Libya Overview

Libya is an Arab country in northern Africa. It lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The country is bordered by Egypt and Sudan on the east, Chad and Niger on the south, and Algeria and Tunisia on the west. The vast, dry Sahara covers most of Libya.

Almost all of Libya’s people are of mixed Arab and Berber ancestry and are Muslims. Until the early 1900’s, Libya consisted of three separate geographical and historical regions. It became a united, independent country in 1951. Libya’s official name is the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Tripoli, in the northeast, is a bustling city dominated by the splendid Assaraya al-Hamra (Red Castle), a large palace complex. Although 90 percent of Libya is desert or semi-desert, there are oases to be discovered, ruins to explore and great cities to investigate.


The desert climate is characterised by extreme high and low temperatures. Daytime temperatures reach an average high of 100 °F (38 °C). But nights are cool, averaging 50 °F (10 °C). Rainfall in the desert averages less than 2 inches each year. The Mediterranean Sea strongly influences the climate of the coastal region. The area has warm summers and mild winters. In July, temperatures in Tripoli average 81 °F (27 °C).


CAPITAL: Tripoli
POPULATION: 6.1 million
LANGUAGE: Arabic, English
CURRENCY: Libyan Dinar
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 220/240V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or either a two or three pin plug is required.


We advise against all but essential travel areas bordering Sudan, Chad, Niger and Algeria (this does not apply to the towns of Ghadames and Ghat), owing to the threat from cross-border criminal activity and instability in the region. With the exception of the official land border crossings to Tunisia and Egypt, visitors and residents are not permitted to travel in the interior or to border areas without an officially sanctioned guide or specific permission from the Libyan authorities.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK