"Lebanon - the heart of the Levant" Top 5 Page for this destination Lebanon by TheWanderingCamel

Lebanon Travel Guide: 2,473 reviews and 5,914 photos

Such a small country ....

...and yet it packs such a punch.

Crossing over Mt Lebanon and down to the sea you see the length and the breadth of the country - from the grandeur of Baalbek in the fertile Bekaa Valley, the mountain slopes leading up to a snow-walled pass and then, as you come over the divide, the symbol of Lebanon - the ancient cedars in their stony mountain fastness - lie between you and the sea. Villages and towns in lush green valleys give way to the solid sprawl of urban development, high rise buildings and busy highways up and down along the coast and then, there you are, in Beirut. Ayone who remembers reports of the bitter trauma suffered here for so long cannot fail to be moved by their first sight of this phoenix of a city.

However, Lebanon is so much more than its recent tragic history and triumphant recovery. Stay awhile and the layers of history peel back for you - Rameses' warriors, Roman soldiers, Crusaders and modern armies have all fought here and, ever since Phoenician galleys first set sail from Byblos, trade has always been the heartbeat of the country.

Once more Lebanon is in the news as the push for political change gathers momentum. Interesting, maybe hard, times lie ahead. But it isn't all protest and politics. There are deep forests, quiet villages, hidden monasteries, souqs and citadels to explore. Wonderful food and good wine to share. And, as everywhere in this part of the world, a welcome for the visitor that is as warm and genuine as any welcome could be.

Coming to Lebanon

We came to Lebanon from Syria. I'd been to Baalbek before, just an overnight visit from Damascus; the other side of Mt Lebanon was an unknown quantity, but there were some pre-conceived ideas - Beirut was a big, modern city, the glamorous face of the Levant, the Paris of the east. Coastal Lebanon was one long strip of high-rise buildings. After the traditional charms of Syria, was this what we wanted?

The very best thing about our stay here was having so many of those ideas turned on their head. The beauty of the country; the vibrant mix of the traditional and the modern, east and west in Beirut; pretty little Byblos; mediaeval Tripoli; gracious Beit ed-Dine ...

Yes, Lebanon is the modern face of the Levant, but it is a charming face - full of character; wearing its lines of laughter and of grief proudly; acknowledging its long and turbulent history and looking forward the future.

I loved it.


The notes on this page will start in the Bekaa and move west to the shores of the Mediterranean. Baalbek and Beirut have pages of their own.

  • Last visit to Lebanon: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (31)

Comments (9)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2008 at 5:01 AM

    Excellent overview - you've cinvinced me that this is a country I should add to my wish list :)

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2006 at 6:38 PM

    Such an ancient land! Really enjoyed touring it via your pages, an absolute tonic compared to the images in the news media.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2006 at 9:13 AM

    Lovely photos and explanations on a whole series of fascinating places with extra-long histories. I don't know why, but your tips on Byblos especially caught my imagination.

  • ChristinaNest's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2006 at 1:09 AM

    Thank you for the great virtual tour!! Stunning intro photo, and cool 'traffic jam' pic:)) Greetings from Sofia, Bulgaria.Christina

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2006 at 8:30 AM

    Yes Leyle, let's hope we will visit this country, being one of my favourites, again some day in peace !!

  • DaDrifter's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2005 at 6:38 AM

    Thanks for a delightful tour ... can feel your passion for Levant through these pages. I agree with Nicola, Beit ed-Dine is simply amazing ... stunning picture of the marble inlay and carvings at the hammams.

  • Cruefan's Profile Photo
    Jun 11, 2005 at 7:11 AM

    Great insight on Lebanon.. Cheers :)

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2005 at 12:17 PM

    Beit ed-Dine looks stunning, great to hear there is an opportunity to bribe your way in to view the state rooms too! (~_~). Fascinating read & stunning photos especially the opening one.

  • RafaelTheSecond's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2005 at 6:34 AM

    It is a honor to be the first to write here in such a very interesting space in your Lebanon PAGE...Cool info, nice and inteliggent texts, you are great! THANK YOU!

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