Index


Introduction



In Lebanon, the climate is Mediterranean on the coast, with mild and rainy winters and hot and sunny summers. In the interior, occupied by mountain ranges and valleys, the climate is more continental, in fact winters become progressively colder with increasing altitude, while summers are very hot in the areas below 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).
The rains follow the Mediterranean pattern, in fact they only occur between October and April (and sometimes in May), and are more abundant in winter. This pattern is followed even in the interior, although the rainfall is scarcer in the eastern part of the country.
From June to September, it almost never rains, and the sun shines everywhere.
In spring, and more rarely in autumn, Lebanon can be affected by a strong wind coming from the desert, called Khamsin, which can cause sudden increases in temperature and bring sandstorms.

The coast



On the Lebanese coast, where Beirut and other cities such as Tripoli and Tyre are found, the climate is typically Mediterranean. Winters are very mild, with average temperatures in January around 14 °C (57 °F), but they are also rainy, with particularly abundant rains in December and January. Summers, from June to September, are constantly sunny, hot and muggy but tempered by sea breezes. In summer, average highs are around 28/30 °C (82/86 °F).

Beirut

Here are the average temperatures of Beirut, the capital.
Beirut - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)111113151822242524211613
Max (°C)171820232528303130282319
Min (°F)525255596472757775706155
Max (°F)636468737782868886827366

In the average year, in Beirut, 825 mm (32.5 in) of rain fall, with heavy rainfall in winter. Here is the average precipitation.
Beirut - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)180150905010000040110170800
Prec.(in)7,15,93,520,400001,64,36,731,5
Days151310740002691480

In Beirut, and in general in Lebanon, the sun shines regularly in summer, while in winter there is an alternation of cloudy and sunny days.
Beirut - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours45681012121110875

The sea in Lebanon is warm enough to swim in from June to October, as we can see in the following table.
Beirut - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)181717182124262727252220
Temp (°F)646363647075798181777268

Inland areas



Mount Lebanon

On the range of Mount Lebanon, the winter rains are even more abundant than on the coast, at least on the western slope, the one directly exposed to maritime currents, which are forced to rise and condense in clouds. The temperature naturally decreases with increasing altitude, so in winter these mountains experience heavy snowfalls, and in the worst winters, large amounts of snow can fall. Mount Lebanon is the highest chain in the country, culminating in Qurnat as Sawda', 3,087 meters (10,128 feet) high. Snow covers the mountains above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) for almost 4 months a year, and above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) for about 6 months a year.
At 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) above sea level, the average temperature in January is about 0 °C (32 °F), as we can see from the data of the Cedars Ski Resort, located in the north of the country, east of Tripoli.
Ariz - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-2-3-11610151311630
Max (°C)2259152022221915126
Min (°F)282730344350595552433732
Max (°F)363641485968727266595443

Bekaa Valley

In the Bekaa Valley, located between the chains of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and at an altitude ranging between 600 and 1,200 meters (2,000 and 3,900 feet), in winter the climate is colder than on the coast, also because of the altitude, while it is still quite hot in summer, despite the altitude.
Here are the average temperatures in Baalbek, located at 1,150 meters (3,800 feet) above sea level (therefore, in the highest and coldest part of the valley).
Baalbek - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-1026912141412941
Max (°C)8101318222729292722159
Min (°F)303236434854575754483934
Max (°F)465055647281848481725948

Given the relatively low temperatures, when cold spells affect Lebanon and the Middle East in winter, abundant snowfalls may occur, followed by frosts. The average January temperature in Baalbek is 3 °C (38 °F), while at 900/1,000 meters (2,900/3,300 feet) it rises to 5/6 °C (41/43 °F).

Snow on the temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

In summer, the days are hot, around 29 °C (84 °F) in Baalbek, and a few degrees above in the cities located at a lower altitude, and sometimes they can be scorching, but nights are still quite cool because of the altitude.
Precipitation is concentrated in the winter months here as well, and it's a bit less abundant than on the coast or on the western slope, but it is nonetheless significant, around 100/150 mm (4/6 in) per month from December to February. Here is average precipitation in Baalbek.
Baalbek - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)14011090501530023575120640
Prec.(in)5,54,33,520,60,1000,11,434,725,2
Days141211841111681279

In the eastern part of the country, we find the Anti-Lebanon mountain range, which is cold in winter but more arid, especially in the northern part, while in the south, near Mount Hermon, heavy snowfalls can occur in winter.

Best Time



The best times to visit Lebanon are spring and autumn: you can visit the coastal cities, including Beirut, and the Bekaa Valley as well, in April-May and September-October, bearing in mind that in the Bekaa Valley, in April and October nights are very cool or even cold.
For a beach holiday, you can go from mid-May to mid-October, although, as previously mentioned, the sea reaches 24 °C (75 °F) only in June.

What to pack



In winter: for Beirut and the coast, bring spring/autumn clothes, a sweater and a jacket, a raincoat or umbrella. For the Bekaa Valley: bring warm clothes, a down jacket, a beanie, an umbrella or raincoat, hiking shoes; for the highest mountain, mountain clothing.
In summer: for Beirut and the coast, bring light clothing, a light sweatshirt for the evening. For the Bekaa Valley, light clothes, a sun hat, a sweatshirt or sweater for the evening, a scarf, hiking shoes; a sleeping bag for overnight stays outdoors. For the highest mountain, a jacket and a sweatshirt.

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