Experience Lebanon: Jeitta Grotto, Jounieh, Byblos

Keep in mind that Jeitta Grotto and Our Lady of Lebanon teleferique are not open on Monday, so make your plans accordingly. See the information on how to get there here.

During the drive, we understood for the first time, what it means, when they honk the car once – the Uber driver was doing it each time he was following a girl with the eyes. It was very weird and uncomfortable for us. Since then, we knew that one honk means they “fancy” the girl, two or more means they are offering you a taxi ride.

Jeitta Grotto is really one of the natural wonders of the world, as Lebanese like to call it. It is an amazing huge cave with stalactites and stalagmites. The drive there from Beirut is scenic, going up into the hills.

The upper grotto is a short cable car ride away from the entrance. It looks like a huge cathedral, when you enter first through the narrow tunnel, it looks breathtaking. It was a pity that we were not allowed to take pictures, although, unfortunately, some people still broke the rules and sneaked their phones in.

After you are done marveling at the upper grotto, you can take a small train down to the Lower grotto or just walk down for several minutes. It’s very cold inside the cave (even more so than the upper grotto) and you feel the dampness, as soon as you enter. They put you on a small boat. The boats are cute and slow and the ride is wonderful. If you will want to put your hands in water, it is very cold and fresh. Cover your head with something, as the water is sometimes dripping from the stalactites.

After Jeitta, head to Jounieh and take a teleferique up to Our Lady of Lebanon. Keep in mind that on the weekends, the teleferique ride is more expensive than on the weekdays. It is a long and beautiful journey. Sit facing the seaside and enjoy the absolutely stunning views. It was a lot of adrenaline for us. You can even see all the way to Beirut from here.

The church next to the statue of Our Lady is interesting and huge, the style is modern. A very strange construction indeed, so worth checking out to see if you like it. I personally didn’t.

Finally, catch a bus, rather a minibus on the main road to head to Byblos. This is an adorable city, definitely my favorite among all the old Phoenician cities and in all Lebanon.

Byblos archeological site is spread on a huge area. You will see the ruins of the old Phoenician city, which started to rise in the 3rd millennium BC. At this archeological site, you will find ancient temples, necropolis, old well and houses, etc. Also visit Byblos citadel, a 12th century crusaders castle, which has great views over the seaside and the Othman al Housami House.

While here, do visit the St. john’s church built by crusaders. This city, as most of the coastal Lebanese cities, has a number of churches. After that, get lost in the souqs, with a number of shops and beautiful flowers all around. Walking around the souqs, we came by a book festival. A lot of sellers were located in a big yard selling used books.

And this guy with the flowers (or Doctor Flowers as he called himself) was the most colorful and vivid person in the city.

Do avoid buying anything around this area, as, for instance, the ice cream is double or triple the usual price. If you want something or are hungry, head to the outskirts of the souqs and find a shop or a café with relatively reasonable prices.

Then, go to the Marina in the evening and watch the sunset. The city is beautiful bathed in the evening rays of sun. we enjoyed sitting and listening to waves, while the sun was going down.

Visited 50 countries and counting, Lived in 3 cities and collected a lot of useful information to help fellow travel junkies out there.

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