Three days in Beirut allow you to check off the city’s signature sights and discover the joys of Lebanese food. In addition to the coastal charms of Byblos and the beautiful Jeita Grotto, you can get out into the valleys and add one (or two) more of Lebanon’s UNESCO-listed sites to your list.
Beiteddine (Beit ed-Dine)
Beit ed-Dine, Chouf Mountains
As with so many sights in the little country of Lebanon, Beiteddine is most commonly visited on a day trip from Beirut. (You can also base yourself among the scenic Chouf Mountains.) Tours typically stop at other Chouf sights, most often one of the historic cedar forests and the pretty village of Deir Al-Qamar. Other nearby options include the Ain Wazein Grotto, the ruined Fortress of Niha, and the extraordinary one-man outsider-art project Moussa Castle.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Beiteddine palace complex is a must for history buffs, photographers, and Instagrammers.
Beiteddine food options are very limited. At warmer times of year, consider bringing a picnic lunch.
The palace is not wheelchair-accessible.
Safety in Lebanon has come into question due to crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict, according to the US Department of State. Travelers considering a visit should refer to their government’s travel advisories for the latest information.
How to Get There
Beiteddine is located in the Chouf Mountains, around 25 miles (41 kilometers) south of Beirut. It’s a small village with no public transport, so your easiest options are to drive or join a tour that takes in other Chouf sights. During the summertime Beiteddine Art Festival, dedicated shuttles run to and from Beirut.
When to Get There
The Beiteddine palace complex is closed on Mondays. It operates from morning until late afternoon in high season (May to October), but shuts in the early afternoon in winter. During the Beiteddine Art Festival (generally mid-July to mid-August), it hosts musical performances in the evenings, which span the gamut from blues to classical.
What to See at Beiteddine Palace
Although the interiors of Beiteddine Palace are not original, there’s more to the building than sweeping views, tranquil fountains, and terraced gardens. Highlights of the palace, created for an Ottoman-era ruler in the early 19th century, include a vast courtyard, a dramatic double staircase, an elaborate hammam steam bath, and 1,500-year-old Byzantine mosaics.
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- Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)
- Jeita Grotto
- Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth)
- Mim Mineral Museum Beirut (Mim Musée des Minéraux Beyrouth)
- Martyrs' Square (Place des Martyrs)
- Banque du Liban Museum (Musée de la Banque du Liban)
- Hamra Street (Rue Hamra)
- Sidon (Saida)
- Downtown Beirut (Beirut Central District)
- Chateau Ksara
- Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban)
- Byblos (Jbeil)
- Tyre (Sour)