A holiday in Lebanon is like a trip back to the time of gladiators and ancient deities. Traces of Byzantine, Roman, and Greek splendour can still be found in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Baalbeck. The ruins of temples dedicated to Bacchus, Venus, and Jupiter make it easy to imagine the glory of centuries past.
Deir El Qamar, with its sun-baked houses, walled gardens, courtyards, palaces, and souks, was once a political capital of Lebanon. It is now a national treasure for its preservation of Lebanese architecture. But in the midst of all this historical splendour are hip boutiques and a modern wax museum with figures of Lebanese personalities.
Beiteddine is a palace that was once home to an emir, then later became the summer residence of a president. Hanging gardens, central fountains, marble mosaics, oriental designs, and some of the most beautiful hammams in the Arab world can be found here. It now houses a number of museums featuring costumes, pottery, jewellery, weaponry, sarcophagi, and more.
The birthplace of poet Khalil Gibran is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qadisha Valley or the Holy Valley. The perfect place to find a little peace and quiet, it is filled with lush foliage and cliff-side monasteries. Where the clouds touch the earth, the sacred cedar forest can be found.
More hallowed destinations are located in Tripoli, situated on an outcropping facing the Mediterranean. Aside from the mosques, fountains, and hammams, it is also known for the Crusader Castle of Saint-Gilles (the Citadel), Nawfal Palace, and the Lions’ Tower. Some say being here is like stepping in a scene from The Arabian Nights.
Even closer to shore is Tyre, a port town filled with archaeological relics. The largest Roman hippodrome in the world can be found here, as well as a Roman necropolis and a causeway built by Alexander the Great.