Maybe you should never go to Lebanon. Don’t ever visit that country, unless you are adventurous, a bit daredevil, craving for explore something extraordinary. Lebanon is not for everybody. It’s intensive, diverse, chaotic, unorganized, unique, hiding damn beautiful treasures. If being outside your comfort zone scares you, you probably do not deserve discovering them. But if you are a real traveler, ready to forget your prejudices and go with the flow, then you are going to love that country and people and they will love you.
Anyway, right now I give you an opportunity to stroll the streets of Byblos, one of the most picturesque cities in the Middle East, from the comfort of your home. Here you go, enter the city, whose frequent visitors used to be Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Picture yourself having a meal in one of the fish restaurants with the scenic view at the ancient port. Walk through the Phoenician, Roman and Crusader ruins, Baptist church and mosque, all close to each other.
Sandstone, Pink and Big Blue
Even though I’m half Lebanese, I haven’t lived in Lebanon since my small child age, so it feels rather like a dear holiday destination to me, than home. Nevertheless, every visit helps me to better understand myself.
Could it be a coincidence, that I’m so much obsessed with the color of sandstone? Most of the Lebanese buildings, both, historic and modern, are built of that material. I adore how warm and exotic it looks! It has a therapeutic effect on me. In combination with the flood of pink flowers and the views to the blue sea, Byblos looks nothing but magical.
Only about forty minutes driving from the busy capital, this small, traditionally wealthy coastal town stays incredibly calm and romantic. It has all the qualities of the Mediterranean beautiful cities situated in Southern Europe, plus Byblos benefits from its extra exciting history. After all, it´s known as one of the oldest cities in the world.
When in Byblos
The streets of Byblos are almost empty during hot days, with most of the people staying on the beach, but after dark, they come alive, again. All the restaurants and the stylish open-air bars suddenly fill up with the locals, who soon start to dance to the tones of Arabic and western music. I always dance in Lebanon. No one can get away from that. That music, the atmosphere and people won’t let you stay passive observer.
What to do in Byblos? Enjoy sandy beach, stroll the streets and alleys, discover history, shop at the atmospheric local souks (market), eat in Feniqia restaurant, and iconic Pepe Byblos Fishing Club, party at night. Then repeat it all.
In my opinion, Byblos is an ideal base to stay, when you are in Lebanon. From here, one can quickly reach different parts of the country, discover all other amazing places and then come back to ease up from the hectic roads. It’s definitely a good idea to visit the country in winter, too, as Byblos has one of the most beautiful Christmas tree and city decoration in the world.
Did you enjoy your walk? I hope you did.
OUTFIT: blouse – SheIn, trousers – ZARA, shoes – HUMANIC
© Creative direction, photos and editing: DANIELA RIFAI with an amazing assistance of my mom LUBICA RIFAI