Nearby Byblos, a UNESCO site which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, (it is believed to have been occupied first between 8800 and 7000 BC) is a spectacular place featuring a 12th century crusader castle, St John the Baptist Church, the remains of a Roman amphitheatre and masses of Phoenician, Crusader and Roman ruins which provide ample opportunity for walking and exploring. Just a short 40-minute journey from Beirut aboard a crowded smoky mini van this is definitely worth a visit.
There is also a pretty little harbour overlooking the Med surrounding by fish restaurants, bars, cafes and yachts. A really relaxed atmosphere in comparison to Beirut and, after all the exploration of the ruins, the refurbished souk gives you a nice opportunity to dally over the market stalls amidst the cobblestone streets. Just recently Byblos was crowned as the ‘Arab Tour Capital’ for the year 2016 by the Lebanese Minister of Tourism.
There is also a famous cave system between Byblos and Beirut known as the Grotto which is full of wonderful cave formations and stalactites and stalagmites. Unfortunately no photos are allowed, although there’s loads of pictures on the internet (see below). However, it really doesn’t do it justice and can’t show you how great they are – you’ll just have to visit yourselves.