Libya doesn't have a long history of tourism, but the government of this North African country is hoping to change that. By building and creating more resources for tourism and making it easier to obtain a Libyan visa, Libya travel is growing. As the country boasts five UNESCO World Heritage sites, a trip to Libya is bound to be unforgettable, particularly if you’re interested in history.
Libya is situated along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, west of Egypt. It is also bordered by Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, and Sudan. It is the fourth-largest African country, and its nearly 6 million inhabitants are considered to have the highest level of human development on the continent: They have the highest gross domestic product, the highest quality of living, the longest life expectancy, and the highest average level of education in all of Africa. Although the official language is Arabic, many Libyans also speak English. As the country is almost entirely covered by the Libyan Desert, the climate is typically warm and dry and sometimes experiences extreme periods without any rainfall.
In an effort to diversify the economy and improve the reputation of their country, the Libyan government is working hard to grow Libya tourism by improving the infrastructure and building new hotels and shops. There are plans for new airports, roads, trains, shopping malls, hotels, and commercial spaces. They are also planning on easing restrictions on previously difficult to obtain a Libyan visa, as well. Currently, residents of certain countries, such as the United States and Canada, have difficulty getting permission to travel to and throughout Libya; be sure to check your country's embassy for current entrance and exit requirements for a Libyan visa before booking your trip.
Many itineraries on a trip to Libya include the country's capital and largest city, Tripoli. Situated in the northwest corner along the Mediterranean coast, Tripoli is home to the country's best museum and largest hotel. The architecture throughout the city, including the historical medina, is a good expression of the country's varied history. Tripoli also serves as an excellent stop while exploring the Roman ruins in Libya.
The Roman ruins of Leptis Magna and Sabratha are considered by some to be two of the most unspoiled Roman archeological sites known today, and they alone inspire a great deal of Libya travel. From Sabratha's dramatic third-century theater with its dramatic three-story backdrop of columns and colorful mosaic tiles to Leptis Magna's breathtaking Arch of Severus, these two former Roman cities let visitor to Libya experience history first hand.
Rome was not the only culture to leave its impression upon Libya. Greek influences at the Cyrene ruins are another popular Libya tourism destination. Travelers usually stay in the town of Shahhat to visit these ruins, characterized by a mix of Greek and Roman historical influences. Two of the most popular sites at Cyrene are the prominent temple of Apollo and 76 Roman statues that were well preserved after being buried in rubble during an earthquake in 375 AD.
Common sense is strongly advised for Libya travel, especially to westerners. Many accepted civil liberties in the western world are not recognized in Libya, including freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, and association. Exercise strong caution in these areas on your trip to Libya, and be respectful of the local culture. Visitors are also advised to abide by the laws of the predominant Islam religion in Libya. Women should dress conservatively, and alcohol is strictly forbidden.