Beirut sits on the shores of the Mediterranean, in the middle of Lebanon's west coast. It is by far the most important city in the small Middle Eastern country, and, as the capital, is the center of its economy, culture and government. Almost all of this takes place in the Beirut Central District, which is also the prime location for entertainment, shopping and dining.
Beirut has an estimated population range of 900,000 to 1.3 million or more, or as high as 2 million for Greater Beirut. However, no official census has been taken in decades. Beirut is one of the most diverse cities in the region, with a huge mix of cultures and religions, dominated by Christianity and Islam. Expats mix more freely with locals and each other than in other parts of the Middle East.
One advantage of a move to Beirut is the beautiful Mediterranean climate. April to June has warm, dry days and cool evenings with temperatures of around 19–25°C (66°F–77°F).
In July and August, temperatures increase to about 30°C (86°F) and the humidity can become quite intense. From December to February are the wettest months, and the rain can be very heavy. The ski season in Lebanon is from December until early April.
The climate is diverse but quite predictable, and the right preparation, such as air conditioned accommodation and preparedness for rain in winter, means the weather should be much more of a blessing than a curse.
Expats moving to Beirut should bear in mind that air pollution can be an issue, with air quality sometimes poor and occasionally dangerous.
The area most popular with expats is Hamra. It is in the heart of downtown Beirut, boasting old buildings and new towers alike, with plenty of shopping and nightlife.
The Achrafieh district, a significant residential part of Beirut, is popular with tourists and enjoys a blend of offices, shopping and coffee shops sprinkled along small, weaving streets. It is among the city's oldest districts. Apartments here can be rented for around 1,000 USD per month, a little more for a fully furnished place. Properties often include balconies or terraces from which to absorb the city atmosphere. Prices are comparable to or perhaps cheaper than Hamra.
Smaller places elsewhere can be around 500 USD. Jounieh, around 13 miles to the north, is a mainly Christian area, something of a tourist area and not far from the sea - it is another option for expats. Areas around the airport are best avoided.