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HOW TO HAVE AN EPIC JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Jordan road trip, cover

TIPS FOR A PERFECT ROAD TRIP IN JORDAN – ITINERARY

A Jordan road trip is one of the best trips you can take in the Middle East. Even as a solo female traveler in Jordan I had a blast and congratulated myself for discovering Jordan by car. The country, the people, the sights, the nature, the food… Road tripping in Jordan was an absolutely amazing experience. Luckily, Jordan is also a very safe destination to visit – this means the conditions are great for an unforgettable road trip.

I came to Jordan right after spending time in Lebanon, and I admit, I was worried that Jordanians would drive like Lebanese people. Luckily, they do not. I could not have driven in Jordan if this had been the case. Actually, this Jordan road trip was so relaxed and fun, that I feel I have to recommend it to anyone.

Joran road trip
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DRIVING TIPS FOR YOUR JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Here is some information about driving in Jordan. While I think, that driving in Jordan is/was quite easy and straightforward you should probably be aware of these things before starting your Jordan road trip.

Driving tips for Jordan
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Rules For Driving in Jordan

  • Drive on the right side.
  • You have to wear a seat belt.
  • Driving age: 18. If you want to rent a car: 25 years old.
  • Bring a driver‘s license when renting a car and a credit card (a deposit is charged most times, but you will get refunded if everything is okay).
  • You are not allowed to throw things out of a car – and compared to many other countries in the Middle East, it actually is quite clean.
  • GPS – I had Google Maps and Here We Go. However, sometimes they did not get me where I wanted to go. Since there are some new streets, both apps had problems guiding me. Overall, they worked well, but not perfectly. Make sure to download an offline map before your trip.
  • Signs are in Arabic and English, so you should be fine understanding directions.
  • You will most likely need to rent a car for the road trip and not drive your own one. When you rent a car, you will get a paper – and if the police give you a fine, it has to be written on that paper, which you have to hand to the rental company when you drop off the car.
  • There are a lot of police stops throughout the country. You could be pulled over at any time, but normally it is fine, and you have to present your papers.
  • P.S. I was pulled over and, apparently, one paper was missing. The rental company did not give it to me. The police handed out a fine but I did not have to pay on the spot. When I gave that fine to the rental company, they said that it would not be a problem and would pay for it… Apparently, they do not always hand over that particular certificate, and so they accept the consequences.
  • Just double-check all the papers when you pick up the car, so you avoid any – unnecessary – problems.
  • Speed limits: Many speed signs will tell you the exact speed limit, but in general: 60 km in cities, 80 km in rural areas, and 120 km on highways.
  • There are speed humps. A lot of them. Many, many of them. They are everywhere. So, always watch out for them because they sometimes even appear out of nowhere – and even if you stick to the speed limit, you very quickly have to sharply reduce your speed if you don’t want your car to be damaged. While speeding in Jordan is less of a problem than in other countries, it sometimes even causes some danger. Anyhow, don’t be surprised by MANY the speed humps.
  • Sometimes, animals are on the street. And sometimes humans are on the street. In the town center near Petra, people sat on the curb (with their legs and feet in the street)… smoking shisha. Some people in groups don’t like to walk behind each other but would rather walk next to each other – even if that means that people walk in the street. So, always watch out.
  • Compared to other countries in the Middle East, driving in Jordan was easy – people mostly stick to their side of the lane. However, never believe that drivers will follow all the rules and drive carefully.
  • Don‘t drink and drive. Unfortunately, this isn’t a global rule (some countries do allow drivers to have a few drinks), but you can’t drive in Jordan if you have had a drink.
  • I saw plenty of petrol/gas stations – however, this does not mean you will find one every 50km. So, whenever you have a longer distance to drive, make sure you refuel your petrol/gas. There is always service, and you can wait in the car while it gets refueled – you have to pay in cash. 
  • Petrol/gas prices are quite affordable – and unlike in Germany, where prices change many times over the course of the day, the prices are more stable and cost about 1€ for 1 liter.
  • One of the reasons I loved Jordan was because of the friendly locals. When I drove through villages and towns, many kids waved at me and were smiling. However, some teenage boys did throw stones at me and my car. My tip: ignore and continue driving when you encounter those teenagers and wave back at the cuties.
  • If you drive at night, double-check your lights as there aren’t many street lights.
  • The King’s Highway: In ancient times, the King’s Highway was a trade route that linked Africa with Mesopotamia. It ran from Egypt to Aqaba, then to Damascus and the Euphrates River. Today, you can still travel along this ancient 280-kilometer-long roadway, passing through tiny villages and mountain towns. Popular attractions include St. George’s Church, the ruins of Mukawir, the site of Umm ar-Rasas, the Crusader castle of Kerak, and Shobak Castle, among many others. This road will also take you from Amman and pass through other popular destinations in Jordan, like Wadi Mujib, Dana National Park, and Petra.
  • Jordan Pass: Most nationalities have to pay for a visa: The Jordan Pass is a pass that you can buy (online or when you arrive in Jordan) and which includes the visa and entry to most attractions in the country. Financially, it makes sense to buy the Jordan Pass if you stay in Jordan for a few days and visit places like Petra or Jerash.
  • Jordan is a very safe country and as a solo female traveler in Jordan, I never had to worry about my safety. Exercise common sense whether you travel alone or not.

10-Day Jordan road trip
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What Car to Rent for Your Road Trip in Jordan

So, for the road trip, you will need a car – obviously. Most likely you have to rent one and here is what to consider before booking a rental car.

  • I picked the smallest car available. However, later in the mountains, I realized that it was challenging for the small car to drive up the mountains. It did a good job after all but from what I know now, I suggest renting probably a medium-sized car.
  • Unless you have a lot of luggage or you are a group of 5 people, you will not need a big car.
  •  A 4-wheel drive is not needed – for a trip to the desert, where 4-wheel drives are essential, I highly suggest, booking a tour.
  • When renting a car, make sure all damages are well recorded when you pick up the car. So, you do not get blamed for damages you did not cause when dropping off the car.
  • TIP: I always get full insurance when renting a car. It is a bit more expensive, but it is less stressful in case anything happens to your car (whether it is your fault or not).  Make sure all papers are complete when picking up the car.
  • Check out rental prices here.

With the above driving tips, you should be fine to drive in Jordan, so let´s talk about your road trip itinerary.

Where to Stay – Road Tripping Jordan

While I have hotel recommendations under each stop, you can also check out my Jordan accommodation guide to find the best areas and hotels in Jordan. Find more general travel tips for Jordan here.

ITINERARY FOR ROAD TRIPPING JORDAN

So, for this Jordan road trip itinerary, you will need a minimum of 5 days. However, 7 or 10 days in Jordan would be much better as you could actually see all places mentioned here.

If you plan a two-week road trip, you will actually have enough time also to rest and relax and spend time at the beach (or in the desert). With a 5-day Jordan road trip, you have to skip two or three places mentioned here. 

Anyway, here are places not to miss when road tripping Jordan.

Jordan Road Trip
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Road Trip Stop 1: Amman

Amman is the capital of Jordan and is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.  Half of the people in Jordan live here – not surprisingly, it is a hectic and exciting place to visit.

I really enjoyed my time there, and I think visiting Amman is one of the best things to do in Jordan. While the city dates back many thousands of years, there is a mix of both ancient and modern architecture.

View from Citadel in Amman
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Amman is teeming with shops, restaurants, and active nightlife and it has a hectic feel as everything always feels like it’s in motion. There are several attractions offered within the city, such as the Roman Amphitheater, downtown Amman with its souks, and the Citadel’s views. 

TIP: I recommend spending one or two days in Amman – and discovering the city WITHOUT a car. It is hectic and busy and parking in the city center is probably a pain. You can get around on foot, take a bus, or an Uber if needed in Amman. Make Amman your starting point of the road trip and pick up the car after your time in Amman.

WHERE TO STAY IN AMMAN

  • I stayed in Nomads Hostel Hotel (and another place that isn’t worth mentioning). It was very conveniently located near Rainbow Street and made it easy for me to connect with other female travelers. The hostel is fun, modern, and clean, with a great location. Check it out here because it surely is a perfect budget accommodation.
  • For a luxury hotel, try The House Boutique Suites, which is also near Rainbow Street (which is probably one of the best places to stay) and offers lots of amenities.  Find out more about the hotel here.

Then head from Amman to Jerash. It takes about 1 hour to get to Jerash and is about 50 km (depending on where you pick up your rental car).

Road Trip Stop 2: Jerash

Dating back almost 6,500 years, Jerash is located just north of Amman and in the northwest part of Jordan – it is a must-see on this road trip.

Jerash Theater in Jordan
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It is one of the best-preserved cities from the Roman Empire’s rule and is truly amazing. Jerash was rediscovered about 70 years ago and got restored and now you can explore many attractions, including the 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch (aka Triumphal Arch), the South Gate, the forum, the hippodrome, the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis, and the Temple of Zeus, among others. The Jerash Archaeological Museum also exhibits its finds for viewing.

  • Entry is free with your Jordan Pass.

TIP: I recommend renting a car now and getting to Jerash by car. Driving from Amman to Jerash is hassle-free. Plan half a day for a trip to Jerash (max. one day if you are really into history) and then head to the Dead Sea.

After a few hours or a full day in Jerash head to the Dead Sea, which is a 1,5 – 2 hours drive (95km).

Road Trip Stop 3: Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is located along the western border of Jordan and is the lowest point on the planet (it is more than 400 meters below sea level). 

Dead Sea, Mövenpick pool with a view
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It is so salty that you cannot swim in it because you only float. And even though you cannot swim there, it is fun to float and also, the mud from the Dead Sea can be used to soften your skin. Even Cleopatra was known to do it. You do not have to believe Cleopatra´s words but I tell you: it really works!

The minerals in the mud make it a natural spa destination, and the beaches are also popular.

Most of the access to the beach (Dead Sea) is private and belongs to the resorts in the area – but there is a public beach to enjoy.

TIP: Many people visit the Dead Sea on their way back to Amman – because this is the place to chill and relax. I did not wait until the end – I was ready for a day in luxury accommodation and wanted to get pampered.

If you plan a 5-day road trip, I would probably just visit for a few hours, but if you road trip Jordan in 7 days, stay a night here and chill before you get to experience some adventure.

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DEAD SEA

  • I stayed at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa. My room was nice but a little outdated, especially in the bathroom, but the bed was comfortable. The hotel was done in the Arabic style which was lovely. Breakfast and dinner were included but you can also book it without any dinner/breakfast/lunch. Check out rates here.
  • The Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Spa is also a good place to stay, situated among beautiful mountain landscapes and offering relaxing spa amenities. It is a bit more expensive than Mövenpick Hotel. Find out more about this luxury hotel here.
  • For a budget option, try the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, a well-rated 4-star hotel with great amenities and private beach access. Find the rates here.

Driving around the Dead Sea is easy and hotels normally offer free parking.

From the Dead Sea to Wadi Mujib, your next destination. It takes about 30 minutes (18 miles/25 km). Wadi Mujib is at the Dead Sea, so this estimation is based on the premise you stay at/near Mövenpick Hotel.

Road Trip Stop 4: Wadi Mujib

Wadi Mujib is a river canyon where the Mujib River empties into the Dead Sea, making the area the lowest nature reserve in the world at 420 meters below sea level.

Wadi Mujib in Jordan is one of the fun places to go in Jordan
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The Wadi Mujib Gorge is a stunning place – you can hike the area, climb stairs under waterfalls, cross through the water, and float in between the gorge. The water is filled with the little fish – and I got my “pedicure” when they were nibbling my skin. This is a very adventurous place to visit and was one of the highlights of my road trip.

TIP: The gorge is closed in the winter. The exact times depend on the actual weather conditions, but it might close in mid-October for a few months. You can get there on your way from the Dead Sea to Dana, and it will take a few hours (or up to a day, depending on which tour you want to do).

There is an entrance fee (not covered by the Jordan Pass) that is about 25€ – you can only pay in cash. You can rent a personal guide – as I did -for another 25€, and it was absolutely amazing. I did the shortest – yet not easiest – hike through the gorge, and it was just better than expected.

I am an active person, though not very sporty, and it was not always easy but definitely doable with the help of a guide. If you are active and fit, you can do it yourself. Bring suitable shoes with you!

TIP: I would try to leave Wadi Mujib at around 3 pm at the latest, so you can experience the sunset at this gorgeous place that I am talking about now.

From Wadi Mujib head south towards Dana Nature Reserve. It takes about 2 hours (150km).

Road Trip Stop 5: Dana

Located between Petra and the Dead Sea, Dana is a lesser-known stop, and many don’t add it to a Jordan road trip but it  features stunning sights.

Dana Nature Reserve at sunset
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The Dana Nature Reserve encompasses about 300km around Dana Village and Wadi Dana. It is inhabited by the Al Atata Tribe, who have been living there for 6,000 years. Popular among hikers, Dana offers many hiking trails. Wadi Dana, a canyon, is also visited for its natural beauty and views. The town of Dana is about 500 years old, and you can see many aspects from the 19th century well-preserved and still present today. 

TIP: This place is a bit more off-the-beaten path. But if you are into hiking or hidden gems, you should not miss out. I am not a hiking fan, but I did a short hike. But most of all, I loved the sunset in Dana. Accommodation here is mostly very basic, yet it is a great place for any Jordan road trip itinerary.

WHERE TO STAY IN DANA

  • I stayed at Al Nawatef Bedouin Camp – an elementary camp. You have shared toilets, and the mattresses were not great. However, I still recommend it because the views are great (and the sunset from here is top!), and the food was great. They also offer guided hiking tours (from a few hours to a 2-day hiking trip). So, I definitely recommend staying here (plus it is very budget-friendly). Check out their rates here.
  • If you are looking for a bit more comfort, you will probably find it at Mount Dana Hotel. You can check out their rates and amenities.

From Dana, it is time to head even further south. It takes about 1 hour to get to Petra from Al Nawatef Bedouin Camp (50km).

Road Trip Stop 6: Petra

Petra is perhaps the most visited place in Jordan. Located in the southwestern part of the country, it was the Nabatean kingdom’s prosperous capital around 1 BC.

Petra, Treasury_
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It flourished under Roman rule but was then destroyed by an earthquake in 4 AD. Only the Bedouins remained after that until a Swiss explorer re-discovered it in the 19th century. Some attractions in Petra are the Siq, the Theater, the Treasury (Al Khazna), the Monastery (Ad Deir), the Royal Tombs, and Colonnade Street. You can also visit a nearby Nabatean site that was built around the same time as Petra.

TIP: Petra is huge…I am serious. You can’t see it in a few hours. You will be able to the Siq and the Treasury, but you won’t see the main attractions. You would need more than a day for all that. I booked a 3-day pass with my Jordan Pass, but I only visited on two days because I somehow felt it gets repetitive (apps, yes, I said it), and some places looked similar.

There is a lot of walking, and some hiking included – wear comfy shoes and never, never ride a donkey because they are terribly treated (from what I saw). If you need a ride, you can take an electric minibus for some parts. Even though the buses don’t take you up all the way to mountain peaks, I guess it is not an option to ride a donkey.

Petra By Night was a little disappointing – too many people, too loud, and too short. It wasn’t worth the money, in my opinion (and it is not covered with the Jordan Pass).

WHERE TO STAY IN PETRA

  • A beautiful place to stay near Petra is the Hayat Zaman Hotel And Resort Petra. It is a beautiful luxury hotel about 15 minutes drive from Petra. It was my favorite place to stay in Jordan. It is a great choice if you don’t have to watch your budget closely. Check out the hotel here.
  • You can stay in Wadi Musa at the Cleopatra Hotel for a cheaper option, which is only 2 km away from Petra. It is a simple place to stay but was fine for the 2 nights I stayed there as it is close to the main attractions. Read more about the hotel here.

From Petra, head to the next stunning place in Jordan – Wadi Rum. It takes about 90minutes (100km) to get to Wadi Rum (Visitor Center).

Road Trip Stop 7: Wadi Rum

There is absolutely no way to skip Wadi Rum on your Jordan road trip. Wadi Rum, also known as Valley of the Moon, was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural and natural significance.

Wadi Rum on Jordan itinerary
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Inhabited by the Nabataeans in prehistoric times, this area has a unique landscape and stunning views. It is also the largest wadi in Jordan. It is famous for its red-pink desert sands, natural arches, mountains, and prehistoric rock engravings.

Wadi Rum also became well-known as a filming location for movies, such as Lawrence of Arabia. Other attractions include the Burdah Rock Bridge, Al Hasany Dunes, and the Khazali Siq.

TIP: I suggest staying at least one night in Wadi Rum. Most other visitors only come for a day (for a few hours), but they miss out on a magical night. There are several camps and it was amazing. Basically, all camps offer tours for the day. And you have dinner/breakfast and lunch if you stay with them overnight and book a tour.

You should not drive your own car in the desert. The desert is huge, and you would need a 4-wheel drive and have at least some experience driving in sand. You can leave your car at the visitor center and then will be picked up from the company you booked the tour/accommodation with. It sounds complicated but is quite easy if you book in advance.

WHERE TO STAY IN WADI RUM

  • I stayed in an excellent camp, but it seems the owner has some troubles with the police and it was closed?! I am not sure, but you cannot book it anymore, and the last review looked like this. Anyhow, you should not worry.
  • Make sure that you ask about the tours once you have your accommodation booked. This camp looks pretty similar to the camp I stayed at, and they also offer tours, so once you have your night booked, then email them and ask about tours.
  • Check out this luxury camp that offers beautiful rooms with great views.

From Wadi Rum you could either head back to Amman or get to Aqaba. Aqaba is in the very south and it takes about 1 hour (60 km) to get there from Wadi Rum Visitor Center. 

Road Trip Stop 8: Aqaba

Located in the southern part of Jordan, Aqaba is the only coastal city in the country. This port city is situated off the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea.

Reiseuhu unsplash, Aqaba in Jordan
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It is a popular destination for those who enjoy diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, and other water sports. It also has a rich history, dating back to 4,000 BC when it was first inhabited. Some attractions to see here are the Yamanieh coral reef and the Aqaba Fort. There are many beach resorts here as well, but this city generally attracts lovers of water sports.

Since I, personally, had not added Aqaba to my road trip, I actually can’t say much as I am not into diving and am also not a beach person. 

WHERE TO STAY IN AQABA

  • For accommodations, you can stay at Al Manara Hotel in Aqaba, a luxury resort highly rated for its location, service, and amenities.
  • A more mid-range hotel would be the Lacosta Hotel, close to the beach and other attractions and often includes breakfast.
  • A budget option would be the Amir Palace Hotel, a charming boutique hotel in the city center.

TIP: This could be your last stop – and from here, you could head back to Amman or continue your journey (many visit Israel afterward). If you go back straight to Amman it will take around 5-6 hours (330 km). 

Road Trip Stop 9: Amman

Aqaba – or Wadi Rum – is quite far from Amman. If your flight is from Amman, it is time to head back north. It takes time, so make sure to leave early – or better, book your last night in Amman, so you don’t have to stress.

As great as driving in Jordan is, it always can happen that something happens with your car or streets are closed, so plan in enough time for the drive back.

PLACES TO STAY IN AMMAN

Though I mentioned it above, here are three places that are probably great fits for all budgets.

  • Nomads Hostel Hotel: Check it out here because it surely is a perfect budget accommodation.
  • Albasem Hotel is well-rated and centrally located. Check out rates and availabilities here.
  • The House Boutique Suites is also near Rainbow Street (which is probably one of the best places to stay) and offers lots of amenities.  Find out more about the hotel here.

FINAL THOUGHTS OF MY JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Jordan is such an amazing country. Unfortunately, public transportation is not great, so the best way to experience Jordia is on a road trip. As mentioned, I traveled as a solo female traveler and I loved it! So, whether you plan a road trip in Jordan by yourself, with friends or family, or alone – just do it. Jordanians are very relaxed, friendly, and always happy to help and I am sure you will have a great time!

Stay safe and have great travels!

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Safe Travels, Arzo
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BEST THINGS TO DO IN 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL – ITINERARY

best things to do in Istanbul in 2 days, itinerary

WHAT TO DO IN ISTANBUL IN 2 DAYS

Are you headed to Istanbul and wondering about the best 2-day in Istanbul itinerary? If you want to find out about the best things to do in 2 days in Istanbul, read on because I am happy to share my travel tips. 

Istanbul is one of the most unique cities in the world – which other city is spread over two continents? But that is not the only reason to visit this fun city.

Istanbul is a city that offers many historical and religious sites – but is also rich in modern sights and has the cutest cafes and restaurants, which also translates into fun nightlife.

Of course, I do not want to forget to mention the extremely delicious food (that also caters to vegetarians and vegans) – so with 2 days in Istanbul, you can experience one of the most exciting cities in Europe (or Asia).

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ISTANBUL ITINERARY

Here are some quick travel tips before we talk about your 2-day Istanbul itinerary.

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Istanbul itinerary for 2 days

How to Get to the City Center From the Airport

The main one, the Atatürk Airport, closed and the new main airport just opened in 2019. If you arrive at the new Istanbul Airport you can easily take the airport shuttle to get to the city center. 

  • Whichever of the two main tourist areas – Sultanahmet or Taksim – you choose, the shuttle bus gets you there for around 3€ one way. The buses are modern, clean, and the ride is quite comfortable. Once you arrive at the bus station, you might have to walk to your accommodations, or you can then take a taxi.
  • Some taxis are waiting just outside, or you can book a private pick-up service in advance.
  • You could rent a car at the airport and drive yourself. However, for this 2-day Istanbul itinerary, driving will not be the best option for getting around.

Getting Around Istanbul in Two Days

Getting to/from the airport is easy via the shuttle bus. However, what is the best way to get around in Istanbul itself if you stay for 2 days?

  • Well, most of the time, walking is the best option. I walked a lot – but I am also very used to walking long distances. Wearing comfortable shoes is just the most important thing when I walk a lot. 
  • The tram and metro are affordable and reliable and good options if you get tired or do not want to walk that much. For this itinerary, you will not need them often but only if you get from one neighborhood to the other.
  • I normally avoid taxis but I just took a taxi for 2km because this itinerary is quite busy and walking can be exhausting. If you use a taxi, here are some tips to avoid scams: Only take official taxis, they are painted yellow and are named “Taksi ” and make sure that the counter is on once you are in the taxi. I showed the taxi driver my location on Google maps on my phone and also could see if he uses the shortest way possible. However, you can avoid taxis, and will be fine to get around on foot, and public transportation.
  • Renting a car is – in my opinion – a bad idea. There is traffic, the city center is crazy and most places can easily be reached on foot so you avoid headaches if you do not drive yourself.
  • Boat cruises in Istanbul are also a good mode of transportation to see the city – and it is part of this itinerary so you will find out more about it later on.

Where to Stay in Istanbul for 2 Days

I recommend staying in Sultanahmet, which is the old part of Istanbul. I booked two different hotels, and both of them were close to Sultan Ahmad Square.

  • My tip: Hotel Poem is a small but lovely boutique hotel with friendly staff and a great breakfast! Check out rates here and book before it is fully booked (it is quite small). 
  • Hotel Spectra Sultanahmad is another option. I booked it just for the views from the breakfast room, and those views did not disappoint. Find out more about this hotel here.
  • If you are a hostel person and are looking for a good hostel in Istanbul, this place might be a perfect fit for you.

Blue Musque view

Best Time to Visit Istanbul For 2 Days

Istanbul is a popular travel destination all year round. Expect a lot of crowds in the summer months. If you can, pick spring or fall for your trip to Istanbul though winter in Istanbul might also be a fun time to visit.

Solo Female Travel Tips For Istanbul

  • I traveled to Istanbul by myself. My Turkish Airlines flight – without any explanation – arrived more than 2 hours late in Istanbul, so I arrived in the middle of the night. I took the airport shuttle and just had to walk a few hundred meters to my hotel – at that moment, it felt uncomfortable. It was raining, it was cold, it was dark, and there were not many people around. BUT that was the only short moment I felt uncomfortable. I think Istanbul, overall, is a safe place to visit as a solo female traveler. Since so many people visit Istanbul you don’t stand out from the crowds when traveling alone. If you exercise common sense, there is no reason not to travel alone in Istanbul.
  • Be aware of your political statements, democracy is going downhill in the country.
  • People are friendly and nice, and it is easy to do small talking to locals (if they speak English).
  • There is so much to do – even solo – that I did not have time to feel bored.

PLACES TO VISIT IN 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

Without further ado, here is how to spend 2 days in Istanbul.

TIP: You might want to check out the Museum Card if you plan to visit many attractions as it could save some money. However, you normally will not be able to skip the lines with the card.

DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

I recommend exploring Sultanahmet – the old town – only and visiting the main attractions here for the first day. 

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

One of the top places to visit in Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia was a Christian Cathedral commissioned by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. But it did not stay a mosque for long. After 1935 it was converted to a museum (on Atatrürk´s order). But guess what? It has become a mosque again in late 2020.

So, even loud protests by many could not stop the religious and conservative Turkish government from converting it. Especially, because Hagia Sophia has been a Unesco World Heritage site since 1985 and UNESCO must be given prior notice of any modifications. So, the status of the World Heritage Site is now evaluated and we´ll have to wait for the result.

As a museum, it was one of the busiest places in the city – long queues were the result. I haven’t seen what the situation is like since it became a mosque again. Regardless of the lines, I recommend visiting it as it is a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture.

Hagia Sophia, view from the upper gallery is one of the best things to do in 48 hours in Istanbul
@shutterstock

TIPS FOR VISITING HAGIA SOPHIA

  • Entry is free now
  • Open every day – 24 hours a day
  • Open to Muslims and Non-Muslims
  • Remove your shoes before entering the mosque
  • Dress moderately (scarves for women, cover your arms and legs for men and women)
  • If possible avoid weekends & Friday prayer at noon because it will be more crowded with the locals
  • Tours are available (for a fee)
  • You will probably need around 60-90 minutes for Hagia Sophia

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque)

Then you should visit the Blue Mosque – another mosque just next to the Hagia Sophia.

Blue Mosque, (Sultanahmet Camii), Istanbul one of the most beautiful places
@shutterstock

The Blue Mosque was completed in 1616 and is beautiful inside and out. While it actually is not really blue from the outside, it has 20,000 handmade mosaic blue tiles surrounding the walls of the interior, which is where it derives its name.

Interior of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul is a must-see in 2 days
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The Blue Mosque was built to rival Hagia Sophia, and I must say, from the outside, it is surely more impressive and stunning than the neighboring building. Visit the Blue Mosque website and check the prayer times.

TIPS FOR VISITING THE BLUE MOSQUE

  • Entry is free
  • Open every day – 24 hours a day
  • Open to Muslims and Non-Muslims (it’s closed to non-worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers)
  • Remove your shoes before entering the mosque
  • Dress moderately (scarves for women, cover your arms and legs for men and women)
  • If possible avoid weekends & Friday prayer at noon because it will be more crowded with the locals
  • You will probably need around 20-60 minutes for the Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmet Square

2 days in Istanbul will most likely be quite stressful, so plan in enough short breaks here and there. After visiting the Blue Mosque, it is time for such a break.

Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmed Square in Istanbul is a must for a 2-day itinerary
@shutterstock

The two main attractions mentioned earlier are located on Sultanahmet Square – one of the major public areas in Istanbul. I loved Sultanahmet Square! As busy as it is, it is also pretty and a great place to sit down and watch people.Snacks in Istanbul

Also, the little snack stalls that offer delicious snacks, like corncobs and chestnuts, are amazing (and also quite affordable for most foreign tourists)… I could have snacked and watched people all day, but there is more to do and see.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapı Palace is the next major attraction to visit. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and was built in the 15th century of the Ottoman period. It was used for the longest time as a royal palace and was the residence of Ottoman sultans and the center of state management and education.

Topkapi-Palasce is one of the best things to see in 2 days in Istanbul
@shutterstock

The palace covers around 700,000 square meters, most of which are actually the Royal Gardens (Hasbahçe). 

It is a museum now and one of the best places to learn about its history as you’ll find many weapons, porcelain, Islamic manuscripts, Ottoman treasures and jewelry, and more that date back to those times. There is also an extra section with the Harem – it is where the wives and concubines of the sultans lived.

Given its size and importance, it can take several hours to go through the palace.

TIPS FOR VISITING TOPKAPI PALACE

  • Open every day except Tuesdays
  • The museum pass is accepted
  • An admission ticket without a Museum Pass is 100 TL – but you can buy skip-the-line tickets for this one as well. Check them out here
  • To see the Harem you have to pay an extra fee of about 70 TL.
  • Plan in between 2-4 hours for visiting Topkapi Palace

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is a popular sight close to the main attractions mentioned above.

The Basilica Cistern, (Yerebatan), Istanbul, Turkey is one of the best places to see in 2 days
@shutterstock

Cisterns were built all around the city to meet the population’s water requirement – in the case of a siege. The Basilica Cistern was the largest in Istanbul, providing water to the Tokpaki Palace and other buildings in the area. Check out skip-the-line tickets here.

TIPS FOR VISITING BASILICA CISTERN

  • The entrance fee is 20 TL
  • Open 7 days a week between 09.00 – 5.30 pm
  • You will need about 30-90 minutes to see the Basilica Cistern

If you visit all places mentioned above, you will have a busy first day in Istanbul and you might want to have dinner and end your day. There are more attractions are located on Ahmed Sultan Square. It is easy to see them on the first day, and it does not take much time, so you will probably more or less pass them.

The Fountain of Ahmed III

One of the other things to see in Istanbul is the Fountain of Ahmed III located on Ahmed Sultan Square.Fountain in Istanbul in 2 days

It was built in the 18th century and is known as one of the most beautiful samples of Turkish rococo styles.

Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed

You can also visit the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed – the construction of the Mausoleum started shortly after his death in the 17th century.

  • It is free to visit (but dress accordingly and be respectful when visiting).

Bosphorus Cruise

Depending on how fast you have been, you could then end your day at the Bosphorus River on day one or start your second day here. Bospherus in Istanbul itineraryI loved this area in particular – it is busy, and it was here that I first got a feel for how big Istanbul actually is. 

If you are like me, you will enjoy hopping on a boat/ferry and seeing Istanbul from a different perspective. Those Bosporus boat cruises take a couple of hours and so it is nothing to squeeze in quickly.

  • You can buy tickets on the spot if you like or check out prices here and book in advance.
  • If you want to book a Bosphorus boat cruise with dinner and entertainment, click here.

Extra: Sulemaniye Mosque 

The Süleymaniye Mosque is another well-known mosque in Istanbul and is actually the largest mosque in the city. It is located on the Third Hill of the city, near Istanbul University, and if you have some free time on your hands, then check out this mosque, too.

DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

After a busy day 1 in Istanbul, it is time to continue your 2-day Istanbul trip.

Grand Bazaar

Of course, you have to visit the Grand Bazaar. But a word of warning: if you visit at the wrong time, it is crazy and hectic and crowded. After checking out the Grand Bazaar, I needed to sit down and take a looooong break.

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the best places to visit in 2 daysBut given its size, it is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, with around 30,700 square meters with 61 covered streets, and over 4,000 shops and restaurants. It is great for buying souvenirs and little presents – and gold and other jewelry. You can basically shop till you drop.

TIPS FOR VISITING THE GRAND BAZAAR:

  • Open every day from 9 am to 7 pm, except Sundays
  • Depending on which streets you visit, you might have to pass a security check
  • Definitely haggle and do not accept prices immediately (you might get “discounts” of 30-50%)
  • Plan in between 1-4 hours for the Grand Bazar

Galata Bridge

After the Grand Bazar, it is time to visit another area of Istanbul. It is time to cross the Galata Bridge. Istanbul from Galata Bridge view_However, I suggest spending some time at the Bosporus River as well. I already recommended a Bosporus cruise for day 1 and now, it is about relaxing and watching people before crossing the bridge. 

You could take the tram (or do a boat ride), but I recommend walking towards Beyoglu from the Old Town. Make sure to look back because the views are gorgeous. You will then arrive in a hipster area of Istanbul – Beyoglu.

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is one of the main landmarks in Beyoglu. The 66-meter-high medieval stone tower – sitting on a hill about 38 meters above sea level – offers panoramic views over Istanbul. 

I did not get up there myself though because the lines…the lines were long and so I skipped it.Gelata Tower, Istanbul in 2 days, ARZO TRAVELS

The tower was built in the 14th century as an addition to the Galata Wall for defense purposes and was the Galata Walls’ main tower. It also served as a dungeon for slaves before being converted to a depot for the boatyard. There was such a fun and relaxed vibe here that you should not miss out on this area – Even if you don’t climb the stairs to enjoy the views.

TIPS FOR VISITING GALATA TOWER:

  • Entrance Fee: 30 TL
  • Opening hours: 1 April – 1 November from 8:30 am until midnight and from 1 November – 1 April from 10:00 am to 8 pm
  • Two elevators take you to the top – or you climb the 146 stairs
  • There is also a cafe and restaurant at the top

Beyoglu 

After that, you can have lunch or just a coffee – food and drinks are reasonably priced in Beyoglu, and the cafes are the cutest I have seen in Istanbul (there are indoor and outdoor cafes). Cute cafe in Istanbul is one of the top things to see in 2 daysIt has a bit of a hipster feel, but it still felt authentic, and I would make sure to plan in enough time to spend some here. Plus, you might get lucky and have some great live music playing somewhere nearby.Fruits in Istanbul

Tram

There is an old red tram – similar to the ones in San Francisco – that you can use for a small amount (less than 1€). It will take you all the way up to Taksim Square and back (you need a separate ticket for each ride). Iconic red tram in Istanbul

I hopped on it, but it was so busy that I did not find a seat and was squeezed in with many others. So, my tip is to make sure to wait for the tram and be on time, so you can be one of the first to get in, grabbing a seat and having better views.

It will be almost impossible on a busy day to take a picture of the tram without tons of people standing in front of it! They all want a souvenir picture.

Istiklal Street

As I was visiting Istiklal Street on a Saturday, I experienced the busiest shopping street I have ever seen – probably. This long shopping street, pedestrian and tram only, is a hectic and bustling place with many international shops. 

Personally, it was not my favorite place in Istanbul – if you are into shopping, then this is the place to see. If you aren’t, you could skip it.

Taksim Square

Taksim is the heart of modern Istanbul and is probably best known at the moment as the place where the demonstrations against the current president, Erdogan, started.

However, it is also where all the fancier restaurants, shops, and hotels are, but apart from that, there are not that many interesting sights or attractions. It is not really a must-see place with only 48 hours in Istanbul in terms of attractions, but due to the place’s importance, I have still added it to this Istanbul itinerary.

From there, you can either take the tram back to Beyoglu and end your day there.

Alternatively, you can take the underground and go back to Gelata Bridge, and then either walk back to Sultanahmad or end your day at the Bosporus. I loved the numerous cafes and restaurants in Sultanahmet.

So, if you had lunch in Beyuglou already, then I suggest having dinner in one of the many cafes or restaurants in the old town of the city.

Hammam

Extra: If you have time and want to relax, I definitely suggest visiting a Turkish Hamman.

While I have not visited any in Istanbul, I did on other Turkey trips and highly recommended them. Because 2 days in Istanbul can be crazy and hectic, what better way is there to relax and enjoy than in a Turkish bath where you can end your day with a relaxing massage? 

THOUGHTS ABOUT VISITING ISTANBUL IN TWO DAYS

I think 2 days in Istanbul is a good (and the minimum) amount to spend in the city. Whether you are a solo traveler, traveling with your partner, friends, or family, Istanbul will not be boring.

2 days in Istanbul will be fun and exciting – the city is so vibrant and interesting. You will not be able to see all of the highlights, but you will get a good idea and cover the main attractions.Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN LEBANON – AN EPIC ITINERARY

Best places to visit and things to do in Lebanon in 5 days, itinerary

5 DAYS IN LEBANON – WHERE TO GO

Are you planning your Lebanon itinerary and wondering about the best places to visit in Lebanon in a few days? This post will help you find out about the top Lebanon attractions to visit + more travel tips.

An often overlooked but definitely great travel destination in the Middle East is the small country of Lebanon. It is a beautiful, small country with friendly people, ancient sights, modern cities, cute villages, pretty landscapes, and wild nightlife – that is what you can expect.

UPDATE 2022: THE SITUATION IN LEBANON IS VERY DIFFICULT RIGHT NOW. WHILE THE WHOLE WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN, THE SITUATION IN LEBANON IS EVEN MORE DRAMATIC. I DO NOT RECOMMEND VISITING AT THE MOMENT, AND RATHER USE THIS POST AS INSPIRATION.

Since I am from Germany, I have always been around Lebanese people, but the country had never been really high on my bucket list. Eventually, though, I added it to the list and went for about a week, and before, I then went to Jordan.

And what can I say? Lebanon was a fun place to visit and exceeded my expectations. I did not know what to expect as a solo female traveler. But it turned out to be fine, and there is no reason to worry. Lebanon is, in general, a safe travel destination – even for solo female travelers. But of course, for other kinds of travelers, too.

Was everything perfect? No, for sure not. Was it still fun? Yes, definitely. 

A bit crazy, hectic, and chaotic – here is what to expect when visiting Lebanon. Find out where to go and what to see in only 5 days in Lebanon. While I wished that I had two more days (I think that 7 days in Lebanon would be awesome), I got a good glimpse of the country and got to see some wonderful places – and so can you with less than one week.Lebanon with Arzo Travels

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR LEBANON ITINERARY

Before talking about the best places to visit in Lebanon in 5 days (or so), here are some travel tips.

How to Get to Lebanon

I suggest flying into Beirut. There are many flights from Istanbul and other countries in the Middle East, and it allows you to combine your trip easily with a trip to Jordan, Istanbul, or other nearby destinations.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

How to Get Around in Lebanon

CAR

  • If you are brave, you can rent a car and explore Lebanon on your own.
  • However, driving in Lebanon seems very crazy because I experienced it as crazy, hectic, and wild, where drivers make their own rules.
  • This did not only apply to Beirut but also to many other places. Streets are always crowded, and an extra car would only add to the pollution (which is a big problem in the country).

However, the alternatives are not perfect, but there are some fun other ways to get around.

MINIBUSSES

I mostly used the minibusses to get around.

  • There are some newer ones (as you can see in the picture) and some which were really old.
  • In general, they are for sure not fancy, and the drives were insane in some parts, but they were fun.
  • Yes, there were times, I was, legitimately, scared for my life – even though I was just a passenger – but in the end, it all went well.
  • And in the end, I did not have to worry about driving myself.
  •  Whether I went to Baalbeck, Byblos, or Tyre, it was possible to go in the small buses to many destinations in Lebanon and get around for very little money.

UBER / TAXI

  • There are also Uber and taxis available, but I suggest only using Ubers in Lebanon if needed.  My first time using Uber was in Lebanon, actually. I did not use them often, but I liked Uber. There are plenty of Ubers available, and you do not have to worry about being ripped off.
  • Taxis can be tricky – I used them twice. Once from the airport to the city center (not a pleasant experience) and once I got on a very old Mercedes with an older taxi driver. We discussed the fare in advance and that was a good deal (you should be aware of the distances).

Where to Stay in Lebanon

For this itinerary, I suggest staying in Beirut most of the time. Lebanon is small but stretched, and Beirut is quite centrally located.

I did only day trips (using minibusses for most of the day tours). Getting around in Lebanon is time-consuming, and even an 80-km drive can take up to 3 hours. Still, you will also get to see different landscapes and do not have to worry about checking in and checking out all the time.

However, if you stay for more than 5 days in Lebanon, it might make sense to book one or two nights near Byblos and do a few trips from there, so you avoid too much driving.

  • I stayed in a hostel/hotel in Hamra – a popular district in Beirut. There are dorms, but you can also book private rooms. The great thing about this hostel is that it has a pool on the rooftop. Check out rates at Hamra Urban Gardens.
  • If you are looking for luxury accommodation, you might want to check out Four Seasons Hotel Beirut. It comes with a great location, and the views from the rooftop are great!

What to Eat in Lebanon

The good news: Lebanon is foodie heaven!

Whether you are a meat-lover or a vegan, this country has amazing cuisine. So, as someone who eats veganish (and strictly vegetarian), I was in heaven. All the delicious food was to dream off. Of course, there are falafel & hummus and the fresh Fattoush salad, but there was so much more to eat and enjoy.

Lebanese food in Beirut

It is more diverse than in many other countries in the Middle East. Though I love Arabic food in general, Lebanon has probably one of the best cuisines in the world, so plan in enough time for enjoying some good food..

Safety in Lebanon

I am generally cautious but did not feel the need to take extra precautions. Despite its very complicated history (and present), it is a safe destination to visit (INFO: SITUATION MIGHT HAVE CHANGED IN 2022)

However, if you visit these days, there might be some demonstrations and problems. 

If you stay in a hotel/hostel, you will not be strongly affected by regular blackouts (even though there are many).

Also, not all public services function properly, like waste collection. I must say that Lebanon is – unfortunately – very dirty in many parts, and you will see tons of trash everywhere. However, I doubt that this is the result of the irregular waste collection, but more from people just littering wherever they go.

BEST PLACES TO SEE IN IN LEBANON IN 5 DAYS

Let´s start with the capital of the country: Beirut.

Beirut – 2 Days

My tip is to spend 1.5 or two days in Beirut and explore the gems of the city. Though Beirut is the capital, it is still quite small, and with 2 days, you will have time to see the main attractions and places. 

I love Beirut, Lebanon

My tip for the first day (especially if you do not have a full day) is to visit the American University first and explore this area for an hour or so before heading to the Rauche Rocks (for the sunset), and then having dinner/drinks there before strolling the promenade. Start this day slowly and prepare for a busy day 2.

If you have more time on your hands, visit Hamra – a popular busy area with many cafes and shops. This is also a good place to visit in the evening.  

Beirut attractions
Sursock Museum

Neighborhood in Beirut

Day 2 in Beirut will be busier. Start at the Sursock Museum and then walk down and visit the St. Nicolas Stairs, the St. Elian & Gregory Cathedral, and Beirut Souks, and stroll the Gemayzeh area – this is also a lovely area to have lunch or dinner.

Beirut attractions, Raouche
Raouche in Beirut

Then, make sure to visit Zaitunay Bay and stroll Beirut´s Marina, where you will find – besides yachts – a lot of restaurants, too.

The most stunning building in Beirut is the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque.

  • Make sure to not only admire the architecture from outside but also pay a visit inside.
  • The entrance is free,
  • and you do get something to cover yourself up with if you are not dressed appropriately. 

Mohammad Am Amin Mosque in Beirut

Lebanon mosque in BeirutThere are also a few churches in the area that you can visit. Next to the mosque, you will also find the Roman Baths Gardens that you can visit (it does not take much time, though).

Beirut is one of the very best places to go out – even I went to a club. Okay, it was during the week, and there was not that much going on, but if you want to experience the infamous nightlife in Beirut, visit during the weekends. There are many rooftop bars and clubs where you can dance the night away.

Balbeeck – 1 Day

Plan one day for visiting Baalbeck. Baalbeck is Lebanon‘s greatest Roman treasure. Actually, it is the largest Roman temple ever built and still very well-preserved, even though it has suffered from theft, war, and earthquakes.

Thanks to the efforts of archaeologists, it is still in great condition. So it does not surprise it is actually quite busy because many people want to see this exquisite place. 

There are quite a few sights, including Jupiter Temple, Bacchus Temple, and Venus Temple, so make sure to plan some time to explore them. Yes, we all know the Acropolis in Athens. Still, Balbeeck is actually way more impressive.

  • Getting there is time-consuming but worth it
  • Either take a minibus (we had to change buses once, and it took more than 2.5 hours in total, but it was an interesting ride), join an organized group, or hire a car and get there yourself. 
  • In early July through August, there is an international festival held in Balbeeck.

Jeita Grotto – Harissa – Byblos – 1 Day

My favorite day was when I visited these three spots in one day because they are some of the best places to visit in Lebanon.

Many tour operators offer tours to these places in one day, and it is definitely doable. 

One of the girls I met at the hostel where I stayed and mostly used minibusses to get around (but also Uber and a taxi). It saved us tons of money this way – and it was fun!

Jeita Grotto

The first stop is probably Jeita Grotto, which is less than 20 km north of Beirut. The Jeita Grotto is a system of two separate, but interconnected, karstic limestone caves spanning an overall length of nearly 9 kilometers. 

I am surely no expert on visiting caves, but I have seen a few over the years – and these were my favorites.

Unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures. I am repeating myself – it is one of the best places to visit in Lebanon.Cable Cars in Jeita Grotto in Lebanon

This limestone cave is imposing, and it exceeded my expectations. The grotto was discovered in 1836 by an American and opened in 1958 (Lower Grotto) and 1969 (Upper Grotto).

UPPER GROTTO

  • After a scenic drive (Uber) from Beirut, you can get out at the funicular station. 
  • Buy your ticket (cash only) for a bit more than 11€, and then you can use the funicular to go up.
  • It is a very short ride up, and once there, you can explore the Upper Grotto. 
  • Over a distance of 700 meters – which is open to the public – you’ll find many lime formations, which come in all kinds of sizes and shapes. 
  • If you look closely, you’ll find many different “animals,“ “vegetables,“ and more.
  • It did not take us too long to go through, and after probably less than 30 minutes, we were walking out and walking down to the Lower Grotto.

LOWER GROTTO

  • At the Lower Grotto, you can do a short boat ride over a distance of 400 meters. Don´t worry – you don’t have to row yourself. Just sit down and enjoy the short electro ride. 
  • It is quite chilly inside, so bring a pullover with you (around 16 degrees Celsius).

All those activities are included in the ticket price (funicular, Lower and Upper Grotto, and a ride on the mini train, which I did not use).

A documentary is also shown in different languages. We missed the English version and would have had to wait for a few hours for the next one. So, if you want to watch it, ask for the times beforehand.

The whole tour took less than one hour, and on the way to the car park, we also spent time in the pretty gardens on the property.

Jounieh / Harissa – Téléférique 

At the car park, we took a taxi. We were approached by many people and ended up with an older driver in a very ancient but cool taxi that brought us to Harissa – Téléférique. Old Taxi in LebanonWe paid around 12€, but you could probably haggle and get a better price (but I did not feel the need to haggle with this older man).

One of the best tourist attractions in Lebanon is going up via the Téléférique.

The Téléférique leaves a few kilometers north of the old center of Jounieh, and you have beautiful views already on the cable car ride up. The views get even better once you have arrived in Harissa. I have never seen cable cars riding so close to house buildings (and I am an expert in cable car riding). View from Harissa TeleferiqueYou could hike up or drive up, but why not take the cable car and enjoy the ride? Especially given the affordable prices for the cable car (less than 7€ for a 2-way ticket) and the views along the way, I do recommend hopping on a capsule. 

I am all about the views, and here you can probably experience some of the country’s best views.

Also, you’ll find the Our Lady of Lebanon here. A bronze, white-painted, 13-ton statue of the Virgin Lady that has become a popular place for religious people. Our Lady in Lebanon StatuOnce you get out of the cable car, you need to walk a few minutes and then climb a few steps to enjoy the views.Harissa from above

There are several cafes/restaurants with good views and also playgrounds if you visit Lebanon.

Byblos

From Harissa, we took a minibus and headed to Byblos.

Byblos was another of my favorite places to visit in Lebanon. It is a charming little village with a long history. Located about 40 kilometers north of Beirut, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – with over 7,000 years of history. It received UNESCO World Heritage Status in the 1980s. 

Byblos old town in Lebanon is a must-see in 5 days

The minibusses leave from the highway, so you need to get there to take them. Unfortunately, I did not save the exact location, but if you ask for the minibus to Byblos, locals might help you.

Vegan food in Lebanon

I am all about cute cafes, narrow streets, and pretty views, and I found all of that in Byblos. The village is small, and we strolled Byblos for around 2 or 3 hours before having an early dinner. 

Byblos old town is one of the most beautiful places to seeHowever, I would not have minded staying longer. Not because I felt that I missed out on something, but because I liked the relaxed vibe… and because Byblos is so over-the-top cute!

Check out the ancient fishing harbor, the small but pretty historical center with its narrow streets and small shops. Make sure to stroll the side streets for the cute cafes.

Visit the archaeological sites, like Crusader Castle, where you can find out more about its history and have lovely views, or St. John the Baptist Church (Eglise St. Jean-Marc).Byblos views

If you‘re in Lebanon for just 5 days – or something like that – 1 day is definitely enough to see the before-mentioned 3 places in one day.

Yes, it might be a busy day (whether you join guided tours or organize it yourself), but it is worth the hassle. This day was my favorite day in Lebanon.

Tyre – 1 Day

You should add at least one day in the south of the country to your Lebanon itinerary. I opted for Tyre (Sour) and wanted to experience a lesser-known place.

Tyre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a small town (but busier than Byblos) with several Roman and Byzantine archaeological sites, colorful buildings, and a busy town center.

Colorful Tyre in Southern Lebanon is one of the best places to visitAgain, one of the girls from the hostel joined me, and again, the minibus was our best friend that brought us to our destination.

The drive was interesting because it was my only time going to the south, and I loved to see the numerous banana plantations along the way. 

Shopping in Tyre, South Lebanon

Colorful town in Tyre, Sour in LebanonThere is also a beach area. If you are into beaches, check out the public beach in the Tyre Coastal Nature Reserve.

The watercolor looks lovely, but unfortunately, there is a lot of trash everywhere, which was sad to see. Beach in Tyre, Sour LebanonTyre suffered a lot during the war, and there are still UN soldiers and jeeps deployed in Tyre, but I also remember the overly friendly people here, so it was another must-see in Lebanon.

MORE PLACES TO GO IN LEBANON IN 7 DAYS

With five days in Lebanon, I got a good idea of the country. I wish I had two more days to hike in the mountains because Lebanon is known for some pretty mountain areas, like Qadisha Valley. 

Qadisha Valley

It is great for hiking in the summer and good for winter sports in the winter. If I had 7 days in Lebanon, I would have stayed a night in Byblos, and on my way back to Beirut, I would have stopped at some villages and towns along the way.

Looking back now, I am pretty happy with how I created my 5-day Lebanon itinerary and didn’t regret the way I planned my trip at all.

So, this is why I hope this Lebanon itinerary helps you to plan your trip as well (and if Lebanon isn’t on your bucket list yet, then make sure to add it now) – it is a beautiful country that has deserved much more recognition.

Hopefully, these tips on the best places to visit in Lebanon will help you plan your Lebanon trip!

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