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Things to do in Beirut

Things to do in  Beirut

Welcome to Beirut

Ancient yet charming, mysterious yet hospitable, Beirut—situated on the banks of the Mediterranean—has a multi-faceted allure that continues to entice travelers. Lebanon’s capital city was once known as the Paris of the East, and it seems to be reclaiming that nickname. Today, the renovated downtown brims with stylish professionals and gleaming skyscrapers, and a central business district offers boutiques, a stunning archaeology collection at the National Museum, and plenty of cafes serving thick black coffee and tasty mezes (small dishes). Outside of Beirut sit the ruins of some of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations, and tours that conveniently link multiple sites can maximize your sightseeing potential. First-time visitors will want to journey to the limestone caves of Jeita Grotto, 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Beirut, followed by Byblos, one of the world’s oldest cities, and Harissa, known for its Virgin Mary Statue as well as its sweeping views. Another tour links the Roman ruins of Baalbek (two hours from Beirut) and the Umayyad ruins of Anjar with Ksara Caves, a series of ancient caverns used as wine cellars. Or you can combine the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tyre, an ancient Roman city around an hour from Beirut that’s still inhabited today, with the holy sites of Sidon and the monument-studded city of Maghdouche. Whatever tour you choose, you’ll return to Beirut in time to hit up some of the city’s famous bars and nightclubs.

Top 10 attractions in Beirut

#1
Baalbek

Baalbek

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lebanon’s Baalbek ruins are some of the best-preserved Greco-Roman structures in all the Middle East. The site was once a thriving Phoenician city known as Heliopolis (“Sun City”), and today, the Temple of Bacchus, Temple of Venus, and Temple of Jupiter offer visions of past glories.More
#2
Jeita Grotto

Jeita Grotto

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Lebanon’s spectacular Jeita Grotto makes an exciting day trip from Beirut. Once considered as a finalist for the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this dramatic cave is divided into two levels: a lower grotto and an upper grotto, which contains the White Chamber, home to the world’s largest stalactite.More
#3
Anjar

Anjar

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Founded in the early eighth century, at the start of the Islamic period, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anjar is a fascinating example of an Umayyad fortified city. Set in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley astride an important trading route, Anjar highlights include the remains of palaces, a mosque, and Roman-style public baths.More
#4
Byblos (Jbeil)

Byblos (Jbeil)

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Byblos (Jbeil) has been home to a wealth of civilizations over the last 8,000 years. A historic harbor, a Crusader castle, an atmospheric medieval center, and a fascinating archaeological site add heritage charm. During summer, there’s a vibrant party scene as well as outstanding seafood eateries.More
#5
Chateau Ksara

Chateau Ksara

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Founded in 1857, Château Ksara is one of Lebanon’s oldest wineries and an ever-popular stop on Bekaa Valley tours. Situated at around 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level, the estate has vineyards across Lebanon. Star of the show at the winery, besides the wines themselves, are the historic 1.5-mile (2-kilometer) cave cellars.More
#6
Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban)

Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban)

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On a 1,970-foot (600-meter) hilltop just north of Beirut overlooking the Bay of Jounieh stands a painted bronze statue of the Virgin Mary with her hands outstretched toward the city. The shrine to Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban), the nation’s patron saint, was erected in 1908 and has become one of the world’s most important shrines to the Virgin Mary and attracts millions of pilgrims and visitors each year. It's also occasionally known as Our Lady of Harissa.Getting to the base of the white statue requires 10-minute ride up the hillside from Jounieh aboard ateleferique, or cable car. The views of Beirut and the sea beyond from Harissa’s base are worth the ride in their own right.More
#7
Martyrs' Square (Place des Martyrs)

Martyrs' Square (Place des Martyrs)

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On May 6, 1916 a group of Lebanese nationalists were hanged for rebelling against Turkish rule. In 1965 a bronze statue was erected in their memory in what is today called Martyrs’ Square (Place des Martyrs). Since then it has served as Lebanon’s most important public gathering places and the site of the massive March 14th demonstration in 2005, which brought 1 million Lebanese to the square on the one month anniversary of the murder of Hariri.More
#8
Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth)

Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth)

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An essential stop for all visitors to the city, Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth) features an impressive, well-displayed collection of archaeological artifacts from throughout the ages, offering a thorough overview of Lebanon’s history. Entry into the National Museum of Beirut is a staple of most historical Beirut walking tours.The museum collection is displayed in chronological order, beginning in prehistory and ending in the Ottoman era. The circuit begins on the ground floor, where you’ll find various ancient statues and mosaics. The museum’s upper level features more than 1,000 artifacts from the Bronze and Iron ages, as well as from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Mamluk eras, all arranged by theme. Of its many artifacts, the Phoenician gilded bronze figurines found buried near the Obelisk Temple are probably the museum’s most famous.More
#9
Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)

Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)

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Prized in biblical times, the cedars of Lebanon are the remnants of an ancient forest. The Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab), a cluster close to northern Lebanon’s Qadisha Valley, is recognized with UNESCO World Heritage status. These majestic trees, a distinct species known as cedrus Libani, can live more than 1,000 years and grow to 130 feet (40 meters) tall.More
#10
Sidon (Saida)

Sidon (Saida)

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Mentioned in the book of Genesis, the ancient port city of Sidon is known to Lebanese as Saida. Its scenic old town boasts attractive souks, historic mosques, a Crusader sea castle, a 17th-century khan (trading inn), and a fascinating soap museum. Close to town lies the Temple of Eshmun, Lebanon’s best-preserved Phoenician ruin.More

Trip ideas

Top Ancient Sites Near Beirut

Top Ancient Sites Near Beirut

How to Spend 1 Day in Beirut

How to Spend 1 Day in Beirut

How to Spend 3 Days in Beirut

How to Spend 3 Days in Beirut

Top activities in Beirut

Recent reviews from experiences in Beirut

star-5
A really enjoyable day trip from...
lucyoliver5, Jun 2017
Anjar, Baalbek, and Ksara Day Trip from Beirut
Our guide Madeleine was very good - she did the whole tour in English and French.
star-4
It was a quick trip from Beirut to...
Jenufa, Jan 2015
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
It was a quick trip from Beirut to see some interesting sites not far from the city centre.
star-5
A well planned and brilliant experience
Kim, Mar 2020
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
I would recommend this tour to anyone as it's a great way to see some different iconic sights in Lebanon, and we really enjoyed it!
star-5
A Wonderful Experience
michele_d, Oct 2019
Anjar, Baalbek, and Ksara Day Trip from Beirut
It was a privilege to visit these ancient monuments and imagine how life once was.
star-5
,,Best trip ever''
Jaroslav72, Aug 2019
Full-Day Private Tour to Qadisha Valley, Cedars and Baalbek
We love him from start of tour as he been so kind,easy to chat and excellent english as well.
star-5
Once again, as with our tour to...
Eugene B, Dec 2013
Tyre, Sidon and Maghdouche Day Trip from Beirut
Standing on the second site and being able to see Israel in the distance (16km as the gull flies) and imagine what it was like in Biblical times was a special treat.
star-5
Great Trip
Shivkumar N, Feb 2019
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
We got to see both the upper and lower grotto.
star-4
Be prepared for a long day. Baalbek...
edward b, Dec 2017
Anjar, Baalbek, and Ksara Day Trip from Beirut
It was interesting to see 4000 year old Roman ruins, and the venue is used today for an annual concert in July.
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The tour which was carried out by...
Miriam T, Jul 2016
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
Would definitely recommend this as a nice day trip to explore the history of the country and to see what Lebanon has to offer outside of Beirut!
star-4
A visit to Byblos is undoubtedly a...
Marwan M, Apr 2016
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
It is worth visiting to get views of the coastline, but also to see the various civilisations.
star-5
The guide was excellent and this was...
Liisamaria K, Aug 2014
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
The guide was excellent and this was a great way to get to see outside of Beirut.
star-4
Jeita Grotto is amazing, too bad...
Raluca U, May 2013
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
The explanations of the guide were good but we weren't thrilled with the structure of the day: rush to visit everything, have lunch (good food, nice view to the beach) very late, about 2 PM and then drive back to Beirut.
star-5
This is one of the most fun things I...
Terry D, Oct 2012
Byblos, Jeita Grotto and Harissa Day Trip from Beirut
This is one of the most fun things I did while in Beirut.

All about Beirut

When to visit

After its rainy winters, Beirut dials up the activity levels, with visitors arriving for its comfortably warm and sunny spring days, and numbers climbing again for July and August’s blazing heat. A steady flow of events keeps the atmosphere upbeat, starting with June’s Cultural Festivals and often culminating in the head-banging of September’s Metal Fest.

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