Beirut is a dynamic, cosmopolitan city with lots of museums and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. Still, many of Lebanon's most captivating attractions, including some of the most impressive ancient ruins in the Middle East, lie beyond the boundaries of the capital.
If beach clubs and nightlife are your thing, you may choose to base out of one of Jounieh’s many hotels—otherwise, visit on a day trip from Beirut. Most travelers come here to ride the Téléferique up the mountain to Our Lady of Harissa, the giant statue of the Virgin Mary that towers over the city. Day trips that include Our Lady of Harissa often also stop at the fairy-tale Jeita Grotto and the historic town of Byblos.
Things to Know Before You Go
Jounieh is mainly of interest to travelers who’d like to see Our Lady of Harissa, paraglide from Ghosta, or gamble at the Casino du Liban.
The Casino du Liban has a formal dress code.
Uneven sidewalks and high curbs make Jounieh, like so much of Lebanon, a challenging destination for travelers who use wheelchairs.
How to Get There
Jounieh sits on the coast of Lebanon about 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of downtown Beirut, backed by the mountains. LCC bus 6 runs frequently from Beirut’s Dowra hub to Jounieh, continuing to Byblos. Congested traffic along the coast and Lebanon’s general absence of road rules mean most travelers will prefer to leave driving to the professionals.
When to Get There
Tourist numbers peak in Jounieh over the summer (June to August), and its closeness to Beirut means it’s also a popular weekend destination. The Téléferique doesn’t operate on windy days, and paragliding, though available year-round, is also dependent on weather conditions. The shrine of Our Lady of Harissa can see as many as a million pilgrims during Mary’s sacred month of May.
The Jounieh Téléferique
Climbing an impressive 2,132 feet (650 meters) into the mountains and up to the shrine of Our Lady of Harissa, the Téléferique is Jounieh’s star attraction. Built in 1964, it was the first cable car in the Middle East and ferries hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to the shrine—Christian and Muslim alike.
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- Our Lady of Lebanon (Notre Dame du Liban)
- Downtown Beirut (Beirut Central District)
- Byblos (Jbeil)
- Mim Mineral Museum Beirut (Mim Musée des Minéraux Beyrouth)
- Beirut National Museum (Musée National de Beyrouth)
- Banque du Liban Museum (Musée de la Banque du Liban)
- Martyrs' Square (Place des Martyrs)
- Hamra Street (Rue Hamra)
- Jeita Grotto
- Chateau Ksara
- Beiteddine (Beit ed-Dine)
- Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)
- Qadisha Valley (Wadi Kadisha)
- Gibran Museum