Lebanon Revealed

Journey into Lebanon - a land steeped in history through changing conquests from the Phoenician era to the French colonial period and connecting the nexus of Christianity & Islam. Its recovery of its violent past speaks volumes of a country that is putting all those turbulent times behind with renewed vigor. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Savor traditional cuisines, new age gastronomy and exceptional wines

Visit some of the most stunning historical and natural sites of Lebanon

Be immersed into the everyday life and culture of Lebanon

Stay in some of the most charming boutique hotels in Lebanon

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE BEIRUT

Arrive Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport where we drive into Beirut - the capital city of Lebanon where we embark on a tour and insight into its storied past and its current renaissance from its ancient Roman settlement more than 5,000 years ago to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its independence from France. We set off from the Nejmeh Square, the heart of the modern city, and see the famous central clock tower, constructed during WWI. Admire the Martyr’s Statue in Martyr’s Square, a monument that honors the Lebanese nationalists murdered during the same war by the Ottomans. Next to it, visit the stunning Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, built between 2002 and 2007 by the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who is now rested in the mosque. Next is the ancient remains of the Roman Baths - reminding of the days during the Roman Period of its opulent lifestyle. 

We then head to the vibrant Mar Mikhael neighborhood, a former industrial district that has now been transformed into a trendy area with restaurants, bars and entertainment. Spend some time for lunch and after admiring the iconic Mar Mikhael stairs, we head on to the impressive Sursock Palace Museum, once the residence of aristocratic art lover, Nicholas Sursock. Combining Venetian and Ottoman architectural styles, take your time to appreciate the refined art collections that is the envy of many museums around the world. Finally, we then arrive at the Hotel Albergo, a Relais & Chateaux property that blends nostalgia with modernity in a harmonious fusion where you will spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Hotel Albergo, Beirut

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: BEIRUT (EXCURSION TO TYRE & SIDON)

A beautiful day begins with a pleasant drive to the UNESCO World Heritage ancient city of Tyre, built by the Romans. On an insightful tour, we visit the legacies of Roman history uncovering the ruins of the Al-Bass archaeological site with its iconic triumphal arch as well as the Tyre Hippodrome that was built in the 2nd Century AD.

 

Next, we head to Sidon, also known as "Saida", once a thriving commercial center where we visit the ruins of the Sidon Sea Castle, built by the crusaders in the 13th Century as a fortress of the Holy Land. Thereafter, admire the Khan el Franj, a caravanserai built by Fakhreddine II for foreign merchants and goods, and once housed the French consulate. Enjoy alternative views of Sidon's coastline and the Sea Castle. From here, visit the impressive 18th Century Debbane Palace, built by Ali Hammoud in 1721, a proud masterpiece of the Ottoman Period that was bought over by Youssef Debbane in 1800 where his family have lived for generations since. 

Overnight: Hotel Albergo, Beirut

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 3: BEIRUT / ANJAR / THE BEKAA VALLEY

We leave Beirut today heading inland to the incredible UNESCO-listed ancient Umayyad city of Anjar where we will witness its impressive complex of ruins and remnants from the Umayyad Period, set against the backdrop of the snowy peaks of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. 

Thereafter, we head into the beautiful Bekaa Valley, with its fertile soil - home to olive groves, an amazing array of vineyards and agricultural crop fields. We arrive in the Greek Catholic town of Zahle, capital of the Bekaa Valley locally known as Arousat al-Beqaa (Bride of the Beqaa). Founded in the 18th Century as a main intersection along the famed Silk Road, Zahle evokes storied past of conflicts but has been reborned as a lifestyle destination renowned for its wineries and gastronomy. Visit the Chateau Ksara, Lebanon's most important and successful wine estate founded in 1857 by Jesuit priests. Enjoy a cellar tour of its 2km-long subterranean wine storage caves that dates to the same period as the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, and tasting of its exceptional wines. 

Next, we continue our journey past picturesque towns and verdant vineyards to arrive at the archaeological ruins of the Niha Roman Temples, dating back to the 1st Century AD, chosen as a place of worship for its well-isolated, breathtaking and faith inspiring location. A short drive arrives us at the peaceful and picturesque environment of the Al Haush Agro Guesthouse, set in a beautiful estate that promotes a sense of well-being and nature. 

Overnight: Al Haush Agro Guesthouse

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4: THE BEKAA VALLEY / BAALBEK / BCHARRE / EHDEN

A cozy morning begins with a sumptuous breakfast before we set off to the historic UNESCO World Heritage Phoenician city of Baalbek, arguably Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure. Civilizations as old as the Phoenicians worshiped here and themselves built massive stone structures to “Baal”, revered Phoenician deity and possible subject for the town’s name of Baalbek. With the arrival of the Romans in 64 BC, Baalbek was converted to a Pagan center of worship and work was begun on the massive Temple of Jupiter, a hulking structure of granite columns which would eventually become the largest temple ever built in the history of the Roman Empire. From the 1st century BC and over a period of two centuries, the Romans built three giant temples here: Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus. Next, to the Jupiter complex, which was created to be the largest temple in the Roman Empire, there is a separate building known as the Temple of Bacchus. The temple is slightly smaller than the Temple of Jupiter, but it became one of the most celebrated sanctuaries of the ancient world. 

Continue our journey north where we arrive in the mesmerizing environments of the UNESCO-listed Qadisha Valley, dotted with idyllic mountain villages and towns that come straight out from storybooks. Visit the Gibran Museum in Bcharre where en route, you will travel through some of the most stunning vistas in Lebanon witnessing dramatic views of peaks and gorges as well as olive groves, vineyards, valleys and mountain peaks that develop into the beautiful backdrop for the museum that includes 440 original paintings and drawings.  We will then arrive at the Mist Hotel & Spa where we spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Mist Hotel & Spa by Warwick, Ehden

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5: EHDEN (MONASTERIES OF THE QADISHA VALLEY)

Enjoy a spectacular day uncovering the monasteries and cave churches of the Qadisha Valley, discovered throughout the years that dates back to the early days of Christianity, including St Anthony of Quzhayya, Our Lady of Hauqqa, Qannubin and Mar Lichaa. This natural and spiritual haven has welcomed genuine faith from all confessions with traces of Muslim Sufis, Ethiopian Monks and prayers in many languages: Arabic, Greek, Syriac and Ethiopian. Visit the Mar Antonios Qozhaya, founded in the 11th Century, is the largest of the monasteries in the Qadisha, renowned for its spiritual value and for establishing the first known printing press in the Middle East in the 16th century, and includes a museum with a rich collection of religious and ethnographic objects.

 

Thereafter, continue to the beautifully-restored Mar Lichaa Monastery that is impressively built into the vertical cliff wall. Once the residence of the Maronite bishops, the Maronite order was founded in this monastery between 1698 and 1700. We then stop in Bekaa Kafra, the highest village in Lebanon at over 1,800m above sea level and the birthplace of Saint Charbel where you have the opportunity to visit the Church where Saint Charbel was baptized and for some of the most spectacular panorama of the Qadisha Valley. 

Overnight: Mist Hotel & Spa by Warwick, Ehden

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: EHDEN / WATERFALLS & GORGES OF TANNOURINE / KFOUR

We leave Ehden today, journeying to some of the world's most fascinating natural wonders - the Baatara Sinkhole, a jaw-dropping gorge and waterfall that thrills even the world traveler. Discovered in 1952, the site has three natural bridges, rising one above the other and in season, an opportunity to witness a beautiful cascade behind the bridges. Enjoy time to soak in all the wonderment and photographic opportunities before we continue next to the legendary Afqa Waterfall, cascading down from within rocks into the Adonis River. According to mythology, this is where the mortal Adonis died in the arms of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Thus, the waterfall was aptly nicknamed "Aphrodite's Tears". 

Our journey for the day ends in the peaceful village of Kfour, nestled in the foothills of Mount Lebanon where we arrive at picture=perfect environments of Beit Trad, a delightful guesthouse that teases all the senses. 

Overnight: Beit Trad, Kfour

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7: KFOUR (EXCURSION TO BYBLOS & BATROUN)

Enjoy an excursion today as we make our first stop in the UNESCO-listed ancient city of Byblos, one of the oldest-continuously inhabited city in the world that has witnessed more than 24 successive civilizations. Visit the Byblos Castle, built by the Crusaders in the 12th Century from indigenous limestone and the remains of Roman structures. Next to the citadel, visit the romanesque Cathedral of Saint Jean Marc, built in 1115 dedicated to the patron saint of Byblos who is said to have founded the first Christian community of Byblos. The church itself was built in 1115 AD by the Crusaders, originally as the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. You then have the opportunity to visit the Old Souq of Byblos, filled with shops that sell souvenirs, local crafts and other wares as well as fresh fruits and produce. 

Thereafter, continue along the shimmering coast to the coastal city of Batroun, a treasure trove of Phoenician , Roman and Byzantine history. Enjoy a stroll on the beautiful fishermen's harbor dominated by the imposing Maronite St Stephen's Cathedral designed in a mixture of Byzantine and Roman arts with some influence from the Gothic art. From here, we move inland to the spectacular terraced vineyards of IXSIR Winery, one of the highest vineyards in the world at over 1,800m above sea level where we marvel at the stunning views of the panorama, learn about its world-revered wine production, wine tasting and enjoy lunch in a wondrous environment. We then return back to Beit Trad. 

Overnight: Beit Trad, Kfour

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 8: KFOUR /JEITA GROTTO / DEPARTURE BEIRUT

Say farewell to your host at Beit Trad as we leave today for one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World in the form of the Jeita Grotto. Made up of several caves, we take a trip down the lower caverns on a subterranean lake before visiting the upper gallery on foot to discover a world of limestones stalactites and stalagmites in a visual spectacle of epic proportions. We then transfer to Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport for your flight departure. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in east Beirut, a stone’s throw from downtown, Hotel Albergo is a sanctuary of luxury and the only Relais & Châteaux property in the country. Old world charm with old fashioned service assure an entrancing stay.

Hotel Albergo, Beirut

Spread out across several acres of farmland, Al Haush is a family enterprise and holistic experience that combines a love for sustainable practices with a passion for the Bekaa Valley. The guesthouse recalls simpler times; a celebration of an authentic Bekaa lifestyle that marries a passion for nature with a commitment to heritage and cultural diversity. 

Al Haush Agro Guesthouse, Bekaa Valley

Overlooking the beautiful resort town of Ehden in Lebanon, MIST HOTEL & SPA by Warwick is a boutique hotel that sits on the slopes of the famous mountain of Ehden that gives the town its name. Blending contemporary style, natural touches and the ancient history of the town, the resort is luxurious without feeling out of place. 

Mist Hotel & Spa by Warwick, Ehden

Beit Trad, Kfour

There is something very special about Beit Trad. Hidden amidst majestic old pine trees, this exquisite 19th century traditional Lebanese home in Kfour is imbued with the kind of magic that gently awakens the senses whilst soothing the mind.

OPTIONAL DESTINATION STAY EXPERIENCE IN THE PLATEAU DE BAKISH:

Odom Retreat, Plateau de Bakish

Odom Retreat is a new destination in Plateau de Bakish near Kfardebian in Lebanon that might seriously take your breath away. A trio of glamorous fully equipped tents await in an out-of-this world setting.

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