AlRifai is a proud Lebanese brand, so ofcourse we consider all of Lebanon extremely beautiful. But there’s one city that has stolen our hearts this year – Tyre. Not only because of it’s beautiful beaches, but it also holds the debris of centuries of culture. Let’s take you on a journey; you’re about to fall in love.
Get the perfect stay
First things first, you need to book your stay! And for that, we’ve got exactly what you need. Visiting Tyre is about living it’s history, and one of the ways to do it is to live like the locals.
Dar Alma is a 19th century traditional Lebanese house located on the sea. It’s built on the edge of the shore with private access to the beach. The rooms are reminiscent of traditional 19th century architecture making you feel part of this city’s unique history. The hosts also offer to arrange water sport activities for you, so if you’re looking to spend a good time relaxing and enjoying the sea, it’s the perfect place to be.
Another of our favourites is Al Yasmine Guest House just 10 minutes south of Tyre. A beautiful family house surrounded by acres of greenery. The location is spacious and includes activities for the whole family, from horseback riding to mini golf, cycling, tennis and an infinity swimming pool. If you’re an animal lover like us, this is the place for you. The guesthouse enjoys a large pond with ducks, black swans, and dears wandering around! Breakfast is served in the garden and despite the numerous activities; the landscape and the quietness of the place will definitely give you some relaxation time.
First destination: the port!
Even though Tyre is known for its Roman ruins, we think it’s best to start the journey with one of its most charming areas, the old port. Historically, it’s from this port that Phoenician Tyre ruled the Mediterranean Sea around 950 BC. At that time it was still an island but Alexander the Great connected it to the mainland and transformed it into a peninsula. But history aside, this one is worth Instagramming! This is a fisherman’s port, so if you’re a fan of seafood don’t hesitate to ask a fishermen for a ride. Want to get away even further? Tyre has two islands just across from the port where you can enjoy a dip in the middle of the Mediterranean, a tourist favourite.
If you’re a history buff, this city will amaze you too.
A heritage by the sea
From being the center of the Phoenician empire to becoming a major stronghold of the Crusaders in the 12th century, Tyre has so much to offer.
The ancient ruins are spread across three separate archeological areas, which makes it easier to visit the sites. The first area is where you can find the colonnades that belonged to a field where athletes trained, and mosaic streets that date to the Byzantine period. A 5-minute walk from there you’ll find a Crusader cathedral, with an area that reveals Romano-Byzantine roads.
But the most impressive ruins are located at a 15-minute walk from the corniche. You can see the extensive necropolis with hundreds of ornate stones and marble sarcophagi that date from the 2nd through the 6th century AD. Then there’s a three-bay monumental arch and one of the largest Roman hippodromes ever found! Can you believe that death-defying chariot races took place here? The enormous stone stand once seated around 20,000 people. Today, a summer festival is hosted every year in this great hippodrome, one more reason to visit!
Nothing beats a good meal
If all the swimming and sightseeing made you hungry, you’re in for a treat. To enjoy some fresh fish and a view of the harbor’s everyday activities, head to “Le Phenicien”. It is located in the heart of the fisherman’s port, so make sure you ask for a table outside to enjoy the view!
The restaurant is popular with the locals and is known for its variety of Lebanese and seafood platters. Try the crevette phenicien, the grilled sea bass, or even the chanklish (with pine nuts, we’re sure you will love it!).
If you’re looking for an adventure and something different, head to “Chez Tony”. Two tables and plastic chairs – yes two tables. There’s no menu and no prices. You can order anything you’d like from seafood to Lebanese Mezza and enjoy an amazing stay on a small terrace between two fishnets. When you ask for the check, Tony will look around the table and just round a number! Cool, right?
Time to wander around
After enjoying a good meal, the old city should be your next destination.
Walking around is the best way to discover the beauty behind this city. You can admire the old houses, the flower windows, and enjoy the refreshing marine breeze.
Head to the souk afterwards where the colorful storefronts and the sounds of enthusiastic shoppers make you feel like a part of the locals’ life. You will notice the vibrant “café culture” with all the people enjoying the “arguileh”, playing “tawla” and having a cup of traditional tea.
Don’t forget to have your camera ready because those old city roads are simply going to impress you!
Water as clear as it can get
If you are a beach lover, you’ll definitely fall in love with the city. The beaches in Tyre are known for being the clearest and most beautiful in Lebanon. During summertime you can rent a small fishing boat and go for a tour around the seaside where you can find beautiful hidden caves and amazing diving spots while searching for sea turtles!
Photo credits: advencedcarrent.com
Tempted much? Start planning your Tyre getaway, because it gets pretty full during the summer.