Before I left Dubai for good, I wanted to visit Beirut. Again, trying to check it off the bucket list, i squeezed this trip into a regular weekend. We saw a lot but I would recommend at least 3 days in Lebanon. There was a lot more to do than I had thought and I was pleasantly surprised by the place! I would 100% recommend a trip there.
We arrived late in the evening on a Thursday evening. We had arranged transport before we left with Beirut Airport Transfer. They were brilliant to deal with. We told them what we wanted to see and they arranged our itineraries for us and collected us from and dropped us to the airport. Especially if you have a short trip, having a driver helps so much. They also act as a tour guide, telling you about all of the areas you drive through and they gave us some brilliant restaurant recommendations too. You can contact them via the website above or we just sent them a What’s App message on +961 76 722 835.
On our first morning, we were collected and brought to Beqaa Valley to the Vineyards. We visited 3 vineyards, Chateau Ksara, Chateau St Thomas then Kefraya Winery. The scenery was amazing and the wine was good too! It was a great way to see the countryside too.In Kefraya Winery, you can get a train ride through the vineyards and you get to visit some ancient tombs. For lunch, Tawlet Ammiq was a recommended restaurant with amazing views, but it was quite expensive so our driver brought us to a local restaurant called Lakkis near Chateau Ksara. Here we tried local pastries called Safiha – they were the closest things to sausage rolls I’ve had since I left home! So good!
That night, we decided to head downtown for dinner and drinks. We ate in a local restaurant called Cafe Em Nazih and the food was amazing. Try the Msakhan, apparently they’re famous for it. After dinner, we headed to Mar Mikhael. This is a popular area for bars. The bars are either side of the narrow streets with tables outside too. The place was buzzing. We bar hopped there for a while. Popular bars are Trainstation, The Junkyard and B-018 Nightclub, which is like an underground club in a bunker.
The next day, we decided to see a lot. We started by driving to Byblos as it was the furthest away. This is one of the oldest cities in the world. We had a tour guide that brought us around the ruins, which were cool and had some amazing views of the harbour. I would recommend doing this with a guide so that you know what every thing is. After the tour, you can explore the narrow streets of Byblos, where there are shops and cafes. It was a really nice place to visit.
Next we drove to Jounieh and got the cable cars up to Harissa. At the top, you can see Our Lady of Lebanon and get a view of Beirut too. Not going to lie, I was a bit scared getting into the cable cars coming back down, but it was actually fine. The amazing views were a good distraction!
Once we got to the bottom, we went for lunch in a restaurant called Manuella on the waterfront. The food was lovely and they brought out so much fruit and sample plates for us to try too!
In this area, there are also loads of beach clubs and hotels and would be a lovely area for a relaxing break with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Perfect if you had time for a city break and wanted some down time too.
On the way back, we stopped into Jeita Grotto, around 30 minutes from Beirut. It was around 30 AED entry to caves with stalactites and stalagmites. It was cool as far as caves go, but if you were stuck for time, I would sacrifice this. You can’t bring your camera in to the caves either. These caves are closed on a Monday.
Pigeon Rock in the Raouche area is cool to see as well. We headed here at the end of day 2 to have a coffee and chill out for a bit. It is on the waterfront and you can actually walk out onto the rocks a bit. There is a restaurant called Bay Rock that was busy and had great views, or there is a Starbucks and other coffee shops across the street with the same view.
If you have a day to just explore, Zeitouna Bay is another built up area by the water with a lot of shops and cafes and worth checking out for a coffee, for anyone from the UAE, it is kind of like JBR. The Souqs and Downtown area are full of life too. Lots of shops, restaurants and cafes and even an ‘I love Beirut Sign’ for an instagram pic! The colourful steps that you may have seen on instagram too are in Mar Mikhael. I would have loved an extra day to explore the streets properly.
For accommodation, we stayed in a basic hotel because we weren’t going to be in the hotel much. Here is a list of accommodations to check out:
As you can see there is so much to do in Beirut. It was a really enjoyable weekend. Here are my top tips:
- Give yourself a day to just explore the city
- Eat all of the food – Hoummus, Kebab, Msakhan, Safiha, Kafka
- Having a driver saved so much time. Worth it if it’s in your budget and the one we went with above were good.
- If you have more time, Baalbek is another popular area to visit, famous for its Roman Ruins
- I travelled here with Speckled Stars blogger. Check out her blog!
- Have a look at my travel videos on my Youtube Channel
Top Tip Traveller 🙂