Lebanon is a beautiful country nestled in the heart of the Middle East. It is a captivating destination that offers a blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. From its bustling cities to its serene natural wonders, Visiting Lebanon is the latest trend because it has something to offer every type of traveler. In this guide, I’ll take you through an array of exciting things to do and see in Lebanon, ensuring that your visit to this diverse nation is nothing short of unforgettable. Are you ready to explore Lebanon? Awesome! Let’s Begin…
Welcome to Beirut, Lebanon
The vibrant capital city of Beirut pulsates with energy, creativity, and resilience. It is also a budget-friendly honeymoon destination. I recommend getting accommodation in Downtown Beirut because it is close to a few fun things to do in Lebanon. First on our list is The Zaitunay Bay which has a Marina, Restaurants and Various beautiful scenery. Just around the corner is the I LOVE BEIRUT sign. Do check it out and take lovely photos. Take a walk on the Longest Stairway in the Middle East; The St. Nicolas Stairs. This Stairway is 500 meters long and has about 125 steps.
Explore the Breathtaking Raouche
Make sure to add this to your list of things to do while in Beirut as it is just a 6 minutes drive from Downtown Beirut. While on your tour, look out for the Raouche Rocks (Pigeon Rocks). This is a natural landmark that was formed after a huge earthquake hit the area in the 13th Century. After taking pictures, you should head down for the boat cruise. Renting a big boat goes for $15 while small boats go for $10. Remember to wear shoes with good grip as the walk down to the boat feels like hiking.
Indulge in Lebanese Cuisine and Shawarma
Lebanese cuisine is a feast for the senses, and indulging in mezze is a quintessential experience. From hummus and tabbouleh to falafel and kibbeh, mezze offers an array of flavors that reflect Lebanon’s rich culinary heritage. Don’t forget to pair it with freshly baked pita bread! Savour the succulent flavors of shawarma, a beloved street food. Basterma Mano typically has various options to offer; whether it’s chicken, beef, or lamb. Their shawarma is marinated and roasted to perfection, then wrapped in a soft pita with an array of toppings and sauces. It’s the ultimate comfort food that satisfies both locals and travelers alike.
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Visit the Enchanting Jeita Grotto
The Jeita Grotto is definitely one of the top 5 things to do in Lebanon. It is located 20 minutes from Harissa and you should be prepared to be mesmerized by its otherworldly beauty. Tickets cost around $2 for the walking and boat tour. A train takes you to the entrance of the walking tour but unfortunately, phones aren’t allowed during the walking tour. But trust me, the views are worth it. After this, the train takes you to the entrance of the boat tour. Those caves are the most stunning limestone formations, underground lakes, and illuminated walkways ever created by nature. Jeita Grotto is a true testament to the natural wonders that Lebanon holds within its embrace. Do note that flash photography isn’t allowed here.
Get tickets for the cable car ride to visit The Harissa Sanctuary which houses the statue of Our Lady of Lebanon. Tickets cost $2 and this Sanctuary is perched atop a hill overlooking the Bay of Jounieh and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline. The statue of Our Lady of Lebanon stands tall, attracting pilgrims and travelers seeking a peaceful escape. The cable car ride to the sanctuary is an experience in itself, providing stunning vistas along the way. While at Harissa, also check out the beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral. Just 2 minutes away is Club Thermique; where you can go Paragliding for $90 depending on your weight.
Visit the Majestic Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque
Discover the grandeur of the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture in Beirut. With its stunning blue dome and elegant minarets, the mosque stands as a symbol of Lebanon’s cultural diversity and religious harmony. Visitors can marvel at the intricate details and find a moment of serenity within its walls.
Relax at the Mediterranean Beaches
Lebanon’s coastline is dotted with stunning beaches that offer a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment. Whether you’re looking for bustling beach clubs or tranquil hidden coves, Lebanon’s Mediterranean shores have something for everyone. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and unwind on the sandy shores under the warm sun. I had my first Pebble Beach experience at Kfaraabida; you should too.
Go shopping the Lebanon way
Indulge in a unique shopping experience at the Beirut Souks, a modern shopping district with a blend of international brands and local boutiques. From fashion and accessories to homeware and souvenirs, the souks offer a wide variety of products in a bustling and contemporary setting. Alternatively, you should step into the charming Saifi Village, where cobbled streets and restored buildings house an array of antique shops and art galleries. Here, you can find exquisite vintage items, handcrafted jewelry, and unique artifacts that showcase Lebanon’s rich history and artistic heritage.
Go Wine Tasting
Lebanon’s wine culture dates back thousands of years, and a visit to the Bekaa Valley’s vineyards is a must for wine enthusiasts. Enjoy guided tours of renowned wineries like Château Ksara and Château Kefraya, where you can savor exquisite wines while surrounded by picturesque landscapes. Another highlight of Lebanon’s wine scene, Ksara Winery boasts a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. Take a tour of its fascinating underground cellars, where millions of bottles of wine are aged, and learn about the winemaking process that has been perfected over generations.
Explore the Ancient Port City of Tyre
Explore the historical richness of Tyre, an ancient Phoenician port city that dates back thousands of years. The UNESCO-listed archaeological site of Tyre boasts well-preserved ruins, including the Al Mina excavation site, Roman baths, and the awe-inspiring Tyre Hippodrome. Immerse yourself in the layers of history as you wander through this remarkable city.
Discovering the Beauty of Byblos
One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Byblos boasts an astonishing history dating back over 7,000 years. Stroll through its charming streets lined with ancient ruins, Phoenician architecture, and vibrant markets. The Byblos Castle and the Roman amphitheater are must-visit sites that give you a glimpse into the city’s illustrious past. Be sure to explore the Souks and stop by EddeYard Cafe. It is breathtakingly beautiful and I’m certain you’d love it.
Walking through the Ages in Baalbek
The city of Baalbek is home to the magnificent Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Bacchus, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These colossal Roman ruins showcase the grandeur of ancient architecture and provide an awe-inspiring journey through time. The annual Baalbek International Festival holds amidst these ruins and it is a cultural celebration one shouldn’t miss.
Experience Serenity at the Cedars of God
For a serene escape, head to the Cedars of God forest. These ancient cedar trees, mentioned in the Bible, create a tranquil setting amidst the mountains. The Cedar Reserve is not only a place of natural beauty but also a symbol of Lebanon’s enduring strength.
Go Hiking the Kadisha Valley
Nature enthusiasts and adventurers will find solace in the Kadisha Valley. Embark on hiking trails that lead you through lush landscapes, past ancient monasteries, and alongside the picturesque Kadisha River. The valley’s serene beauty and historical significance make it a must-visit for those seeking both adventure and tranquillity.
Skiing in the Qanat Bakish Mountains
During the winter months, the Qanat Bakish Mountains transform into a skiing and snowboarding haven. Mzaar Kfardebian, also known as Faraya, offers a range of slopes suitable for all skill levels. Experience the thrill of gliding down the snowy slopes while surrounded by Lebanon’s stunning mountain scenery. Perch Faraya is a really beautiful accommodation option; quite expensive but absolutely worth it.
Immerse yourself in Local Experiences
Delve into Lebanon’s culinary heritage by participating in traditional cooking classes. Learn to create iconic dishes like Kibbeh, Fattoush, and Baklava while gaining insights into the local ingredients and flavors that define Lebanese cuisine. For an authentic experience, consider staying in a guesthouse in the Qadisha Valley. This UNESCO-listed site offers a tranquil escape surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. Engage with local communities, learn about their way of life, and savor homemade Lebanese meals.
Lebanon’s diversity is astounding – from its vibrant cities to its serene valleys, every corner has a story to tell. This guide offers just a glimpse of the magic this country holds. You could also check out Joan’s more in-depth guide through Lebanon. So pack your bags, embrace the unknown, and let Lebanon’s wonders enchant you.
- Is Lebanon a safe destination for travelers? Lebanon is generally safe for travelers. You could also apply some extra measures listed here. However, it’s also recommended to stay updated on the current situation and follow local advice.
- What is the currency used in Lebanon? The official currency is the Lebanese Pound (LBP), but U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
- Can I dress casually in Lebanon? Yes, casual dress is generally acceptable. However, it’s advisable to dress more modestly when visiting religious sites.
- What is the best time to visit for pleasant weather? Spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) offer the most comfortable weather for exploring. You could also go during Winter (December to March) if you’re going for the snow.
- Are credit cards accepted in Lebanon? Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments.