- Middle East and North Africa
The cliché runs that you can ski and swim in the sea on the same day in Lebanon, and while that might only be possible in April or May - at a push - this is certainly a country that belies its diminutive size and troubled past. Lebanon is both beautiful and cosmopolitan, and with so much to do in such a small area, it is ideal for a short break. Yes, that troubled past can prove a deterrent for the less adventurous traveller, but thanks to the sheer bloody minded determination of the locals to get their nation back on its feet, this phoenix keeps rising from the flames, and we think it's well worth a visit.
So, why go? For starters, it would be hard to find a more vibrant metropolis than the capital Beirut. The legendary Lebanese love of a party is most in evidence here in the bars and clubs around Monot Street, gridlocked with bumper to bumper Ferraris.
Then there's the fabled Lebanese cooking, justly acknowledged as the best in the Middle East and blending French influence with Arabic and Turkish cuisine. Lebanese vineyards also produce excellent wines in the ideal climate on the lower slopes of the mountains that separate Lebanon from the plains of Syria. Château Musar is up there with the finest Bordeaux clarets.
Finally, there's Baalbeck, the jewel in Lebanon's cultural crown. These spectacular Roman ruins, just two hours from Beirut, include the six remaining columns of the Temple of Jupiter which, at 66 feet tall, are the highest in the world. Still not convinced? Well hip hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray of One Aldwych and Carlisle Bay fame is, and his new Le Gray hotel in Beirut promises to be the new benchmark for luxury properties. That the occasionally cautious Four Seasons group are also opening here shows this is a place on the up and up.
We at Original Travel know the place intimately and after a two year hiatus are itching to start sending people there again.
Flight time from the UK 4hrs 45 mins
Time Difference GMT +2
Currency Lebanese Pound
Combines well with Syria and Jordan