6 Days in Lebanon – Part 1

Beirut's Pigeon Rock and Rouche Area as we're about to landing

Day 1. Touched down Rafiq Hariri International Airport in Beirut, and secured a car rent, we hurried to drive to Beirut. First stop is Beirut National Museum.

Beirut National Museum

From here, we were driving down Rue de Damas that once was a part of Green Line that separating Muslim and Christians. Along the way, bullet-ridden buildings  stood still – wars left its marks.

Rue de Damas (once a part of Green Line)

 After several detours, diversions, reroutes (passing Downtown area, those military tanks, and got used to traffic behavior) we reached Lavender Home Apartment in Hamra to check in. The apartment is located about one minute walk from Hamra Street on the one-way narrow street. Finding a parking spot was a nightmare as the apartment only has 2-car spot at the back and 3-car spot at front. Nevertheless, check-in was seamless, staff very helpful and our room was upgraded to Studio Room.


Hard Rock Cafe is located at the end of corniche road, at ground floor of Bayview Hotel, opposite to McD where we had our first lunch in Beirut. My 17th Hard Rock Cafe shot glass collection is from here! It was summer and though Beirut doesn’t have good flat sandy beaches, Corniche saw young people throngs short seaside pedestrian strip opposite American University of Beirut.

Beirut's Corniche in front of American University of Beirut (AUB)
Hard Rock Cafe Beirut

Downtown is our next stop. Starting from a parking lot near Martyr Square we walked to Le Gray Hotel/Virgin Megastore, Al Omari Mosque and end at Place D’Etoile (Nejmeh Square).

Martyrs Square

Martyrs Square
Al Omari Mosque
Place D'Etoile or Nejmeh Square
Cardo Maximus - old Roman Line
St. George's Cathedral and Mohammed al-Amin mosque
Mohammed al-Amin Mosque

Our first visit to Place D’Etoile and Downtown area was so brief that we need to come back in another visit. Since we had to go out of city tomorrow we decided to stock some food and beverages for our trip and stay. For that we visited ABC Mall and Spinney Supermarket. End of Day 1 in Lebanon was closed by visit to Pigeon Rock and tasting Lebanese cuisine at Kababji,  Hamra.

Watching sunset at Pigeon Rock would be an amazing experience
The Pigeon Rock area is always crowded with Beirutis and visitors enjoying sunset

Tasting Lebanese cuisine is a must do


Day 2

Our Day 2 saw us heading north to Byblos, Jounieh, Harissa, and Nahr El Kalb. First, Byblos. Byblos or commonly known as Jbeil is located about 38km north of Beirut, accessed through coastal highway. Our highlights in Byblos include visiting Byblos complex, souk, and Memory of Time. We didn’t pay a visit to wax museum, church, and Byblos Port.

Byblos Complex
Byblos Crusader Citadel just got served!
Byblos Souk
Byblos's Memory of Time - free "lecture" on how to find fossils. Some fossils are for sale starting at as low as $5

From Byblos, we’re heading back to Beirut but stopping at Jounieh to take thrilling ride to Harissa by Telepherique (cable car). The ride took us through private apartment blocks and then steeply inclining ride to Harissa where we’re transferred by Fenicular to the base of Our Lady of Lebanon statue. 


Telepherique to Harissa
From Harissa, view to Jounieh and as far as north Beirut is fantastic
Our Lady of Lebanon

Funicular at Harissa
Roman Bridge at Nahr El Kalb
Rio Lento Water Park

Another Downtown visit. We’re back to Downtown and now we headed to Roman Bath and took some time to enjoy the pulse of Beirut in Downtown.

Roman Bath
Grand Serail - the headquarters of the Prime Minister of Lebanon
Place D'Etoile or Nejmeh Square
Though military presence is obvious, the life of Beirutis is unaffected
One of the mosques in Downtown area
Nejmeh Square has many pedestrian-only roads radiating from its clock tower
Downtown area is under massive redevelopment since wars, solely managed by government-established Solidere. New building/commercial complex has been built and more in pipeline