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Welcome to Lebanon! Arrive Rafic Hariri International Airport and transfer to our hotel.
Today we embark on a guided tour of Beirut - the Paris of the Middle East. We stop at the Solidere district and walk the famed promenade that offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean coast & Pigeon Rocks. We also take a guided tour of the National Museum. Driving south along the coastline we arrive at Sidon (ancient Sidouna). We explore the ruins of the fortress church known as the Castle of the Sea which was erected by the Crusading Knights of St. John, and the Shell of the Castle of St. Louis (the Land Castle) which sits atop the Phoenician Acropolis near Murex hill.
A finalist in the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’ the 9km kasrstic limestone labyrinth known as the Jeita Grottos is our first stop today. Take a flat bottom boat to see the galleries of Pantheon, Grand Chaos and Shangri-la. Continuing on to Harissa which is some 650 meters above sea level, we see the 15 ton statue of the Virgin Mary, known as ’Our Lady of Lebanon’ which towers over the Bay of Jounieh. Enjoy incredible panoramic views of Beirut and the Mediterranean as we descend from Harissa by cable car. Travelling on to the quaint harbourside city of Byblos we tour the Temple of the Obelik, the 12th century Crusader castle and souk this afternoon.
Beiteddine is the home of the Muslim Druze community and the magnificent Beittedine Palace, built between 1788 and 1818 by Emir Bashir Shihab II. Today a tour of the palace allows us to view the Harem suites, Turkish baths, intricate mosaics and lavishly decorated ceilings and beautifully groomed gardens. Near to the palace is the charming stone built and red-tiled roof village of Deir el Qamar. Here we visit the 15th Century Fakhreddine Mosque and Palace as well as Moussa Castle.
This morning we drive to Anjar - the World Heritage Site, built in the 8th century by a Umayyad Caliph. In the nearby Bekaa Valley we discover Chateau Ksara - Lebanon’s most famed producer of quality white and red wines, as well as Arak and Brandy. This afternoon we tour Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure - the temple complex of Baalbek. The site is famed for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins, which are among the world’s best preserved. The complex includes Jupiter Temple with Bacchus Temple adjacent to it and the circular structure known as the Temple of Venus a short distance away.
Spend the day at leisure before our onward departure transfer to the airport.