Land of the Phoenicians

10 Days
from AUD$ 5,457

Single Supplement AUD$ 966.00

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Highlights

  • Explore the caravanserai, old souks, and the Sea castle of Sidon
  • Visit the Chouf Mountains, heartland of the Lebanese Druze community
  • Wander through the Cedars Forest
  • Discover ancient monasteries and quaint villages
  • Visit Tripoli and explore the Crusader Castle of St. Gilles
  • Admire Jeita Grottos and sip on local wine at Ksara
  • Venture to the ancient city of Byblos, one of the oldest cities in the world
  • Soak in the history at Baalbeck, formerly one of the largest sanctuaries in the Roman Empire

Discover the Land of the Phoenicians as you explore ancient Roman ruins, majestic cedar forests that lend their image to the national flag and a sea port town that once boasted the greatest naval fleet of its time.

This journey will take you through to Tripoli to explore the mysterious Crusader Castle of St. Gilles before travelling by car to discover the Jeita Grotto’s, Lebanon’s natural miracle made up of two separate caves. Learn about the fascinating ancient history of Lebanon and witness the raw beauty of the countryside as you travel along the Mediterranean coast.

Archaeological sites are abundant in Lebanon; explore Crusader Castles, Phoenician temples, Roman theatres and the royal necropolis. Visit the home of Lebanon’s most famous poet & novelist, Khalil Gibran, who’s romantic writing style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature. Tempt those taste buds as you devour traditional local cuisine including the popular ‘Knefe’,’ Mankoushe’, ‘Baklava’ and range of traditional white & red wines.

Journey map

Fitness level

Easy
Moderate
Challenging
Tough

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Beirut

Welcome to Lebanon! Upon arrival at Beirut International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure to explore the city or relax in your hotel as you prepare for the adventure ahead.

The welcoming town of Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ due to its French influences and vibrant cultural and intellectual life following a period of growth at the end of World War II. Tomorrow you begin to discover the impressive architecture and long history of the city that has earned this reputation.

Overnight Gems Hotel or similar

Day 2 – North Lebanon

This morning you’ll start your day venturing north towards the Mediterranean Sea to reach Byblos, the oldest continuously inhabited city and the birthplace of the alphabet. An enchanting and historical coastal city, Byblos is a wonderful place where modern living and century old traditions go hand in hand. There, you’ll visit Byblos Citadel, its Roman site, the Church St John and of course wander through the charming streets and the old souk. Continue north along the coast towards the charming coastal city of Batroun. The narrow cobblestone streets and the traditional Ottoman houses make this town ideal for long strolls through the town’s historical sites and perfect for soaking in the warm atmosphere. Let the smell of the fresh fruits and vegetables lead you through Batroun’s old souks, discover the magical ruins of the Phoenician port in the fisherman harbor and embrace the city’s rhythm for a perfect coastal experience. At the end of your visit, you’ll head back to Byblos for the night. (B)

Overnight Ahiram Hotel or similar

Day 3 - North Lebanon & Bcharreh Region

Breakfast will be served at your hotel, and you’ll drive in the direction of Tripoli this morning, known as the capital of the North. It is a city where modern and medieval blend easily into a lively and hospitable metropolis. Visit some of the historical monuments such as the Crusader Fortress the Great Mosque, and the Souqs. Continue your day through some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in Lebanon in the Bcharreh region. You’ll gain altitude and enjoy spectacular views of peaks and gorges, before reaching the Cedars of Lebanon. There, you will take an easy walk through the Cedars Forrest to admire trees over 1000 years old.

You will then head back down to Qadisha Valley; one of the deepest and most beautiful valleys in Lebanon. Filled with caves and rock shelters inhabited from the third millennium B.C., the valley is scattered with cave chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut from rock; a real feast for the eyes! If time allows, you will visit Bcharre, an idyllic mountain village and UNESCO World Heritage site. With its traditional, red-roofed houses, Bcharre is the main town of the Qadisha Valley and houses the Gibran Khalil Museum – home to the internationally famous writer, poet and painter). Your accommodation this evening is in an active monastery. Located in the middle of the valley – the view is magnificent, it is quiet and a great location to explore on foot. (B) 

Overnight in Qadisha in a Monastery or similar

 

Day 4 – Qadisha to Mtein, passing by Jeita

You will leave this stunning part of Lebanon to discover another of nature’s wonder, the Jeita Grottos. 18km northeast of Beirut and one of the greatest natural wonders of the Middle East – Jeita Grotto is a fascinating cave system spanning nine kilometres into the Lebanese mountains. Beautifully curated with lights reflecting the impressive stalactites and stalagmites onto the translucent water, the cave’s exceptional décor is mesmerizing. Divided into two parts, the upper part which can be explored on foot and the lower flooded part by rowing boat, the Grottos make for an exceptional discovery. You’ll then head to Mtein, one of the oldest villages in Lebanon. You’ll discover its historical 500m² town square (Le Midane) around which Emir palaces once stood. Get acquainted with its historical, cultural and architectural heritage and let the scent of pine trees guide through this idyllic village. You may even be invited by locals to seat with them and drink rose or mulberry water. Such is the Lebanese hospitality. (B)

Overnight Bois de Boulogne Hotel or similar

Day 5 - Bekaa & Chouf area

After a good night’s sleep and after your breakfast, it’s time to take the road towards the Bekaa Valley. Destination Baalbeck. These Roman remains are probably the most beautiful archaeological site in the country. These temples dominated the plain of Beqaa with their gigantic proportions. Today, the ruins of the temples of Baalbek are among the wonders of the ancient world. The Acropolis of Baalbeck is one of the largest in the world!

After your visit, you will head towards Chateau Ksara, one of the oldest wineries of Lebanon. Take a tour of the historic 2km long Roman cellars, the vineyards and end with a wine tasting activity to sample the property’s finest wines. (B,D)

2 nights at the Inhabitant or similar

Day 6 - Chouf Cedars Forest & Beit ed Dine Palace

After breakfast, you’ll reach Barouk Natural Reserve entrance to start your hike in the reserve. T he trail boasts a number of fascinating features such as an observation point and a hill lake. You can hike on this trail for 3 to 4 hours and visit reforestation sites. After lunch you’ll head to Beiteddine Palace. Built in 1788, the palace was erected to symbolize the power and glory of Emir Bashir, ruler of Lebanon in the first half of the 19th century. Sitting majestically on a hill surrounded by terraced gardens and orchards, the palace complex, is the best example of 19th century Lebanese architecture. Your accommodation for the next two nights is a homestay experience. Hosted by Selim, he will welcome you to his home with his mother who will prepare traditional dishes for you. (B)

Day 7 - Hiking from Niha to Jezzine

After a short transfer you arrive in Niha where you’ll begin your walk to Jezzine. This walk is fairly easy and will take you to the Niha Fort and the impressive Jezzine waterfall. Back on the road but this time further south until you reach the coastal city of Sidon, a charming and picturesque part of Lebanon only 45 km south of Beirut. The winding alleyways, the typical old souks, the Ottoman mosaics and relics, the lovely smells oozing from the fruits stalls and the hidden treasures dotted around make Saida a truly special place. Through this visit you’ll discover the port town which was once a prosperous Phoenician city and its Crusader sea castle and you’ll also make a stop in Khan el Franj and Eschmoun Temples. (B)

Overnight B&B Al Fanar or similar

Day 8 - Saida – Tyr & Beirut

If you didn’t get the chance to explore Tyre yesterday make sure you do it today. This UNESCO World Heritage city is well worth the visit not just for the enchanting atmosphere, but the history that oozes from the various archaeological sites dotted around including the Necropolis, the Roman colonnades and of course the Hippodrome, one of the largest in the Roman period. After this fascinating visit, you’ll head back to Beirut to close the loop. (B) 

Overnight Gems Hotel or similar

Day 9 - “Cities & people” – National museum

This morning, depart for an original concept “cities & people”, where you will share with a Beiruti the experience of the city. This passionate greeter will let you discover the capital in an unusual and original way. This morning can be designed around different themes such as: food – lifestyle – artistic and political dynamics. We highly suggest a visit of the Beirut National Museum to discover the wonders of the ancient times. Beautifully curated, the hundred artefacts will take you from prehistoric time to the Mamelouke period for a fantastic voyage through time. (B)

Overnight Gems Hotel or similar

Day 10 – Departure

Today is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onwards flight. (B)

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What’s included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
  • Services of an English speaking local guide
  • National park fees
  • Private air conditioned transportation
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Bottled water
  • Entrance fees
Exclusions
  • International flights
  • Drinks unless otherwise mentioned
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • Inoculations
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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Availability

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Availability
Price
Start Date
03rd Sep 2022
End Date
12th Sep 2022
Duration
10 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$5,457 AUD
Start Date
07th May 2023
End Date
16th May 2023
Duration
10 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$5,457 AUD
Start Date
03rd Sep 2023
End Date
12th Sep 2023
Duration
10 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$5,457 AUD