19 August 2019, 09:36
NEW - LEBANON
Tour reveals the extraordinary history and modern regeneration of this fascinating country
- Hike in the Qadisha Valley
- Visit the Cedars of God forest
- Tour Beirut, Sidon and Byblos
- Sample award-winning Chateau Ksara wines
Cedars come to mind at the mention of Lebanon – but there is so much more to explore in this fascinating country on Saga’s new nine-day tour ‘The Pearl of the Middle East’.
The complicated, 15-year international and civil conflict between the 1970s and 1990s has left its scars, such as the shell of the abandoned Holiday Inn hotel in Beirut, but this has also led to a regeneration of the capital, as fashionable stores in glistening, modern souks sit alongside historic mosques and squares.
The adventure begins with a Beirut city tour, including the National Museum, beautifully restored after the civil war, and featuring exhibits dating from prehistoric and Roman times.
There are Roman baths, a variety of museums, the Mohammad Al-Amin ‘Blue’ Mosque, the Grand Serail government palace, and towering offshore natural formations known as the Pigeon Rocks to be viewed.
Of course, cedars must feature on the tour, with a visit to the forest known as the Cedars of God, near Bcharreh, from where the wood has been exploited by ancient civilisations including Phoenicians, Egyptians and Babylonians.
There’s a visit to Sidon, with its sea castle, souks and elegant khan – a building of arcades around a courtyard and fountain – and nearby Tyre, which owes its UNESCO World Heritage status to its Phoenician and Roman archaeological significance, as well as a claim to the invention of purple dye.
A hike in the Qadisha Valley reveals chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut into the rock, en route to Byblos, a harbour town with lovely beaches, temples and mosques, and a 12th-century Crusader citadel and museum.
Byblos is also home to the extraordinary Jeita Grotto of caverns and lakes, which Saga’s guests can explore by cable car and a small train, as well as by boat.
The holiday also includes the Chouf region, contrasting the magnificent palace of Beit ed Dine with the village of Deir el Qamar, and stops in Baalbeck, Anjar and the Begag Valley, once at the heart of the war zone, now offering Saga’s guests the chance to sample the award-winning wines of Chateau Ksara, established in 1857.
Guests stay on a half-board basis at Le Commodore Hotel, in Beirut, for three nights; the Deir El Ouma, in Deir El Qamar, for two nights; the Cedrus Hotel, in Bcharreh for one night and the Ahiram Hotel in Byblos for two nights.
Product and Purchasing Executive, Ellis Manning said: “I’m excited about the launch of our new Lebanon tour, this is such a fascinating destination. This modern country is now bouncing back and is happily welcoming tourists to see what it has to offer. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the Mediterranean coastline, forested mountain ranges, local wine tasting and some of the finest examples of Roman architecture on this 8-night tour.”
For details call free on 0800 056 0464 or visit saga.co.uk/Lebanon
Nine days from £1899per person departing between May and November 2020.
Price includes VIP door-to-door chauffeur service, airport taxes, half-board accommodation, , porterage, tour manager, optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a discount if passenger has own insurance.
Notes to editors
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