Libya is a beautiful country characterized by a magnificent Mediterranean coastline, endless and infinite desert landscapes and numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But unfortunately this incredible North African country is plagued by war and conflict. Hopefully, after the crisis is resolved, tourists will have an opportunity to explore this extraordinary country with hidden gems.
When in Libya, the first pit-stop must be it's capital - Tripoli. Visit the Jamhariya Museum (collections of Roman and Islamic artifacts) and stroll around the walled Medina or old city with the alleyways brimming with mosques and souks. Other highlights include a Roman Arch of Marcus Aurelius dating back the 2nd century AD, Gurgi and Karamanli mosques with their intricate tilework and the Red Fort, a vast complex with several courtyards and dominates the city's skyline. Head over to the bazaar and watch artisans display their wares such as fine jewellery and traditional attires.
Considered to be one of the most stunning Roman cities once upon a time, Leptis Magna possesses well-preserved Roman sites. Since the 1920s, the site has been extensively explored. Some of the places worth visiting are the Gladiator Circus, amphitheatre, basillica, baths, streets and arches. It is said to be one of the most splendid and unspoiled Roman ruins in the Mediterranean. The arch of Septimius Severus is particularly famous and a well-known tourist magnet. The Cyrene (Shahhat) is a ancient Greek and Roman city, founded in 630 BC, and is now an archaeological site next to the village of present-day Shahhat. It earned itself the nickname 'Athens of Africa'. Some of the notable sights to visit are the Temples of Zeus and Apollo, the Acropolis and the Agora, the baths, theatre and so on.
Sabratha used to be a Phonenician trading post. Similar to Leptin Magna, Sabratha is home to well-preserved Roman ruins and houses numerous remarkable historical monuments. It is perched on a stunning setting on the Mediterranean coast. The theatre can accommodate as much as 5,000 folks. Some of the highlights of this ancient city are the temples of Liber Pater, Serapis, Hercules and Isis, the Christian basilica of Justinian and the Capitolium.
The limitless and vast Sahara desert is the biggest hot desert and third largest desert overall in the planet. Ghadames is a historic town, residing in an oasis in the desert close to the border of Tunisia and Algeria. Often referred to as the 'Pearl of the Desert', Ghadames is famous for it's stunning layout and architecture. Stroll around the museum, traditional homes and mosques to learn more about the heritage of this ancient town. The old city of Germa is the Sahara desert was once the capital of the Garamantian Empire from around 900 BC to 500 AD. The old town is spruced with a few quintessential houses, baths, temples and a museum.
Be sure to catch a glimpse of the towering Acacus Mountains, found in the Libyan Sahara. The mountainous terrain consists of mind-boggling natural scenery as well as exquisite rock formations found anywhere else in the globe. The Ubari Sand Sea, housed in the midst of the desert, is a vast area notable for the 11 salt water lakes called Ramlat Dawada. Some of the lakes like Gebraoun and Umm al-Maa are stunning palm-fringed oasis that are glimpsed amidst the dry desert atmosphere.
When it comes to shopping, Libyan souks offer everything from spices to gold and silverwear jewellery. Other specialities include embroidered Ghadames slippers, pottery from Gharian, trays and baskets from palm leaves, leather bags and belts. As for cuisine, there are plenty of Libyan dishes you should be tempted enough to try from a variety of restaurants scattered around the country. Be sure to drink the sweetened Libyan red mint tea, served in small cups.
Libya offers an array of stay options. The richie-rich seeking the best luxury hotels and private apartments will find plenty of choices available for them. Similarly, budget tourists can opt for cheap accommodations that cater to their requirements and comforts.
The climate of Libya is Mediterranean in the thin coastal strip and desert in the interior. The best time to visit the country would be either spring or autumn, particularly the months of mid-March to mid-April and mid-October to mid-November. However, the ideal time to head over to the country is only after the war and conflict plaguing the nation is resolved.