Tour type: Private
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: Any
Accommodation: Boutique / 4-star hotels
Transport: A/C car/minivan
Highlights: Mix of Goat Cheese tasting, Wine tasting, Kaaket Knefe Breakfast, Kebbeh Zghertwiye Lunch, Arak, Lebanese Ice Cream, Lahem Baajin Breakfast, Lemonade tasting, Foul & Balila Breakfast in Jounieh, Fatteh & Bayd Bil Kawarma, Sfiha Baalbakiye, Fala
For those who not only like to explore the country in which they are travelling, but also 'taste it', look no further than our Taste of Lebanon tour!
This 8 day tour combines visits to some Lebanon's best historic sites with ancient temples and palaces to see, with an exploration of its scenic natural beauty from mountains to caves and coastal beaches. In addition, the focus throughout is on allowing you to taste and discover some of the delicious and varied Middle Eastern cuisine that Lebanon is rightly famous for. Each day's touring with your driver and guide will be broken up with food tastings, visits to local producers, and regional delicacies. These foodie experiences will include, but are not limited to: Goat Cheese tasting, Wine tasting, Kaaket Knefe, Kebbeh Zghertwiye, Arak Alochol and Local Beer, Lebanese Ice Cream, Lahem Baajin, Lemonade tasting, Foul & Balila, Fatteh & Bayd Bil Kawarma, Sfiha Baalbakiye and of course Falafel. Vegetarians can be catered for as well as the more carnivorous.
Accommodation is in a mix of 4-star boutique style hotels, and as this is a private tour, both the daily itinerary and the accommodation level can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
On arrival at Beirut International Airport you’ll be greeted by one of our representatives and then transferred to your hotel in Byblos. The drive will pass through central Beirut and north up the coast, taking around 1 hour subject to traffic. Depending on your arrival time we may arrange some short stops along the way. On arrival in Byblos you check in and have the rest of the day free to relax and explore your new surroundings at your leisure.
Extra day in Beirut - pre-tour
We start early today as we make our way to Annaya to try the best SAJ breakfast, which is a type of Middle Eastern flatbread baked on a dome or convex metal griddle. This domed-shape allows the bread to maintain its flat shape. The dough is rolled out very thin prior to baking and is topped with thyme, cheese, minced lamb and more.
Later, we make our way to Gout Blanc, the goat cheese factory. We'll explore its goat farm, where you'll get insight into how this delicacy is made. You'll also enjoy a goat's cheese tasting on the farm.
Next, we stop at a local shop where you can buy some Lebanese culinary products before we make our way to Chateau Musar, which was the first vineyard in Lebanon to receive organic certification. Its vines have been cultivated for over 6000 years, with the Phoenicians being credited in bringing vines and wines from Byblos to all areas of the Mediterranean.
We'l have lunch at the Fenikia Restaurant, where you can enjoy many Lebanese dishes before we reach Byblos - the world's oldest continually inhabited city. It's charming Phoencian Harbour and rich historical and archaeological heritage makes it one of the most famous places to visit in Lebanon.
We travel north today, stopping to taste delicious Kaaket Knefe (a Lebanese street bread) followed by an after-breakfast drive to visit Becharre, famously known as being the birthplace of Khalil Gibran - Lebanon’s most celebrated literary figure - author of “The Prophet”.
This picturesque museum of Khalil Gibran offers excellent views over the Qadisha valley and contains hundreds of his paintings and manuscripts.
Later, we proceed to Qadisha Valley, also known as the Holy Valley, where the early Maronite community established itself. The valley has also been dubbed as a world heritage site by UNESCO is steep sided with springs, waterfalls and dotted with ancient monasteries, and churches.
We’ll now take a much deserving lunch break in the Rachiine – Zgharta area (Lebanese Mezza with Grilled Chicken, Kebbe Zghertewiye and fruits with Arak, beer and soft drinks.
After lunch, we visit Bnachii Lake, located not far from Zgharta north Lebanon. This beautiful lake is revered for its beautiful surroundings and clear water.
Today we head to Tripoli City where we’ll also have breakfast at Al Hallab; Kaser El Helo, which has been considered one of Tripoli’s most renowned landmarks, visited by thousands of people from all parts of the globe.
After breakfast, we start our tour in the city of Tripoli, it has two main parts: the port area of Al Mina and the old city on the landside dates from the Mameluk epochs - a maze of narrow, alleyways, colorful souks, hammams, khans, mosques and madrasa’s all dominated by the crusader castle.
The afternoon, we’ll proceed to Batroun, but before we start touring, we’ll stop for lunch at ‘Merchak Al Baher’, where you’ll be served the most delicious seafood with a stunning view on one of the best beaches in Lebanon.
Batroun is a small coastal town mentioned in the tablets of Tell al-Amarna as a dependency of the king of Byblos. Today the remains of a Phoenician harbour are visible at the small fishing port and its two churches of St Stefano and St Georges. Batroun is known for its fresh lemonade - be sure to give it a try.
Today we head to the Jounieh area to taste the amazing Foul and Balila - a Middle Eastern vegan breakfast dishes consisting of cooked beans - Hummus flavoured with lemon jus, and garlic served with olive oil, chopped parsley, and tomatoes.
After breakfast, we visit Jeita Grotto; its upper and lower galleries contain one of the world’s largest and beautiful collections of stalactites and stalagmites.
We’ll also discover Harissa by cable car and admire from the top of the Basilica - one of the most beautiful bays in the Middle East.
Later, we head back to Beirut and visit the capital of Lebanon - a city of contrasts. Here you’ll find beautiful architecture, small houses nestled in the shadow of tall modern buildings.
After breakfast, we drive to Baalbek through the fertile Bekaa valley - called Heliopolis or “the City of the Sun” by the Greeks and Romans, who dedicate the main temple to Jupiter the god of the sun and two other temples to Venus and Mercury, Jupiter’s partners in the triad of God.
Just a few kilometers from Zahle you’ll find the pretty Village of Taanayel – rich with bountiful farms, breathtaking scenery, and vineyards.
Taanayel is a true haven that can be visited all year long – its alleys made of a multitude of trees, ducks roam the small lake’s calm water, vineyards that bring Italy’s Tuscany to one’s mind and white vacant benches. Here, you will visit the little monastery chapel – Lady of Consolation, the farm, and Taanayel Lake.
Today we’ll take a drive to visit Deir El Qamar which translates to “monastery of the moon” – this charming village was chosen by Fakherddine as the capital of Lebanon in the 17th century.
We continue to the Beiteddine Palace, which was built in the 19th century over a period of 30 years by Emir Bechir II Chehabi around a former Druze hermitage. Today the palace is considered as the great surviving achievement of the Lebanese architecture.
After lunch, the tour will continue to Sidon - one of the most important Phoenician city-states. Sidon is a rapidly growing town, the administrative and commercial capital of the south, where you can have a stroll in the old souks and visit the Crusader Sea castle, Khan El Franj, the Great mosque, and many other interesting places.
Today is your last day in Lebanon. You will transfer from your hotel to the airport for your flight back home.
If you are looking for a tour and not finding what you are looking for, have a look at our best other related tours to check out for your travel plans. At Encounters Travel, we offer a variety of tours to suit your needs. So sit back, relax, and let us help you plan the perfect getaway.
Seasonal prices are given below based on 2 people travelling with accompanied by a guide and driver. We can also customise the itinerary and budget to fit your personal requirements, preferred accommodation level and the number of people in your party.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often use on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
This tour uses a mix of good quality 4-star hotels in Beirut, Byblos and Chtaura. Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. Please visit the accommodation tab of this tour for examples of the hotels normally used on this tour. These are subject to change to alternative properties of a similar standard. If you have any specific accommodation requests please let us know and we'll be happy to provide you with a customised quotation for a private tour.
Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. Our routes in Lebanon and the small distances involved mean that we use private vehicles throughout this tour. Vehicles will be selected to be comfortable for the number of travellers in the group.
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don't include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we'll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Nearly all our Lebanese tours start and finish in Beirut airport (BEY).
We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued.
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket.
Our small-group tours in Lebanon run with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 18 travellers in the group.
Tailor-made tours are priced based on 2 people travelling with a driver and guide for the sightseeing visits and touring. Discounts and customised quotations will be provided if you are travelling as a family or in a larger party.
In Lebanon we provide fully trained, local English-speaking guides for all of the sightseeing tours. At Encounters Travel we aim to only use local guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. If you visit any sites not mentioned in the itinerary then you will need to cover the entrance fee costs.
Tipping is common practice in Lebanon, as a sign of appreciation for services provided. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. GBP 5 / USD 8 per person per day would be appropriate.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A
Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.
Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using 'black henna' instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
For many nationalities visiting Lebanon a visa on arrival is possible at Beirut International Airport. This applies to most countries of the Commonwealth, European Union, Russia, Japan and the US continent. Even if you are eligible for a visa on arrival, it is prudent to check up to date requirements with your nearest Lebanese consulate.
Other nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival and to obtain this in advance, please contact your local Lebanese embassy or consulate or a visa agency for details.
IMPORTANT: The Government of Lebanon denies entry to Israeli passport holders, Israeli visa holders (valid or expired) and those with any evidence of travel to Israel within their passport.
The time in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon is GMT plus 2 hours and in UAE GMT plus 3 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The local currency in Lebanon is the Lebanese Pound (called Lira). You do not need to arrange to bring any Lebanese currency with you as exchange facilities are available in the international airports and in most hotels, banks and bureau de changes in major towns. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge additional fees - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
Due to the huge recent devaluation of the Lebanese currency, if you withdraw money from an ATM or pay for things with your credit card you will be charged the official bank exchange rate which is very different to the actual operating rate used locally. We therefore recommend that you bring enough US Dollars or Euros in cash with you to cover your required spending money during the tour and do not plan to use your credit card while in Lebanon. You can change this hard currency to Lebanese pounds at the current rates while you are there - please ask your guide for assistance on appropriate places to change your money.
While in Lebanon you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in local currency, though tips for guides and drivers may be paid in hard currency (GBP, USD, EUR).
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 25-35 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Lebanon. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.
Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.
Clothing: The Lebanese climate varies widely from hot days in the summer to cold and wintry days in the winter. At night, especially in the mountains, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool and potentially wet conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required. Modesty rates highly in some parts of Lebanon, especially for women, so to respect the local culture and people, we recommend all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). When visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered. Bikinis and swimwear are however commonplace on some of the country's beaches.
Other items: We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.
This tour is designed as a sample tailor-made tour itinerary. As such we do not offer set group departure dates that you can join. Rather, the tour is available for you to do privately starting on any date of the year. Guideline seasonal prices are given below, based on 2 people travelling. If you would like to adjust the tour itinerary, or there will be more or less people travelling, please contact us and we will customise a price for you.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website.
We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.