Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) Layover Guide - Beyond The Gates, More Than A Transit

Unveil the hidden potential of your long layover at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport! Go beyond the terminal, offering tips to explore the city, unwind at airport facilities, and discover local culture.

Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport Layover Guide - WegoPro

Stuck at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) with a long layover? Don't fret! This comprehensive guide will turn your wait into an interesting and productive experience. We'll delve into the airport's history, explore your layover options, and uncover hidden gems within the airport and its surroundings.

Unveiling Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport

Nestled near the vibrant city of Beirut, Rafic Hariri International Airport serves as Lebanon's primary aviation hub. Established in 1946, the airport has undergone significant renovations and expansions, boasting two modern terminals – Terminal 1 catering to international flights and Terminal 2 handling domestic traffic. In 2019, BEY witnessed over 9 million passengers, solidifying its position as a crucial gateway to the region.

Recognizing the increasing number of layovers, the airport authorities are continuously enhancing their infrastructure and resources. Free Wi-Fi keeps passengers connected, while a diverse range of shops and restaurants caters to various needs. Additionally, comfortable lounges offer a haven for relaxation during extended layovers.

Venturing Beyond the Airport - Exploring Layover Options

For the adventurous traveler, venturing outside the airport during a long layover in Beirut can be an enriching experience. However, this option comes with certain prerequisites.

Layover Duration - Your layover should be a minimum of 6 hours to comfortably explore the city and return in time for your connecting flight.

Visa Requirements - Depending on your nationality, you might require a transit visa to leave the airport. Check visa requirements with the Lebanese consulate or embassy in your home country beforehand.

Luggage - If you plan to explore the city, consider checking in your luggage for your onward journey to avoid carrying it around.

Streamline Your Corporate Travel; Sign Up to WegoPro Today

11 Top Tips to Conquer Long Layovers at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport

Stuck at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport (BEY) with a long layover? Don't fret! This isn't just a waiting game – it's an opportunity to transform your downtime into a productive or entertaining experience.

Whether you have a few extra hours or a full day to kill, Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport offers a surprising array of amenities and activities to keep you occupied.

Here are our top 11 tips to conquer those long layovers at BEY and ensure your wait is as comfortable, enjoyable, and productive as possible!

Embrace Comfort

While the airport seating is adequate, splurge on a visit to a pay-per-use lounge for ultimate relaxation during long layovers. Many lounges offer complimentary food, beverages, Wi-Fi, workspaces, and even shower facilities, allowing you to freshen up for your onward journey. Consider booking a lounge access pass online beforehand to secure your spot, especially during peak hours.

Retail Therapy

Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport boasts a diverse selection of duty-free shops, catering to shopaholics and souvenir hunters alike. Browse through international luxury brands for designer apparel, cosmetics, and fragrances. Explore local shops to discover unique Lebanese handicrafts, artwork, and traditional garments. Duty-free pricing often makes shopping at the airport a budget-friendly option.

Culinary Delights

Don't settle for generic airport food! Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport offers a delectable array of restaurants and cafes catering to various palates and budgets. Indulge in authentic Lebanese mezze platters featuring hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, and baba ghanoush.
Savor fresh seafood dishes or tantalize your taste buds with spicy curries or Asian stir-fries. Many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options as well. If you're pressed for time, grab a quick bite at a familiar fast-food chain.

Stay Connected

The airport provides free Wi-Fi throughout the terminals, allowing you to stay connected with loved ones back home, check emails, or browse the internet. Catch up on social media, update your travel blog, or work on presentations for a seamless transition back into your busy schedule. Some cafes and restaurants might offer additional premium Wi-Fi packages for faster speeds if needed.

Catch Up on Some Work

If your layover coincides with work hours, transform a quiet corner of the terminal or a dedicated business center into your temporary office. Many airports, including Beirut Rafic Hariri, offer business centers with workstations, comfortable seating, reliable Wi-Fi connections, and access to printing and photocopying facilities. Catch up on emails, attend video conferences, or prepare for your upcoming meetings to maximize your productivity.

Power Up

Modern airports like Beirut Rafic Hariri typically have ample charging stations throughout the terminal buildings. Look for designated charging areas or outlets near seating areas. Avoid the frustration of a dead phone by keeping your devices powered up and ready for entertainment, communication, or work. Alternatively, consider investing in a portable power bank to ensure you stay connected throughout your layover.

Entertainment on Demand

Download movies, TV shows, audiobooks, or podcasts onto your electronic devices to keep yourself entertained during downtime. Many streaming services allow offline viewing, so you can download your favorite content beforehand and enjoy it even without an internet connection.
Pack a book or magazine for a screen-free entertainment option. Airports may also offer limited entertainment options like gaming consoles or interactive displays, especially in areas dedicated to children.

Stretch Your Legs & Explore

Long periods of sitting can be uncomfortable and lead to stiffness. Combat this by taking regular walks around the terminal. Explore different shops and restaurants, or visit the children's play area (if you have kids) for a change of scenery.
If possible, venture outside the terminal for some fresh air – many airports, including Beirut Rafic Hariri, have designated smoking areas outdoors.

Catch a Movie or Documentary

While not as common as other amenities, some airports feature movie theaters showcasing short films or documentaries on a loop. If you find yourself near one at Beirut Rafic Hariri, curl up in a comfortable seat and enjoy a quick cinematic experience to break the monotony of your layover.

Embrace Local Culture

Many airports showcase local art and cultural exhibits to give passengers a glimpse into the region's heritage. Beirut Rafic Hariri might feature temporary exhibitions or permanent displays of Lebanese art, artifacts, or historical information. Immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring these exhibits and learning about the country's unique traditions.

Pamper Yourself

Treat yourself to a relaxing massage or spa treatment offered by some airport wellness centers. This is a perfect way to unwind after a long flight or to de-stress before your onward journey. Many spas offer express treatments designed specifically for layovers, allowing you to rejuvenate without extending your layover significantly.

Excursions for the Intrepid Traveler During Long Layovers

If you have a long layover of at least 6 hours and possess the necessary permits, consider venturing beyond the airport to experience a taste of Beirut.

Here are some exciting excursions you can embark on.

Corniche Beirut

Enjoy a scenic stroll or bike ride along the Beirut Corniche, a beautiful seaside promenade offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Admire the iconic Pigeon Rocks, natural rock formations jutting out of the water and a popular spot for photography. Grab a refreshing drink or a light snack from a vendor along the Corniche and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

National Museum of Beirut

Delve into Lebanon's rich history at the National Museum of Beirut. This renowned museum houses a vast collection of artifacts spanning millennia, from prehistoric tools to exquisite Roman sculptures and intricate mosaics. Explore exhibits showcasing Phoenician civilization, the Hellenistic period, and Islamic art. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's multicultural heritage.

Beirut Souks

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Beirut Souks, a traditional marketplace that has been revitalized in recent years. Wander through a maze of narrow alleyways lined with shops selling everything from spices and textiles to handcrafted souvenirs, jewelry, and antiques. Haggle with friendly vendors, soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of this lively area, and perhaps even pick up a unique memento of your Beirut layover.


Explore the trendy Gemmayzeh neighborhood, a hub for Beirut's creative scene. Stroll along narrow streets adorned with colorful street art and murals depicting local artists' works. Browse through trendy boutiques showcasing local fashion designers, or step into independent art galleries to discover the works of up-and-coming Lebanese artists. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a charming cafe with outdoor seating and people-watch as you soak up the bohemian vibes of this artistic district.

Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque & St.George Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Witness Beirut's religious diversity by visiting two of the city's most iconic landmarks. Marvel at the architectural beauty of the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, a stunning Ottoman-inspired structure featuring four minarets and a large central dome.
Dress modestly (long sleeves and pants for both men and women) and observe local customs when entering the mosque. A short walk away stands the historic St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture. Admire the intricate mosaics and religious icons adorning the interior, and appreciate the peaceful coexistence of religions that define Beirut.


Factor in travel time to and from the airport when planning your layover excursions. Taxis are readily available at the airport, or you can utilize ride-hailing apps like Uber or Careem. Public transportation options might be limited depending on your destination and the duration of your layover.

Ensure you have enough time to clear security checks upon returning to the airport. Allow ample buffer time to avoid missing your connecting flight. Familiarize yourself with the airport's layout beforehand to navigate efficiently.

By venturing out and exploring these gems, you can transform your long layover into a memorable introduction to Beirut's rich history, vibrant culture, and captivating energy.

Unveiling the Facilities at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport

Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport caters to the needs of passengers with a variety of facilities designed to enhance your travel experience.

Free Wi-Fi - Stay connected throughout your layover with complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the terminal buildings. Connect your devices and browse the internet, check emails, or update social media platforms. The Wi-Fi speed might vary depending on the location and network traffic, but it's sufficient for most basic tasks.

Currency Exchange - Exchange your currency for Lebanese Pounds (LBP) at conveniently located currency exchange counters within the airport. Compare rates and choose the most favorable option. ATMs are also readily available throughout the airport, allowing you to withdraw cash using your debit or credit card.

Prayer Rooms - Dedicated prayer rooms cater to the needs of passengers of various faiths, offering a space for quiet reflection and prayer. These rooms are usually well-maintained and equipped with amenities like prayer rugs and Qurans (for Muslim passengers).

Medical Facilities - The airport provides basic medical services for minor emergencies. A team of qualified medical professionals is available to handle situations like headaches, stomachaches, or minor cuts. In case of any serious medical concerns, seek immediate assistance from airport personnel who can direct you to the nearest hospital.

Children's Play Area - Keep your little ones entertained with a dedicated children's play area featuring engaging games and activities. This allows them to burn off energy, socialize with other children, and provide a much-needed break for parents during long layovers. The play area is usually designed with soft flooring and colorful equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for young travelers.

Lost and Found - Misplaced your belongings during your layover? Don't panic! Report lost items at the airport's Lost and Found office. Provide a detailed description of your missing item, including any identifying features, and airport personnel will assist you in the search process.

Left Luggage Facilities - For extended layovers or early morning flights, consider utilizing the left luggage facilities at the airport. This allows you to securely store your luggage for a fee while you explore the city or relax in a lounge. Left luggage facilities are typically located near the arrival areas and operate 24/7 for passenger convenience.

Duty-Free Shopping - As mentioned earlier, Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport boasts a diverse selection of duty-free shops, offering a treasure trove for shopaholics. Take advantage of tax-free pricing on a wide range of products, including perfumes, cosmetics, electronics, clothing, and souvenirs.

Restaurants and Cafes - Never go hungry at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport! A wide variety of restaurants and cafes cater to various palates and budgets. Indulge in authentic Lebanese cuisine, explore international flavors, or grab a quick bite at a familiar fast-food chain. Many restaurants offer takeaway options, allowing you to enjoy your meal comfortably at your gate or in a designated seating area.

Business Centers - Business travelers can remain productive during their layovers by utilizing the airport's business centers. These facilities typically offer workstations, comfortable seating, reliable Wi-Fi connections, printing and photocopying services, and access to meeting rooms.

Showers - Select pay-per-use lounges at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport might offer shower facilities, allowing you to freshen up after a long flight or before your onward journey. This is a valuable amenity, especially for layovers exceeding 8 hours. Inquire with the lounge staff or check online reviews beforehand to confirm shower availability.

By understanding the facilities available at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport, you can plan your layover efficiently and make the most of your time at the terminal.

Don't Let Expenses Derail Your Adventure! Sign up for free to explore the WegoPro Expense Management Tool and simplify your travel finances.

Hotels Near Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport

For extended layovers or early morning flights, consider booking a room at a hotel near the airport. Here are some popular options offering convenient access and a range of amenities.

Le Royal Hotels & Resorts - Beirut - This luxurious hotel is located just a few minutes from the airport and offers opulent accommodations, world-class amenities, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Movenpick Hotel Beirut - Another excellent choice for discerning travelers, Movenpick Hotel Beirut provides stylish rooms, a variety of restaurants and bars, a luxurious spa, and a rooftop swimming pool.

Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand - This expansive hotel complex offers a variety of room options, extensive dining choices, a casino, and a large swimming pool. Its proximity to the airport makes it a convenient choice for layovers.

Rotana Hotel Beirut - This modern hotel offers comfortable accommodations, a variety of restaurants featuring international cuisine, a well-equipped gym, and an indoor pool. The hotel provides complimentary shuttle services to and from the airport at scheduled intervals, making it a hassle-free option for travelers.

Four Seasons Hotel Beirut - For those seeking an unparalleled level of luxury, the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut is a top choice. This iconic hotel boasts spacious rooms with stunning views, world-renowned restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs, impeccable service, and a luxurious spa. While it might be on the higher end of the budget spectrum, it offers an unforgettable layover experience.

Remember to consider factors like your budget, desired amenities, and distance from the airport when choosing a hotel for your layover. Many online travel booking platforms allow you to compare prices, read guest reviews, and book your stay conveniently.

Focus on What Matters For Your Business; Sign Up for Free and Simplify Your Travel.

Transforming Long Layovers into Exciting Adventures - 7 Pro Tips

Here are 7 pro tips to transform your long layover at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport into an exciting adventure.

Plan Your Layover

Research the airport's facilities and nearby attractions beforehand. Utilize resources like the airport's official website, travel blogs, and online forums to identify activities and excursions that interest you. Plan your layover itinerary in advance, allocating time for different activities and factoring in travel time if you plan to venture outside the airport.

Pack Smart

Pack a light carry-on bag specifically for your layover. Include essentials like a change of clothes, comfortable walking shoes, toiletries, a book, a reusable water bottle, and entertainment devices like a tablet or smartphone loaded with movies, music, or audiobooks. Consider packing a small travel pillow and eye mask for added comfort during long layovers.

Download Entertainment

As mentioned earlier, download movies, TV shows, audiobooks, or podcasts onto your electronic devices to keep yourself entertained during downtime at the airport. This ensures you have options even if the Wi-Fi connection is slow or unavailable in certain areas.

Embrace the Local Culture

Immerse yourself in Lebanese culture during your layover. Sample local delicacies at the airport restaurants, learn a few basic Arabic phrases to interact with airport staff or vendors and explore shops selling traditional Lebanese handicrafts or souvenirs. You can also inquire about cultural events or exhibitions happening at the airport during your layover.

Strike-Up Conversations

Don't be afraid to strike up conversations with other travelers, airport staff, or even locals. You might be surprised by the interesting people you meet and the valuable recommendations you can gather. Learn about their travel experiences, ask for suggestions on how to spend your layover, or simply practice your Arabic conversation skills.

Document Your Journey

Capture photos or videos of your airport adventures to create lasting memories of your layover. Take pictures of interesting architecture, local dishes you try, or people you meet. Documenting your experience can be a fun way to look back on your travels and share them with friends and family.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

View your layover as an opportunity to explore, relax, or catch up on tasks. Approach it with a positive attitude and a sense of adventure. You might be surprised at how much you can enjoy yourself with a little planning and resourcefulness. Embrace the unexpected, and your layover at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport could become a highlight of your trip!

By following these tips and utilizing the resources available at Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport, you can transform your long layover into a positive and enriching experience. So next time you find yourself with a long wait at BEY, don't despair – get ready for an exciting adventure!

The Soaring Future of Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport

Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport is not resting on its laurels. The airport authorities are continuously striving to improve the passenger experience and solidify Beirut's position as a vital aviation hub in the region. Here's a glimpse into the exciting future plans for BEY.

Terminal Expansion - Plans are underway to construct a new terminal, potentially catering to low-cost carriers and charter flights. This expansion aims to accommodate the projected increase in passenger traffic and enhance operational efficiency.

Upgraded Infrastructure - The airport is constantly investing in infrastructure upgrades to ensure smooth operations and a seamless passenger journey. This includes improvements to baggage handling systems, security screening procedures, and air traffic control technology.

Enhanced Technology Integration - The airport is embracing digitalization to provide a more tech-savvy experience for passengers. This might involve implementing self-service kiosks for check-in and baggage drop-off, introducing mobile boarding passes, and offering interactive information displays throughout the terminal.

Focus on Sustainability - Environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly important in the aviation industry. Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport is exploring ways to minimize its environmental footprint. This could involve using energy-efficient lighting and appliances, implementing waste reduction programs, and potentially even adopting sustainable aviation fuels for departing aircrafts.

Elevated Retail and Dining Experiences - The airport recognizes the importance of providing diverse and high-quality retail and dining options for passengers. Expect to see more international brands and local Lebanese establishments setting up shop at BEY, offering a wider selection of duty-free products, gourmet dining experiences, and casual cafes.

Improved Connectivity - Enhanced public transportation links between the airport and the city center are being explored. This could involve extending the metro line to the airport or offering more frequent and reliable bus services. Improved connectivity will make it easier for passengers to explore Beirut during long layovers or for day trips.

By implementing these ambitious plans, Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport aims to become a world-class aviation hub, offering a comfortable, convenient, and technologically advanced experience for passengers. The future of BEY looks bright, and it's poised to play a vital role in connecting Lebanon to the rest of the world.

Must Read

Bahrain International Airport Layover Guide
Riyadh King Khaled International Airport Layover Guide
Dubai International Airport Layover Guide
Doha International Airport Layover Guide

Stay tuned to WegoPro for the latest corporate travel and expense management news and updates!