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Beirut – Byblos – Tripoli – Cedars

Embark on a scenic drive north of Beirut along the captivating coastline towards Byblos (Jbeil), an ancient Phoenician city renowned as the oldest continually inhabited town. As you leave the bustling city behind, the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea accompany you on your journey, creating a picturesque backdrop.

Byblos, with its rich history and cultural heritage, awaits your exploration. Known as a prominent center of Phoenician civilization, Byblos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of ancient wonders. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of various civilizations, leaving behind a tapestry of historical landmarks.


Upon arrival in Byblos, you’ll be captivated by the juxtaposition of ancient ruins and modern elements. Begin your journey through time by visiting the Crusaders’ castle, an imposing fortress that stands as a testament to the medieval period. As you step inside the castle’s walls, you’ll be transported back to a time of knights and sieges. The castle offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of Byblos from a unique vantage point.

Phoenician temples beckon you to delve deeper into Byblos’ past. The Temple of Baalat Gebal, dedicated to the Phoenician goddess Baalat, is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the city. Walking among the ruins, you’ll marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the Phoenicians and gain insights into their religious practices and beliefs.

The Roman theater is another remarkable site that provides a glimpse into Byblos’ history. Built during the 2nd century AD, this well-preserved amphitheatre once hosted theatrical performances, musical shows, and public gatherings. As you ascend the tiers of the theater, you can almost hear the echoes of the past, immersing yourself in the cultural legacy of the Roman era.

To further immerse yourself in Byblos’ ancient heritage, a visit to the Royal Necropolis is a must. Located on a hill overlooking the city, this ancient cemetery dates back to the 18th to 13th century BC and is believed to be the final resting place of Byblos’ ruling elite. The tombs, carved into the rock, provide a fascinating glimpse into the burial practices and rituals of the time. The Royal Necropolis offers a serene and contemplative atmosphere as you wander among the ancient tombs, reflecting on the passage of time and the legacy of those who came before.


Continuing your tour, you’ll make your way to Tripoli, the second-largest city in Lebanon. Known for its vibrant atmosphere and rich history, Tripoli is a melting pot of cultures and influences. The city has meticulously preserved its medieval religious structures and public buildings, allowing visitors to step back in time.

As you enter Tripoli’s old town, you’ll be greeted by narrow streets, ancient facades, and bustling markets. The Crusader Castle of Raymond de St. Gilles is a prominent landmark that commands attention. This imposing fortress, built in the 12th century, offers a glimpse into the city’s strategic importance during the Crusades. Exploring the castle’s walls, towers, and inner chambers transports you back to a time of chivalry and conflict.

Tripoli is also known for its impressive mosques from the Mameluks period. The Mansouri Great Mosque, dating back to the 14th century, is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Its intricate decorations, elegant minaret, and vast prayer hall make it a significant religious and cultural site. As you step inside, you can admire the craftsmanship and immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance.

Wandering through Tripoli’s old town, you’ll encounter oriental bazaars filled with vibrant colours, enticing scents, and a wide array of goods. The bazaars offer a sensory feast, with stalls selling spices, textiles, jewellery, and traditional crafts. Exploring these bustling markets allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city and engage with local artisans and traders, discovering unique souvenirs and experiencing the vibrant local culture.

A visit to the renowned Turkish bath called “Hamman Izzeddine” is a must for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. Step into this beautifully restored bathhouse and indulge in the traditional hammam ritual. The steam, massages, and rituals of cleansing and purification create a soothing and revitalizing experience. The hammam’s serene ambiance and architectural elegance provide a glimpse into the bathing practices of the past, allowing you to unwind and reconnect with age-old traditions.


Conclude your journey in the serene and majestic Cedars, famous for its ancient pine forest that dates back to biblical times. The Cedar of Lebanon is an iconic symbol of the country and holds immense cultural and historical significance. Located at an elevation of 1600 to 2000 meters above sea level, the Cedars area offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling cities.

To reach the Cedars, you’ll traverse the breathtaking Qadisha Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rugged cliffs, deep gorges, and picturesque villages. The road winds through the valley, passing through charming villages such as Zgharta and Ehden. These villages offer a glimpse into traditional Lebanese mountain life, with their stone houses, narrow streets, and warm hospitality.

Bcherri, the hometown of the renowned poet Gebran Khalil Gibran, is one of the stops along the way. Gibran’s literary works, including “The Prophet,” have gained international acclaim and have left a lasting impact on the world. Visiting Bcherri allows you to explore the roots of this influential poet and gain insights into his life and inspiration.

As you ascend higher into the mountains, you’ll arrive at the Cedar Reserve, a protected area dedicated to preserving the majestic Cedars of Lebanon. These ancient trees, with their towering trunks and distinctive shape, are a sight to behold. Walking through the forest, you’ll feel a sense of awe and reverence for these living witnesses to centuries of history.

The Cedars area is not only renowned for its natural beauty but also serves as a popular winter skiing resort. The snow-covered slopes attract locals and visitors alike, offering opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. If you visit during the winter months, you can partake in the exhilaration of gliding down the slopes surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Cedar forest.

Beyond the natural beauty, the Cedars area is imbued with spirituality and mythology. According to ancient legends, the Cedars were considered sacred trees and were closely associated with gods and goddesses. The fragrant wood of the Cedars was highly prized for its durability and was used in the construction of temples, palaces, and ships throughout the ancient world. Exploring the Cedar Reserve allows you to connect with this rich cultural heritage and appreciate the significance of these ancient trees.

Lebanon offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural splendour. From ancient ruins to vibrant souks and serene forests, it promises a memorable experience. Every step reveals a layer of the country’s rich heritage and the warmth of its people. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance, and embark on an extraordinary journey to Lebanon—an adventure that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and mind.

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