Beirut is no longer the bombed out city from an old civil war that you might imagine. Rather, the city is now cultivated beautifully with lanes that are lined with flagship designer stores as luxury sports cars whizz past the redeveloped shells of buildings once marked by mortar shells, and al fresco terraces with fantastic aromas that demonstrate why the city has long been known as the Paris of the East. Down at the waterfront, there is the scent of opulence as welcoming aromas drift out from upmarket restaurants and meet the salty sea breeze. Middle Eastern culture is alive in all its tradition through cuisine, atmosphere, and design, yet it has been brought into the present. This is a city that does not look back, and it is in the evening when it all truly comes alive with squares and terraces packed with chatter and laughter.
Arrive in Beirut in the morning, and you will be transferred to your hotel and then introduced to the city with a tour of its historical sights. A pathway through what remains also gives you a good feel for what has been built recently, starting at the Ottoman Grand Serail and then moving to admire the Roman and Phoenician statues that line the National Museum. Churches and mosques line renovated streets, a merging of the past and the present for an insight into history that stretches from empires to crusaders to the freedom of today. Enjoy the first of your several evenings here as you stay at a five-star Relais & Chateaux property that is within walking distance of so much to explore and enjoy.
Day 7 - 8