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.
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
Today is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onwards flight. (B)
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**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.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.