Hot Destinations in Lebanon
Lebanon Destination Guide
Lebanon is compactly packed with history, archaeology, natural beauty
and a handsome population of fun-loving people, whose hospitality and
warmth extends the length and breadth of the country. Ever since time
immemorial, Lebanon has been and still remains a melting pot of great
civilisations and culture. In the following sections, we have attempted
to give you a brief synopsis of Lebanon's City Guide.
Take in the downtown redevelopment, head to the beautiful Corniche,
catch the sunset at Pigeon Rocks, take a day trip to Baalbeck, Byblos,
Sidon, Jounieh, Cedars... Absolutely delightful!
Check out our list of things to see and do during your stay. Our Lebanon
Tour Suggestions will tell you all you need to know about the best places
to visit in Lebanon. For tips on how to get around in Lebanon, read our
Lebanon Transportation Guide.
Things to See & Do in Lebanon
Baalbek is a city where time stands still. Built of stone blocks weighing
up to a hundred tons transported to the site by muscular force alone,
the temples of Baalbek have survived majestically to the present day.
In the fifth century, historians listed them among the 'wonders of the
world', referring to them, for the first time, as 'the temples of Baalbek'
the name by which they are still known today. For over half a century
the ruins of Baalbek have dazzled the world. Each summer, its famous festival
is one of Lebanon's most important cultural events. On the steps of the
Temple of Jupiter or inside the Temple of Bacchus, Herbert von Karajan,
Mstislav Rostropovitch, Fayrouz and many others have enchanted entire
generations. The beauty of the ancient site shines forth in the glow of
the spotlights and, on starry nights, the applause of the crowd seems
to awaken the very gods from their slumber.
The former 'Pearl of the Middle East' is once again an exquisite experience:
a bewildering composition of cultures and faiths, perched on a breathtaking
sweep of Mediterranean coastline. The most populous city in Lebanon, Beirut,
is the Lebanese Capital and home to the first law school in the world,
dating back to the Phoenician Era. Beirut is a tourist attraction to visitors
from around the world. Known to be the most commercial and busiest city
in Lebanon, Beirut has several nightclubs, restaurants and other places
of entertainment. Not to mention the famous market at the Martyr's Place
known as Souk el Barghout, where hundreds of tourists pass by and enjoy
a delightful meal, or even a cup of coffee at the enjoyable outdoor cafes.
Known to be the fishing centre of Lebanon, Sidon is an old fashioned
city just like Tripoli. It is very popular for the cultivation of most
of the country's fruits, including bananas, mangoes, apples, and other
fruits not found anywhere else in Lebanon. In addition, Sidon serves as
a very important, strategic oil pipeline terminal that extends from Iraq
and Saudi Arabia to other recipient countries. Sidon's nightlife is dominantly
spirited up with Arabic music, dancing, and traditional entertainment.
What makes Sidon special is that it is home to many delightful, mouth-watering
Arabic sweets' stores, which make up most of the markets.
Lebanon's second largest city (and the second most populous), Tripoli
is where you can breathe history and relive the glorious old days of the
country. Locals are warm and friendly and homes and cafes inviting with
their wonderful smell of freshly brewed coffee. Pop into a quaint old
style restaurant or accept an invitation to a Lebanese home as you stroll
through the markets and lanes of this city.
For history buffs, there's no better place than Tripoli to explore the
real Lebanon. A good place to start is the Citadel which is where you
can explore ruins of a fort that dates back to the time of the Crusades.
The harbour is perennially buzzing with activity and is a key port of
entry for goods in and out of the region. It also serves as the entry
point for shipments to land locked countries further inland in the region
and also serves as a port to Syria, Iraq and Jordan which lack harbours
of their own.
The tourist hub of Tyre is where you must go to explore a number of Lebanon's
most coveted historic sites and some of the most gorgeous locales. Tyre
is also your gateway to a UNESCO world heritage site that boasts of the
best preserved hippodrome from Roman times, a remarkably well preserved
city from the ancient times and ruins that hold several stories and the
key to much of Lebanon's past. You'll even find references to the city
in the Bible - it is believed that Tyre existed as early as the 3rd millennium
Tyre is located in the far south of Lebanon and was once a twin city,
split between a number of small islands and a coastal town. The Phoenician
city of Tyre was honoured as a great island city and even called ‘the
queen of the seas'. However, after the Arab Israeli wars in 1982, much
of the city was destroyed. Efforts to rebuild it and restore it to its
former glory are still on, so you can watch as the city regains its old
If you prefer a mountain setting for your holidays then Zahleh is a wonderful
place to get some bracing mountain air while you explore Lebanon. Indulge
in some gastronomic adventures and take a tour of the beautiful vineyards
of the region. Try a bottle of the local bubbly (it's called Narjilleh)
and sample some of the produce of the agricultural heartland of Lebanon
- the Bekaa Valley. Taste the freshness of the crunchy lettuce, the hearty
sweet potato and sugar beets in the Mezze platter and try other Lebanese
cuisine before heading out to pick up your own souvenir - a bottle of
wine from master wine makers ‘Kefraya'.
Byblos overwhelms the senses with its ancient heritage. The oldest continually
inhabited town in the world still looks exactly like the ancient Phoenician
port it was a few hundred years ago. The most noteworthy sites include
the Crusaders castle, built during the 12th and 13th centuries; the Egyptian
temples, the most ancient of which dates back to the 2nd millennium BC;
the Roman amphitheatre with its stunning Mediterranean backdrop; the Phoenician
Royal Necropolis; and the scenic 12th century church of St. John the Baptist.
Byblos also holds recently restored medieval souks, where visitors can
shop for souvenirs, including Lebanese arts and crafts, postcards, traditional
dress, and other local wares or simply stroll along the old cobblestone
streets and enjoy the architecture.
Anjar, 58 kilometers from Beirut, is completely different from any other
archaeological experience you will have in Lebanon. At other historical
sites in the country, different epochs and civilizations are superimposed
one on top of the other. Aanjar dates exclusively from one period, the
Umayyad dynasty. Anjar has a special beauty. The city's slender columns
and fragile arches stand in contrast to the massive bulk of the nearby
Anti-Lebanon mountains, an eerie background for Anjar's extensive ruins
and the memories of its short, but energetic, moment in history.
The town of Deir El Qamar is no less than a living museum, with its unusual
winding and narrow streets that lead out to dramatic palaces and buildings
that reflect an old world architectural style. Buildings here are well
maintained and regular restoration work has preserved the past at its
Turn around a road lined by feudal style architecture and you may well
chance upon a charming stepped street or perhaps an enclosed garden.
The Ottomans are credited with bringing the capital from Ba'aqline to
here in 1590 when Prince Fakhreddine Al-Maani II - one of the most important
of the Ottoman rulers - decided to extend the boundaries of Mount Lebanon
to this town. The remains of the Ottoman Empire in Lebanon are visible
even today, in the form of places of worship dating back to that age and
include a synagogue, some churches and a mosque.
Eternal symbol of Lebanon, the Cedars fascinate with their majesty and
great age. Known for their long lasting wood resistant to temperature,
humidity and decay, the trees were widely exploited in antiquity. The
most famous cedars are undoubtedly those of Bsharreh, many of which are
hundreds of years old. Some of these trees, estimated at between 1500
and 3000 years old, have reached a height of 35 meters and their trunks
are between 12 and 14 meters around. With branches positioned like arms
at prayer, the so-called Cedars of the Lord are at their most impressive
when seen under layers of white snow. The resort of the Cedars near Bsharreh
is also known for its excellent skiing and the exceptional view of the
Qadisha valley seen from the highest slopes.
The Lady of Harissa
Harissa, a statue of Our Lady of Lebanon with her arms outspread over
Jounieh Bay, is one of the countrys most renowned manmade landmarks. The
statue was made in Lyon; it is of bronze covered with white paint and
of 8 meters and a half long. The statue arrived to Beirut in 1906 on board
of a big ship. The construction of the sanctuary was finished on the third
of May 1908, with the tower-piedestal of 20meters high. On that day, the
virgin was proclamed Sovereign of the mountains and seas, and Queen of
Lebanon. It is the most visited sanctuary in Lebanon, and many come walking
from far away. There are two noteworthy churches on the site, a modern
cathedral, and a small chapel right under the statue. The view is simply
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