Lebanon
Food and History
Tailormade Tour

Lebanon Food and History – an 9 day Tailormade Tour from £2795 per person.


Lebanon was known in the 1960’s as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Today Lebanon has rebuilt itself after a devastating civil war that ended in 1991.

This small country extending for only 250km’s North to South and 50 km’s from East to West excels in its diversity of experiences and exceptional sense of hospitality.

On our journey we will experience the vibrant city of Beirut, both old and new. However this tour offers much more.

 

 

Lebanon was known in the 1960’s as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Today Lebanon has largely rebuilt itself after a devastating civil war that ended in 1991. This small country extending for only 250km’s North to South and 50 km’s from East to West excels in its diversity of experiences and exceptional sense of hospitality.

On our journey we will experience the vibrant city of Beirut, both old and new. However this tour offers much more. Get to grips with the heart of Lebanon as we spend plenty of time out of the big city. We will journey to ancient settlements such as Byblos and Batroun on the shimmering Mediterranean coast, wander through the atmospheric souks of Sidon, and admire the noble emblem of Lebanon: the majestic Cedar Forests of the Chouf Reserve.

Stay in a monastery in the lush Qadisha Valley and enjoy walking amidst inspiring scenery, and enjoy the magnificent food and wine of Lebanon in the fertile Bekaa Valley. Standing in front of the magnificent Roman temples of Baalbek (UNESCO) is sure to inspire and delight as well as castles from Crusader times and the UNESCO town of Deir Al Qamar with its excellent examples of grand feudal architecture.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour pace

Moderate / Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Arrive in Beirut and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to explore the city. Overnight Hotel Le Caramel Boutique Hotel. No meals or guided activities are included today.

This morning after breakfast, start the day with a stroll on the breezy and bustling corniche, an activity enjoyed by many local Beirutis. During the walk, learn about how the area was shaped by the civil war and the regeneration efforts since. Stark reminders of the conflict are very much still visible including the bullet ridden Holiday Inn hotel building which has remained derelict and were the scenes of intense battles. Continue to Martyrs Square and the impressive Mohammad Al Amin Mosque complete with its towering sandstone minarets. We will also stop to see the archaeological site of the Roman baths in the centre of the city. Continue to the National Museum where we take an enriching visit and learn about the turbulent history of Lebanon which will give the experiences of the coming day’s added context. Any time after 11am you can visit the Souk el Tayeb food market (Saturday and Tuesdays only), an authentic local experience not to be missed. After the visit to the souk, enjoy some time at leisure before this evening heading to the bustling Bourj Hammoud with its large Armenian population. Here you will enjoy an authentic Lebanese/Armenian meal tonight. Overnight Hotel Le Caramel Boutique Hotel. (BD)

After breakfast, continue a short distance up the Mediterranean coast to Batroun. Explore the narrow cobblestone streets and observe the traditional Ottoman style houses. Also take a stroll through Batroun’s small but old souk and the magical ruins of the Phoenician port including the ancient sea wall. We recommend that you take an opportunity to try the authentic local lemonade here in Batroun, very refreshing and equally as delicious.  Later continue up the coast to the ancient town of Byblos, said to have been continuously inhabited since the 6th Century BC. Spend the afternoon exploring this delightful place with its picturesque harbour, the well restored 12th century crusader castle and the roman archaeological site with a beautifully situated small amphitheatre overlooking the shimmering Mediterranean Sea. This evening enjoy a fresh seafood dinner on the shores of the Med and after dinner wander in the atmospheric souk area and perhaps enjoy a drink at one of the bars.  Overnight Hotel Ahiram. (BD)

(Approximate overall driving time today is 2 hours and walking time is around 3 hours, depending on your pace)

After an early breakfast, travel inland for an approximate 2-hour drive to the Cedars of God forest. Known as Arz Ar-Rab (The Cedars of the Lord), this is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Here you have the option of taking a 9km hike from Wadi Qannoubine to the picturesque hill town of Bcharre located at an altitude of 1450 meters above sea level. The walk affords inspiring panoramic views throughout. En route, enjoy a picnic mezze lunch. On arrival in Bcharre have a walk around the central area of the town and visit the Gibran museum dedicated to the renowned Lebanese artist, author and poet. Later, continue to the nearby splendid Qadisha Valley and to your accommodation, a quite beautiful 12th Century monastery in the most peaceful setting with just the sound of birds and the wind for accompaniment. Overnight Saint Antoine Monastery. (BLD)

Please Note: The hike today is recommended, but is optional and a later start can be arranged or a shorter hike can be taken in the Qadisha Valley close to the monastery as an alternative. The Cedars of God forest is closed during the winter months.

(Approximate overall driving time today is 4.5 hours)

This morning after breakfast enjoy a short walk as the sun lights up the valley and the bells of the church ring out. We then drive over the mountains dropping into the Bekaa Valley. Then visit what surely must be regarded as one of world’s most astonishing Roman archaeological sites at Baalbek. We spend ample time exploring the site in detail which is believed to date back some 5000 years. The site is so grand in its scale that is not hard to visualise what the city must have been like in its pomp. Continue to Chateau Ksara for a leisurely Lebanese mezze style lunch and wine tasting in the Bekaa Valley. Here enjoy a tour of the cellar and the production areas before enjoying degustation of the excellent wines. Finally, today visit the ancient Anjar Citadel. Dinner tonight will be at Palmyra Hotel which has an excellent reputation for good food and has a very rich and interesting history. Overnight Hotel Palmyra. (BLD)

Please Note: The drive over the mountains to Baalbek can only be made in normal snowfall years between late May and mid-November. Outside of these months the itinerary will take a different route from Days 3 – 5 but you will still visit all of the same places. 

(Approximate driving time today is 3 hours)

After breakfast take the short journey to the exquisite 18th century Beiteddine Palace complex notable for its elegant mixture of Italian and Arab influenced architecture. The palace contains important archaeological collections including some stunning mosaics. The views from the grounds are also a delight to stroll at leisure. From here we continue to the Chouf Reserve to take a short walk amongst the majestic Cedar trees, a symbolic emblem of Lebanon. Finally, we overnight in Deir Al Qamar at a charming property where dinner will be included at its excellent restaurant. Overnight Deir al Oumara. (BD)

(Approximate driving time today is 3 hours)

After breakfast take a short walk around the charming town of Deir al Qamar admiring the interesting architecture. We then travel back to the Mediterranean coast to Sidon, once a prosperous and flourishing Phoenician city. Visit the 13th Crusader Castle of the Sea and Khan el Franj 17th century, before taking a leisurely stroll in the atmospheric narrow streets of the old souk where once can observe all manner of tradesmen and craftsmen and the kaleidoscope of colours of the fresh produce on offer is striking. Grab an authentic local lunch at a historic falafel shop where the freshest ingredients are used and speed the ingredients are married together is a sight to behold!  Thereafter, continue back to Beirut where any remaining time will be at leisure. Overnight Le Caramel Boutique Hotel or similar. (BL)

Please Note: For an even fuller day it is possible to travel south from Sidon to Tyre (UNESCO) and observe the beauty of the ancient Roman streets, arcades and the well-preserved hippodromes. This will mean an early start and arriving back to Beirut for sunset.

This morning enjoy some time at leisure, perhaps take a walk in the corniche and observe the fishermen. Your guide and driver will collect you from your hotel at your chosen time and drive you to Mounir Restaurant, a Lebanese restaurant renowned for hospitality and true authentic cuisine. After lunch, visit the traditional villages of Mtein and Mrouj before heading back to Beirut. Overnight Hotel Le Caramel Boutique. (BL)

Spend any remaining time at leisure before transferring to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

Dates & Price.

We offer this Lebanon Food and History Tour for private departures only.

Prices start from £2795 per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room.

We can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please contact us to discuss your travel plans.

Tour Notes

Flights from London to Beirut on direct flights start from £350. Please contact us for a quotation. At busy times of year around holidays prices of course may be much more for flights.

Single Supplement from £395 per person.

In winter months alternative routes must be taken to get to the Bekaa Valley so the itinerary will be slightly different (due to weather conditions).

Airport transfers are included in the tour price.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary (alternative properties can be arranged)
  • Private ground air-conditioned transportation
  • Services of an English-speaking guide from Day 2 to Day 8
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites as listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa (usually issued on arrival)
  • Drinks
  • Tips (discretionary)

A very enjoyable time. Even though a short trip it encompassed many aspects of a complex country. Archaeology, history, Lebanese food and wine , cultural diversity and the geopolitics of the middle east. Our guide Emanuel was very informative on contemporary Lebanon. Our driver -was also courteous and helpful.

 

Tom Doyle, Ireland