If you’re visiting Lebanon, you cannot leave without seeing Baalbek. This is by far one of the most impressive archeological sites I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t prepared to be so amazed. The Baalbek site holds two of the largest and grandest Roman temple ruins and it’s totally worth a day trip to discover this place for yourself. Wondering how to get to Baalbek from Beirut? I’ve got you covered! Read how you can visit this incredible site using public transport (like we did), private car or by joining a day tour.
How to get to Baalbek using public transport
Baalbek is around 85 km from Beirut. From your accommodation in Beirut, take an Uber (get a discount of $5 on your first trip using this sign up link) or taxi to Cola Station, Beirut.
Uber is affordable in Lebanon, we paid $6.00 for a 20 min ride from our amazing Airbnb accommodation in Mar Mikal area. Use our discount code to receive $55 off your stay in Lebanon or anywhere in the world.
If you’re looking for a good hotel recommendation in the popular downtown Hamra area of Beirut, look no further than Grand Concerto Hotel. We stayed here for one night after a long flight from Europe. You’ll get a beautiful double room starting from USD 55 per night and included is one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever eaten. Such great value!
At Cola station, you can find many small minivans going in different directions. Just ask around there for the van heading to Baalbek and you’ll be directed to the right one.
The driver explained to us that the first minivan would take us to Chtaura (a small town) and then another van would continue on and drop us in the town of Baalbek. Easy. the minivan filled up very quickly and we were on our way. They don’t overload the vans here, you get your own seat which makes it very comfortable.
Change minivans in the town of Chtaura
The van from Beirut to Chtaura is 5000 LBP per person ($3.30). This journey took about 45 minutes. We changed over in Chtaura very quickly (just cross the busy intersection road) and vans are waiting there to gain more passengers to depart. You can’t miss it, the guys will find you.
Within minutes, we were on our way again for the further 45km to reach Baalbek. The van will stop and start frequently to pick-up and drop-off people, but that’s expected.
The second ride cost us 3000 LBP per person ($2.00).
NOTE: If you need to exchange any currency, use this currency exchange place on the corner in Chtaura (yellow shop). It’s just across the road from where you’ll be dropped off to change vans. These guys offer great rates!
This yellow place on the corner has the best exchange rates in Lebanon
The total cost of using public transport from Beirut to Baalbek
This journey lasted around 45 minutes too. Total travel time from Beirut to Baalbek was 1.5 hours using public transport. Using public transport from Beirut to Baalbek cost us a total of 8000 LBP each ($5.30). The van dropped us right near the centre of town, you can see the towering ruins as you exit the car.
Don’t forget to eat…
Once you exit the van, if you continue walking straight ahead, you will find the town of Baalbek. I’d recommend you walk a few minutes into the small street and find a small shop selling chicken schwarma (2500 LBP or $1.65) and falafel sandwiches ($1.50) and cold drinks. Great value and it’s a good idea to have something to eat before you head inside to visit the ruins. We spent hours inside here and returned to this same shop again to buy an early dinner before we departed Baalbek for Beirut.
How to get to Baalbek from Beirut using Uber
If you’d like to take this journey via private car instead, I’d suggest you book an Uber (get $5 discount using this code) from Beirut. This would be a good option if you have a few people in your party. You can expect to pay approximately 60 USD for the 85km one-way journey.
Book a Day Tour to Baalbek from Beirut
If you’re a solo traveller or would prefer to visit Baalbek on an organised day tour, complete with a guide to show you around, booking a day tour is another good option to see this amazing site. Most day tours will include a few other sites too.
Day trip to Baalbek, Anjar & Ksara. Price starts at USD 45 per person and it’s a private tour. It includes pick-up, drop off from your hotel in Beirut, a private vehicle, a guide, two sites and a stop at a winery to taste the local wine. Good value if you ask me.
Peeking inside the incredible Bacchus Temple at sunset
Entrance price to visit Baalbek
The entrance price is 15,000 LBP or about 10 USD per person. You can pay in USD or LBP at the ticket office right near the entrance to the ruins. The entire complex is very well signposted with good information about the ruins in English, French, and Arabic.
From start to finish, you will be in awe of the massive ruins here which have been very well preserved. The highlight for me was admiring the towering columns of Jupiter’s temple and then entering the Bacchus temple. These are both found near the end of the complex.
Standing inside Bacchus Temple. These Roman ruins are incredible
There is also a small museum just before the exit which has more artifacts and information. On the day we visited, there were only a few small groups or solo travellers visiting the site. It felt like we had it almost to ourselves at times.
If you can time your trip to be at the temple of Bacchus near the end of the day, the light is perfect and you will capture some incredible photos without any other people there if you’re lucky.
Looking over the Baalbek ruins
Getting back to Beirut from Baalbek
To get back to Beirut, expect much the same. Minivans will be waiting on the road ready to fill and return to Beirut. You may find a van that will drop you at Chtoura and change again or you might find on that takes you all the way to Beirut direct. Expect that the price may differ by a dollar or so, but ask the driver when you get in.
Day trip to Baalbek, Jeita Grotto & Byblos. Alternatively, you can mix things up and book a different day tour. This day trip includes a visit Jeita Grotto, the jewel of Lebanon, Byblos to explore the sea castle, authentic old souks and visit the port, then continue to Baalbek. Tour price from $85 per person. A great way to see some of the popular highlights of Lebanon in one day.
Did you know that the border to Syria is very close to Baalbek? We explored Syria for one week after spending some time in Lebanon. Interested in travelling here or just want to know what it’s like to visit Damascus? Check out our posts below.
Make sure to pack the most important thing for any travels; I’m talking about a good travel insurance policy. We use and recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance.