Syria and Lebanon Roundtrip 1170 , 8 Days

Damascus is welcoming you again! Syria has seen some turbulent last years with a war raging the country. But now it is slowly going back to peaceful life with parts of the country slowly opening for tourists again. Be one of the first to visit Damascus after the war and enjoy the historic, architectural and cultural sights in this amazing country. The tour is combined with a visit to Lebanon, where you will be able to see some of the most important places worth visiting like Jeita Grotto (among the finalists in UNESCOs 7 Natural Wonders Competition), Beirut and Byblos - yes, the city that gave the name to the Bible. 


Itinerary:   

Day 1: Beirut
Arrival at Beirut International Airport, meet and assist, transfer to your hotel for overnight.

Day 2: Beirut - Baalbek - Ksara - Damascus
Breakfast. Drive to the Bekaa-Valley, which invites you to the heart of the most beautiful vine growing areas in the world. Upon arrival in the Bekaa, visit Baalbek, this Phoenician city, where a triad of deities was worshipped. Baalbek was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. It retained its religious function during Roman times, when the sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter attracted thousands of pilgrims. Baalbek, with its colossal structures, is one of the finest examples of Imperial Roman architecture at its apogee. Afterwards continue to visit Ksara, located in the heart of the Beqaa, where several vineries produce exquisite wine and arak. We cross the border to Syria and drive to Damascus for overnight.

Day 3: Damascus
Damascus’ old city contain a myriad of other points of interest: The National Museum of Damascus, which houses the finest collection of archaeological artifacts from around the country. Among its treasures are a fragment of the oldest known alphabet in the world, unearthed at Ugarit, and an 1800-year-old synagogue transported piece by piece from Dura Europos on the Euphrates River; the Umayyad Mosque, which is named for Islam’s first ruling dynasty, and is one of the great monuments to the ingenuity of early Islam; the Azem Palace, the luxurious home of the Ottoman governor; Souq Al Hamidiyeh; the bustling covered bazaar that fills the senses with colours and life; the Mausoleum of Saladin, the great leader who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders; the legendary Street Called Straight mentioned in the Bible, which spans the old city’s length from East to West; the Chapel of St. Ananias and St. Paul’s Window, from which St. Paul was lowered to escape the Romans; and Bab Touma, the Christian quarter with its charming alleyways and handicraft shops. Overnight in Damascus.

Day 4: Damascus - Maalula - Krak des Chevaliers
After breakfast drive to Maalula, located just 60 kilometres from Damascus attracts visitors both for its charm, and for its importance in the history of Syrian Christianity. Homes in Maalula are gaily painted in violet and blue pastels, and perched abreast an imposing gorge between two mountains. Follow a twisting, narrow pathway deep into the mountain crevasse, the famous Al Faj, to the top of the mountain to explore caves dating back to Roman times. Maalula is also home to a population that still speaks a dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, and to two historic Christian monasteries: one Greek Orthodox dedicated to St. Thekla, the other Greek Catholic dedicated to Saint Sergius. Legend has it that St. Thekla, one of the pupils of St. Paul, was fleeing her pagan father’s guards when she found herself trapped against the face of the high rocky mountain. Her passionate prayers and tears caused the mountain to split, allowing Thekla to escape. Today Thekla’s tears trickle down into a grotto forming a pool, where believers collect water for its miraculous powers. Then continue to Wadi al-Nasara "Valley of Christians" for overnight near Krak des chevaliers.

Day 5: Krak des Chevaliers - Sednaya - Beirut
Today we visit Krak des Chevaliers, which is one of the most spectacular but not so known medieval castles in the world. At 650 m above sea level, Krak has unbelievable architecture and occupies a strategic location overlooking Wadi al-Nasara, and is truly one of the unrivalled wonders of the world. This Crusader’s Castle of the knights – or Qalaat al Hosn as it is known in Arabic – is an unforgettable sight of grandeur. Then continue to Sednaya, in Arabic Our Lady, which is renowned for its picturesque views and Christian heritage. After Jerusalem, Sednaya has been the most famous center for Christian pilgrimage in the east since the 6th A.D., when a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian while he was hunting a deer in the area. The deer miraculously transformed into the Virgin Mary, who asked him to build a shrine in her honour on the site. The convent at Sednaya contains one of the most important icons in the Christian world, believed to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. Afterwards continue to Beirut for overnight.

Day 6: Beirut - Jeita Grotto - Byblos - Beirut
Drive along Beirut City seashore to the picturesque Pigeons rock; continue to Hamra commercial area and then visit the National museum or the Grand Serail. Last stop will be at the “Martyrs Square” to discover the beautiful old Beirut City Center with its newly discovered large archaeological excavations and recently renovated buildings with beautiful architecture, churches and mosques. Continue north on the slopes of Mount Lebanon to Jeita Grotto - an enormous cavern festooned with every shape and size of stalactite and stalagmite. The tour ends in Byblos (Jbeil), Located 37 km north of Beirut, Jbeil is thought by many to be the oldest city in the world - continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years. Remains of Neolithic, Middle Bronze Age, Amorite, Egyptian, Hyksos, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Crusader origin are present. Byblos’ most important legacy is the famous sarcophagus of Ahiram, King of Byblos in the 13th century B.C. which carries a Phoenician inscription thought to be the first written alphabet. Byblos gave its name to the Bible. Back to Beirut for overnight.

Day 7: Beirut - Deir El-Qamar - Beit Ed-Din - Barouk Cedars Reserve - Beirut
Today we drive south of Beirut to Deir El Qamar, the former capital of Mount Lebanon which still retains in its pretty town square several palaces and the famous Marie Baz Museum, Notre Dame church and Fakhr ed-Dine mosque dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Proceed to Beit Ed-Din to visit the magnificent Palace of Emir Bechir known for its masterpiece of the oriental architecture, which became nowadays the summer residence of the President of the Republic of Lebanon. Barouk is a pleasant summer town with abundant springs. The Cedars of Barouk, reached from either Moukhtara or Barouk village, are smaller and younger than those of Bsharreh, but extremely beautiful and well cared for. Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve represents around 550 km² of Lebanese territory. Oak, pine and juniper are some of the 16 types of trees that also grow in the reserve. Above the grove at the summit of the mountain there is a panoramic view overlooking the Beqaa valley. Overnight in Beirut

Day 8: Departure
Transfer to Beirut Airport for departure.


Visa: Visa to Lebanon can be obtained at the airport upon arrival, currently it is free. Visa to Syria: please, send a scanned copy of your passport in jpeg to us when booking the tour. We will apply in advance for visa approval to Syria, which might take 60-75 days. The approval is not the visa itself, the visa will be obtained and paid upon arrival at the border crossing (60-80 EUR depending on your nationality). There should be no Israeli stamps or visas in your passport!

Practical information: We recommend that you bring USD in cash for this tour. In Lebanon you can use also EUR and credit cards, but in Syria it is better to have USD in cash, which can be exchanged on spot. 
 


Price Includes:
7 overnights at standard hotels with breakfast
shared transfer from/to the airport
collective entry and exit visa approval to Syria
transport as per program
English speaking local guide
English speaking Penguin tour leader (min. 7 persons)
entrance fees
tips at the hotels

Not Included:
Flight tickets
visa to Syria - to be paid at the border
drinks and meals not mentioned
tips
insurance
Syrian land border exit tax to Lebanon: currently 5 USD per person
personal expenses

Additional Services:
Single room supplement: 295 EUR
entry visa to Syria is related to the nationality: 60 – 80 EUR


Gallery


Syria and Lebanon Roundtrip (Rated 4.65 / 5 Based on 4 Reviews.)
Price
1170 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
Min. 7 persons
Reservation System Code
SYRUND
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