Active Body Peaceful Mind

Where?  Lebanon

Duration?  6 to 10 days

In Short:

Land of mountains and sea, Lebanon is a paradox of ingenuity!  Both traditional and extremely open, an ancient culture now vibrantly modern, Lebanon has it all!  The food is diverse and exuberant, almost as much as the nightlife!  For cyclists, it is a paradise of sinuous hills.  The nature and landscapes are pristine.  Come experience Lebanon once, and you’ll come back again and again!      

When to Go?

January    February    March    April    May    June    July   August   September     October    November    December

Sights & Experiences

Itinerary

Day 1: Beirut to Sidon

Right out of the gate we exit Beirut and start climbing!  We’ll leave our discovery of the capital for our last days of the tour.  Lebanon is a long mountain range, the sea on one side, Beqaa valley on the other.  We head uphill(by van if you’re not up for the climb) to the mountain retreat of Sawfar.  From there, our ride is a gorgeous 60km downhill, twisting and turning along the mountain crest, with amazing views of the coastline and Mediterranean.  In Sidon, our hotel faces the Sea Castle, haut-lieu of resistance by the knights of the crusades!

Day 2: Sidon to Jezzine

After a lovely stroll through the age-old Souks of Sidon, we’ll visit the soap-factory, where soap has been made out of olive oil for thousands of years.  Our ride takes us uphill once again into the mountains, towards our next destination, the mountain town of Jezzine.  Famous for its cool climate and waterfall, Jezzine is a delight in summer!  We’ll have dinner in one of the many terraces overlooking the fertile valley below.  Your hotel rooms are surrounded by ancient trees, in a deeply relaxing resort.

Day 3: Jezzine to Kefraiya

As we cycle out of Jezzine, we’ll pass by its main attraction, the 90m high Jezzine Falls.  Today’s ride hugs the massive 1777m high Aaqab el Ghrab mountain, all the way to the Shouf Biosphere reserve.  Only cycling can you appreciate the expansive views this limestone giant provides!  From the pass, we’ll head downhill to Kefraiya, famous for its Wines!     

Day 4: Beqaa & Zahlé

Riding the Beqaa valley may seem like a different country!  Today’s ride is one of Lebanon’s most charming.  After a tasting, and riding past the vines, we’ll head north towards Zahlé.  The flat and fertile valley floor is irrigated, and teeming with crops, it’s Lebanon’s main source of sustenance.  On either side are arid mountain ranges of karstic rock and brush.  We’ll hug the mountain side for ample views of the Beqaa.  In Zahlé, we’ll enjoy dinner at the main town’ attraction, the Berdawni Promenade, a street of restaurants and cafes along the river.  The ‘City of Wine and Poetry’ will beckon us to try its famous Arak!

Day 5: Baalbek to Bsharri

We’ll start the day with a morning visit to the archeological sites of Baalbek, ancient “Heliopolis“, a 1h transfer away from Zahlé.  The city of the sun boasts some impressive sites, and also allows us a glimpse into a more Muslim part of Lebanon.  Today’s ride to Bsharri is an HC climb!  After lunch, our ride takes us up the slopes of Lebanon’s highest peak, the 3088m  Qurnat as Sawda, but we’ll only go up as far as the Col d’Aïnata, highest pass in Lebanon at 2590m.  For those who needed a boost up the hill in our support van, the view from the top is just as amazing!  After the pass, we’ll enjoy a beautiful downhill to Bsharri, summer retreat in the famed Cedar reserve.

Day 6: Bsharri to Tripoli

It’s all downhill today!  High up in Bsharri, we’ll see the Cedars Lebanon is famed for, some of the oldest living beings on earth.  We’ll twist and turn through many small mountain villages, enjoying spectacular views along the way.  Arriving in Tripoli, we’ll take a tour around the town, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy sunset views on the Med!

Day 7: Tripoli to Byblos

Today’s ride is all along the coast!  We’ll cycle close to the sea, with the opportunity to stop and swim in crystalline waters at your leisure.  Byblos is a UNESCO Heritage site, occupied by man since at least 5000 B.C., and considered one the longest continuously occupied cities on earth.  There is, without a doubt, much to see and do in Byblos, depending on your tastes and fondness for human history.  We’ll visit the city center with a history guide, and enjoy al-fresco dining in town.

Day 8: Byblos to Beirut

As the road from Byblos to Beirut can be highly congested due to daily commutes, we’ll take a transfer uphill once more, to the ski resort of Ayoub el ayak laqlouq.  From there a gorgeous 70km downhill awaits, all the way to the center of Beirut!  We’ll cycle in the town center, giving you an insider tour of old neighborhoods like Ashrafieh and Hamra.   We’ll finish the tour with the famed Rouche Rocks, the promenade, and drinks in the old Beirut town center.

End of the tour: your guides will leave you at your hotel in Beirut.

Photos

Lebanon

Ancient Sites

Jezzine

Mountain Views

 

Itinerary – Cycling – Attractions

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