Day 1: Arrive Beirut. Land at Beirut International Airport under your own arrangements. Once you have passed the immigration and customs formalities you will be met by a Corinthian Travel representative and will be transferred to Beirut. Accommodation: Stay for 6 nights at the Albergo Hotel (Standard Suite)/Le Gray Hotel (Deluxe Room).
Day 2: Jeita Grotto, Chateau Musar, Byblos. After breakfast drive to Jeita and explore the magnificent complex of underground caves – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then continue to Ghazir for a tour and wine tasting at Chateau Musar. Next, drive to Byblos for lunch beside the picturesque fishing harbour, then explore the town’s attractive Crusader castle, important archaeological site, churches, and beautifully restored cobbled lanes, before returning to Beirut.
Day 3: Mseilha, Tripoli, Rachana, Coteaux de Botrys. Today drive to Tripoli stopping en route at the small castle of Mseilha perched on its rocky pinnacle. On arrival explore the mighty Citadel of Raymond de St Gilles, then enjoy a walking tour through Tripoli’s lively medieval souqs, and visit Lebanon’s most famous sweet maker for lunch to see the vast array of Baklawa and sample Halawat El-Jibn, the local speciality. This afternoon drive to Beirut via the village of Rachana with its open-air sculpture park of modern art, and the attractively located winery of Coteaux de Botrys.
Day 4: Beirut, Private Cooking Class. This morning explore the cosmopolitan Lebanese capital – the one-time ‘Paris of the east’. Start by driving along the sea-front Corniche to the local beauty spot of Raouche Rocks, then visit the National Museum with its well displayed and important collection of artefacts dating back to the Phoenician period. Next, explore the downtown ‘Solidere’ area with its attractive Ottoman and French Mandate period buildings, churches, mosques, and archaeological sites. Sample various tasty Lebanese snacks for lunch, then later this afternoon, there will be a private cooking class with an expert chef where you will learn to prepare a three course Lebanese meal.
Day 5: Al Qamar, Beiteddine, Chouf Cedars, Kefraya. This morning drive up into the wooded slopes of the Chouf Mountains to see the pretty stone and red roofed village of Deir al-Qamar, and the nearby beautiful late 18th century Beiteddine Palace of Emir Bashir Shihab II. Next, continue to the Chouf Cedar Reserve, site of the most numerous Cedar trees in Lebanon, where there will be an opportunity for a short forest walk before descending into the southern Bekka Valley for a late lunch and wine tasting at Chateau Kefraya.
Day 6: Anjar, Baalbek, Domaines des Tourelles. Today, drive through the mountains to the Bekaa Valley and visit the 8th century Umayyad City of Anjar, then continue to the Roman ruins at Baalbek. The sheer scale and proportions of this UNESCO World Heritage Site never ceases to impress; the Temple of Jupiter here was one of the largest religious structures ever built, while the well preserved and beautifully decorated Temple of Bacchus is larger than the Parthenon in Athens. After lunch return to Beirut stopping en route at Domaine des Tourelles – were the wine tasting is often held al fresco under a tree.
Day 7: Farewell to Lebanon. Transfer to Beirut International Airport and check-in for your onward flight.
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