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Wonderful Lebanon

October 10 to 19, 2020

Lebanon has always been a well-traveled bridge between East and West, sea and desert that is dense with history.  Above the layers of antiquity lies a land of mesmerizing beauty and contrast from the modernity of Beirut, once known as the Paris of the Middle East to the lush Cedars. Experience the warmth of its people, the tastes of its world-reknown cuisine, the aromas of its souks, the majesty of its past and explore some of the best-preserved Roman and Byzantine cities in the Near East as well as some of the most stunning Byzantine gems as well as many of the Islamic architecture jewels! Explore the Phoenician cities of Sidon & Tyre and the well-preserved Roman city of Baalbek, and the town of Byblos with its multiple layers of civilizations. 

This trip has a Pre extension to SyriaPost extension to Syria

This trip can be combined with either Kurdistan “Oct 04 – 11, 2020” OR  Cyprus “Oct 04 – 11, 2020”

And Iran & Iraq trip (Sep 16 – Oct 04, 2020)


Per person sharing in double occupancy (Air and land from NYC): $4,995.00
Single Supplement: $700.00       

Credit for not using our included airfare $900.00

Led by Professor Denise Schmandt-Besserat

Price based on a group size minimum of 6 and maximum of 14 participants


Your tour does not include

  • Airfare supplement from cities other than NYC (price differs depending on gateway city).

  • Entry visa to Lebanon - currently not required for US citizens.

  • Beverages with or without meals.

  • Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.

  • Items of a personal nature (camera fees at sites, laundry, phone calls, emails, excess luggage, etc.).

  • Transfers if not arriving/departing on scheduled flights/tour dates.

  • Dayroom necessitated by changes in airline schedules.

  • Travel protection insurance (HIGHLY Recommended).

Your tour includes

  • International airfare from New York including taxes and security fees.

  • Meet and assist at Beirut airport on arrival and departure + transfers Airport/hotel/Airport.

  • Transportation by deluxe air conditioned coach for the excursions.

  • English speaking guide for the excursions.

  • Entrance fees to the visited sites.

  • Hotel accommodation (5*) at the selected hotel for 8 nights on bed and Breakfast basis.

  • Lunches on tour days including 1 soft drink.

  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, restaurant and hotel staff.

  • 11% VAT at present time.


Trip Grade:

I Easy - Reasonably paced sightseeing, easy walking, and leisurely days. No particular physical challenges.

Lodging Level:

**** Luxury: Regular style- usually large- hotels, typical western standard with ample venues, and full amenities. (4 or 5 stars)

About your lecturer...Professor Denise Schmandt-Besserat is professor emerita of Art History and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. A graduate of L’Ecole du Louvre in Paris, she is a renowned Near Eastern archaeologist. She has worked on archaeological collections in all the major museums of the Middle East, Europe and the US. She is the author of When Writing Met Art (2007), Before Writing (1992) and When Writing Came About, which was selected by American Scientist magazine as “one of the 100 books that shaped science in the 20th century”. Her work on the origins of writing and mathematics has been covered by Scientific American, Time, Life, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She has appeared on television programs such as Out of the Past (Discovery Channel), the Nature of Things (CBC), Search for Solutions (PBS) and Tell the Truth (NBC). For many years, Denise has led our tours to the Near East and Central Asia and her lectures and handouts will add to the enjoyment of your tour. You can get acquainted with her and her scholarly work on Wikipedia and by browsing her web site: http://sites.utexas.edu/dsb


View Tour Itinerary

Saturday, Oct 10
USA - Beirut

Depart your home town to Beirut, arriving the next day.

Sunday, Oct 11
Arrival Beirut

Meet, assist and transfer to Rotana Arjaan hotel or similar for check in and overnight. (D)

Monday, Oct 12
Beirut – Jeita

After breakfast, visit the Jeita Grottoes. The Grottoes are the slow work of nature during the past thousand years. Visit of the upper cave on foot, which is access by a cable car, then to the lower cave by small boat on the internal lake via the Coastal highway. Afternoon, enjoy a Beirut city tour and a visit of Downtown, Corniche and the Solider Reconstruction Project. Return to your hotel for overnight (B,L)

Tuesday, Oct 13
Tyre – Sidon

After early breakfast, take a full day tour to the southern part of Lebanon. First stop is the magnificent site of Tyre, including the sanctuary and the Hippodrome as well as the medieval necropolis. In the afternoon, continue to the town of Sidon, known locally as Sayda, on the coast. Visit the ancient ruins of Sidon Sea Castle, the Soap Museum, the Crusader’s Castle of Saint-Louis and the 16th-century Great Mosque and the colorful local souk before returning to your hotel in Beirut for overnight. (B,L,D)

FWednesday, Oct 14
Beirut - Harissa – Bkerke

After breakfast, depart to visit the Beirut National Museum and the American University in Beirut (AUB) Museum. After lunch, proceed to Harissa, climbing by cable car to the Holy statue of Notre Dame for a view of Jounieh and Beirut. Visit the town of Bkerke and meet with a representative of the Maronite Patriarchy (pending appointment confirmation). Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Oct 15
Beirut - Beiteddine - Deir El Kamar

The day will start by visiting the Chouf Mountain. The first village is Deir El Qamar, a historic residence of the Governors of Lebanon. Continue to Beiteddine, where a superb palace overlooks the valley, with its typical Lebanese architecture of the 18th and 19th century. Visit the museum, with its the unique exhibition of mosaics. Proceed to Moussa Castle. After lunch in a local restaurant visit with a representative of the Druze Community (pending appointment confirmation). Return to hotel in Beirut for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Friday, Oct 16
Cedars - Bcharreh – Qozhaya - Cedars

Drive north and ascend to the Cedars where only 400 trees remain, some of which are more than 2000 years old. Walk through the forest which is today an eco-museum. Continue to Bcharré, a village over the Qadisha valley and the hometown of the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. Discover about his work at the museum. Visit the Monastery of St Anthony. Back to your hotel for overnight. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Oct 17
Baalbeck-Ksara-Anjar

Drive across Mount Lebanon then descend towards the Beqaa Valley to reach one of the world’s greatest historical sites: Baalbeck. Visit the Temple of Jupiter and Bacchus. Visit the Ksara winery for a taste of the Lebanese production. After lunch proceed to Anjar; the only Omayyad site in Lebanon, recognized to be one of the major market places on the ancient Silk Road. Return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L)

Sunday, Oct 18
Tripoli – Byblos

Depart to Tripoli (the largest city in the north and the second largest in Lebanon). Modern Tripoli combines the past and present with many historical structures dating back to the Crusader and Islamic periods, still standing intact and inhabited. Particularly famous are the old Souks or “Khans” where tradesmen still trade since centuries ago; the medieval Tripoli Castle, and one of the oldest ports in the world. We will visit the Crusader’s castle, the Turkish Hammams, and the Old Souk. Tripoli is particularly famous for its Middle Eastern desserts and sweets, which we will sample with coffee during a break. Continue to on the northern coast to Byblos, the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world for the last 5000 years. Visit the Citadel, the St John church and the harbor. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

WMonday, Oct 19
Beirut – USA

After breakfast, pick up from the hotel and depart Beirut airport. (B)

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed

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