Car Hire from Beirut Airport
With a startling mix of Arabic and western culture, a trip to Lebanon makes for a thrilling and eye-opening experience. The country’s delicious cuisine and tempestuous history are world famous but its glamorous cities, beautiful beaches and ancient history are still relatively unknown. Hiring a car from Beirut Airport is a great way to see more of this compact and characterful country.
Where to hire a car at Beirut Airport There are a number of car hire companies operating at Beirut Airport. They include Dealers, Hertz, Avis, Budget, National, City Car and Europcar. These offices are all located in the main airport terminal, on the ground floor. Sixt also operate at the airport but offer a meet and greet service. They’ll meet you in arrivals and take you to their rental office, a 10 minute drive away.
Petrol Stations near Beirut Airport
Depending on the fuel policy of your car hire agreement you may need to refuel your car prior to returning it to ensure you do not face excess charges.
The closest petrol station to Beirut Airport is a 10 minute drive away. It’s a Hypco garage on Michel Zakhour street, reached by turning right off the main Hafez El Asad road leading away from the airport.
Driving around Beirut Airport
If you are planning to drive around Beirut Airport and in Lebanon, you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) which is different from an International Driving License. You’ll need to apply for the permit before you leave for Lebanon. It’s valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
It’s wise to take care when driving in Lebanon and let the most experienced driver take the lead. Traffic lights are not always observed and the roads can be chaotic. You’ll also need to carry ID with you at all time as temporary check points are often established along both major and minor roads.
From Beirut Airport, the Hafez El Asad road provides the most direct route into Beirut city centre. The Ouzai road can also be picked up from the airport. It heads south, following the coast down in the direction of Damour and Tyre. The Elias El Hrawi road goes from Beirut centre travelling east towards Chtaura.
Getting to your destination
Beirut provides a great base from which to explore Lebanon. It’s fairly central location along the coast, makes most places easily accessible, particularly by car.
Lebanon’s capital, Beirut encapsulates the mixture of eastern and western cultures evident throughout the country. Sitting on the Mediterranean coast, it’s a fast paced, friendly and chaotic place with incredible museums, bars and restaurants.
Beirut city centre is just 10 minutes’ drive from Beirut Airport, taking the Hafez El Asad road. Traffic jams in the centre are common and its best to park up and explore the city on foot.
On street parking is usually limited to just a few hours but there are a number of multi-storey car parks around the city.
Located on the southern end of Lebanon’s coastline and close to lots of beautiful beaches, Tyre is a wonderful stop on a tour of the country. The small city is home to ancient Roman ruins and a striking lighthouse, a great spot for watching the sunset. The highlight of a trip to Tyre, however, is the beaches which include both dramatic rocky outcrops and sandy coves. Tyre is a 1 hour 40 minute, 88km drive from Beirut Airport, taking the Ouzai road south. There are often military checkpoints on the road between Beirut and Tyre so be sure to have your ID handy and be prepared to remove hats and sunglasses.
Sidon is another of Lebanon’s coastal cities. There are medieval ruins, a sea castle with amazing views of the city and port and the old Castle of St. Louis to explore. However, a highlight of Sidon is its vibrant covered souqs, perfect for bargain hunting and soaking up the local atmosphere.
Sidon is just 40 minutes south of Beirut Airport, taking the Ouzai coastal road. The city is compact so it’s best to park up and do your exploring on foot. As with Beirut and Tyre, driving in Sidon can be difficult and care needs to be taken. Roads are generally poorly maintained.