Your adventure begins... You’ll land in Beirut, where the country's only international airport is located.
Beirut isn’t only the capital, it’s also the largest city in the country, with about two million residents. This makes it an extremely busy center for trade and business. You’ll also find a fascinating mix of ancient culture, art, food, and nightlife. So let yourself fall in love with Beirut!
As Beirut is one of the oldest cities in the world (with the first settlers coming here over 5,000 years ago), it has a lot of cultural treasures. You’ll come across some impressive buildings while strolling downtown, like the Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office, the Grand Serail. If you walk across Martyr's Square, you have to check out the Mohammed Al Amin Mosque (also called the Blue Mosque). Non-Muslims can also visit the mosque, but please remember to wear appropriate clothing.
Continue walking along the promenade, where you'll be able to observe the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a spectacular sight, especially during sunset, when the sun sinks behind mountains into the Mediterranean Sea.
You might get hungry after experiencing all that culture, so make sure to take plenty of breaks to sample the local cuisine! Traditional Middle Eastern food is usually well-balanced and full of nutrients, so you’ll feel sated for the rest of your city exploring. Best of all, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Naturally, hummus is the most well-known dish. Stuffed vine leaves, olives, and pita bread are also popular as starters or as a snack. The national dish is called kibbeh, a fried ball of chopped pine nuts, spices, and minced meat.
You’ll notice pretty quickly that Beirut is a hip city and people like to hang out in restaurants and bars. Although bar-hopping is not cheap, you should spend at least one evening in one of the city's hot spots. Make sure to take advantage of the happy hour that is offered in most bars.
You can sleep in one of the local hostels downtown, where you can get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €26 a night.
We hope you didn’t get a hangover after sipping all those cocktails in the capital, because we’re headed to Baalbek next. It costs about €3 to travel there by bus. Unfortunately, the public transport system in Lebanon is not very reliable and a bit confusing, so you’d better ask for directions at the hostel before you leave. The best preserved Roman ruins in the country are waiting for you in the largest city in the Bekaa province. Travelers often say that the plains of Bekaa is one of the most beautiful regions of the country. The small villages are surrounded by vineyards, with snow-covered hilltops in the background. The main reason to visit Baalbek is mostly to check out the Roman ruins. At the time of the Greeks and Romans, the city was called Heliopolis, which means City of the Sun. The Acropolis and its temples are in perfect condition and will even impress backpackers who don’t usually care for cultural spots. Outdoor enthusiasts should take the chance and explore the rolling hills on a long hike. The hiking trails often lead through the vineyards, as Bekaa is the center of the country's viticulture. Keep an eye out for local wine at restaurants – wine always tastes best in its country of origin. In Baalbek, typical hostels are unfortunately hard to find. However, you can sleep at a local hotel and get a double room for €55 a night.
It’s time to get back to the coast! We hope you enjoyed the mountainous landscape in the Bekaa valley, but now, we’re taking a small trip to the town of Jounieh north of Beirut. The trip only takes about two hours by bus and costs €5. Jounieh experienced a great upswing in the 1950s and went from a simple fishing village to a modern city with about 350,000 inhabitants (as of 2019).
The city does well thanks to its proximity to Beirut and has thus become an important tourist destination. The most popular attraction is the Teleferique, a cable car that starts in the bay
of Journieh and leads over 1.5 kilometres to the opposite mountain. You’ll finally reach the shrine of the Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, at a height of 650 meters. You can walk closer to the statue of the Lady of Lebanon, which towers high above the city. The must-see of the region is the Jeita Grotto. It was developed over millions of years through underground vibrations and is one of the most visited natural wonders in the Middle East. To get there, you’ll need a car or take a taxi.
In the evening, relax in the center of Journieh. Along the Sea Side Road, meet new people and admire the sunset while sipping on fancy cocktails. This area has become the hip centre of the city, with a series of pubs and chic clubs.
At the end of your journey, you will return to the capital where you will take your flight back home. The short taxi ride from Journieh to the airport costs about €15.