Saga has introduced a nine-day tour of Lebanon as demand for the destination increases.

The Pearl of the Middle East tour features a hike in the Qadisha Valley, a visit to the Cedars of God forest, tour of Beirut, Sidon and Byblos and a chance to sample local, award-winning Chateau Ksara wines.

The tour operator said it was adding the trip as Lebanon showed signs of “bouncing back” as a tourist destination after the 15-year international and civil conflict which ravaged the country between the 1970s and 1990s, which has also led to a regeneration of the capital.

Product and purchasing executive Ellis Manning said: “This modern country is now bouncing back and is happily welcoming tourists to see what it has to offer. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the Mediterranean coastline, forested mountain ranges, local wine tasting and some of the finest examples of Roman architecture on this eight-night tour.”

More: Saga travel chief rules out sale of Titan and Destinology brands

Saga warns of travel revenue slump in face of ‘challenging headwinds’

The tour starts with a Beirut city tour, including the National Museum (pictured), and also includes a visit to the forest known as the Cedars of God, near Bcharreh; a visit to Sidon and its sea castle, souks and khan – a building of arcades around a courtyard and fountain; and Tyre, which has Unesco World Heritage status due to its Phoenician and Roman archaeological significance.

Other highlights include a hike in the Qadisha Valley to see chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut into the rock; the harbour town of Byblos, home to temples and mosques, a 12th-century Crusader citadel and museum and the Jeita Grotto of caverns and lakes, which can be explored by cable car, train or boat.

The tour also features the Chouf region and stops in Baalbeck, Anjar and the Begag Valley, once the centre of the war zone, where there is a chance to sample local wines.

The tour, from £1,899, offers accommodation at four different hotels half-board and includes a VIP door-to-door chauffeur service, porterage, and tour manager. Departures are between May and November 2020.