A tranquil fishing village no more, the city of Jounieh has exploded over the last quarter century to become a hub of nightlife, gaming, and local glitterati. Located just 10 miles north of the capital city of Beirut, this coastal port town once frequented by the international jet set of the 1960’s and 70’s now serves as a weekend getaway for young and hedonistic urban Lebanese, many of whom can be found in a thumping nightclub on Jounieh’s main drag or at the blackjack table of the historic Casino du Liban.
Rampant growth aside, the town of Jounieh still clings to some vestiges of its easygoing past which are worth a wander while passing through town. Take a ride on the télphérique cable car to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine for a sweeping view of what is considered to be one of the nicest bays in Lebanon. Or, to feel the energy of street side commerce, amble through the traditional stone souk set down by the ferry port to haggle with merchants like it’s the Jounieh of old. Art lovers and history buffs can often be found silently perusing the halls of the Lebanese Heritage Museum, the permanent home of Lebanese artifacts dating to the time of the Phoenicians, and if the perfect day in Jounieh involves watching the sunset from a seaside café with an evening coffee or a cold drink, there are sufficient places in town designed for doing just that.
Get to Jounieh by bus from Beirut's Charles Helou Station for LL1500 ($1.00 USD). Service taxis leave from Dora Station and cost LL2000 (less than $1.50 USD). If you catch a taxi that is going
further north, you will be dropped off on the highway. Ask to be let out
near the Téléférique, and cross the pedestrian bridge to get to the center of town within about 5 minutes.