Getting there & away
Buses, minibuses and service taxis to destinations north of Beirut leave from Charles Helou bus station and the Dawra (aka Dora) transport hub (7km northeast of town). To the south and southeast they leave from the Cola transport hub on the opposite side of town, south of Blvd Saeb Salam.
Buses and microbuses travel between Beirut and Lebanon’s major towns. There are three main bus hubs in Beirut:
Charles Helou bus station Just east of Downtown, for destinations north of Beirut (including Syria).
Cola transport hub This is in fact a confused intersection that is sometimes called Mazraa. It is generally for destinations south of Beirut.
Dawra transport hub Northeast of Beirut, and covering the same destinations as Charles Helou, it is usually a port of call on the way in and out of the city.
Charles Helou is the only formal bus station and is systematically divided into three signposted zones:
Zone A For buses to Syria.
Zone B For buses servicing Beirut (where the route starts or finishes at Charles Helou).
Zones A and C have ticket offices where you can buy tickets for your journey.
Cola is not as well organised as Charles Helou, but if someone doesn’t find you first (which is what usually happens) ask any driver where the next bus to your destination is leaving from. Buses usually have the destination displayed on the front window or above it in Arabic only. There are also a growing number of microbuses covering the same routes, which are slightly more expensive than regular buses, but a lot cheaper than service taxis. Microbuses are operated by individuals. The advantage is that they are small, comfortable and frequent, but you’d be taking your chances regarding the driver’s ability. You pay for your ticket on the microbus, at either the start or the end of your journey.
Beirut has the only airport in the country, Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY; 628 000; www.beirutairport.gov.lb).
Most airlines have their offices in the Gefinor Center (Rue Maamari, Hamra).