Venture 45 kilometers north of Beirut and enter the magical realm of Byblos, a thriving ancient port city, and one of Lebanon’s most scenic towns.

The earliest records of Byblos date back 7,000 years. According to fragments of old writings, it was built as the first city in Phoenicia; and since then, it witnessed numerous conquerors and its fate as a port has waxed and waned depending on its rulers. Today it is believed to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world.

Surrounded on the hillsides by the modern city, Byblos is dominated by the imposing shape of a Crusader castle. Around it stretches an old market boasting a plethora of commodities from tourist knickknacks to fossilized fish. A Jasmine-edged road runs down to the harbor where several boats bob on the undulating waters. Standing there, you’d find it hard not to be wowed by this picturesque setting.

Today, Byblos is budding as an upscale touristic hub. Its ancient port, Phoenician, Roman and Crusader ruins, sandy beaches and the picturesque mountains that surround it make it an ideal tourist destination. The city is illustrious for its wealth of fish restaurants, open-air bars, and outdoor cafes.

Byblos is a town of many contrasts where the old and historic meets the contemporary and hype. It is a modern town with an ancient heart, a mix of sophistication and tradition.