It takes a bit more than an hour to drive from Beirut to Baalbeck. Baalbeck is actually located in the Bekaa valley and to reach there, you would need to climb the Mt. Lebanon Range. The road is winding with heavy traffic. Drivers are also aggressive and accidents are not uncommon. But the view if marvelous as you drive along the road. Enjoy breathtaking scenery of deep valleys and beautiful mountains. As you reach the valley, you would see yet another mountain range up ahead, known as the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. Across from that is actually Syria.
Baalbek is about 1hr45m from Beirut, along a road that traverses the Lebanon Mountains and the breathtakingly scenic Beqaa Valley. Frequent buses are available from Beirut, but if one could afford a private car (with a driver) then it is a luxury worth the splurge. A day trip from Beirut is quite possible, combined with a stop at Aanjar on the way back. However, hotels do exist in Baalbek, and some choose to stay in town to watch sunset and the temples gloriously illuminated by night.
There are a few different options here for you to take to get to Baalbek.
1) take a taxi or a sevice taxis, which are pretty cheap options
2) take a tour bus, Personally the first time you go to baalbek this might be the best way as the tour guides are very knowledgeable about the ruins and this trip is usually done with a trip to aanjar (beautiful place) and the ksara vineyards (free wine tasting) and lasts a whole day. I think it's typically around $55-60 so it's not expensive at all. Plus I met some great people the tour i took here the first time I was there from all over the world, many of whom I still keep in contact with now.
3) Get a friend to take you up there... If you have a friend in lebanon it might be worth getting them to show you around... spend a whole day here if you can take in everything!
4) Hire a car.... just don't get lost you could end up at the syrian border... which wouldn't be a bad thing just make sure you have a multi-entry visa
The only public transport options to get there yourself from Beirut to Baalbek are the minibuses (LL 3000) and service taxis (LL 6000) from the Cola transport hub. The ride through the mountains is one of the wildest hair raising experiences in the region. The ride takes about 2 hours and it is great fun if you side up to some friendly locals.
Buses and services leave from the front of the temple. Service taxis leave first to Chaura for 3.000LL and from Chtaura to Beirut's Cola stand the ost is a further 5.000 LL . A private taxi from beirut's cola stand about 40.000 LL. Or simply u can take a mini -bus that costs u maximum 5.000LL one way beirut's cola to baalbeck directly .. and coming back from there to beirut with the same cost ..
It's easy to reach Baalbek from the Lebanon capital of Beirut.
The photo is showing the bus/taxi station where we could catch a bus to Baalbek. It's almost every hour for the service taxi. The journey is about 2 hour plus.
Minibus from Beirut to Baaleck gathers in the Cole station. It costs 5,000LL (Nov 04) and takes almost 2 hours.
The road used from Beirut to Zahle is the same as that to Damacus and this distance takes about an hour. So if you plan your trip carefully and if you want to go to Damascus afterwards, you may wish to do it in the same trip, that is after visiting Baaleck, you take the minibus to Zahle and transfer to another one from Zahle to Damascus.
There are plenty of options to get here, bus, shared or private taxi. We hired a taxi for a day in Beirut for $80. I'm sure you can get one for less but to us it was worth it. I recommend it if you want to get to other sites the same day.
Possibly the easiest way to get to Baalbeck is by minibus. In Beirut they leave from Cola station, which by the way, doesn't look like a station but like a huge crossroad. From Baalbeck back into Beyrut you can catch minibuses right at the entrance of town, where the statue in the picture is. The acropolis is 500 metres away. Beirut to Baalbeck costs about 5000 Lebanese pounds, one way.