After recovering from our jet-lag, we set out to explore as much of Lebanon in 10 days we possibly could.
Luckily, Joy was sweet enough to drive us everywhere which saved us the hassle of figuring out public transportation. We did use the bus system in Achrahfieh a few times, which was actually surprisingly easy and straightforward IF you know Arabic. It was also extremely cheap, being only 1000 Lira (.66 ¢) to ride.
We didn’t end up going to a few cities I was really looking forward to seeing. But I know my limits and if a local is telling you that its not safe to go there, I generally listen! Due to this, we were unable to visit Tripoli in the north, Baalbek in the Baqaa Valley (which I’m still kinda wishing I went to anyways because it looks INCREDIBLE) and Tyre in the south. All of these places are just reasons for me to return.
1 . Beirut
Beirut is as beautiful as people say and more. Its the area we explored the most so this section definitely has the most information!
To See & Do: Raouche Rocks, Souks of Beirouth, ABC Mall, The Blue Mosque (Al-Amin), American University of Beirut, Beach Resorts, Zaitunay Bay, Shrine of Harissa & Jeita Grotto (which pictures aren’t allowed of).
ABC mall in Achrahfeih has stores for all price ranges.
Souks of Beirouth definitely caters to the rich. But fun to was around nonetheless.
Also it’s key to know that Lebanon’s government has privatized nearly every single beach. So in order to catch some rays in your swimsuit, you have to pay a local hotel or resort. To my understanding, there is a public beach in the south near Tyre that is really well-known, and one in Byblos!
We spent the equivalent of $21.00 (33,000 LBP) to spend an afternoon at the Riviera Hotel Beirut on Paris Street. It was okay. I thought it was way too expensive for the amenities and I was honestly just annoyed there wasn’t a public beach.
But the amenities of the resort were nice, drinks were priced as expected, and they have towels for rent!
2. Byblos (Jbeil)
I’m honestly so upset I didn’t spend more time here. We did an afternoon here and then headed home as the sun went down.
I’ve been in quite a few Middle Eastern souks… the Byblos souk was like nothing I’ve ever seen. It had the old architecture and cobblestones running the streets, but every store was selling modern clothes and trinkets. There were maybe 2 or 3 shops selling ancient/authentic artifacts but for the most part people were selling Nikes and Adidas out of an ancient storefront! Not exactly my favorite souk, but definitely memorable.
I did like that there were ancient pillars still standing and a covering over the walk way inside. This trip, was in late July and was HOT. Shade was my best friend!
My favorite part was the Byblos sunset on the water.
There were kids standing in the shallows catching crabs and tiny minnows. We grabbed some fresh juice in the souk and found a spot on the ancient sea-wall and watched the sun kiss the horizon.
3. Bcharre / Kadisha Valley (Valley of the Saints)
I wish I had a bigger camera with stronger lenses, because the images I could have captured at these places would have been incredible.
I didn’t get any pictures of the town of Bcharre itself, but if you’re considering going on your trip to Lebanon, don’t even think twice. It is the most picturesque, fairytale town I have ever seen. Here’s a picture I had to snag off google.
It sits on the edge of the valley. As we drove around from one side to the other, I stared out the window the entire time with my mouth wide open. Hence, why I didn’t get any good pictures! Living in the moment is good sometimes too, I guess.
Other Things To Do: Khalil Gibran’s home (Author of ‘The Prophet’) & Mar Lichaa. Mar Lichaa is a medieval monastery sitting inside the cliff of the Valley of the Saints.
I feel as if Sidon may be overlooked when planning a trip to Lebanon because it wasn’t on my radar when we were looking at places to see! But Joy has family there and she wanted to take us, and it was absolutely beautiful.
Saida is a muslim majority city in the south of Lebanon with the souks being more traditional.
We ate an amazing spread for breakfast and then went to the ancient sea castle off the coast.
This was from the top of the castle looking out at the small boats that still regularly used the harbor.
We decided to take our chances and barter for a boat trip out to a little island off the coast! For 10,000 LBP each, we took off.
The heat was intense, but the views were worth it.
5. The Cedars of Lebanon
The drive up the mountain from Kadisha Valley was beautiful in of itself.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!
The Lebanese are very proud of their Cedars. They said that the tops of the trees are flattened because they rise so tall they can see God, and flatten at the sight of how powerful God is. Hence “the Cedars of God!”
Are you thinking of visiting Lebanon?