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Tyre ruins, Lebanon

One Day Road Trip to South Lebanon: Beirut to Tyre

HomeLebanon Tours
Code: LB103
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If you have one day in Lebanon that you can manage on your own, then you are strongly advised to follow this road trip. Rent a car from the capital Beirut and drive south along Lebanon's western coastline, taking in the sights and visiting two of the most famous ancient Phoenician cities along the route. One is Tyre, a World Heritage site, and the other is Sidon, Lebanon's third-largest city. In just one day, you can see the well-preserved ancient castles and many Roman archaeological sites, and be impressed by the glorious ancient civilization of Lebanon.

► Route: Beirut → Tyre → Maghdoucheh → Sidon → Temple of Eshmun → Beirut
► Duration: 10 hours
► Driving Time: 3 hours
► Driving Distance: 182 km (113 mi)

How to Rent a Car:

It is recommended that you rent a car online before your arrival in Lebanon, or at least visit a local agency a day in advance to confirm your car rental for the next day. It's usually cheaper to book online in advance.

► Recommended Car Rental Brands: Europcar, Green Motion, Alamo, SIXT, AVIS, Enterprise, Dollar, Thrifty, Sicily by Car

► Documents: To hire a car, you need to provide your passport, driver's license and a translation of your driver's license, as well as your credit card.

► Age Requirements: Most car rental companies require the drivers to be between 25 and 60 years old. Additional fees may apply if you are under 25 or over 65.

► Cost: A typical 5-seat car costs around USD 50 to 60 a day. The deposit ranges from USD 500 to 3,000 depending on the car.

Lebanon Traffic Regulations for Your Reference:

1. In Lebanon, vehicles keep to the right. Follow counterclockwise when you come to a roundabout.
2. The speed limit in the cities is 50 km (31 mi) per hour, while the speed limit on rural main roads is 100 km (62 mi) per hour. The fines for speeding are high.
3. All people in the car must wear seat belts, and the violators will be fined.
4. The local drivers often ignore traffic lights or stop signs, so please pay attention to observe carefully and slow down when you meet an intersection or traffic lights.
5. You can park the car on the roadside as long as it does not affect traffic. In the capital Beirut, roadside parking spaces are usually allowed for up to two hours.
6. In case of an accident, dial the emergency number 112.

8:00 – 9:30 Drive from Beirut to Tyre
► Distance: 82 km (51 mi)
► Driving Time: 70 minutes

You’d better get up early in the morning, pick up your car from the rental shop, and leave Beirut at 8:00. Open Google Maps on your phone, set your destination to Tyre Hippodrome to get the best route solution, and off you go. The journey time is about 70 minutes, and with breaks, you can generally arrive before 9:30.

You will follow the Route 51M on the Mediterranean Coast all the way south. The scenery is very beautiful along the coast. You will pass Summer Beach, Mina Beach, Sidon, and Al Farah Beach. You do not need to stop at Sidon. It is more appropriate to visit Sidon on the way back, which you can refer to the schedule below.

9:30 – 12:00 Visit World Heritage Site – Tyre
The ancient Phoenicians once ruled the sea around Tyre, established prosperous colonies, and carried out large-scale maritime trade, making Tyre the most important trading center of the Eastern Mediterranean. The city declined with the Crusades, and now it keeps a lot of Roman ruins including ancient roads, colonnades, and arches.

You are suggested to visit the Al-Bass Archaeological Site and the Tyre Hippodrome first. 
► What to See: Al-Bass was the main entrance to the ancient town of Tyre, including the remains of a cemetery, the Roman Arch of Triumph, and the Tyre Hippodrome which you need to pay special attention to. Dating back to the 2nd century AD, the Tyre Hippodrome has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. With an estimated capacity of 20,000 spectators, it is considered one of the largest and best-preserved hippodrome in the Roman world.
► Opening Hours: 24 hours
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 hour
► Ticket Price: LBP 6,000

Walk 2 minutes west from the Tyre Hippodrome, you’ll arrive at the Ruins of Tyre – Necropolis.
► What to See: The cemetery was discovered in 1962 and consists of hundreds of Roman and Byzantine sarcophagi. The sides and covers of some sarcophagi are decorated with delicate frescoes and bas-reliefs. Some of the gravestones have Greek inscriptions on them, and you can see the names and occupations of the owners, such as ‘a rich purple dye manufacturer’.
► Opening Hours: 8:30 – 19:00
► Telephone Number: +96171428846
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 40 minutes
► Ticket Price: LBP 6,000

Next, take a six or seven minutes’ drive to the Tyre World Heritage Site, where you can have a simple visit of the Ruins of Tyre: The Egyptian Port. Once a great trading center, it is now a fishing port, but you can still see the remains of a 750-metre-long breakwater, and ruins of some ancient buildings. A five-minute walk northeast is the Old Souk's Heritage Square. In the open-air market of Tyre Old Souk, there are many small shops selling vegetables, fish, local snacks, spices, handicrafts, clothes, and souvenirs. If you're interested, you can shop around.
► Opening Hours: 24 hours
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 40 minutes
► Ticket Price: Free
  • Tyre Harbour
    Tyre Harbour
  • Tyre Ruins
    Tyre Ruins
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch Break at Tyre Beach
Head south to the sea and walk 10 minutes southeast along the coastline to reach the Tyre Beach. It's so close, and you can walk or drive. The scenic Tyre Beach is surrounded by many restaurants and cafes. You can find a restaurant here for lunch and try local Lebanese dishes like sfiha, hushwee, and kibbeh. After lunch, you can take a walk on the beach and enjoy the perfect golden sand and clear water.
13:30 – 14:30 Drive to Maghdoucheh to Visit Basilica of Our Lady of Mantara
The return journey north begins in the afternoon, and we suggest you visit Sidon and the small town of Maghdoucheh near it on the way. Drive from Tyre to Maghdoucheh.
► Distance: 40 km (25 mi)
► Driving Time: 40 minutes

Here, you can visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Mantara. This is a beautiful and new church of Holy Mary. With magnificent architectural design and neat interior decoration, it is a wonderful place of Christian pilgrimage.
► Opening Hours: 24 hours
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 20 minutes
► Ticket Price: Free

14:30 – 16:30 Comprehensive tour of the ancient Phoenician city – Sidon
After a short stop in Maghdoucheh, continue driving to Sidon. Open the maps app on your phone, set the destination as Sidon Sea Castle and start navigation. The 8 km (5 mi) road takes 10 minutes.

Sidon, also known as Saida, is the third largest city in Lebanon and the most important and oldest Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast. The core area is the Saida Historical City, a medieval city so well preserved that it is still inhabited today.

Sidon is so small that you can park your car and visit it on foot. Down to the seaside, you can see the Crusaders Sea Castle built in the early 13th century, one of Sidon's most famous historical sites. It was built on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway. You can climb up the castle to enjoy the sea view.
► Opening Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
► Telephone Number: +96171317956
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 30 minutes
► Ticket Price: LBP 4,000

Fishing has always been thriving in Sidon. You can see a lively fish market by the sea. Fresh fish are sold here every morning.
  • Sidon Sea Castle
    Sidon Sea Castle
Walk south and inland for about 10 minutes and you'll see the Dabane Palace.
► What to See: This is a grand Arab-Ottoman-style mansion, built in 1721 by Ali Agha al-Hammud, a famous Sidon architect. The western part was purchased in 1859 by Asin Khlat Debane, the wife of a wealthy sericulture and silk merchant. It has since been known as the Debane Palace. Now it is a museum open to the public.
► Opening Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
► Telephone Number: +9617720110
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 20 minutes
► Ticket Price: LBP 5,000

Just south of the palace, it is the Sidon Souk, a very nice traditional Arab flea market. You can find all kinds of things, such as clothes, souvenirs, local products, and food. It is like a great maze!
► Opening Hours: 24 hours
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 30 minutes
► Ticket Price: Free

South of the souk is the Soap Museum (Musée du Savon). It's a fairly small museum, but very interesting, with exhibits that are well annotated in multiple languages. It was first a soap workshop built by the Hammoud family in the 17th century. Now it showcases the history, development and manufacturing techniques of soap making. Visitors can see how traditional olive oil soap is made and learn about the history of the ‘hammam’ (bathroom). There is a shop in the museum where you can buy soap souvenirs.
► Opening Hours: 8:30 – 17:00
► Telephone Number: +9617733353
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 30 minutes
► Ticket Price: LBP 5,000

End your tour of Sidon by walking past the Great al-Omari Mosque and Khan El Franj in the Old City. Go to the parking lot and prepare to drive out of Sidon.

16:30 – 17:10 Pilgrimage to Temple of Eshmun
Drive 10 minutes north from Sidon to the Temple of Eshmun, 5 km (3.1 mi) away. The temple was once the religious center of Sidon, but is now in ruins. The temple was built of large stones, worshipping Eshmon, the local god of healing and fertility. It's small, but quiet and sacred.
► Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 30 minutes
► Ticket Price: Free

17:10 – 18:00 Return Trip to Beirut
After visiting the temple, you can begin the return trip. Drive from the Temple of Eshmun back to Beirut.
► Distance: 42 km (26 mi)
► Driving Time: 40 minutes

Please return your car to the designated place in Beirut on time and end your wonderful day of driving tour.

► It's the end of a perfect day of road trip in southern Lebanon. If you have more time, you can refer to another road trip and go north to explore Lebanon's World Heritage sites and Roman ruins:
2 Days Driving Tour to North Lebanon: Byblos & Baalbek

► If you lack driving experience or self-guided travel experience, then it is recommended that you book a guided tour:
5 Days Beirut - Jeita - Byblos - Anjar - Baalbek - Sidon - Tyre – Beirut

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