Best places to visit when you go to Lebanon

Lebanon is a beautiful country and a fascinating holiday destination. Lebanon has it all (and more than it wished for): culture and tradition, mountains and ski resorts, sea and sun, exciting nightlife, great healthy food, high fashion and gorgeous women, more manicure and pedicure salons than in Hollywood, fast cars and completely nuts driving, political instability, war and pollution. Did I mention the great food ?

Beirut

One of the most vibrant and fascinating cities in the Middle East, Beirut was once known as the ‘Paris of the East’, and while very modern in outlook, features many beautiful Ottoman and French Mandate period buildings at its heart. The Lebanese capital has always been very sophisticated and chic and is known for its cafes, fine restaurants, nightclubs, and luxury hotels. The city’s National Museum contains a superb collection of antiquities, as does the nearby Robert Mouawad Museum. Beyond all else a stay in Beirut is fun, and a great way to experience some of the finer aspects of modern Middle Eastern life and culture.

Jeita

Once in Lebanon make sure to visit Jeita Grotto the natural wonder. It is not far from the capital and it is a MUST SEE. Jeita grotto is one of the world’s most beautiful caverns. It is divided to 2 levels. The 1st dry level can be seen on foot while the 2nd level can be discovered by boat. Jeita offers you the most beautiful sceneries that make you feel like living in wonderland.
The lower part is closed during winter because the level of water is too high.

Baalbek

Impressive archaeological treasures site in the Beqa’a valley. The temple of Bacchus is the best preserved ancient temple in the world. It is larger than the Parthenon. The most famous sight in Baalbeck is the Temple of Jupiter with six large columns.Once a year in summer the ruins of Baalbek are an open air podium for the Baalbek International Festival with interesting international artists. Baalbek is a UNESCO world heritage site. While in the Beqa’a valley, you might also want to stop by the Taanayel farms for a relaxed day out in the nature!

Baatara Gorge Waterfall – Tannourine

During summer the water’s flow isn’t that strong, but it’s well worth the visit. Make sure you keep an eye our for the signs as there is a designated place you can park and walk straight down to the cave. Be very careful when crossing the natural bridge though.

Raouchè Sea Rock – Raouchè

another one of Lebanon’s most popular natural landmarks, the Raouchè Sea Rock can be viewed from the atop or you can head down to the water and have a water taxi take you for a spin through the rocks.

Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve

Lebanon’s largest nature reserve is home to three large cedar forests, which combine to make up a quarter of the country’s remaining cedar trees. As well as being home to an array of flora and fauna, the nature reserve is also criss-crossed with miles of hiking and biking trails.

Teleferique cable car

Set on the outskirts of Beirut, this cable car was first opened in 1965 and spirits visitors up 650m (2,133 ft) above sea level and offers breathtaking views of the city and beyond (www.teleferiquelb.com).

Beiteddine

The road to Beiteddine leaves the coastal highway 17 kilometers beyond Beirut, just a few kilometers after the town of Damour. From there it climbs quickly along the beautiful Damour river valley for 26 kilometers to an elevation of 850 meters at Beiteddine. The most spectacular view of the palace and its surroundings is from the village of Deir El Qamar (Monastery of the moon), five kilometers before Beiteddine.
The Beiteddine palace complex, Lebanon's best example of early 19th century Lebanese architecture, was built over a thirty year period by Emir Bechir El Chehab II, who ruled Mount-Lebanon for more than half a century.

Anjar

About 55 km east of Beirut, Anjar was once a commercial center on the caravan route as well as a summer and hunting resort for the Umayyad dynasty. The walls of the Caliph's palace are still largely intact, with clues to the former presence of forty towers. There are indications, however, that there may once have been a Roman castle on the hill as there are traces of fluted columns.

"Switzerland" comparison does not exactly come to mind when you consider how war-torn and miserable this nation has been in the recent years. But cast a longer look around you while visiting this incredible spot in the Middle East - and the ancient, spectacular beauty of the place will start to haunt you, bless you, and lift you above political agendas and human strife.

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