From world-class Roman ruins to mystical caravan cities built in staggering, massive deserts, Libya is a real off-the-beaten-track country filled with wonderful sites that have been barely explored by travelers.
In 2011, however, a series of peaceful protests against dictator Gaddafi escalated into a civil war that isolated the country even more from the rest of the world.
Since 2021, however, the situation in the west of the country has improved, and that’s why Against the Compass decided to start running tours in Libya.
Our Libya tours focus on the highlights the country is famous for but also, we are the only travel company that puts a strong focus on the political part, the crisis, and the unfortunate war, key elements to understand the Libya of the 21st century.
International flights Tunis to Tripoli (round-trip), with Libyan Wings or similar.
Letter of Invitation (needed for the visa)
Clearance for all checkpoints
Private transportation and driver around Libya
Breakfast and 1 main meal
English-speaking knowledgeable local guide
Entrance fees to all sites listed in the itinerary
Airport transfers in Tripoli
Private, tailored trips for Libya
Do you want to travel solo, or with a group of friends?
From a 3-day tour visiting epic Roman sites such as Sabratha and Leptis Magna to a 1-week Libya tour venturing into the caravan city of Gadhames, we are able to design any sort of adventure based on your needs, 365 days a year.
If you can’t afford a private, solo trip, we can also help you find other partners to travel with.
We will design the perfect itinerary based on your needs
From which embassy will you apply for your visa?
Sample itinerary for our Libya tours
Here’s the standard 7-day tour we offer on most of our expeditions.
Day 1 – Arrival in Tripoli
We will meet early morning at Tunis Carthage International Airport (exact time to be confirmed) to catch our flight to Tripoli all together.
After going through the lengthy immigration process, we will check in at the hotel and go for a hearty, Libyan meal.
Then, we will visit the old city of Tripoli, checking out highlights like: The Arch of Marcus Aurelius, Gurgi Mosque, Al Nakah Mosque, the gold bazaar, Martyr’s square, and a lot of Italian colonial buildings.
After a particularly long day, you can spend the evening/night in either the hotel (it has an excellent rooftop with great views) or check Tripoli’s nightlife.
Overnight in Tripoli.
Day 2 – Leptis Magna (overnight in Misrata)
Two hours east of Tripoli, you find Leptis Magna.
Founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians and later expanded by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, the ruins of Leptis Magna are absolutely outstanding, first league Roman ruins built on the shore of the Mediterranean.
We will take our time to visit the site – around 3 hours – followed by a good Libyan meal. Then, we will head for Misrata.
Evening and overnight in Misrata.
Day 3 – Misrata
Misrata is not a tourist destination, there isn’t much to do and it lacks historical sites but, while the city of Tripoli remains quite untouched from the civil war, Misrata witnessed the fiercest battle between the rebels and Gaddafi’s forces.
Our visit to Misrata is going to be political, a visit that is going to be key to understanding a conflict which has been going for the last 10 years.
We will do a proper city tour and then we will visit a brand-new Civil War Museum containing a collection of objects, photos, and weapons from the 2011 battle.
Lunch in Misrata. Then, we will head back to Tripoli.
Overnight in Tripoli.
Day 4 – Jebel Nefusa (overnight in Ghadames)
On day 4, we will drive to Ghadames, which is a long 600-kilometer ride, but we will break the journey by visiting several highlights along the way, in the area of Jebel Nefusa.
Berbers compose around 5% of the total Libyan population and Jebel Nafusa is their heartland. As you may know, Berbers are the indigenous ethnic group in North Africa before the Arabs came. You may have met some Berbers in Morocco, Algeria, or Tunisia but I found Libyan Berbers to have a stronger identity since their flag is flown all across their region.
On the way to Ghadames, we will visit Qasr al-Hajj, one of the finest examples of Berber architecture, a giant granary from the 12th century.
Then, we will go to Tarmisah, an ancient village with stunning views of the valley.
We will have lunch in a traditional cave.
After lunch, we will continue to Ghadames.
Day 5 – Ghadames
In the morning, we will go straight to the Old City of Ghadames, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a giant Saharan city composed of hundreds of entangled lanes, packed with mosques and historical houses.
We will have lunch in a traditional house and then, we will get deep into the desert, climbing the sand dunes from where you can see the Algerian border.
A group of real Tuaregs will make us tea while waiting for the sunset.
Overnight in Ghadames.
Day 6 – Gharyan and back to Tripoli
There’s going to be a long ride ahead of us, but we are going to stop in an area named Gharyan, famous for pottery and also for some very authentic troglodyte caves.
We will have some snacks along the way, but the main meal will be in Tripoli.
Overnight in Tripoli.
Day 7 – Sabratha and departure
Sabratha is smaller than Leptis Magna, but most travelers prefer Sabratha because you can see the Mediterranean from anywhere in the ruins, plus it features the best Roman theater.
On the other hand, Sabratha was also taken by ISIS, the heritage of which can still be seen in some of the damaged buildings.
After visiting Sabratha, only if we have time, we will check out some of Libya’s finest beaches, made of white sand and the most crystaline water ever.
Around 1pm, we will head back to Tripoli, have a quick lunch and go to the airport to catch our 5pm flight.
4 to 8 weeks before the beginning of the trip, we will apply for a Letter of Invitation (LOI), which takes between 1 and 2 weeks to process.
With this LOI, you’ll be able to pick up your visa in the Libyan Embassy, either in your home country or country of residence.
Some embassies require your physical presence, while others allow you to mail your docs.
We can offer you guidance, assistance, and tips but at the end of the day, applying for your visa at the embassy is your own responsibility.
Which nationalities can join?
Today, all nationalities are welcome to join our Libya tours.
How to get to Libya?
There are direct flights to Tripoli from Tunis, Istanbul and Cairo, Tunis being the main hub for flights to Libya.
Check Tunis Air, Turkish Airlines and Libyan Wings.
Is it safe?
We only run expeditions to areas we believe are safe but be aware that most Governments advise against all travel to Libya.
From a local perspective, the situation in western Libya has improved a lot – that’s why we run tours there – but be aware that you will be traveling under your own responsibility.
Do you recommend a specific travel insurance?
Either you are joining one of our trips, or you are traveling by yourself, you might want to look for proper travel insurance. Against the Compass has been a partner with IATI for several years already, recommending it to all readers, as well as covering all Joan Torres’ personal trips.
We like it because It covers all the countries where the FCDO advises against all travel, it offers budget plans and covers all sorts of adventure activities.
Against the Compass readers can benefit from a 5% discount.