Lebanon is on the Mediterranean Sea. Miles of coastline, some rocky, some sandy. And yet, public beaches are few and far between. There are a handful throughout the country that I’ve heard are nice and clean. The ones that we have tried out are dirty. Ramlet el Baida, the sandy beach in Beirut, is full of cockroaches, trash and the signs as you enter warn against swimming in the water because it is toxic.
Most of the coastline has been privatized – beach clubs and restaurants build right on the shore and then charge an entrance fee… There are some absolutely beautiful ones. Lazy b has always been a favorite, but it’s gotten so expensive to get in and you can’t bring your own food in, which means they can charge you 6,000LL for a bottle of water and you have no choice but to pay. We haven’t been in a few years because of it. There are some more reasonable options, but the less you pay, the less clean the beach ends up being. And with small kids, when you pay for entrance, you feel like you need to spend the whole day to get your money’s worth, which can make for a really long day for littles who are used to taking naps.
This summer we went to the beach once a week with the SH girls. When you’ve got 13 kids and 5-6 adults, paying per person is just not do-able. So several days we ended up not letting the kids swim in the water at all because it was so bad.
We’ve just come back from a family holiday in Cyprus and it was a beach lover’s dream! The water is the deep turquoise you expect from the Mediterranean, there are wide sandy stretches and hidden rocky coves.
And best of all, the beaches are all public. They are free to enter and you can bring your own food. They are maintained by the municipality, so super clean with lots of facilities available. You can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas for a reasonable price or just bring your own if you’d prefer.
We stayed in a small house just a few minutes walk from the beach. We’d head out early in the morning, take some sandwiches for lunch and head home once the girls needed a break. It was the perfect vacation… sand, sun, water, rest and fun.
I would highly recommend Cyprus to anyone in Lebanon looking for a holiday. The airline tickets were super reasonable, and if you go in the off season (which we couldn’t because of work), you can get some amazing deals on a lodging. We will definitely be going back, now that we know!