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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Lebanon (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Lebanon (Plus, Itineraries)

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: Considering a move to Lebanon but uncertain about where to settle? Venturing on an exploratory trip to visit multiple popular expat destinations can be incredibly enlightening. Here's a list of recommended places to consider during your exploration of Lebanon.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Lebanon is an invaluable step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory journey offers a firsthand experience of the country's diverse regions, cultural nuances, and daily life. It allows potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads to assess the suitability of various cities and towns for their lifestyle, work, and personal preferences. By visiting different areas, one can gauge the local infrastructure, community vibe, and amenities, ensuring a well-informed decision when choosing a new home.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip in Lebanon, it's essential to tailor your itinerary based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on the major urban centers and nearby attractions, while a 20-day journey allows for a deeper exploration of the country's diverse regions. For the shorter trip, consider starting in Beirut, then visiting Jounieh, Byblos (Jbeil), and Tripoli. If extending to 20 days, add Sidon (Saida), Tyre (Sour), Zahle, and the Chouf region to your itinerary, ensuring you experience a mix of coastal cities, mountain towns, and the Bekaa Valley.

Beirut

Beirut, the capital city, is a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant culture and rich history. With a population of over 2 million, it's a melting pot of different cultures and religions. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to its dynamic atmosphere, diverse culinary scene, and relatively high standard of living. The cost of living can be higher compared to other Lebanese cities, but the abundance of amenities and international schools make it a popular choice for families and professionals.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to visit the iconic Raouché Rocks and enjoy a meal at the renowned Al Falamanki café, offering traditional Lebanese dishes with a view of the Mediterranean.

Jounieh

Jounieh is a coastal city known for its stunning bay and nightlife. It's a favorite among expats who prefer a quieter lifestyle than Beirut but still want access to excellent restaurants, beaches, and entertainment. The cost of living is more affordable, and the city's proximity to the mountains and the sea makes it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

Travel Tip: Take a cable car ride up to Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa for breathtaking panoramic views of Jounieh Bay and beyond.

Byblos (Jbeil)

Byblos, or Jbeil, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, offering a blend of historical charm and modern convenience. It's a smaller city that appeals to those looking for a laid-back lifestyle with a sense of community. The cost of living is moderate, and the city is known for its beautiful ancient port, souks, and archaeological sites.

Travel Tip: Explore the Byblos Castle and wander through the old souks to experience the city's rich history and culture.

Tripoli

Tripoli is Lebanon's second-largest city and is famous for its Mamluk architecture and traditional souks. It offers a lower cost of living than Beirut and is home to a large expat community. The city has a slower pace of life, with a focus on family and tradition, making it appealing for those seeking a more authentic Lebanese experience.

Travel Tip: Visit the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles for a historical excursion and enjoy the city's famous sweets, like the Tripoli baklava, at one of the local patisseries.

Sidon (Saida)

Sidon, or Saida, is a historic coastal city that boasts a rich Phoenician heritage. It's quieter than Beirut and offers a more relaxed lifestyle with a lower cost of living. Expats and retirees appreciate the city's historical landmarks, traditional markets, and the warm hospitality of its residents.

Travel Tip: The Sea Castle, built by the Crusaders, is a must-visit landmark, and make sure to try the city's famous falafel at Falafel Akkawi.

Tyre (Sour)

Tyre, known locally as Sour, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a history dating back to ancient Phoenicia. The city is smaller and less developed than Beirut, offering a peaceful environment with beautiful beaches and archaeological sites. It's ideal for those who enjoy a slower pace of life and a close-knit community feel.

Travel Tip: Spend some time at the Tyre Hippodrome and explore the ruins, then relax at one of the city's pristine public beaches.

Zahle

Zahle is the capital of the Bekaa Valley and is known as the "City of Wine and Poetry." It's a cultural hub with a moderate cost of living, famous for its wineries and traditional Lebanese cuisine. The city's location in the heart of the valley makes it a perfect base for exploring the surrounding countryside.

Travel Tip: Enjoy a wine tasting at one of the local wineries, such as Chateau Ksara, and savor the culinary delights at the famous Berdawni promenade.

Chouf Region

The Chouf region is home to picturesque mountain towns like Deir el Qamar, Beiteddine, and Barouk. It's a haven for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility away from city life. The area is known for its Druze heritage, lush landscapes, and the magnificent Beiteddine Palace. The cost of living is lower, and the region offers a serene lifestyle amidst the mountains.

Travel Tip: Visit the Beiteddine Palace, a masterpiece of Lebanese architecture, and explore the nearby Cedars of God in Barouk for a nature escape.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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