Nestled on the Mediterranean coast, Byblos is a charming town located in Lebanon that is brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty. If you find yourself with just one day to explore Byblos, you’re in for a treat. From its well-preserved ruins to its vibrant souks and stunning seaside views, Byblos offers a wealth of experiences even for a short visit.
So, as you plan your Lebanon itinerary, don’t miss to save one day to explore ancient Byblos.
Table of Contents
Historical Significance of Byblos
Byblos, also known as Jbeil in Arabic, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its history dates back over 7,000 years, making it a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was once a major center of trade and commerce and played a significant role in the development of the Phoenician civilization.
Things to do in One Day in Byblos
Explore the Ancient Ruins of Byblos
Begin your day by immersing yourself in the rich history of Byblos as you wander through the ancient ruins of the Phoenician city. The ruins are divided into different sections, each representing a different era of Byblos’ history. Marvel at the well-preserved Roman amphitheater, which once hosted grand performances and still stands as a testament to the city’s glorious past.
Visit the Byblos Castle
Even if you have one day in Byblos, you need to visit the most popular landmark – the iconic Byblos Castle, also known as the Crusader Castle. This medieval fortress stands proudly on a hill overlooking the ancient city and offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Built by the Crusaders in the 12th century, the castle has witnessed centuries of history and has been remarkably well-preserved.
Climb to the top of the castle for panoramic views of the surrounding area and take a moment to imagine the battles that once took place within its walls. The castle also houses a small museum where you can learn more about Byblos’ history and the different civilizations that have left their mark on the city.
Check Out the Historic Harbor
Byblos ancient harbor has been in use for thousands of years, and it’s still a lively hub of activity today. From here, you can take a boat ride to explore the coastline and enjoy a view of the Byblos attractions from a different perspective.
Enjoy the Charming Streets of Byblos
After visiting the ancient ruins and learning a bit about the town’s history, take a leisurely walk along the enchanting old town of Byblos. Lose yourself in the narrow, cobblestone streets lined with charming traditional houses adorned with colorful flowers. The old town is a maze of winding alleys and hidden corners, each offering a glimpse into the city’s past.
As you stroll through the old town, you’ll pass by quaint cafes, boutique shops, and art galleries showcasing local talent. Stop by the Byblos Wax Museum to learn more about the city’s history through lifelike wax figures or visit the Byblos Fossil Museum to discover the ancient marine fossils that have been found in the area.
Marvel at the St. John Cathedral
Constructed in 1115 by the Crusaders, St. John’s Cathedral stands as a venerable testament to Byblos’ rich historical tapestry. Devoted to the town’s patron saint, St. Jean Mark, who spearheaded the early Christian community in Byblos, the cathedral’s intricate architecture is a harmonious blend of Crusader, Roman, and Byzantine influences. Make sure to explore it from both the outside and inside.
Indulge in the Local Cuisine
No visit to Byblos is complete without savoring the delicious flavors of Lebanese cuisine. The town is renowned for its seafood, and you’ll find a wide range of restaurants offering freshly caught fish prepared in traditional Lebanese style. From grilled fish to seafood platters, the options are endless.
We opted for traditional Lebanese dishes and mezze.
Relax at the Beaches
After a day of exploring, take some time to relax at Byblos Beach. Located just a short distance from the old town, this sandy beach offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Lounge on a sunbed, soak up the sun, and take a refreshing dip in the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Souvenir Shopping in the Souks of Byblos
Finish your one-day Byblos itinerary with a visit to the town’s vibrant souks. The bustling markets are a treasure trove of unique handicrafts, souvenirs, and traditional Lebanese products. From colorful textiles and handwoven rugs to intricate jewelry and spices, you’ll find something to suit every taste and budget. Take your time to explore the narrow alleys and browse through the stalls and don’t forget to haggle for the best prices and take home a piece of Byblos as a memento of your visit.
One day in Byblos is enough to visit all of the town’s highlights. If you prefer, you can even base yourself in Byblos and explore the surrounding area on day trips. However, I would recommend basing yourself in either Beirut or Batroun instead. As the capital city, Beirut is full of interesting places to visit to learn about the country’s history and culture. On the other hand, there is no shortage of things to do in Batroun, another small town situated on the Mediterranean Coast, only 16 km north of Byblos. And last but not least, no matter where you base yourself and which other places you have planned to visit in Lebanon, visiting the Baalbek ruins is an absolute must and a highlight of any trip to the country.
I hope that this article gave you a good overview of how to spend one day in Byblos, Lebanon. If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below, and don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for reading,