So, why go on holiday to Lebanon? 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. Start the evening with a cocktail at an open-air
bar overlooking floodlit Phoenician ruins before a delicious meal
at a roof-top restaurant on Rue El-Inglizi in the trendy Achrafieh
district and on to any number of achingly hip clubs.
In the winter months the party transfers to the mountains and
the swish ski resorts of Faraya and Mzaar where (as you had
probably guessed by now) the apres-ski is as important as actually
hitting the slopes.
But it's not all about partying. As a reminder that this is a
region that has been inhabited by various highly advanced
civilisations for several thousand years, there are enough ruins to
keep culture vultures circling for weeks. The highlight is
undoubtedly Baalbeck in the Bekaa Valley, site of some of the most
impressive Roman temples ever built and including the six remaining
columns of the Temple of Jupiter which, at 66ft, are the tallest in
the world. The Lebanese are a cultural (as well as trilingual)
bunch, and the annual Baalbeck International Festival takes places
among the ruins.
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.