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Why carry an IDP while driving in Lebanon?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Lebanon highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Top Destinations in Lebanon

Lebanon is located on the coast of the Middle East land area, facing the Mediterranean. It is blessed with a natural mountain range all around the surrounding border of Syria on the North and the East, while at the South of its border lies Israel. Being in the Middle East region, Lebanon is also a cradle of civilization filled with archeological and historical places and landmarks.

Beirut was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East.” This moniker was given primarily because of the French influence, but it also stuck because Beirut was the most liberal city in the Middle East region and became a hub for fashion, art, and music progressives. This was only interrupted by their civil war, but since it ended in 1990, the country has strived to rise from the ashes. When you have an International Driver's Permit in Lebanon, find out the zip code of these “Little Paris” hubs.

White Beach

Lebanon is a coastal country, with its Western side facing the Mediterranean Sea. It has mountains in the East and beaches in the West, so they have the basic must-haves of nature-based tourism. One of the best beaches in Lebanon is White Beach, named after its fine, white sand intertwined with sparkling clear water. Located in Batroun, north of Beirut, this beach is the perfect getaway from the increasing crowd in Beirut and Tyre.

White Beach is a good way to familiarize yourself with Lebanon, and you can enjoy the native delicacies as well. So get your passport ready and order your International Driving License to use in Lebanon from the website of the International Driver’s Association. It’s time for a cross-country road trip.

The Western Lebanon Mountain Trail

Lebanon is a shares a border with Syria all around the North and East. It has 403 kilometers of border with Syria, stretching from the Western tip to the East. Your International Driving License and driving license are required documents in both Lebanon and Syria, so you can explore the mountains and cross the border. The Anti-Lebanon mountains was named because it faces the Lebanon mountains, or the Western Lebanon Mountain Trail.

Most of the peaks in Anti-Lebanon are in Syria already, but the Western ranges have summits of 2500 meters and a stretch of 440 km hiking trail; this trail crosses from north to south in 26 stages. The Qadisha Valley and the nature respites of Shouf Cedar are also part of that vast expanse. You can also visit the valley of the river Nahr Ibraham.

Mzaar Kfardebian

The first component of the “Ski in the morning, swim in the afternoon” challenge. Mzaar Kfardebian is a 5-star ski resort right in the Middle East—quite surprising. At the onset of spring, the mountains are still capped with snow, but the waters of nearby Jbeil beach are warm enough to swim on. Bring along the required documents, including your International Driving License and valid driver's license in Lebanon to fulfill requirements for ski and car rentals.

Jbeil beach is also an attraction in itself, with hotels, restaurants, and cafes overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. You may choose to stay in Jbeil, have your International Driving License for Lebanon sent to the hotel’s zip code. One of the best attractions of Lebanon is the “skiing in the morning, swimming in the afternoon” challenge. At certain points in the beginning of spring, when the mountains are still capped with snow, the waters on the nearby beaches are warm enough to swim already. Sounds like a fun challenge?

National Museum of Beirut

The National Museum of Beirut is a testament to the long and rich history of Lebanon. They have an extensive collection of 100,000 objects from antiques, jewelry, coins, ceramics, weapons, and other items. It also includes 1,300 artifacts that date back to the prehistoric period. You would need identification to enter, and your International Driving License in Lebanon is a sample of that. The IDA offers a free replacement service in case of loss. All you need to do Is contact customer service and provide them your name and IDP number.

Beirut's Corniche

You can park your car, but bring along your International Driver's Permit in Lebanon’s corniche, and you might need requirements for a rental motorcycle or ATV but a good stroll through 4.8 kilometers or three full miles of coastline with cafes and eateries. Taste the native street food, but they would also have burgers and hotdogs if you’re longing for the usual fare. Sunset in the Mediterranean is not like anywhere else.

Sursock Museum

If contemporary art is more your thing rather than history and artifacts, then the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum in Beirut is worth visiting. You could spend a half-day there, just bring your International Driver's Permit in Lebanon, their office could require identification. The architecture is Italian-Lebanese architecture and a collection of art, sculptures, and engravings from around the world.

Gemmayzeh

In the Rmeil district of Beirut, Gemmayzeh is a remnant of the Paris phase of Beirut. This area has narrow streets filled with French era buildings. In the nighttime, the place lights up with bars, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and music lounges. Engage in Beirut’s party culture and taste their unique cuisine in this neighborhood that became the hang-out of the Bohemian culture. Bring your valid driver's license and International Driving License/Permit if you're planning to drive.

Sidon Sea Castle

Time for a road trip. Keep your international driver’s license in Lebanon handy. If you ever lose your international driving license in Lebanon, just report it to the website of the International Driver’s Association. You don’t have to pay the cost of the international driving license in Lebanon again, just the shipping fee.

Sidon, also called Saida by the locals, is just a few kilometers south of Beirut. They have numerous attractions like the Sidon Sea Castle. The castle was a fortress built by the crusaders in 1227, which is why it is also called Crusader Castle.

Castle of St. Louis and Grand Mosque

Sidon is filled with historic buildings and ruins. As you drive on, always bring your international driver’s license in Lebanon and note the contact number of the hotel, in case you get caught up in the history of Sidon. Two significant places which are on the same route, the castle of St. Louis. You can climb up to the roofs for a picturesque view of the city.

Depending on your direction, you will encounter the Grand Mosque which is right on the way to the castle. The Grand Mosque used to be the Church of St. John of the Hospitalers and converted to a mosque in 1291. It has been damaged by earthquakes and the civil war but has mostly been restored. After a history trip, bring out your international driver’s license in Lebanon as we update to modern times on the next destination.

Debbane Palace and the Souks

It sounds like an obscure band name, but the Debbane Palace is right behind the Souks, where you can have your shopping trip. This is where you can find the Middle East treasures and fine acquisitions that you can boast of when you get home. Boast of your international driving license in Lebanon that you got for minimal fees, but is useful around the world.

The Palace was groomed to be the traditional Arab residence, but the Debbane family expanded it by adding two floors. It became a shelter for refugees in the civil war, but it was extensively damaged. It was eventually restored in 2001 and opened to the public as a tourist spot.

Palm Island Reserve

On the northern part of Lebanon, the second largest city of Tripoli also holds many attractive sights and fun activities. Tourists ask, “Do I need an international driving license in Lebanon?” since there are military checkpoints along the way. The international driving license is a great help with the car rental companies and with the hotels and establishments along the way.

Off the coast of Tripoli, the Palm Island Reserve is a UNESCO protected site consisting of three islands spread across an area of 5 square kilometers. Wildlife includes endangered species of monk seals, rabbits, and turtles. It’s called Palm Island because of 2.500 palm trees, making it a stopover for 300 species of migratory birds. Visit Palm Island from July to September, have a picnic, and take a swim.

Artisanal Destinations

In different places in Lebanon, you can learn the old art forms like pottery making and . While these old methods have given way to modern factories, they have become tourist attractions in Lebanon. In Sarafand, just north of Tyre and south of Sidon, you can make glass creations, similar to sculptures with the art of glassblowing.

In Tripoli, there is a pottery workshop that attracts fans of the age-old method of pottery making. This is still being used as an industry method today and has been romanticized in movies like “Ghost.” Try your hand at the traditional potter’s wheel in Al Mina, and see how an intricate pot is formed from a lump of clay.

Tyre Archeological Sites

The Southern city of Tyre is a UNESCO heritage site for its archeological artifacts and historic sites like the Tyre Hippodrome, the ancient columns, and the remains of an amphitheater. There are also traditional Roman Bath Houses and a rectangular arena. Tyre is also credited as the origin of purple dye. You can explore these areas in Al Mina and Al Bass archeological complexes. Your International Driving Permit in Lebanon will come in handy for these long trips.

Tyre also has great beaches, hotels, restaurants, and cafés that you can unwind and enjoy after you’ve explored the historical heritage sites.

Most Important Driving Rules

Lebanon has many important driving rules, and many of them are borne out of necessity. One good example is that there are numerous military and police checkpoints all throughout the country, as Lebanon had their civil war and peacekeeping has become a priority.

Do You Need an International Driving License in Lebanon?

It is good advice to always bring your documents like your passport, driver’s license, and also your international driving license in Lebanon. The language is Arabic and while many of their police officers can read the Roman alphabet and even speak English, the Arabic translation is handy for any further questions that may arise. There are cases when an international driving license in Lebanon saved a trip to the immigration office, as it helped clarify misunderstandings.

For locals with a Lebanese driving license, the minimum driving age is 18 years old. A Lebanese driving license is renewable every ten years.

Safety Regulations

Many of the important driving rules in Lebanon deal with safety. This is a huge factor in their campaign to reduce the incidence of road accident casualties and injuries. This is evidenced by their safety and security laws like the total ban on dark tinted windows. This was perceived as a security measure during the civil war unrest, but now, it is a method to check on the conditions of the driver.

Without tinted windows, authorities can see the driver if he is fatigued or drunk--both are restricted in Lebanon. They can also spot tourists and foreigners. To clarify, Lebanon is one of the safest countries in the Middle East, and even with refugees and expatriates being a significant part of the population, the diversity has settled peacefully. Nevertheless, always bring your International Driving Permit in Lebanon to have all the identification you might need.

No Entry

One notable driving restriction is the entry and exit to Israel. Lebanon shares a border with Israel on the south, and the international driver’s license can be used from Lebanon to almost any country. There is no passage straight from Israel to Lebanon, even by plane. If you want to drive from Israel to Lebanon, you have to pass by Syria first, then enter Lebanon from there.

Lights and Parking

Despite enjoying bright sunshine for about 300 days a year, Lebanon driving rules state that it is mandatory to keep your lights on at any time of the day. International driver’s license holders who visited Beirut, Lebanon are witness to this. The city police officers really check on your lights even at noontime with blazing sunshine. They are also particular about the use of hazard lights in an accident and having the reflectorized triangle on the road to warn oncoming traffic.

Parking has been an issue for the Lebanese drivers as some of them would double park or occupy the middle of the street. There are recorded instances of Lebanese drivers parking in roundabouts. The government has imposed stiffer penalties as they have cracked down on parking infractions that have caused heavy traffic and accidents.

Side Mirrors and Children

The Lebanese government has accommodated different modes of transportation, including bicycles and electronic scooters. However, they require protective gear and even side mirrors on bicycles and scooters as an added precaution. They also do not allow children below 10 years old to ride on a motorcycle, and they have to be in car seats on four-wheel vehicles.

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