Known as the Heliopolis or ‘Sun City’ of the ancient world, Baalbek’s ruins comprise the most impressive ancient site in Lebanon and are arguably the best preserved in the Middle East. The temples here, which were built on an extravagant scale, have enjoyed a stellar reputation throughout the centuries, yet still manage to maintain the appealing air of an undiscovered wonder because of their semi-rural setting. The town itself, which is 86km northeast of Beirut, is the administrative headquarters for both the Bekaa Valley and the Hezbollah party.

At time of research, Western governments were advising against travel to Baalbek: it is important to check the security situation before visiting.