Heavily cultivated over millennia (the valley was one of Rome’s breadbaskets), the fertile, pastoral Bekaa Valley is actually a high plateau between the Mt Lebanon and Jebel Libnan Ash Sharqiyya (Anti-Lebanon) ranges. It's idyllically beautiful in parts and is home to the marvellous ruins of Baalbek. Caution is required here though: the valley is Hezbollah heartland and also produces a significant illegal marijuana crop. Its proximity to Syria means that the security situation can change rapidly: be sure to have up-to-date information before visiting.

Though less agriculturally productive than in centuries past because of a combination of deforestation and poor crop planning, the Bekaa's plentiful vineyards have gained an international reputation for their wines. Several wineries are visitable. Though you’ll see Hezbollah’s yellow flag fluttering around Baalbek, you’ll find the locals (a mixture of Christians and Shiites) a welcoming lot.