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Driving in Lebanon

Driving in Lebanon is, in theory, on the right hand side of the road. But in practice, there seems to be no road rules. Driving in Beirut is not to be recommended for much of the day, particularly in the city centre. Traffic is heavy, and impossible during rush hour. It can be difficult to find parking other than in multi-story and off-street car parks. On-street parking, if you are lucky enough to find one, is allowed for a short time of two hours. Tickets must be purchased through the parking meters usually located at either end of a street. They can be paid by either cash or card. Overstaying your time may get you a ticket.

The roads are in poor condition by western standards, with slippery surfaces, potholes, no lane markings, crash barriers and proper slip roads. There are some sets of traffic lights in some areas of Beirut, but none elsewhere. Although the Lebanese Government is working to improve the transportation infrastructure, however, a lot of roads need further rehabilitation and maintenance.

Car insurance has become compulsory in Lebanon effective January 2003. It is recommended to take out sufficient third party insurance. Insurance premiums based mainly on the horsepower and the value of the car are reasonable.

A valid national driving licence from any country can be endorsed for use in Lebanon for six months (twice only). Alternatively, you can drive using an international driving licence.

For information, the Vehicle Licensing Office (tel: (1) 497-670) is the best source for enquiries.





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