If you are planning to visit Libya in the near future, you might find very little information on how to visit Libya as a tourist. This country has some incredible sights to offer, especially the Roman Cities of Sabratha and Leptis Magna, but it remains one of the least visited countries for tourism. Tourism was limited during the time of Gaddafi, but after the Arab Spring in 2011, it has been paralyzed by the ongoing conflict.
How to visit Libya? Here are a few points to consider first
Libya and “Do Not Travel Warning”
First of all, almost every government has a warning in place to not visit Libya. This means in most cases your travel insurance will be invalid and your embassy won’t be able to assist you on the ground in case of emergency. The ongoing conflict in Libya and instability of the government means Libya is really only suitable for experienced travellers.
Why go to Libya?
Libya is home to 5 UNESCO Heritage sights, Mediterranean coastlines, Berbers villages, and amazing desert landscapes. Tripoli is the capital city and it feels more like a mixture of cities in Turkey and the Middle East. And, Libya also has some great food.
How to visit Libya – A tour agency will take care of you on the ground
Do you need a visa for Libya?
Passports and visas are required for entry into Libya for all nationalities except nationals of Algeria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. As Libya does not currently issue a tourist visa, the only option is to apply for a business visa. If you are maybe working in the construction industry, oil and gas, or are a diplomat, you might be able to visit Libya for work and add a few days to your itinerary to see some sights.
However, if you are simply planning a trip to Libya as a tourist, you will still need to get your business visa and for that, you need the help of an agency. In order to apply for a Libyan visa, you will require an invitation letter from Libya and this is something the company takes care of on the ground. It usually takes about 5-7 business days for the invitation letter to be issued and it will also be sent to the embassy that you will apply for your Libyan visa.
There are only a few Libyan Embassies, so best to check where you would apply. Some suggestions include Rome, London, Washington, Canberra, or Dubai. Here is the full list of Libyan embassies.
How to visit Libya with a tour company?
At the moment there are two different contacts/tour agencies that organise tours in Libya. Most travellers visit for 3-5 days as you are limited to what you can visit in Libya. Your tour will most likely include Tripoli and Tripoli Medina and a visit to the Roman City of Leptis Magna. You can add a visit to the other Roman city of Sabratha as well as the Berber villages in the Nafusa Mountains plus a visit to ancient granary Qasr al-hajj. Finally, you might choose a trip to the desert town of Ghadames.
The best way to get to Libya is on a flight from Tunis to Tripoli. Tunis Air as well as Libyan Wings fly this route daily. As you have to book Libyan wings through an agency, your contact on the ground will organise your flights and e-tickets.
A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".