I´ve visited many roman cities and the only place I can compare Leptis Magna with is Pompei. But Leptis impressed me even more. It was a big city at its time and you can still feel it. Two beautiful temples, the forum, the baths, the port. You could never imagine such an impressive town existed there. It was an important port in North Africa, connecting the Sahara to Rome (hence, where lions, elephants, ivory, etc were embarked to Rome). After the decline of Rome, it was abandoned and so it remained, until the Italians started excavating in the 20th century.
How to get there: don´t try renting a car, as it´s almost impossible to find it by yourself. You could use a travel agency. Otherwise, you can ask someone to arrange with a taxi driver to take you there and spend the day (should be less than US$ 80). Go early in the morning, because of the heat (in Summer, it´s almost impossible to visit it). In any case, take a bottle of water for the visit. If you want a guided tour, you will find guides at the entrance. I think it´s a good idea (make sure you find one who can really speak some English). But you can also do it by yourself, and it´s as good.
Where to eat: right at the entrance there is a cafe, where you can buy sandwhiches (no big deal). Outside, facing the gate, at the corner, there is a small restaurant, good and unexpensive. This is a good option for lunch, after visiting the ruins (try their couscous). I suggest bringing something to eat (fruits, cookies) during the visit, then having lunch at the restaurant outside.
Toilet: the only toilet around is at the entrance, to the right. Use it before starting your visit.
Visiting: if you don´t take the guided tour, start your visit by turning left at the arch. You´ll get to the baths, with summing pools, sauna, etc (don´t miss the latrines, this is great). Then, follow the signs to the Basilica (Roman Forum). From there, go to the Market and the Theater. When you get back to to arch, take the road that runs west (Oea gate). Walk to the end of it, turn right and go to the beach (beautiful view, and there is an old roman house right by the sea). If you have plenty of time, you can visit the museum. But I suggest something else (out of the tradicional tourist circuit of Leptis): take the car and go to your left on the street in front of the entrance gate. About 500m later, after a small brige, take the road to your left. After 1km you´ll see the ruins of the ancient port (there´ll be a guard at the entrance. Maybe he will let you in. If not, take a look - you can see the place where the old warehouses were and also what´s left of the lighthouse). Keep driving and you´ll get to the top of a small hill. Here you can visit the old amphitheather. You´ll have to buy another ticket, but it´s worth. It´s huge, beautifully well preserved, and with a splendid view to the sea.
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