Libya is a crossroads of history, continents and ancient empires. Home to the Mediterranean’s richest store of Roman and Greek cities – Sabratha, Cyrene and, above all, Leptis Magna – each of which is overlaid by remnants of Byzantine splendour, it’s a place where history comes alive through the extraordinary monuments on its shores. Every corner of cosmopolitan Tripoli resonates with a different period of history. It’s where the Sahara meets the Mediterranean.
Libya is also home to Africa’s most exceptional and accessible desert scenery. The Sahara engulfs over 90% of the country, offering up vast sand seas the size of small European countries. Visit the enchanting oasis towns of Ghadames and Ghat, where the caravans once showcased the riches of Africa. Marvel at palm-fringed lakes surrounded by sand dunes in the desert’s heart. Be bewitched by extinct volcanoes, such as Waw al-Namus, where black sand encircles multicoloured lakes. Go deeper into the desert and experience Jebel Acacus, one of the world’s finest open-air galleries of prehistoric rock art.
One important point to note is that visits to Libya can only be made as part of an organised tour. While those of you accustomed to travelling independently would probably love the chance to do so in Libya, remember that Libya is a vast country and on a tour you’ll be able to cover so much more territory than you otherwise could. Remember also that organised groups can be as small as a party of one (plus guide) and with most tour companies you can design your own itinerary.
Best places to stay in Libya
Ghadames Date Festival: a guide to Libya's three-day event
Old Ghadames by David Stanley. Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 2...
Libya destination guides
Libya: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Libya guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip...
Visit Libya, North Africa's destination-in-waiting
Libya just became a whole lot easier to visit, at least if you’re a US citizen. Four years after the Libyan government began to refuse visa applications for Americans, that policy has been reversed. Libya first opened up to tourism in around 2000 following decades of international isolation...