Jounieh is an important port city in Lebanon. It is a busy business area made beautiful by the romantic Bay of Jounieh and a number of historic sites and landmarks. With coordinates 33°59’3″N, 35°38’10″E, Jounieh is about 16 km north of the capital city of Beirut or 20 km from the Beirut international airport. Getting to Jounieh means passing by Lebanon’s largest city and seat of government. For some time, Beirut was considered by Lonely Planet as one of the liveliest cities in the world.
Beirutis love traveling to Jounieh to party and relax. When the capital was battered by the civil war, rich Beirutis partied their troubles away at the not-so-distant port city, which eventually made Jounieh a popular holiday destination. Before the war, it was a humble and sleepy fishing village. As war ravaged Beirut in the 1970s, Jounieh received hundreds of migrant traders. From the 1980s to the 1990s, the city boomed as high-rise buildings and modern facilities mushroomed in lush mountain areas and along the scenic shores.
Today, there are a number of reasons to see Jounieh. The city is often visited not only by vacationing Beirutis but also international tourists mostly from Europe and elsewhere in the world who wish to see ancient sites, to party all night Arab-style, drink, or take a swim in the Mediterranean.
Since this is a port city in the northern part of the country, getting to Jounieh by sea offers tourists a number of travel options from Cyprus (Larnaca port), Tripoli, or Beirut. It is a scenic ride primarily for the fact that the crescent bay of Jounieh is one of the most romantic in the world. Seafarers are greeted by a towering statue of Our Lady of Lebanon at the famous Jounieh port.
The easiest and most common route, however, is still by air and land. Getting to Jounieh by air means a trip to Beirut since there are no airports in the port city. The capital city is the gateway to any destination in Lebanon. The Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport is the only international airport in the country, and this busy airport services major airline companies from capital cities in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Getting to Jounieh by land involves any available vehicles from the airport going to the northern part of the country. Jounieh is closely associated with Beirut, which means it won’t be difficult getting a ride. Travel by taxi only takes 45 minutes. There are shared taxis that go further north and would drop off Jounieh passengers near the téléphérique (cable car). From there, travelers can just walk to the center of town across the pedestrian bridge, although this is quite inconvenient when traveling with baggage.
When taking the bus, travelers should go to the Dawra bus station in the capital city and take either an LCC or OCFTC bus going north. Drop off point is also near the téléphérique.
Jounieh is a beautiful coastal city in one of the most unexplored holiday destinations in this part of the world. Visitors can’t get enough of the city’s many seaside resorts, nightclubs, party joints, casinos, old market areas, picturesque hills, Our Lady of Lebanon shrine, Jounieh Bay, and a ride on the téléphérique for a breathtaking view of the city. Getting to Jounieh surely promises a holiday like no other.