Most travelers visit Sidon, like so many other sights in Lebanon, on a day trip from Beirut, but it is also possible to base yourself in southern Lebanon and explore from there. Tours typically take in the castle, khan, souks, Great Al-Omari Mosque, Temple of Eshmun, and perhaps the Soap Museum. Most also include Sidon’s biblical twin city, Tyre, farther south along the coast, and a stop at the shrine of Our Lady of Mantara in Maghdouché.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Sidon is well worth a visit for history buffs and photographers.
The Soap Museum makes a great day out with kids.
Sidon is a conservative Muslim city. Women will feel more comfortable covering shoulders, upper arms, and legs.
Some Sidon sights are accessible for travelers who use wheelchairs.
Safety in Lebanon has come into question due to political tension and violence, 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
Sidon is located on the Mediterranean coast, about 27 miles (44 kilometers) south of Beirut and 24 miles (38 kilometers) north of Tyre. Catch minibuses in Beirut from Sahraa Square or the Cola station, with other services onward to Tyre. There is no public transport to the Temple of Eshmun.
When to Get There
As with anywhere on the Mediterranean, try and avoid visiting Sidon’s attractions on weekends during the summer peak season (roughly mid-July through August). Be aware that mosques close for Friday prayers. Keep an eye on Lebanese–Israeli relations when planning travel in southern Lebanon.
The Temple of Eshmun
The trading empire of the Phoenicians occupied much of the territory that now makes up Lebanon until it was conquered by Persia in 539 BC. Not many structures remain. One site that does, however, is the Temple of Eshmun, dating back to the seventh century BC and dedicated to the city god of Sidon. While far from spectacular, the ruins are a place of pilgrimage for history buffs.
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