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Map of LebanonLebanon Holidays

  • "We enjoyed the tour of Lebanon very much and we are delighted we have been able to visit a country often war torn but were made welcome by charming people."

    Mrs. Williams

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Lebanon is a small and compact country but has a wide variety of things to see and do and a very vibrant, liberal and cosmopolitan capital. The country can be crossed in under 4 hours from north to south. As Beirut is located in the centre of the Mediterranean coastline, it is possible to visit the main highlights as day trips from the capital, making it an ideal destination for a long weekend break. For those with more time, there are traditional towns, mountains, Cedar valleys and beaches that will easily have you wanting to stay longer.

What to see

Beirut’s downtown is in the process of undergoing a complete renovation, restoring the buildings to their former glory and creating a bustling city centre to try to regain its former title of the ‘Paris of the Middle East’. Mosques, churches, offices and shops are all being reopened and it has given the centre a new bustling lease of life. A coffee in a café on one of the street corners of the Solidere district is a definite must-do. There is also beautiful corniche along the waterfront, perfect for an evening stroll watching the sunset.

Just 30 minutes outside of Beirut is the ancient fishing village of Byblos. Highlights of Byblos include the ruins of a 12th century crusader castle, Egyptian temples and a Roman amphitheatre. The busy harbour with its small cafes makes an ideal lunch stop to enjoy fresh seafood mezzes. In the small markets the Memoire de Temps shop sells perfectly fossilised fish ranging in size from 5cm to almost 1m.

En route to Byblos a stop should definitely be made at Jeita Grotto. The enormous caverns were only discovered in the 19th century and there are thousands of ancient stalactites and stalagmites covering the walls, floor and ceilings. The lower cavern is partially flooded throughout the year and is visited on a small electric boat.

The mountains surrounding the Bekka Valley provide an excellent water source for the fertile plains and there are some world-class wineries that are open for visits and wine tasting including the very well established Ksara Vineyard.

Lebanon’s real showpiece are the spectacular ruins at Baalbeck. The site isn’t as large as Palmyra in Syria, or Jerash in Jordan, but the ruins are far more intact and there are almost no visitors. The temple of Bacchus is larger than the Parthenon and the 6 remaining columns of the Temple of Jupiter are the tallest in the world.

Key Facts

Capital: Beirut
Flying time from London: 4 hours 40 mins
Time difference: +2 GMT
Population: 3.9 million
Currency: Lebanese Pound
Official Language(s): Arabic, French (conditional)
Visa (UK Passport Holders): On arrival

Before You Go:

The Lebanon

Max Milligan (2010)
This book shows the many layers, ages, and faces of Lebanon itself, with some photos literally showing the present day world consuming the ancient.

Waltz with Bashir

An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of the conflict.
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