The small country of Lebanon offers a wide variety of things to see and do. From the impressive Roman ruins of Baalbek to the wines of the Bekaa Valley and the remnants of the country’s Phoenician, Persian, Arab and French-colonial past, there is much to explore. Large parts of the historical core of Beirut, Lebanon’s waterfront capital, has been reconstructed, and today it is arguably the most glamorous city in the Middle East. Elsewhere, drive past mountains covered in imposing cedar trees, wander through cathedral-like limestone caves full of stalactites and stalagmites, discover Crusader castles, visit internationally recognised wineries and spend time enjoying the Mediterranean coast.
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Currency Lebanese pound
Flying time from London 4.75 hours
Official language(s) Arabic, French
Time difference +2 GMT
Visa requirements: On arrival for UK passport holders
The Lebanon Experts
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Lebanese mezze, probably the most popular and well known of all the Middle East cuisines, is everywhere in Beirut. Colourful salads and vegetables, olives, dips, flatbreads and various meats are laid around the table to create a visual feast. Desserts are often sweet pastries and nuts – and meals are washed down with sweet black tea or coffee.
Go underground in Jeita Grotto
These 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.
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 cafés 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.
Taste wine in Bekaa Valley
The mountains surrounding the Bekaa Valley provide an excellent water source for the fertile plains. There you'll find world-class wineries that are open for visits and wine tasting, including the very well established Ksara Vineyard.
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