Byblos — known as Jbeil in Arabic — is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Lebanon. This seaside village north of Beirut looks like it could be a coastal town in Montenegro with its teal waters, palm trees, sandstone old town, and mountains rising in the background.

You might notice that the word “Byblos” is related to books — well, there’s reason for that. Byblos was a trade center for papyrus, importing it from Egypt and exporting it throughout the Aegean, distributing the earliest books.

Today in Byblos, you can visit the ruins, walk along the water, shop in the souk (now filled with souvenir shops more than anything else), or enjoy fresh seafood at one of the cafes with a water view.

Byblos is one of Lebanon’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, designated for being one of the oldest Phoenician cities, inhabited since Neolithic times, and for helping create the Phoenician alphabet.

How to get to Byblos: Byblos is about a 45-minute drive from Beirut. It’s doable with an Uber, but you may have trouble finding an Uber to take you back to Beirut. Minibuses to Byblos (Jbeil) leave from Charles Helou bus station in Beirut, though they drop you off along the highway, about a 15-minute walk from town. This day tour from Beirut includes Byblos, Jeita Grotto, and Harissa.