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A Day Trip to Byblos was high up on my list of places to visit in Lebanon as soon as I booked my trip and started looking into what to do in and around Beirut!
I saw lots of day tours to Byblos on offer which partner with other attractions in Lebanon like Jeita Grotto, Harissa and some Monasteries, but with a Day Tour from Beirut already booked with Explore Lebanon Tours to go hiking in the Nature Reserve of Chouwen and the possibility that if we had time (and we did in the end) we would go to Harissa on the way back, I felt like I didn’t need an organised tour to Byblos. I wanted to travel to Byblos solo, to see how hard or how easy it would be using a taxi or Uber.
To SEE my Day Trip from Beirut to Byblos using Uber, have a watch of my YouTube video here!
Byblos is actually really close to Beirut so it’s a perfect day tour from Beirut- it’s just 30km up the Coast from Beirut to Byblos. But thanks to the Beirut Traffic, which is busy and hectic at the best of times, what should be a 20-30 minute drive takes at least an hour.
Although there are plenty of taxi’s in Beirut, and I mean plenty, you get beeped by a taxi every minute walking around the City, I had read online that it’s best to get an Uber to Byblos because of a few reasons- you know the price in advance, you know the car is going to be of good quality and there’s no worry of being ripped off or taken the ‘long way’ by a regular taxi as the price is already set.
I didn’t get a sim card for Lebanon (although in hindsight I should have, I managed without but it would have been easier with one) so I requested an Uber from Beirut to Byblos using the WiFi in The Grand Meshmosh Hotel, easily the best hotel in Beirut which is where I spent my 6 nights in Beirut and in Lebanon.
There was one just a few minutes away and the cost came up as $30.95 USD which is what I expected to pay.
Now with a cost of $30.00 USD each way paid just by myself I did of course consider the day before whether I should go or not and whether it would be worth visiting Byblos, it seemed a high price and although I had seen that Byblos a popular place to visit in Lebanon and a popular day trip from Beirut, I didn’t know if it was that good!
I did look into organised day tours to Byblos just to compare prices, they were coming up at about $100.00, so I sucked it up and made the commitment to go! And I’ll let you know now that despite the cost I’m so glad I did!
My Uber driver picked me up, we had a chat about the traffic. I feel like just how British people talk about the weather, Lebanese and those living in Beirut chat about the traffic. To be fair, it’s bad and conversation worthy!
We crawled out of the City and having spent 2 full days in Beirut already I was happy to be leaving and seeing more of Lebanon.
On the way to Byblos my Uber driver asked how I was going to get back. I was aware thanks to Adventurous Kate’s blog post about her trip to Lebanon (which is here and you should read it as well, she has some detailed information on Female Solo Travel to Lebanon in there too) that Uber isn’t big in Byblos and there are not drivers waiting around nearby like they are in Beirut.
Kate had visited Lebanon a few months before me so I confirmed this with the lady on reception at The Grand Meshmosh Hotel who agreed.
I told the Uber Driver my plan. I wanted to be leaving by 3:00pm to get back to Beirut in time for the Free Walking Tour at 5:00pm and I wanted to give myself time to get through the traffic. He gave me his number and when he dropped me off at the entrance to the Souks he said he’d meet me there at 3:00pm and I could pay him in cash or order him via Uber, perfect I thought, there was me worrying about how to get back from Byblos to Beirut by taxi and I sorted it straight away!
I headed into Byblos to explore for the 3.5 hours I had. Byblos is fascinating. It’s said to be one of the oldest settlements in the world! Around 7000 years old in fact!
For more of my posts on Lebanon see:
Byblos is a City, a big sprawling City in fact that goes all the way up the Hill away from the coast, but the main centre where tourists would visit is small and quaint. It’s touristy in a way that I never saw in Beirut. Beirut and all of it’s areas are for the people who live there, tourists just pass by. From what I saw of Byblos, at its centre, it’s aimed at tourists- Lebanese and International tourists. This wasn’t a bad thing though.
I walked through the Souks which were just opening, it was nice to see the old souks and get that Middle Eastern feeling because that’s also something Beirut doesn’t have.
I walked through the courtyard that belongs to ECafe Eddeyard, I had seen photos of this courtyard on Instagram and it is very pretty with its lilac seating and overhanging flowers. There were also lots of other restaurants that were just opening up.
I continued walking and headed to the harbour. The harbour is only small but full of boats and sea food restaurants, plus the famous hotel of Byblos Sur Mer. I went to the edge of the water and was in shock when I saw the colour of the water. I saw a beach that belongs to a resort and definitely regretted not making a full day of going to Byblos and taking swim wear so I could see the town and then sunbathe on the beach and swim in the water. It was a hot day and getting in the water was so so tempting.
TIP: If you have a whole day to spend in Byblos and you are with friends or more than one person, this would be a great way to spend a day in Byblos, explore the town and then head to the beach for the afternoon! Beirut as lots of beach bars too!
I headed back into the town and decided to visit the Castle I had seen. The price was 8000 Lebanese Pound / $5.30, I didn’t mind paying it but I was hoping I wasn’t just paying it for a few from the top of the Castle.
Luckily that was not the case, I did get an amazing view from the top of the Castle but enclosed in the Castle is a Museum that provided a lot of detailed history about Byblos, plus you could walk around the Roman Ruins. It was well worth the money and although I really liked Byblos there are quite limited things to do in Byblos apart from going to the Harbour and seeing the streets and souks so Byblos Castle is a great way to spend some time in Byblos and learn a bit too!
To SEE my Day Trip from Beirut to Byblos using Uber, have a watch of my YouTube video here!
Next up was lunch. I headed back into the Courtyard and whilst some of the restaurants were trying to tempt customers in with International Cuisine, I wanted Lebanese and Lebanese Food only in Byblos!
I ended up having lunch at Old Patio, and I had the most incredible Fattoush Salad and Baba Ghanoush dip. This was by far my most expensive meal in Lebanon and cost 21000 LP / $14.00. To be fair I had just been eating fairly cheaply in Beirut (which is possible by the way) and I could have probably eaten cheaper in Byblos had I been on more of a budget by getting some take away food or just one dish but I wanted to truly enjoy the relaxed holiday atmosphere and enjoy some really nice food, which is exactly what I did!
I used the WiFi whilst at lunch and confirmed that there were indeed no Uber’s close by except one 10 minutes away which later disappeared. That was fine though as I had a ride at 3:00pm, or so I thought, so I went back to where the driver dropped me off.
This is one of the main places hail a cab so a lot of taxi drivers hang around here, I explained a few times that I was waiting for my taxi driver to the protesting guy asking me why I didn’t want to go with him. He also told me about Uber and how he wanted to start as if he takes a customer back to Beirut it’s hard for him to find someone in Beirut to bring back.
I must say that I moaned about the taxi drivers in Beirut (but mostly because my taxi from the airport coned me and left me with a sour taste in my mouth about them) but I do appreciate that it’s a hard and competitive job and from talking with him I did find a new found respect and understanding for the issues they face with tourism in Lebanon and the government.
Anyway, I waited and by 3:10pm I felt like I had well and truly been stood up! I didn’t have any internet to message him so I went back to the restaurant and hovered nearby, I Whatsapp’d him and luckily he saw it and replied quickly, he said he was caught in traffic (of course) and told me to get another Uber. To be fair to him he replied quick and honestly. I checked my Uber app and there were no drivers. Kate and my receptionist were right!
I went back to the guy I had been talking to and said ‘how much? lets go’. He charged 50000 which is $33.10. I did comment that he was more than Uber. Uber was about 45000 but he said he knew and started to explain why. To be honest I wasn’t in a bargaining position and I needed to get back to Beirut. He also said he needed to get to Beirut today to sign up with Uber and was happy he got a paying customer otherwise he was going to have to drive there himself with no payment to meet Uber. I hope he joins them!
It took one hour to get from Byblos to Beirut by Uber and I arrived with enough time get an Ice cream at the Beirut Souk before starting the Free Walking Tour around Beirut, which I would recommend by the way.
Overall the cost of my day trip to Byblos from Beirut solo was 124,000LP / $82.25 / £63.10 including the taxis, lunch and entrance to the Castle. Of course had I shared the journey with someone or a group of people this cost would have reduced but that’s the price you pay when you travel solo, quite literally, and I have zero regrets about going.
I loved Byblos for it’s history, it’s quietness compared to Beirut, it’s good food and I realised after I’d visited that when I’d seen the odd photo of Lebanon online, Byblos is probably the place I had seen so I’m glad I got to see the place which was probably the place that had drawn me to Lebanon in the first place.
If you would rather get a tour to Byblos from Beirut and visit some other places like Jeita Grotto and Harissa I would recommend these day tours via Viator which are very popular:
I hope this helps you plan your trip to Byblos from Beirut via Uber or taxi and I would really recommend it if you are wondering where to go in Lebanon.
For more of my Lebanon posts see:
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.