When even the Phoenicians (an ancient society who populated Lebanon as far back as 1,200 BC) consider a place to be old, then you know it’s legitimately old. Such is the case with Byblos, A UNESCO World Heritage site so steeped in history it’s regarded as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Dating back over 7,000 years, the ancient city now known as Jbail has been the home for civilians and soldiers since the dawn of modern humanity.
The modern city of Byblos is located just 23 miles (37 km) north of Beirut. While the coastal cafés and Mediterranean beaches are a heavy tourist draw, so too are the archeological ruins and the vibrant souks which lay scattered about the cobbled streets of the old town. Of all the ruins in Byblos, the most notable is Byblos Castle (Crusader Castle) which was rebuilt by the Crusaders in the late 12th Century and is open for public touring.
An ancient hub of commerce for transporting shipments of papyrus paper, (byblos is the Greek word for papyrus), Byblos is also revered as the birthplace of the modern alphabet. Millennia of ruins and history aside, modern day Byblos is a rapidly expanding coastal retreat awash in open air beach bars overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A viable alternative for those looking to see-and-be-seen outside of Beirut, Byblos is a fascinating mosaic of history and hedonism which deserves a spot atop the itinerary of any Lebanon traveler.
A taxi from Beirut to Byblos should cost around $35.00 USD. You can also take any bus going North from from Charles Helou Station towards Tripoli. Ask to be dropped at Byblos and you will need to walk 0.5 miles from the stop to get to the town.