This is the ultimate 5 day Lebanon itinerary. In this Lebanon travel guide, we’ll explain how to do day trips and tours from Beirut to visit the Rock of Raouché, Jeita Grotto, Harissa, Byblos, Chouwen Lake, Baatara Waterfall Gorge, Baalbek Ruins, Kadisha Valley and Cedars of God. Certainly, by following this itinerary, you’ll discover the best places to visit and the best things to do in Lebanon in just 5 days.
Table of Contents
Why Visit Lebanon?
So, why did I decide to travel to Lebanon? First and foremost, Lebanon is a fantastic country to visit. It’s rich in natural beauty and historical sites. But, personally, there is more to it than that. I grew up in multicultural Sydney in the 1990/2000s and had two Australian-Lebanese best friends. They first opened my eyes to the vibrant Lebanese culture. Their families were warm, hospitable and generous people who prioritised family and community. They fed me delicious traditional Lebanese cuisine until I could eat no more.
I particularly remember one of these friends returning from a trip to Lebanon. He went to Lebanon to visit his family when we both were 13 years old at the time. I had never been overseas before and wouldn’t for another five years. He told me about his holiday and challenged my stereotypes of what I imagined the landscape of the country to be. I would think of the Middle East and I would think of the desert. “There is no desert in Lebanon” my friend would say. “There are beaches and mountains. You can surf and ski all on the same day if you want to”.
His comments would stick with me. It would be 15 years later that I would visit this beautiful country.
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How Many Days Do You Need in Lebanon?
Lebanon is a country full of natural attractions on the coast and in the mountains. While it has some of the most ancient and fascinating historical attractions in the world. Of course, the more time you can spend in Lebanon the better!
Ideally, it would be great to spend 1–2 weeks exploring the country. But, you may not have all of the time in the world. If you don’t have that much time, spending at least 4–5 days, even up to a week, is a decent amount of time to see all of the main attractions in Lebanon. For sure, feel free to transform this five day itinerary into a one week itinerary, if you have more time to play with.
As you may have gathered already, I spent 5 days in Lebanon. Sure, I would have loved to have spent more time exploring the country. But, 5 days in Lebanon is all I could manage. Rest assured, spending 5 days in Lebanon is an ample amount of time to see many of its best attractions. Below, I’ll provide some more details about this 5 day Lebanon itinerary.
Lebanon 5 Day Itinerary Details
By following this 5 day Lebanon trip itinerary, I guarantee that you’ll see all of the main attractions. You’ll enjoy a mix of visiting natural wonders, historical places, charming old towns and archaeological sites. This Lebanon itinerary uses a combination of independent travel and tours, to make the most of your time and to ensure safety. Certainly, this is one of the most thorough 5 day Lebanon travel blogs, and by using it, you won’t be disappointed.
Lebanon Itinerary: Day 1
This is the first day of this 5 day Lebanon itinerary. It involves exploring the main attractions in Beirut.
Beirut City & The Rock of Raouché
My flight arrived mid-morning which gave me from midday onwards to explore the city and coastline. If you arrive late and are therefore unable to explore the city, please add another day to your itinerary!
After my host kindly fed me Lebanese pizza upon arrival, I set off to the National Museum of Beirut. Entrance was 5,000LBP (about $3USD). The Museum houses a great array of prehistoric archaeological artefacts. The focus is its collection on Lebanon’s pre-war history. Interestingly though, the museum was closed during the Civil War (1975–1990) as it was in the firing line. There is an interesting section detailing curators’ having to save the museum’s collections, hiding them in the basements.
After 1–2 hours here, head to Nijmeh Square (town square) to see the famous Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and Saint George Maronite Church side by side. There are also Roman Bath ruins close by that were interesting to see.
The Rock of Raouché
I then headed to the area of Raouché, on the coast to see Lebanon’s famous sea stacks. From there, the Rock of Raouché, otherwise known as the Pigeon Rocks was beautifully set. It’s a truly lovely spot for sunset! Grab a shawarma from a nearby restaurant for dinner and watch the sun dip below the horizon.
Lebanon Itinerary: Day 2
During the second day of this 5 day Lebanon itinerary, we recommend a tour to see Jeita Grotto, Harissa & Byblos. For sure, this is one of the best day trips in Lebanon.
Jeita Grotto, Harissa & Byblos
Hiring a car in Lebanon isn’t really an option unless you’re feeling very brave with driving! Also, public transport is just about non-existent. So, this Lebanon 5 day itinerary will involve doing group tours. This is generally the easiest way to see the main attractions.
I can highly recommend Zingyride for tours in Lebanon. They offered a Jeita Grotto, Harissa and Byblos group tour for around $35USD. This was the cheapest online price at the time of visiting. It was certainly great value. Our guide @ogadragon was a friendly, funny and knowledgeable guy. He organised the day well, but also taught us about general history and life in Lebanon.
Jeita Grotto, Harissa & Byblos Tour
If you would like to book this tour with Zingyride, use our promo code ZTMMDIY5 at the checkout for a 5% discount!
Firstly, we headed to Jeita Grotto. The jewel of Lebanese tourism. It narrowly missed out on being chosen as a new Wonder of the World! The spectacular interconnected limestone caves span nearly 9km! It was certainly worth the 18,315LBP ($12USD) entrance fee, which isn’t included in the price of the tour. You’ll visit upper and lower caves; of which the latter will be explored by a rowboat. Please note that Jeita Grotto is closed on Mondays.
Afterwards, you will arrive at Jounieh. Here, you will enjoy a cable car ride up to the Statue of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa. This point overlooks Jounieh Bay, offering stunning views of the town and coast.
Finally, you will explore one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world dating back 8,000 years – the beautiful port town of Byblos. We explored Byblos Castle, which was worth the 7,000LBP (about $5USD) entrance fee. It’s a partially restored crusader castle from the 12th Century. The castle houses many fascinating information boards detailing its history. During the trip to Byblos, you can also visit the old souq, a gorgeous old port and the quaint St. Jean Marc Church.
Lebanon Itinerary: Day 3
On the third day of this Lebanon itinerary, we recommend doing another tour to see Chouwen Lake & Baatara Waterfall Gorge. Undoubtedly, by doing this tour, you’ll have one of the best Lebanon travel experiences possible.
Chouwen Lake & Baatara Waterfall Gorge
Another day, another Zingyride tour in Lebanon! Not only did I have the pleasure of exploring Lebanon with the fantastic guide @ogadragon once more, but I was lucky enough to be the only person on this group tour. So I only paid $75USD for a group tour but essentially had a private tour worth $150USD! This was likely because I visited outside of peak season. Again, use our promo code ZTMMDIY5 for 5% off any tour in Lebanon with Zingyride.
Discounted Zingyride Tours
As a valued reader, we’d like to offer you a 5% discount on ALL Zingryride tours. Use our promo code ZTMMDIY5 at the checkout to redeem the offer on any Zingryride tour.
Usually, the Chouwen Lake trip is a full day tour. However, we finished the hike quicker than expected. It was too cold for a swim, so we didn’t hang around at the lake for very long. So, my amazing guide agreed to also take me to the Baatara Waterfall Gorge. This is usually an entirely different day trip on its own!
Of course, I can’t guarantee that your Lebanon travel itinerary will include this! This is because since then, Zingyride has grown in stature. They still offer THE cheapest tours in Lebanon, but the trip I did may now classify as a customised private tour. This would cost more than I paid. Nevertheless, the guides from this company are super flexible, accommodating and easily the best in Beirut. So don’t hesitate to organise a tour in Lebanon with them!
The Chouwen Lake is a hidden gem of not only Lebanon but of the Middle East. My good friend from Sydney had been to all of the places on this 5 day Lebanon itinerary, but he had never heard of this lake. That is how unknown it is! Instagram is to thank for its emergence as an attraction. The hike is an easy 7.2km return taking no longer than three hours at a moderate pace. The highlight was a viewpoint halfway into the hike towards the lake with sublime views of the emerald green water. It was truly stunning!
The weather will dictate how long you spend at the lake itself. It was a cooler overcast day for us. So we chilled at the lake for a while and, as mentioned, decided not to swim. Actually, we got absolutely soaked on the way back. There were even some small hailstones during the storm!
Baatara Waterfall Gorge
Afterwards, we headed to the Baatara Waterfall Gorge, otherwise known as the Cave of 3 Bridges. I visited in early November when the waterfall was fairly dry and minimal. It was actually barely noticeable, just a trickle!
The best time of year to visit is between February and May once the snow has melted from the peaks above the valley. Nevertheless, the gorge opening created an epic amphitheatrical natural wonder. The waterfall is actually possible to walk behind! It drops 255 metres into the Balaa Pothole; a cave of Jurassic limestone. Best of all, you may have the whole place to yourself if you visit outside of peak season.
Lebanon Itinerary: Day 4
On the fourth day of this 5 day Lebanon itinerary, we recommend visiting the impressive Baalbek Ruins. Certainly, it’s one of the best places to visit in Lebanon.
I’m not exaggerating or overstating when I say that seeing the Baalbek Ruins was one of the most amazing travel experiences I have ever had! Personally, I think the Baalbek Ruins is the highlight of this entire 5 day Lebanon travel itinerary. The temples at Baalbek are the largest of the Roman Empire. Also, the town of Baalbek is one of the oldest areas of civilisation going back 9,000 years!
Zingyride now offers a cheap group tour day trip to Baalbek, Anjar and Ksara for around $40USD. I would have chosen to do this tour if it existed when I visited Lebanon! However, I managed to get there and back independently. This was at least the most budget-friendly option!
Baalbek, Anjar and Ksara Tour
Use our promo code ZTMMDIY5 at the checkout for 5% off the Baalbek, Anjar and Ksara Tour
Are the Baalbek Ruins Safe to Visit?
Many people will ask this question. This is fair, considering it is located in the Bekaa Valley (Beqaa Valley) nearing the Syrian border. Personally speaking, I had no issues visiting the Baalbek Ruins. I felt safe the entire time.
Although, at the time of visiting in 2019, it was possible to hear shelling (gunfire) coming from Syria. The sound will be amplified in Baalbek as the town sits in a valley, producing an echo that makes the sound seem closer. I was assured that the conflict would unlikely cross the border. It is heavily guarded. Plus, the last time war spilt over the border directly affecting Baalbek was in 2013.
Another reason people question the safety of Baalbek is because the Bekaa Valley is an area of heavy Hezbollah presence. There have been incidents of kidnappings in the past. However, kidnappings of tourists have become rare since the end of the Civil War. The last documented kidnapping involved two Germans abducted in 2013. Before that, seven Estonian cyclists were kept hostage and freed four months later in 2011.
Baalbek Ruins Safety Verdict
Fortunately for tourists but unfortunately for Syrians, extremists involved in such woeful acts now turn their attention to the many Syrian refugees. In seeking refuge from their war-torn country, Syrians carry all their possessions and wealth on them. So these refugees sadly become easy targets for kidnappings and similar horrific acts.
Nowadays, a trip to the Baalbek Ruins should be safe. But, perhaps, going with a tour group will put your mind at ease. Albeit, I managed an independent trip just fine.
Getting to the Baalbek Ruins
Catch an Uber to the ‘Cola’ bus station. It was a 15–20 minute ride from my accommodation near Mar Mikhael and cost around $5USD. From there, find the minivan that goes to Baalbek. A nice man directed me to the right one. Once it’s full, the minivan will leave. About 30 minutes later, we were on our way to the Baalbek Ruins! The driver stopped many times throughout the two hour journey to pick up passengers for smaller journeys.
The trip was 7,000LBP (about $5USD) each way. We were dropped off just outside of town. This meant we needed to get a taxi to the Baalbek Ruins. I shared the ride with a couple for 2,000LBP (about $1.30USD) between us. Entrance to the Baalbek Ruins was 15,000LBP ($10USD).
The Baalbek Ruins
The three temples of Bacchus, Jupiter and Venus are truly spectacular. From start to finish, you’ll be in constant awe at the sheer size of the ruins at Baalbek and how well they’ve been preserved.
One potential downside to doing a group tour would be that you will spend only 1–2 hours here if you are visiting other places on the same day. In reality, you could happily wander the ruins and associated museum for hours. It was actually difficult to pull myself away. However, around 4pm it was time to head back to Beirut as the last of the minivans leave around late afternoon.
Lebanon Itinerary: Day 5
This is the final day of this 5 day Lebanon itinerary!
Bcharré Village, Kadisha Valley Tour & Cedars of God
Unfortunately, due to a lack of participants, this Lebanon tour that I was very keen on didn’t take place. This was certainly a downside to visiting Lebanon outside of peak season.
Given my friend’s recommendations, I insist that your Lebanon travel itinerary involves a visit to the gorgeous Kadisha Valley. It has the Mar Lichaa Monastery magnificently built into the vertical cliff wall. Other monasteries are similarly located within the valley and date back to the 14th Century. The stunning valley is home to the serene town of Bcharré. It acts as a starting point for accessing the valley. For which, there is great hiking.
The simple yet elegant Cedar Tree is a native species. Its significance as an emblem of the country is obvious. The tree is on the Lebanese flag. The Cedars of God, found in the nearby beautiful Tannourine Cedar Forest Nature Reserve is also a must-see, which is one of the most visited reserves in Lebanon. A tour to Bcharré Village, Kadisha Valley Tour and Cedars of God with Zingyride is $80USD. But apply our promo code ZTMMDIY5 for 5% off this and any other tour in Lebanon with Zingyride.
Baalbek, Anjar and Ksara Tour
Use our promo code ZTMMDIY5 at the checkout for 5% off the Bcharre, Qadisha Valley and Cedars Tour
What About Tyre, Sidon and Maghdouché?
Other Lebanon day trip ideas: for those with more time to travel around Lebanon, an alternative or additional group tour is now offered by Zingyride. A day trip to Tyre, Sidon and Maghdouché could be added to your Lebanon travel itinerary. This tour only costs around $35USD. Highlights include discovering the many monuments of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tyre and visiting the Sidon Sea Castle built by the Crusaders in the 13th Century. That’s followed by admiring the Old Cave and Al-Saydeh Ancient Church of Maghdouché.
Honestly speaking though, if you had to choose one additional tour to add to your itinerary, go to the Kadisha Valley. Its attractions are more unique and different from the rest of the itinerary. Tyre and Sidon do sound genuinely amazing. But, because you will already visit the lovely seaside town of Byblos with its crusader castle, as well as Harissa with its famous Lady of Lebanon monument, the Tyre, Sidon and Maghdouché day trip would be to some extent similar to the second day of this itinerary.
Lebanon 5 Day Itinerary Recap
Undoubtedly, Lebanon is a wonderful country to visit. There is something for everyone there. Phenomenal history, fascinating culture, delicious food, amazing attractions and spectacular natural landscape. For sure, by following this 5 day Lebanon itinerary, featuring a mix of independent travel and tours, you’ll experience the best places to go in Lebanon.
Is it Safe to Travel to Lebanon Right Now?
Generally speaking, Lebanon is a relatively safe country to visit. Certainly, it’s by far one of the safest countries in the region. Even without conflict, there are still areas to avoid though. For instance, you shouldn’t travel to areas nearing the Syrian border or the often volatile north-eastern Bekaa Valley region. Rest assured, this 5 day Lebanon travel itinerary does not include visiting these areas.
Of course, the situation around safety is always evolving. Please read the news and stay up to date with your government’s travel advice before deciding to follow this Lebanon travel itinerary.
2024 UPDATE: given the current war in Israel and Gaza, it isn’t advisable to travel to Lebanon right now.
Getting to Lebanon
There are many flight connections from Europe and most Middle Eastern countries to the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport. To follow this itinerary, we recommend staying in Beirut. It’s possible to drive the entire length of Lebanon in around 3–4 hours! So being based in Beirut, as exemplified in this Lebanon travel itinerary, shall not stop you from seeing the breadth of the country. Even the Baalbek Ruins can be easily seen on a day trip from Beirut.
I was travelling in Cyprus before arriving in Lebanon and managed to score an $18USD flight from Paphos to Beirut! Using Skyscanner to search, I booked directly with Ryanair 3–4 months in advance.
Skyscanner is our go-to website for booking flights. If you’re looking to find the cheapest flights, we recommend getting the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. It allows you to scan all airlines and platforms to find the cheapest airfares.
To find out more about booking the cheapest flights, read our Skyscanner review.
Getting From the Airport to Your Accommodation
A very valuable lesson was learnt at the airport. Scam taxi drivers will charge you an arm and a leg to drive you from the airport to the city centre. I waseven been warned beforehand. But, I still got scammed!
A trip that should cost no more than $20–25USD set me back $50USD! I thought I had gone to the official taxi rank when someone approached me around there. He insisted his taxi was official but parked around the corner. I wrongfully followed and continued to walk with him just outside the perimeter of the car park. In hindsight, this set off my alarm bells and I should have followed my gut instinct and walked away. But I had already committed. So I went along as he was nice enough.
Lesson learnt! If anyone approaches you or seems desperate to offer their taxi service at the airport in Lebanon, it’s likely a scam.
Unfortunately, there are no public transport options from the airport (nor any public transport in the entire country other than minivans). A fellow traveller told me he had got an Uber from the airport to the city centre for around $10–15USD. So Uber is my recommendation. True to my word, the return Uber trip to the airport when leaving 5 days later was $12USD!
Lebanon Accommodation For This Itinerary
Using Airbnb, I booked an entire flat for around $25USD/night for 5 nights. It was a standalone rooftop-level flat atop a five-storey apartment. Essentially, a family that lived in one of the flats downstairs also owned this apartment. The family was incredibly welcoming, accommodating, helpful and friendly. Because I was staying at the Airbnb, they considered me family.
Upon returning each night, the hosts’ mother had cooked snacks and even dinner – a true insight into Lebanese hospitality. Accommodation in Beirut is generally expensive so the Airbnb was great value!
The Airbnb was located in North Beirut, which is close to the trendy Mar Mikhael with its bars and restaurants. I admittedly didn’t explore too much as I was always too full to move after devouring my host family’s cooking!
I highly recommend an Airbnb. I’ve even read there is a big Couchsurfing community in Beirut. Either way, you will get an enhanced cultural experience staying with locals.
Lebanon accepts $USD. The LBP (Lebanese Pound) can be difficult to attain outside of the country. So take $USD. In Lebanon, they use a standard conversion rate of $1USD = $1500LBP (1:1.5 ratio). Change is generally given in LBP, which can get a little confusing.
The traditional cuisine is a good reason to visit Lebanon. The list of delicious Lebanese foods is very long. The pastries like Ma’amoul, fried delights like Kibbeh, Tabouli salad, the dips like Hummus and Baba Ganoush, the desserts like Knafeh and Nammoura, the Kafta meat and their style of pizza – Manoush with Za’atar. Oh, the mouth waters! Luckily, the Airbnb host family cooked most of these meals for me on most evenings free of charge.
Eating out at restaurants in trendy areas like Mar Mikhael can cost between $20–30USD/night. Cafes and bakeries that sell many of the traditional treats and pastries including Za’atar Manoush are very cheap. It’s a good way to try all the different pastry types of food on offer.
Helpful Gear For This Lebanon Itinerary
On longer trips, I always travel with a travel wallet to safely store extra money, bank cards and important documents. Here is some other useful travel gear to take with you.
Anker Portable Power Bank
Keep your phone, laptop and other accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker Portable Power Bank. We wouldn’t travel without this high-quality portable charger.
Sea to Summit DryLite Towel
The Sea to Summit DryLite Towel is the best quick-dry microfibre towel. This compact, lightweight and super-absorbent towel is perfect for travel.
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
Having an EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter is one of the best accessories to travel with, especially if you’re travelling to multiple continents during your trip.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly yet high-quality noise-cancelling headphones for travel, then look no further than the Anker Soundcore Space Q45.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite travel gear, camera gear and hiking gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Bonus Lebanon Travel Tips
- Many Lebanese people are bilingual: you’ll be happy to hear that the majority of Lebanese people I met spoke excellent English. Even outside of Beirut, English was spoken all around the country, including at the Baalbek Ruins.
- If travelling during periods of civil unrest, expect the unexpected: roadblocks can happen out of the blue during times of protest. So, if you decide to travel to Lebanon during this time, don’t be surprised by unpredictable events making travelling around or even in/out of the country more challenging.
- Power Outages: it’s common for neighbourhoods to have allocated times of the day (e.g. 4–8pm) when power is cut off. This is organised by the government to reduce costs associated with running electricity. It meant I was left in my Airbnb without any power (or Wifi) on numerous times during the trip.
- Other places to visit: if you have time, I highly recommend you travel to Tripoli.
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