A must see - I believe it is the home of largest Roman Temple in the world. And the site was much larger then I anticipated (actually home to over 3 temples) and was a stop along an ancient trade route. Plus in the summer they have a festival here with world renowned entertainers! It is amazing from Dizzy Gilespie (yes DIZZY!) to Warda Al Jazairia.
I took a tour from my hotel - it included Baalbeck, Ksara Winery, & Anjar (an entire ancient city!) I went thru Nakal Sightseeing Tours as recommended by my hotel. The tour guide was well informed and multilingual, Madilyn, wonderful! www.nakhal.com. the price was $60 USD and included lunch, all day tour (guided), transportation and hotel drop-off, pick-up. +961 1 382 444
There is a Hezbollah Muesem right outside the historic site at Baalbeck and is worth a look see as well. Interesting to see for yourself without the political/media rigamaroar.
One thing I really enjoyed about the archaeological sites thru-out Lebanon - they let you walk around in them - in the states they would allow you to view it at a distance and you can never walk all thru them (even Stonehenge is blocked off).
I am sure everyone who have been to Beirut would've recommend Baalbek, and it is no expection for me.
I am not going to give you in depth information about the history of Baalbek or any information that you can read from your guide book. Instead, I am going to leave a few notes on my journey to Baalbek and things that I didn't expect to see or anticipate to happen.
I woke up at 0800 and left the hotel at 0900. Took a service to the Cola Transport Hub (in reality, it's really just a major intersection with a lot of traffic). I had to ask and point to the correct minibus station. When I approach the group of minibuses, drivers yell out the destination and in no time, I was on my way to Baalbek. The driver stops every 5 seconds to pick up passenger, plus traffic and stops, the journey took 2 1/2 hours. Beware that you should pay and insist the price you and your driver agrees PRIOR your journey. We agreed on 3000LL and at the end of the journey, he asked for 5000LL which I was force to pay since I don't have any change and he's not about to give up the bills that I already gave him.
Make sure you wear your seatbelt....
You will know when you've arrived because the site is huge! The ticket is $8 USD, plus $14 for a guide, which is optional. There are signs at each location of importance, explaining the significants in Arab, English, French and I think German as well.
The return bus ride was trouble free as I learned from my lesson in the morning. You have to bargain hard to get the 3000LL price as advertised in LP. There are many minibus that goes to Beirut, feel free to ask around.
There ruins are absolutely stunning in size and preservation. The town itself is run-down and non-descript, actually rather ugly.