Sidon Port © Heather Cowper
Lebanon's third-largest city, Sidon (or Saida, in Arabic) - a city full of interesting cultural sights and fantastic shopping opportunities - makes for a worthwhile excursion from Beirut. Located just 27 miles (43km) south of Lebanon's capital city, Sidon is primarily a destination for day-trippers from Beirut.
By far the main attraction of the city is its legendary stretch of covered market-places (souqs), where tourists eager to find some Lebanese souvenirs can shop to their heart's content. A bustling, atmospheric place, shopping in Sidon's Old Souq makes for a wonderful cultural experience.
Other notable sights in Sidon include the Sea Castle (a fortress built by the Crusaders in the 13th Century), the Sidon Soap Museum, and - pick of the bunch - the Temple of Eshmun, a Phoenician structure erected in honour of the god of healing, and dating back to the 7th Century BC.