You can consider yourself blessed if you find yourself in Lebanon extravagant, hard-partying capital on any given night, but if you are in Beirut on 2018 New Year celebration you are in for a plus special treat.
28th December – 3rd Jan
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Upon arrival at Beirut international airport, you are warmly welcomed by our English speaking guide and transferred to your panel hotel. Check in and free & and easy at your leisure.
Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast we will explore downtown Beirut on this half-day tour. As you stroll part of the city’s Heritage Trail, admire the notable historical and archaeological landmarks, while your guide explains the area’s complex past. Step inside the National Museum, filled with ancient treasures.
Centrally located in the downtown area, Nejme Square with its prominent buildings has become the face of Beirut. See the 1930s clock tower with its 4 Rolex faces, parliamentary buildings, and appreciate the Art Deco architecture. Enjoy a spot of people-watching as locals and tourists mingle in this popular spot.
As you discover the important religious and cultural sights, observe how churches and mosques occupy the same spaces, an insight into Beirut’s troubled Crusader and Muslim past. Go inside the National Museum, a celebration of the myriad of civilizations that have occupied this land over the centuries. Complete your tour with an understanding of this incredibly diverse and vibrant place. Balance of the day at leisure.
Overnight at hotel
Breakfast at hotel.
Our visit starts with the beautiful Phoenician city of Byblos, and then continues with the famous Jeita grottos with their fabulous sceneries. Ends in Harissa (one way cable-car) with a panoramic view of Jounieh bay.
Nominated for the seven world wonders. Jeita is one of the world’s most beautiful caverns, at 20 km away north of Beirut .The lower caverns are visited by boat over a subterranean lake 623 meters long. A dry upper gallery can be seen on foot. After many years of exploration, Lebanese speleologists have penetrated 6,910 meters from the entry point of the grotto to the far end of the Underground River and 2,130 meters of the upper galleries. The main source of the Dog River (Nahr El Kalb) rises in this cavern.
One of the oldest towns in the world goes back at least 7,000 years. The rise and fall of nearly two dozen successive levels of human culture on this site makes it one of the richest archeological areas in the country.
Under the domination of the Egyptian pharaohs in the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C, Byblos was a commercial and religious capital of the Phoenician coast.
It was in Byblos where the first linear alphabet, ancestor of all modern alphabet, (through Greek and Latin), was invented.
The sarcophagus of Byblos’ king Ahiram, now in the national museum, bears the oldest known Phoenician inscription. Byblos was also the centre of the Adonis cult, the god of vegetation who dies in winter and renewed each spring. Like its sister cities, Byblos was destroyed in the earthquake of 551 A.D it regained some consequence in crusader times when it came under the county of Tripoli. A modest town under the Mamluks and ottomans, Byblos grew rapidly during the recent war in Lebanon when commercial activities moved from Beirut to regional capitals.
This busy modern town located at 36 kilometers north of Beirut, has the “Roman Medieval port” as its main tourist hub. The landmarks in this area are: the crusader castle and church as well as the extensive remains of city’s past – from Neolithic times to the crusader era. A beautiful Mosque adds to the cultural mix in the old part of Byblos. And all around a diversity of cafes and restaurants can be found.
600 meters above sea level and 26 km away from Beirut, with a wonderful panoramic view covering the Bay of Jounieh. Statue of the Virgin Mary was erected in 1908. Inside its base, a chapel with outside spiral staircase that leads to the top, as well telephonic service is provided from the bay of jounieh to the mountain of Harissa.
Breakfast at hotel. Our tour starts by visiting the Sea Castle, Khan El Franj and Soap museum in Sidon then the Necropolis and Sea site of Tyre. Lunch and on the way back, we visit the Maghdouche where Holy Virgin Mary used to wait for Jesus while he was preaching in Sidon.
The third great Phoenician city-state, Sidon’s origins are lost from memory. The name was mentioned in the texts for the first time in the 14th century B.C. in the ‘Tell El Amara Letters’. But it was during the Persian era, between the end of the 6th century B.C. and the mid-4th century B.C. that the city experienced its golden age. Sidon was an open city with many cultural influences, including the Egyptian and the Greek.
Although the earliest origins of Tyre are unknown, the testimonies of ancient historians and some archeological evidence suggest that it goes back to the start of the 3rd millennium B.C. Originally a mainland settlement with an island city a short distance offshore, it came of age in the 10th century B.C. when King Hiram expanded the mainland and built two ports and a temple to Melkart, the cityIts flourishing maritime trade,’s god. Its flourishing maritime trade, Mediterranean colonies and its purple dye and its purple dyeand glass industries made Tyre very powerful and wealthy. But the city’s wealth attracted enemies. In the sixth century B.C. the Tyrians successfully defied Nebuchadnezzar for 13 years. Alexander the Great laid siege to it for 7 months, finally overwhelming the island city by constructing a great causeway from the shore to the island. In their day the Romans built a magnificent city at Tyre. The remains of its Roman streets, arcades and public buildings, including one of the largest hippodromes of the period, are Tyre’s major attractions today.
The name, Maghdouché, originates from the Syriac word, which means “crop collectors.” It is also derived from the Syriac word Kidsh and its derivatives (Kadisho, Kadishat, Makdosho). In Hebrew, it means “holy” or “saintly.” According to Christian belief, when Jesus came to Sidon, the Virgin Mary who accompanied him, waited for him at the top of the hill where Maghdouché is located today. She spent the night in a cave that came to be known as Mantara, or the “Awaiting.” Emperor Constantine the Great responded to St. Hélène’s request and transformed the cave into a sanctuary for the Virgin. He erected a tower in honor of the Virgin. The tower collapsed during the earthquake of 550. Later, King Louis IX erected a watching tower in the same location. The Mantara cave was once again discovered accidentally by a shepherd in 1726. An icon of the Virgin was also discovered, and it was of Byzantine style, dating back to the 7th or to the 8th century. Since then, the cave has been transformed into a place of pilgrimage for all the Lebanese confessions. In 1860, the Greek Catholic Church became the owner, and transformed the cave into a sanctuary in 1880.
At the beginning of the sixties, under the auspices of Mgr Basile Khoury, renowned architect Varoujan Zaven designed and executed a beautiful hexagonal chapel topped by a 36-meter tower in a conical shape to support an 8 and a half meter one-piece bronze statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus in her arms, of his own design as well, realized by Italian artist Pierrotti in Pietra Santa. The design and supervision of the project were both a donation on behalf of the architect. Our Lady of Mantara is considered the protectress of children, and many baptisms are celebrated at the sanctuary.
New Year Evening
When the clock strikes midnight, a remarkable fireworks show rockets up from the neighboring Beirut port, but no issue where you are in the City, if you step outside at 12am and look up you will witness some really colossal fire job shows. Overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel.
The tour starts with the visit Baalbeck (the big stone, Temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus) followed by Anjar Omayyads’ Town. Lunch and ends with Ksara (Wine tasting and visit of the caves)
Heliopolis: the roman temples of Baalbeck, located in the Bekaa valley 85 kilometers away from Beirut. It makes up the largest and best preserved corpus of roman architecture left around. The acropolis occupies the top of an artificial hill built up of different layers of habitation.
Its temples, dedicated to Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus, were constructed between the first and the third centuries A.D.
in the “Jupiter temple” six of the 54 giant columns that originally surrounded the sanctuary survived till today. The temple has an impressive podium and a vast rectangular courtyard where sacrifices were carried out. The sanctuary is reached through a propylaea (monumental entrance) and hexagonal forecourt.
Anjar is located in the Bekaa valley, 58 km away from Beirut. It was built by the Omayyad caliph al- Walid Ibn Abdel Malek in the early 8th century A.D. Inside the city’s strong fortifications are the remains of streets, three palaces, souks, two hammams and a Mosque. Located on the old route linking the Bekaa with Damascus, Anjar was built in the neighborhood of an ancient stronghold called Gerrah, which location is still problematic.Today the name of Gerrah is retained in the word ‘Anjar’ which means ‘source of Gerrah’ (Ain Gerrah).
Built during the Roman period then covered by sand for centuries , the Ksara caves were found by mistakes in 1898 by the Jesuites who were looking for a wolf that was eating their chicken every night and was using the caves a refuge. It is now the refuge of the well known Ksara wine where thousands of the old wine bottles are preserved.
Overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Your English speaking guide will meet you in hotel lobby to transfer you at Beirut International airport for your flight back to home.