Lebanon is considered to be a mosaic of cultural diversity, where the Eastern and Western worlds meet in all their unique and historical richness. From Stone Age settlements to Phoenician city-states, from Roman temples to rock-cut hermitages, from Crusader Castles to Mamluk mosques and Ottoman hammams, the country’s historical and archaeological sites are a true encyclopedia of ancient and modern world history.
Lebanon has a long standing history of cultural tourism. Interest in the Lebanese Levantine culture was stirred following the visits of many European orientalists, scholars and poets particularly Alphonse de Lamartine, Ernest Renan and Victor Guérin. Lebanon’s cultural tourism focal points are historic monuments, archaeological sites, cultural venues, traditional art, rural customs, religious festivals and pilgrimage.
Archaeology in Lebanon has an old and productive history, many archaeological sites have been excavated and some restored, yet many remain buried under inhabited areas within the cities.
Beirut National Museum
Other major museums:
• Ameen Rihani Museum
• M. Farroukh Museum
• Museum and Library of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
• Baalbek Museum
• Dahesh Museum of Art
• Lebanese Heritage Museum
• Expo Hakel Lebanon
• Robert Mouawad Private Museum Lebanon
• Byblos Fossil Museum
• Sursock Museum
• Byblos Wax Museum
• Memory of Time Museum
• Sidon Soap Museum
World heritage sites
Qadisha Valley and Cedars Forest
Ecotourism in Lebanon has a rich background of natural diversity and a wide range of outdoor activities. With an original landscape consisting of mountains, forests, wildlife, beaches, snow fed rivers, caves, valleys and gorges, Lebanon is becoming more of an outdoor destination where people can visit its natural reserves and practice their ecotourism activities :
Horsh Ehden nature reserve
Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve
Ecotourism activities and sports:
• ATV (All-terrain vehicle)
• Dirt biking
• Via Ferrata
• Horse riding
• Mountain biking
• Mountain climbing
• Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve
• Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve
• La Reserve Afqa
• Palm Islands Nature Reserve
• Tannourine Nature Reserve
• Tyre Beach Nature Reserve
• Yammouneh Nature Reserve
Lebanon’s nature and geography, which are unique to the Middle East region, allow the practice of outdoor activities (mainly concentrated in the summer season). Nowadays, these activities are gaining more interest from nature lovers and becoming well equipped with the specific requirements and facilities.
Major Outdoor activities:
• Camping, a popular outdoor activity concentrated between the months of May and September.
• Caving, an important Lebanese natural heritage (3 of the major caves are Afqa Grotto, Roueiss cave and Ain El Libne).
• Cycling, a notable activity of recent interest.
• Hiking, an activity with a high number of trails (some of the hiking locations are Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve, Ramlieh, Qammouah, the Horsh Ehden reserve and Nahr Ibrahim).
• Paragliding, one of the best glide ports in the Middle East (the paragliding locations are The Cedars, Lassa, Miziara, Harissa, Barouk and Faraya).
• Rafting, a recently introduced sport practiced in locations like the Assi, the Litani and the Awali rivers.
Although Lebanon is considered to be a summer destination, however winter sports are becoming more in demand due to the close geographical location of the mountain peaks from the Mediterranean sea and the unique winter experience that visitors have. Lebanese winter sports include Alpine skiing and Cross Country in addition to paragliding, snowmobiling, and hiking.
The Ski resorts:
• The Cedars, 1850–3087 m above sea level and 120 km from Beirut.
• Laqlouq, 1750-2200m above sea level and 60 km from Beirut.
• Faqra, 1800–2400 m above sea level and 45 km from Beirut.
• Faraya-Mzaar, 1850–2500 m above sea level and 45 km from Beirut.
• Qanat Bakiche, 1900 m above sea level and 60 km from Beirut.
• Zaarour, 1700–2000 m above sea level and 40 km from Beirut.
Lebanon has a 200 km of seashore with about 300 days of sunshine a year, making it a favorable destination for leisure and activities that expand in different parts of the country.
Popular Beaches and water parks in Lebanon:
• Oceana beach resort
• Edde Sands
• Laguava Resort
• Janna sur mer
• Green Beach
• Bamboo bay
• Waves Aquapark
• Watergate Aquapark
Art Galleries in Lebanon:
• Zamaan Gallery, includes a collection of more than 1700 paintings by Lebanese and Middle Eastern artists (www.zamaangallery.com)
Popular tourist destinations in Lebanon
Nejmeh square, downtown Beirut
• Sidon a 6,000 year old city which features the Sidon Sea Castle and the Old City of Saida.
• Faraya Mzaar Kfardebian a prominent Lebanese ski area and mountain resort.
• Beirut the capital city which features thriving nightlife, fantastic restaurants, and the famous aouche Rock
• Harissa where visitors can take the Téléférique up Mount Harissa to visit Our Lady of Lebanon.
• Jeita Grotto recognized as one of the most magnificent limestone caves in the world.
• Beiteddine a small city in Chouf which hosts the Beiteddine Palace and the Beiteddine Festival.
• Batroun a small city in north Lebanon which has the famous Mousaylaha citadel built by the Crusaders.
• Tripoli, Lebanon the second largest city which has seen many empires, with an infamous souk, the 5,000 year old Tripoli Castle, and one of the oldest ports in the world in its neighboring city El Mina.
Inner courtyard of the Beiteddine palace where the Beiteddine Festival takes place.
There is a wide range of festivals that take place in Lebanon, especially in the summer season where festivities including both Lebanese and international performers take place in major archaeological and historical sites, including Baalbek, Byblos (Jbail), and Beiteddine.
Major Lebanese festivals:
• Aanjar Festival
• Al Bustan Festival
• Baalbeck International Festival
• Beiteddine Festival
• Byblos International Festival
• Deir el Qamar Festival
• Tyre Festival