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Location: Beirut

Day 1 - 12 Jul 2021

Beirut

Beirut, Beirut
Beirut, Beirut

Content: We arrived in the morning at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. We had a driver arranged for our entire trip, so he picked us up from the airport and drove us to our hotel in Hamra. We stayed at the Golden Tulip MidTown, which is a nice mid-range hotel with a pool on the roof in the heart of Hamra which is the best neighbourhood to enjoy Beirut. We quickly freshened up, and got ready to explore the city. TIP: Since Lebanon is currently going through a crisis, their currency got heavily inflated. It is advisable not to change your money at the bank, or exchange shops, but to do so on the black market, but you need a local's assistance to do so. Under any circumstance, do not use your debit or credit card, as you will be charged an extortionate amount.

Location: Harissa

Day 1 - 12 Jul 2021

Harissa

Harissa, Harissa

Content: It was a short 30 minute drive to Harissa, where we took the cable cart all the way up to the top of the mountains. The cable cart itself was a fun experience. It was a bit old, and not really for the fainthearted, as it goes up really steep, but the view over the entire shoreline is so worth it. It kind of reminded me of Nice, with beautiful beaches inside the bay. On the top of the mountain you will find a church and the Mother of Lebanon statue. Keep in mind that ladies need to be covered to enter the church premises, but they provide an abaya for free. Entrance fee: 25.000 per person for the cable cart

Location: Beirut

Day 1 - 12 Jul 2021

Raouche Rocks

Beirut, Raouche Rocks

Content: After Harissa, we drove back to the city and stopped along the boulevard to admire the Raouche Rocks. These are two rocks in the shape of an arch, which is one of the very famous places to visit in Beirut. Unfortunately, the boulevard was covered in trash, but there was a very nice restaurant called Bay Rock Cafe from where you have a prime view over the rocks. You can also choose to do a boat tour where they take you closer to the rocks.

Hamra

Beirut, Hamra

Content: Since we were a bit tired from the flight, we didn't want to do too many things on the first day. We went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We ate in a really cozy restaurant called Mezyan, close to our hotel. They served delicious Lebanese food and local wine, and it was full of really hip, young people. With the black market exchange rate, dinner was only about 12 USD for two people.

Location: Baalbek ruins

Day 2 - 13 Jul 2021

Baalbek Roman Ruins

Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins
Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins
Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins
Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins
Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins
Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins
Baalbek ruins, Baalbek Roman Ruins

Content: Today we woke up early to explore some ruins. I was very excited for this, as it is one of the most important sights in Lebanon. The ruins are located very close to the Syrian border. It was an interesting drive to get there, as you see the landscape and the vibe changing. Instead of green mountains, it's becoming more dry, and desert-like, but what is more interesting is that it almost feels as if you are entering a war zone. There are regular army checkpoints along the way, and you will see barbwire and even tanks everywhere. But as much as you might feel that it is unsafe, it's actually pretty fine, and the army is mainly there to prevent smuggling of oil and drugs across the border. After 2 hours we arrived at the Baalbek ruins. They are very impressive, and my first thought was that it is way better preserved than Acropolis. It was truly impressive. It's an incredible complex, that makes you wonder how they ever managed to build something like this, very comparable to any of the complexes of the 7 World Wonders. It was not busy at all, and there are many amazing photo opportunities around. TIP: I personally wouldn't recommend doing this in a big tour with a guide. I think you'll have a nicer experience discovering it on your own, or in a small group. Entrance fee: 15.000 lira per person

Yammoune

Baalbek ruins, Yammoune
Baalbek ruins, Yammoune

Content: We drove for about an hour to the Yammoune Lake, which is really nice to take in some fresh air. It's a great place to visit, where you can either walk, ride a horse, or rent a bike. After some time refreshing in mother nature, we had a local lunch nearby to prepare us for the drive back to Beirut. Entrance fee: free

Location: Beirut

Day 2 - 13 Jul 2021

Beirut

Beirut, Beirut

Content: We made our way back to Beirut where it was time to explore the city a bit more. Beirut used to be incredibly famous for its nightlife and bustling atmosphere. Unfortunately, they have gone through a crisis for the past two years which has definitely impacted the country, but it is still a beautiful place to visit. We went to the business area of Beirut where you will find many international shops and the main square where most of the revolution took place. You can still see many signs of the revolution, and it is definitely interesting to learn more about it and the impact it is having on the local population. While we were there a peaceful protest was taking place, which is pretty common, but overall it feels very safe to travel around Lebanon.

Location: Cedar tree forest

Day 3 - 14 Jul 2021

Cedars Of God Bsharri

Cedar tree forest , Cedars Of God Bsharri
Cedar tree forest , Cedars Of God Bsharri

Content: Today we spent most of the time in the mountains. We stopped a few times along the way to the Cedar Trees Nature Reserve to take in the view and take some photos. Everytime you turned a corner there was another amazing panorama view. The Cedars of God Bsharri Nature Reserve is the biggest forest of Cedar Trees in Lebanon. These trees are the pride and joy of Lebanon. They are so important to them, that they even put the tree on their national flag. The trees can become hundreds of years old, and they grow very very slowly. So even when a tree is only about 2 meters high, it's already decennia old. There was a nice walk through the trees. Although we weren't too impressed with the reserve, but it was nice to be surrounded by nature. Entrance fee: voluntary donation (receive a postcard for every 10.000 lira)

Location: Saint George's Church

Day 3 - 14 Jul 2021

Saint George's church - كنيسة مار جرجس

Saint George's Church , Saint George's church - كنيسة مار جرجس

Content: After a quick coffee stop at the Cedar Trees Nature Reserve we drove further to the Saint George's Church. The church is located on the top of a hill from where you have an amazing view over the entire valley. We hiked up to the top, and talked for a while, while we took in all the views. It's a great place to truly be present in the moment and forget about external distractions, as when we walked down again, we realised we hadn't taken any pictures at the church. We simply enjoyed the moment. We went for lunch afterwards in a local restaurant in a nearby town. The food was pretty nice, and I tried fattoush for the first time, which instantly became my new favourite Lebanese dish. It's a very famous salad with a very zesty dressing, and I absolutely loved it. Entrance fee: free

Location: Batroun

Day 3 - 14 Jul 2021

Pierre & Friends

Batroun, Pierre & Friends

Content: After lunch we drove to Batroun, which is a beautiful coastal town just 30 minutes outside of Beirut. It's a very laidback town with some really nice beach bars. We arrived just before sunset and watched it set into the ocean. Pierre and Friends has a really nice bar overlooking the water, with the waves just crashing in below the deck. It's a really chilled vibe throughout the day, all the way until deep into the night so I would definitely recommend a visit here.

Location: Beirut

Day 3 - 14 Jul 2021

Ales & Tales

Beirut, Ales & Tales

Content: After we freshneded up in our hotel Golden Tulip Midtown after quite a long day we decided to have some more drinks in Hamra. We found this really nice bar called Ales and Tales which is a three story apartment with seating on each floor. We decided to sit on the rooftop and had some cocktails and an amazing dish of cauliflower in tomato sauce and cheese that basically tasted like pizza, so yummy.

Location: Beirut

Day 4 - 15 Jul 2021

Jeita Grotto

Beirut, Jeita Grotto
Beirut, Jeita Grotto
Beirut, Jeita Grotto

Content: This morning we visited the Jetta Grotto. It is a very famous site in Lebanon, which is one of the biggest highlights for most people. I have been to quite some caves before, so I wasn't heavily impressed, but if it is the first time, you might love it. It is full of stalagmites and stalactites, and it has some underground pools. For the second part of the tour you take a little boat ride under the cave. I thought this was much more interesting. The water was a beautiful deep shade of blue and looked so inviting. Entrance fee: 18.000 lira per person

Location: Byblos Citadel

Day 4 - 15 Jul 2021

Byblos Citadel

Byblos Citadel, Byblos Citadel
Byblos Citadel, Byblos Citadel
Byblos Citadel, Byblos Citadel

Content: After the cave we visited Byblos Town. I'd say this was my favorite town in Lebanon. It was a laid back coastal town with a little marina, and an old souk as the town center. We explored the castle overlooking the ocean and talked about all kinds of conquering games we used to play on the computer as a child as the castle surroundings reminded me so much of Age of Empire. Entrance fee: free

Location: Byblos

Day 4 - 15 Jul 2021

The Old Souq

Byblos, The Old Souq
Byblos, The Old Souq
Byblos, The Old Souq

Content: We walked around the old souk, which really gives all those 1001 Arabian night vibes. Beautiful old buildings, with small local shops that sold all kinds of local handicraft. We entered a fascinating shop that also operated as a museum that sold and displayed fish fossils that were found in the mountains 100 million years ago. We had an ice cream and some drinks and a tiramisu in BarItalia Kitchen & Bar, which looks like you're sitting inside a wine cellar. Very charming and romantic. We also passed by one of the most romantic restaurants I have ever seen, called Malak al Tawouk. It had beautiful pink flower petals scattered all over the floor. It was gorgeous, but there was no one there, so we chose to go to BarItalia instead. TIP: At night all these shops put chairs outside on the street and turn into bars which creates one big party in the entire street. Definitely recommended if you want a taste of Lebanon's famous nightlife.

Location: Birthday celebrations

Day 4 - 15 Jul 2021

Babel Restaurants - Lebanese Restaurants in Lebanon, Kuwait, Dubai

Birthday celebrations , Babel Restaurants - Lebanese Restaurants in Lebanon, Kuwait, Dubai

Content: Tonight was my birthday so we went to an upscale restaurant called Babel for a lovely dinner.

Location: Best nightlife

Day 4 - 15 Jul 2021

The Village Dbayeh

Best nightlife , The Village Dbayeh

Content: After dinner it was time for a party. We went to a place in Byblos called The Village. It actually looks like a small village with lots of different bars that all share the same DJ. This creates one big party with people dancing on the street in between the bars. It was the best place we had visited for partying in Lebanon so I couldn't recommend it more.

Location: Baatara pothole

Day 5 - 16 Jul 2021

Baatara Gorge Waterfall

Baatara pothole, Baatara Gorge Waterfall
Baatara pothole, Baatara Gorge Waterfall
Baatara pothole, Baatara Gorge Waterfall
Baatara pothole, Baatara Gorge Waterfall
Baatara pothole, Baatara Gorge Waterfall

Content: We had 2 stops on our planning today. The first stop was the Baatara pothole, which was something that I was really excited about. It is a natural pothole that consists of three layers. After winter, when the snow melts a waterfall goes through all three layers which is an absolutely magical sight. Unfortunately during summer this is completely dried up, but it still was an unbelievably beautiful place. It was massive, and we had it all to ourselves. We took loads of pictures from all angles and admired the immensity of it all. TIP: After we hiked back up we had a fresh orange juice and some coffee at the Cozy Corner which is a locally owned small coffee shop overlooking the mountains. Entrance fee: 3.000 lira per person

Batroun

Baatara pothole, Batroun

Content: We drove to Batroun, which is very similar to Byblos, with an old souk in the town center. It had an extremely old wall in front of the ocean which was carved out when they needed the soil to build houses, and it also doubled as a protection wall for any intruders, but it also gave very dreamy views over the ocean. We drank one of Batrouns very famous lemonades and had another ice cream.

Location: Batroun

Day 5 - 16 Jul 2021

Pierre & Friends

Batroun, Pierre & Friends

Content: We then decided to go back to our favourite beach bar Pierre and Friends. This we watched the sunset again, and we shared some fattoush and fries and had a wonderful last night.

Location: Beirut

Day 5 - 16 Jul 2021

Beirut

Beirut, Beirut

Content: We really wanted to explore some more of Beirut's famous nightlife so we got changed and went into town, to the biggest party street of Hamra. The bars were full, and the music was nice, but it finished very early. It didn't really live up to it's very big reputation, but I assume we have the crisis to blame for that.

Location: Beirut

Day 6 - 17 Jul 2021

Golden Tulip MidTown Hotel & Suites - Beirut

Beirut, Golden Tulip MidTown Hotel & Suites - Beirut

Content: We checked out of our hotel and had until the late afternoon until we needed to head back to the airport, so we had one more hike planned.

Location: Chouwan Lake

Day 6 - 17 Jul 2021

Chouwan Lake

Chouwan Lake, Chouwan Lake
Chouwan Lake, Chouwan Lake

Content: This hike was towards the Chouwan Lake. It's a very unknown lake, that even not many Lebanese know about. The hike to the lake took about 45 minutes, and there was a stunning viewpoint along the way. The lake is truly mesmerising, in a very light emerald colour. When we got down to the lake, some people were swimming and we regretted not bringing our swimwear. We sat on some rocks, and reflected on our holiday while we admired the view. After an hour or so it was time for us to hike back up. The hike back up was quite a bit tougher than the hike towards the lake, so we were pretty sweaty by the time we arrived at the car, but we were able to have a shower in a cabin by someone's house for less than a dollar. Entrance fee: 8.000 lira per person and 8.000 per person to use the shower Hike level: moderate fitness level required

Location: Hamra

Day 6 - 17 Jul 2021

Mezyan

Hamra, Mezyan

Content: With only 2 hours left before we had to get to the airport to catch our flight home, we decided to have lunch in one of our favourite restaurants where we ate the first night also. The food was delicious and the vibe was great and it was the perfect ending to our trip.

Location: Beirut

Day 6 - 17 Jul 2021

Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport

Beirut, Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport

Content: Time to head back to Dubai