The capital city, Beirut, is an ideal base from which to discover the country for fascinating sights and scenes, and of course, to shop till you drop. It is often crowded and chaotic but will engulf you with its on-trend sass and spirit. No wonder it is referred to as the Paris of the Middle East. Just a short flight from Bahrain, it makes for a convenient getaway full of fashion, food, art, music and nightlife.
Beirut’s National Museum and St George Crypt Museum are known for impressive exhibits that tell the story of the country’s past. A major landmark, the Mohammed Al Amin Mosque is a pretty, blue-domed structure that will capture not only your interest but also your lens for the perfect holiday postcard.
Hire a bike and cycle to the Corniche, where you will get glimpses of life in the city. The elderly playing card games and catching up, young men on their flashy motorbikes and girls whizzing past on rollerblades. Take in the sight of the Pigeon Rocks by sunset, as young lads jump off them into the azure waters. Do visit the Souq El Tayeb to sample fresh, organic fare on Saturdays.
Buses ply from Beirut to Tripoli, Lebanon’s quieter quarter, known for its shaded souqs and winding bylanes. It is famous for its architecture of the Mamluk and Ottoman eras. Don’t miss a visit to the historic Hammam Ezzedine and the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles. If you have a few days to spare, call on the cities of Baalbek and Tyre for their rich history.
Byblos, touted to be the cradle of civilization, is only an hour away from Beirut. But not all is brown and dusty here. Explore intriguing history and enjoy the seaside by day, and savour great gastronomy and the effervescent party scene by night.