Experience Lebanon: Sidon and Tyre

South of Lebanon is beautiful. First, head to Sidon (Saida) in the morning. It takes about an hour from Beirut by mini-bus, which will drop you off in a quite central area.

Short walk away is the Sidon Sea castle. The castle was built by the crusaders in 13th Century as a fortress on a small island connected to the mainland by a narrow roadway. It was renovated in 17th Century. There are some sources indicating that there might have been a palace of Phoenician Kings in this location.

After the castle, crossing the road, you will end up in a bazaar. Through the narrow streets you can find the Debane house museum, which is run by a family and is free to enter.

Next, you can walk through the narrow streets and see a number of mosques, among them the Masjid Al Omary al Kabir. Also peep in Khan el Franj, an old caravanserai. You can also have a look at the St. Louis castle.

After Saida, get back on the mini-bus to head to Tyre (or Sour, as locals call it). From here, head on the main road to one of Tyre’s two archeological sites containing hypodrome and necropolis. The area is huge and you would need at least 1-1.5 hours to walk around here. We sat on the stairs of hypodrome to relax in the shadow. Apparently, the chariot scenes of Ben Hur were shot here.

After this, you will either have to head back to where you came from and then down to port or go around to avoid the closed roads to get to another archaeological site.

The street going from the mini-bus stop area to the port and bazaar is the most unpleasant in Lebanon. The weird men with jests and weird laughs will make you very uncomfortable. But at least they didn’t seem dangerous. Visit the second archaeological site of Tyre, which has far less preserved areas, than the first.

From here, walk down to the promenade, which is full of western style cafes.

If you want, you can also go to the Sour beach, it is the cleanest and the bluest among the Lebanese beaches. Or you can come back here another day.

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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