Day 1: Beirut-Byblos
Arrival and transfer to hotel in Byblos.
Day 2: Cedars – Bcharreh – Qozhaya-Byblos
We travel to the north to visit the Cedars Forest and the Gebran Museum in Bcharreh. Then visit the Monastery of St Antonios Qozhaya in the Qadisha Valley. Return to hotel in Byblos for overnight.
Day 3: Byblos –Harissa – Jeita - Beirut
This morning, we visit the city of Byblos: the Citadel, St John Church, the quaint souq and the old port.
Then proceed to Harissa, climbing by cable car to the holy statue of Notre Dame for a breath-taking view of Jounieh and Beirut. Lunch at the excellent Laura Restaurant at the top with views (pay direct).
Onward to the Jeita Grottoes which are visited by first getting into a vernacular and then a walk thru.
This afternoon tour Beirut, the Capital of Lebanon. The tour includes the Pigeons Rock, the Coastal Avenue, then the city center where you will find one of the largest reconstruction projects of Roman and Byzantine ruins in the world.
Day 4: Beirut – Sidon-Tyre
Depart at 9 am for a visit to the Beirut National Museum.
Afterwards travel to the South of Lebanon - via Damour. The visit of south will start with Sidon
touring the Sea Castle built by the crusaders, and browse in the souks.
We proceed 30 minutes to Tyre which was previously an island. The main sites of interest are the Arc de Triumph, the Hippodrome and the excavation bringing back master pieces from Crusaders, Romans, Greeks and Byzantine eras.
Transfer to seaside hotel in Tyre. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. The town is just a few minutes walk.
Day 5: Tyre - Beit ed-dine & Deir el Qamar - Zahle
Departure to Chouf Mountains, approx. 1.5 hour drive. Historically, the Shouf was the
seat of Lebanon’s Emirs, and relics of their rule, from houses to courtyards and palaces, still dot the region. Adding to the allure, there are over 40 mountain villages dispersed among the valley and mountain peaks.
The tour will start with a visit to Beit ed-dine Palace, a superb example of the Lebanese architecture of the 18th & 19th century. The palace was built in 1788 by Emir Bashir to symbolize his power and wealth.
Afterwards, continue, approx. 10 minute drive, to Deir El Qamar, the ancient residence of the
Governors of Lebanon. The village of Deir el Qamar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the capital of Mount Lebanon from the 16-18th centuries and a regional stronghold for the Ottoman Emirs. With red-tiled roofs, winding streets and stone houses, the village epitomizes idyllic mountain charm and small-town life at its finest. It also highlights the religious diversity in Lebanon with a mosque, a church and a synagogue all located around the village main square.
We enjoy lunch on the patio of a delightful restaurant next to the main square and mosque. And a bit of free time to wander the winding streets for photography.
Then drive approx. 1 hr to the lovely town of Zahle in the Beqaa Valley, for overnight at Grand Kadri, the only historic hotel in Lebanon.
Rather than return to Beirut tonight battling thru grueling traffic grid-lock, you will enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening in this charming hotel and vibrant town. The hotel exudes sophistication with wonderful interior décor. The exterior walls are the original from the early 19th century. The town is just a few minutes walk or you can ask the hotel for a car transport, if you wish to explore a bit and dine in one of the many restaurants.
Day 6: Zahle - Baalbek – Ksara – Anjar – Beirut
Departure (45 min drive) to visit one of the world’s greatest historical sites: the
stunning Baalbek Ruins. You will be amazed to see the 2000 year old Temple of Jupiter that sits atop 3000 ton stone blocks. Among the huge site we also see the Temple of Bacchus adorned with beautiful carvings that date to the Roman Empire. We have a leisurely tour of this immense amazing site with plenty of time for photography.
We’ll enjoy lunch (pay direct) and wine tasting at the Ksara winery.
Then continue to Anjar, (UNESCO) the only Omayyad city in Lebanon. It is recognized to be one of the major market places on the Silk Road. The site was only discovered by archaeologists at the end of the 1940s. Excavations revealed a fortified city surrounded by walls and flanked by forty towers.
Return to Beirut for overnight.
Day 7 Depart
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Amman and join our Jordan tour or the full Jordan and Israel tour. Or a flight to Jeddah to join our Saudi Arabia tour; or back to the USA.