Reasons to Visit
Lebanon is a real melting pot: you'll find Lebanese Christians and Muslims of various denominations, as well as Armenians and Palestinians in smaller numbers. What all Lebanese have in common is their friendliness and hospitality towards strangers, and this, combined with the mix of cultures and religions, is what makes Lebanon a fascinating place to visit.
Countless great civilisations have left their mark on Lebanon - from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, the Crusaders to the Ottomans and many, many more in between. The ruined cities left behind are amongst Lebanon's greatest attractions.
One of the world's most vibrant cities, Beirut is a great place to enjoy a strong, thick cup of coffee, whilst watching the locals go about their business. There are a range of cafes - from cheap local student hangouts, to swish establishments that wouldn't be out of place in Paris or Milan.
Lebanese dishes such as tabouleh, hummus, falafel and baba ganoush are commonly replicated around the world, but the authentic dishes prepared in the country really are the tastiest and cannot be beaten.
Lebanon's second city of Tripoli is a traditional town which could not be more different to the glitzy capital Beirut. Tripoli is famous for its colourful and lively souqs, where the maze of narrow alleyways includes medieval mosques, madrassas and public baths which are well worth exploring.
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998, the stunning landscape of the Qadisha valley is just a few hours drive from bustling Beirut and provides the perfect contrast. The exceptional backdrop is a great destination for activities ranging from gentle strolls to full day treks.
Lebanon is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world, and its offerings rival some of Bordeaux's finest. The southern Bekaa Valley is home to many of the regions best wineries including Ksar Massa and Château Ksara, and you will find the world famous Châteaux Musar roughly 30km to the north of Beirut.
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The Bekaa Valley provides excellent conditions for vines and wine has been made here for millennia; add to that the brief, but pervasive period as a French protectorate and you have a recipe for great viticulture.
A poorly-kept Lebanese secret is the superb wine that comes out of the Bekaa Valley.
This should perhaps come as no surprise - the Bekaa Valley provides excellent conditions for vines and wine has been made here for millennia; add to that the brief, but pervasive period as a French protectorate and you have a recipe for great viticulture.
Chateau Musar is the most famous of the wineries with reds to compete with the best from Bordeaux (regularly topping 90 Parker points), but Ksara makes for a more interesting visit.
Wine production has taken place here for centuries, but the Jesuits developed the estate significantly during their tenure. A series of tunnels into the hillside behind the farm, started by the Romans, was enlarged to a network of nearly two kilometres, all hand-dug.
These tunnels form the centrepiece of any visit to Ksara and maintain a constant, cool temperature which is perfect for aging wine.
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