Fishermen in Sidon, Lebanon © Paul DoyleThe early-morning fish market in Sidon is well worth getting up for © Paul Doyle

A famous sea castle, khans, a couple of excellent museums and a busy, picturesque fishing port make Sidon a very pleasant place for a day or two.

Lebanon’s third-largest city after Beirut and Tripoli and the largest town in the south, is the old Phoenician port city of Sidon. As a conservative, predominantly Sunni Muslim town, surrounded by banana and citrus groves, it evokes a much more traditional and relaxed way of life compared with the capital, lacking the frenetic construction and nightlife of Beirut.

But while Sidon may lack the eclectic entertainment and nightlife of the capital, it more than makes up for this in being a largely authentic and traditional Arab city with anachronistic souks and artisans plying their trade like they have done for centuries. A famous sea castle, khans, a couple of excellent museums and a busy, picturesque fishing port make Sidon a very pleasant place for a day or two, and it is a good base for an extended stay if you are intending to make a comprehensive tour of the south.

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