What would you want to visit in a country as dry as Libya…someone may ask? 90% of Libya is under the Sahara desert but this doesn’t mean that’s all it has to offer. You can visit Leptis Magan a UNESCO World heritage site that has remains dating back to the early Roman Empire east of the capital Tripoli. Check out the Amphitheatre and fossils of Arch of Septimius and Severan Basilica.
From Tripoli the capital, also the largest city, you can visit the National museum, medina, the red castle, mosques of Gurgi and Karamali and many other places.
Tourist attractions in Libya
Tripoli is the capital city of Libya and at the same time the largest city in the whole country. Tripoli before the civil war was one of the most beautiful cities in Africa with all its buildings that are either in Greek or Roman archeology, it was quite a sight to see and you will still find these and more after the war. Some of the things that you should expect to see in Tripoli include the Ottoman towers, the different Mosques littered around the city, the Assaraya al-Hamara and not forgetting the taste of street food that is sold by the different locals in the stalls around the city.
Located near the Shahhat in Libya, Cyrene was founded by the Greek in the year 17BC and was filled with Greeks before the Romans took over after the downfall of the Greeks. It was a declared a UNESCO heritage site and at the moment, it is the current location of the Apollo temple and is a major tourist attraction in Libya that needs to be checked out.
The Leptis Magna
The Leptis Magna which was declared as a UNESCO heritage site constructed by the Greeks and it is one of the most beautiful cities in Libya which still has all the ancient things around it. Although some have been taken away from the country while others have been destroyed with time, you will still be taken back in time with the remaining buildings like the theatre that was constructed by the Romans and the large market place where locals sell their produce. A trip to Leptis Magna will help you get to know more about the history of Libya as a country.
The Benghazi is one of the places that you should visit while in Libya and although the city has seen a lot of damage especially during the war, you will still be able to see the Maydan al-Shajara, the old buildings that were left by the Italians showcasing the history of the colonial era in the country and you also get to walk to the lighthouse. All these will give you a glimpse into Libya during the colonial era.
Top things to do in Libya
There are quite a number of activities that you can engage in while in Libya and some of the top things that you should not miss out on include the following:
Explore the beaches in Libya
Libya as a country has been known for its continuous bombings but it has since tried to put the unrest aside and at the moment is working hard to improve on its tourist attraction sites. Most of the beaches that are found in Libya are located along the Mediterranean Sea which flows to the different parts of the country. It is one way to try and relax especially with the hot weather that is experienced in the country and some of the beaches from where you can relax from include Tolmitha, Athena, Apollonia and Derma city.
Visit the different museums
Libya is known to have a rich history and the stories told about this history can be found in the different museums that are scattered all over the country. Also known as the al-Jamahiri museum, the National museum is found in the a former red building that was constructed by the Italians and once inside you will be transported back in time as you get to see all the historical things that are kept here showing Libya during the colonial times until she got her Independence under colonel Muamar Gaddafi.
Explore the Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Libya and some of the activities that you can engage in while there include:
- Enjoy camel riding in the Sahara Desert
This is considered to be the best way for you to tour the expanse Sahara Desert that covers Libya. There are many experienced tour guides who can help you on this journey and some of the things that you should look out for while on your camel ride include the cave paintings in the Desert, the massive sand dunes, caves, the Akakus Mountains and after a long camel trip, you can set up a camp and enjoy the stars in the Desert. Do not forget to carry water for this exercise because the weather can become unbearably hot and you do not want to be perched.
- Go quad biking and surfing in the Desert
Your visit to the Desert will almost be wasted if you do not engage in some sand dune activities. An experienced tour guide will be there to show you the ropes of sand surfing and quad biking and after that you will get to drive up to the peak of some of the largest dunes in the Desert. Remember to follow all the instructions that will be given to you in order to enjoy these activities that can only be carried out in the Desert.
Visit the various Mosques in Libya
Libya is a well-known Arabic country and with this comes the numerous mosques that are located in the different parts of the country. One of the most visited mosque in Libya is the Gurgi Mosque which is found in Tripoli and with its unique architecture, it is quite a sight that should not be missed although before you are granted entrance into the mosque you must be dressed in the Sharia and your head should be covered for the ladies. Other unique mosques that you should really look out for include the Karamanli and the En Naqah mosque. A visit to the mosques will not only leave you with knowledge about the Muslim faith but you will also be given a glimpse into the culture of the Libyan people.
Join the festivities in Libya
In order toc celebrate their culture and religion, there are several festivals that are organized per year to commemorate culture and religion and these include the Ghat festival, the liberation day, the Islamic New year and many more others.
- The liberation day, this is celebrated every year on 23rd October and it was added on the calendar after the death of their former president colonel Muamar Gaddafi.
- The Ghat festival, the Ghat festival is held either in November or December and it is used to celebrate culture. Some of the things that you expect during the Ghat festival include a large market sale day where all merchandize is sold and camel racing.
- The Acacus festival, this is held in either December or January in the Sahara Desert and it is all about celebrating life. It is filled with music and dancing all done in the Desert in the evening hours.
- The Islamic New year, this is a time for a family and it is a public holiday in the whole country. It normally is celebrated in November but the exact date is decided according to the Islamic calendar.
Explore the Sabratha museum
The Sabratha museum is one of the many places that you should check out while in Libya. It is filled with Mosaics that have been collected form the different parts of the country and some date back to the time of evolution that is the Stone Age. It is also located next to some Roman baths that add beauty to the museum.
Accommodation facilities in Libya
There are different types of accommodation facilities that you can try out when you go for your trip to Libya. These are found in the different parts of the country and in order for you to get the best accommodation facility, you will need to book in advance. The examples of accommodation facilities that are found in Libya include Bed and Breakfast, hotels, camps and hostels.
- Bed and Breakfast facilities
The Bed and Breakfast accommodation facilities in Libya are found in homes of nationals that want to earn an extra living. Most of them offer food, a bedroom that is self-contained and all other facilities that are necessary although they are not as luxurious as the hotels.
These are normally used by tourists who go out for a trip to the Desert. They are set up in a way that you can get to enjoy the stars in the Desert while at the same time safe from the harsh weather conditions that are experienced in the Desert. You can either carry your own tent but it is better to get one from a tour operator because the ones they have are designed to keep the harsh weather conditions out.
- The Hostels
The hostels also locally known as the buyut ash-shabab are located either within the tourist attractions or near them. They are relatively cheaper as compared to other accommodation facilities and their facilities are all not that up to a good standard.
The hotels that you can use as your accommodation facilities can be found in the different major cities that are found in the country. The hotels are categorized into three that is high end hotels, mid-range hotels and budget friendly hotels which means that at least every tourist will be able to get a hotel that fits into their budget.
The best time to visit Libya
Libya experiences two types of climate that is the desert climate and the Mediterranean climate at the coast and these are experienced in the different months. The best time for one to go for a trip to Libya is between the months of October to March and this is because these months the heat that is experienced in the country is a bit bearable as compared to other months.
Is Libya safe?
At the moment, no Libya is not safe and all flights to the country have been put on hold since 2014. There are a lot of criminal activities being carried and tourists are advised to avoid the country at all costs.
What is the capital city of Libya?
Tripoli is the capital city of Libya with a lot to offer to the tourists.
What activities can I can engage in while in Libya?
Although the country is still off limits, some of the activities that you can carry out while here include exploring the beaches, museums, engaging in water sport activities and riding to the Desert among other activities.
How do I get to Libya?
The fastest way for one to get to Libya is by flying due to its location that is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Chad, Niger and Tunisia. You should however note that flights to and from the country have been banned ever since the unrest after the overthrow of former president Gadhafi.
Flights to Libya
There around 12 airports in Libya with schedules of business flights as well as for tourists. However 2 of them are international and the rest serve domestic flights within the country. Tripoli international airport (TIP) is the busiest Libya airport and the largest of them all. Benina International airport (BEN) located in the town of Benina serves flights to Benghazi and other neighboring towns.
Other airports In Libya include;
- La Abraq Airport (LAQ) from Al Beida
- Agedabia airport
- Al jufra Air base
- Birak airport (BCQ)
- Martuba airport/ airbase from Darnah
- Ghadames airport (LTD)
- Gaht airport (GHT)
- Houn airport (HUQ)
- Kufra airport (AKF)
- Misrata airport (MRA)
- Marsa brega Airport (LMQ)
- Habit Awlad Muhammad airport in Mizdah
- Sabha airport (SEB)
- Gurdabya airpot(SRX) in Sirt
- Tobruk airport (TOB)
- Mitiga airport (MJI) in Tripoli
- Ubari Aiport(QUB)
- Nanur Airport in Wadi Maymun Darraj
- Zwara airport (WAX)
- Ras Lanuf Airport in Surt
Regular fliers to Tripoli include Afriqiyah airways, Buraq air, Libya Airlines, British airways, Lufthansa, BMI, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Austrian Air, Alitalia, Air Malta, Egypt Air and others
Cheap flights to Tripoli Libya are available on advance booking with KLM, Afriqiyah, Alitalia and other small air carriers. Direct flights are available to Libya from all major departure points of UK with leading domestic and international air carriers like; Libyan Arab Airlines(national air carrier) offers direct flights to Tripoli Libya from Heathrow and Manchester air port, while British Airways offers the same from Heathrow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow Air port with stops in Cairo or in neighboring countries.