In addition, they warn that you can be attacked in cabs. There is danger to tourists of kidnappings, armed robbery, and assault. There are also numerous unexploded landmines.
If you still want to go, consider the Roman Ruins of Baalbek, the Old Souks in Jbeil and the Baatara Gorge Waterfall in Batroun, but consider doing it as part of a reputable tour who can handle safe transport and accommodations.
Conclusion: Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 Safest Countries for Women Travelers, Best Countries in Africa, Best Places in Oceania, Best Countries in South America and Best and Worst of North America.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir, courtesy of US News
Photo caption: Protesters are seen near the U.S. embassy in Awkar, in Beirut, Lebanon December 10, 2017.