Lebanon has many gorgeous cities along its Mediterranean coast, bearing great importance to the country’s culture and rich history.
Along its southern coast, lies the city of Sidon, also known as Saida, which is considered to be the 3rd largest city in the country.
Sidon is also one of Lebanon’s oldest cities, dating back to the Phoenicians, and inhabited ever since its establishment in ancient times!
The coastal city of Sidon is also known for its friendly locals, culture, and hidden gems that represent both Lebanon’s hospitality and heritage.
So if you want to end the summer season with a fun trip, here are things you and your friends can do in the city of Sidon!
Visit The Soap Museum
The Soap Museum is a themed museum, in an old and vaulted place, reflecting the history of soap making in Lebanon and the Middle East, and where you will get to discover the many stages and techniques of artisanal soap making.
The place opens every day from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm. For inquiries, contact 03 887 688.
Walk the lane of past times at the Sea Citadel
Sidon Sea Citadel is one of the city’s landmarks located on a rocky island, around 80 meters from the coast. It has distinctive architecture as it is constructed based on different techniques that represent its evolution.
Additionally, the Mamluks and the Ottomans also restored some parts of it and infused new elements into its original architecture.
The Sea Citadel also has great historic importance as it used to defend the city during medieval times.
Visit the Debbané Palace Museum
Situated above the old souk, lies the Debbané Palace Museum, which dates back to the Ottoman era.
It is considered to be one of Lebanon’s most beautiful and interesting heritage landmarks.
Dating back to the 18th century, the palace represents Damascene architecture. It was listed on the heritage and historical sites list in 1968, and in 2001, the palace was turned into a museum.
You can visit the palace every day, from 9 am until 6 pm. For more info, you can contact 01 490 590.
Check out Saint Louis Castle
Sidon’s Saint Louis Castle (also known as Al-Muizz Castle), is situated in the heart of the city. It was built by the Crusaders in the 13th century, reportedly on the ruins of an old fortress, on a hill that was the Acropolis of the ancient city.
The local Phoenicians used to produce their legendary purple dye there, as indicated by a talus of crushed shells of murex shells on the site.
Louis IX, King of the Franks, restored the castle during his stay in Sidon and named it the Castle of Saint Louis.
Enjoy the summer vibes at the Ziri Island
The Ziri Island is a small rocky island located around 1.5 km off Sidon’s coastline. The island has remnants of ancient times, as it was used as a breakwater to protect ships and fleets.
You can access Ziri Islan by ferry from the port.
Visit the Temple of Eshmun
The Temple of Eshmun was a place of worship dedicated to Eshmun, which is considered to be the Phoenician god of healing.
Built around the 7th century BC, by King Eshmunazar II of Sidon, the temple also passed under the rule of Romans, who modified it by adding a colonnade, a stairway, and a monument consecrated to the nymphs.
The Temple of Eshmun is located 2 km northeast of Sidon.
Take a leisure walk at the corniche during sunset
Sidon’s sea corniche is a wonderful place to visit while roaming around the city, as you will get to enjoy a panoramic view over the horizon at sunset (or at any time of the day), and wander through the promenade to meet the locals!
Explore Sidon’s Old Souks
The Old Souks of Sidon is a traditional Arabic-style souk, dating back to the Phoenician era. It is an interesting spot to explore for its architecture and the variety of local products in display.
Check out the Hammam Al Jadeed
Located inside the souks of Sidon, the Hammam Al Jadeed is one of the city’s largest and most important Turkish baths.
This bathroom is characterized by a water fountain in the middle and Ottoman designs, which are very much apparent in the Hammam’s domes and stained glass windows.
Taste the city’s sweet specialties
The coastal city of Sidon is known for its food culture, especially for its sweets infused with pistachios, along with other traditional sweets like Knefe and Halawet el Rez.
Dine by the sea
Along Sidon’s coast, you can find many restaurants, including the Saida Rest House, which serves Lebanese food and offers a nice sea view over the Mediterranean and the Sea Castle. For more info, contact 07 722 469.
Discover Saida’s ancient alleys
Get the chance to explore the fascinating alleyways of Sidon to meet the locals and check out the marvelous and old stone architecture.
Explore the Hajj Bahaa Al Deen Hariri Mosque
The Hajj Bahaa Al Deen Hariri Mosque is one of the most distinctive landmarks and the largest in the city.
The mosque is characterized by the Ottoman style and the main hall is topped by a dome. It has a large and stunning prayer hall.
So don’t hesitate to visit the stunning Hajj Bahaa Al Deen Hariri Mosque, which is located at the northern entrance of Sidon.