Set on the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon is a fascinating blend of East and West. You can soak in the sunshine at glitzy beach resorts or dive into the country’s ancient past at centuries-old ruins and archaeological sites.
Things to do in Lebanon
Most trips to Lebanon start in the cosmopolitan capital of Beirut. The city is made up of vibrant neighbourhoods such as Hamra, where you’ll find atmospheric cafes, historic theatres and the excellent Beirut National Museum. After dark, make a beeline for the trendy cocktail bars in Mar Mikhaël.
In Baalbek, the mighty Temple of Bacchus welcomes visitors with soaring stone columns. Nearby are the Baalbek Ruins, an ancient Roman temple complex anchored by the Temple of Jupiter. For a change of scenery, head to Byblos, a charming port city and UNESCO World Heritage Site with colourful souks and sidewalk cafes.
Lebanese cuisine is famous across the globe and for good reason. Most local restaurants serve “kibbeh”, the national dish made with fragrant minced meat and sauteed pine nuts encased in a crispy fried shell.
If you’ve indulged in a little too much Lebanese cuisine, the Shouf Biosphere Reserve is a great place to burn calories. The sanctuary features more than 250 kilometres of hiking trails that take you through sun-dappled cedar forests and lush wetlands.
In the mountains of Lebanon, the mesmerising Jeita Grotto feels like you've been transported to another planet. A cable car whisks you to the upper cavern, which is dripping with sparkling stalactites and stalagmites.
Nowhere captures the spirit of modern Lebanon like Batroun. This lively surf town is brimming with postcard-perfect beach clubs, as well as yoga studios and a fantastic microbrewery. For more beach club action, continue north to Chekka.
Getting around Lebanon
Rental cars are an easy and affordable way to explore Lebanon at your own pace. In Beirut, local buses and taxis are the main forms of transport. Most of the city’s neighbourhoods are also pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot and flights arrive at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport.