The day trips out of Beirut are what make a true Lebanon vacation
Beirut is addictive, but pry yourself away from the noise and debauchery to see the treasures outside the capital. Day trips are the smart thing to do, using centrally located Beirut as your base to explore the cedar forests and seaside towns, all under two hours away by car.
Trust when I say driving in Beirut is a death sport, with three-lane highways often stuffing five cars across, so hire a local driver who understands the traffic. You could look in any direction, and there’s something worth making a day trip out of. For those along the coast, a taxi or Uber can take you there relatively inexpensively. For longer ones, it’s around $100 to have a driver and car for the day. Byblos is the most popular excursion, about an hour drive north of the city, for its imposing Crusader Citadel, traditional souks, and Greek-island vibes. Beach clubs line the coast up to Byblos, like Pierre and Friends for low-key beach bumming or Orchid for the luxe-seekers.
Head inland from the Mediterranean, and you’ve got the mountains. Some are covered with cedar forests that pre-date biblical times, offering spectacular nature hikes among the country’s prized cultural symbol. In the winter months, the snow bunnies and Beiruti party crowd move up to ski resort areas like Mzaar and Laqlouq to create their own winter wonderland. East of the mountains in the agricultural Bekaa Valley, is the massive Baalbek Temple complex, one of the best-preserved Roman Ruins in the world that you can climb all over. Towards the Israeli border in the south is the city of Tyre, which is an up-and-coming destination with lesser-known, but equally impressive ruins, boutique hotels, and a pastel-colored old town.