Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is a North African country, on the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Egypt. After years of isolation Libya has opened its borders again. Libya is 90 per cent desert, but does have mountain ranges, lakes and beaches. Libya also features Roman ruins and desert oasis towns.
Libya’s capital city, Tripoli, is in the west of the country on the Mediterranean coast. Assaraya al-Hamra (the Red Castle) is a prominent feature of Tripoli’s skyline. The castle features classic Ottoman statues and fountains. Other attractions in Tripoli are the ornate Gurgi and Karamanli mosques. Near Gurgi Mosque is the Arch of Marcus Aurelius.
Other destinations in Libya include Leptis Magna, a spectacular old Roman city with exquisite architecture, and Cyrene, the well-preserved ruins of an ancient Greek city featuring an Agora, the Temple of Zeus and the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore. Ghadhames is 650kms from Tripoli and is an oasis town with fascinating desert architecture. Highlights of Ghadhames are the D’jmaa al-Kabir Mosque and Mulberry Square.
Libya has some spectacular beaches on its 2,000-kilometre long Mediterranean coastline. Close to Leptis Magna is the seaside town of Al Khoms, which has a popular beach. Tripoli’s beaches are on the west side of the city, and offer water sports, changing facilities and cafés.
Libya’s cuisine is good but primarily Arabic, so if you like schwarma and hummus, Libya is the place to visit. Western food is available, at a price. Libya’s accommodation options range from basic guest houses to Tripoli’s most luxurious hotel, the Corinthia Bab Africa. A night in a standard room at a top hotel in Libya is likely to cost you what it would in a major European city.
Libya’s principal entry point is Tripoli International Airport, which has direct flights from Europe, other African nations and also Middle Eastern countries. The airport has a separate terminal for domestic flights. Libya has had no railway network since 1965, when it was dismantled. Roads in the country are quite good quality, but busy, especially in Tripoli.