Lebanon is a tiny speck of land on the coast of the Mediterranean, surrounded by countries that are more famous, if not necessarily more powerful, and not one of the usual suspects when it comes to traveling to the Middle East – which granted isn’t the kind of region to attract too much tourism nowadays. But Lebanon is a fascinating place where the extremely modern blends with the very ancient, with large cities teeming with shopping, nightlife and fine dining, as well as Phoenician and Roman ruins. Lebanon has beaches, skiing and all round fun. Here are the top 5 attractions in Lebanon, if you feel like sightseeing a bit. Check for cheap airline tickets to Beirut and hotels before you start your journey.
Jeita caverns are not only one of the most popular attractions in Lebanon, but also among the most unusual and incredible grottoes in the world. The caves were known in Paleolithic times, but they were ‘rediscovered’ in the 1830′s. The lower galleries are adorned with natural stone sculptures illuminated with clever lighting, and a beautiful waterfall, while the upper galleries are have dramatic stone curtains, canyons and sink holes.
The ancient Phoenician city of Byblos is thought to be one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, and the city of today was built on dozens of layers of ruins. Even today, the city showcases the cultures and civilizations that have left their marks on Byblos. The old town has souks filled with souvenirs and local food, historical sites, a medieval crusader castle, a charming old port and many other sights.
Beiteddine Palace, Beit ed-Dine
The small town of Beit ed-Dine is famous for its castle, Beiteddine Palace, one of the most exquisite pieces of Arabic architecture in the country. The palace was built in the 19th century and looks like the perfect setting for a movie version of the Arabian Nights, even if its lavish furnishings were sacked during a war. The palace is open to visitors, and it holds a magnificent collection of Byzantine mosaics unearthed in the ancient city of Porphyrion.
Al Bass Archaeological Park, Tyre
Al Bass in Tyre is considered to be by far the best preserved Roman site in the world, whose highlights include an amazing Hippodrome and an extensive Necropolis with hundreds of sarcophagi. The ruins are decorated with carvings depicting Roman myths and stories, the aqueducts show off the engineering genius of the ancient builders, and the whole site is proof of the former magnificence of the old Roman cities.
The deep valley cut by the Kadisha River in northern Lebanon has been sheltering Christian monasteries and churches for centuries. The valley has many caves and grottoes that were used as hiding places since the Stone Age, and they proved to be a useful refuge for early Christians fleeing persecution. There are several scenic monasteries in the area, and the natural landscape is