Tripoli comprises two main areas: the city proper, which includes modern Tripoli and the Old City; and Al Mina, the rather enchanting port suburb, 3km west along the seafront. The geographical centre of town is Saahat At Tall, a large square by the clock tower.

The old city sprawls east of Saahat At Tall, while the modern centre is west of the square, along Rue Fouad Chehab.

Tripoli's major sight is its Crusader fortress, but visitors should be sure not to miss the compact and wonderfully atmospheric Old City to the citadel's northwest. Dating from the Mamluk era (14th and 15th centuries), this is a sizeable maze of narrow alleys, colourful souqs, hammams, khans, mosques and madrasas (schools for study of the Quran). It’s a lively and fascinating place where craftspeople, including tailors, jewellers, soap makers and coppersmiths, continue to work as they have done for centuries. The Souq Al Sayyaghin (the gold souq), Souq Al Attarin (for perfumes and spices), the medieval Souq Al Haraj and Souq An Nahhassin (the brass souq) are highlights.

Women should dress modestly in the Old City, and check with the custodian before entering mosques.