Exploring Libya, 11 Days

Tripoli / Leptis Magna / Benghazi / Ptolemais / Qasr Libya / Cyrene / Apollonia / Ras al Hilal / L’Athrun / Qasr Al Haj / Nalut / Ghadames / Sabratha

Explore Libya, visit Tripoli, Benghazi, Qasr Libya, Ptolemais , the ancient Roman cities of Apollonia & Cyrene as well as the Byzantine Basillica in L’Atrun

You can control these tabs with mouse and keyboad.

Aria roles are given automatically.

  • Arrow Key Left : Previous Tab
  • Arrow Key Right : Next Tab
  • Home : First Tab
  • End : Last Tab
  • Space/Enter : Select Tab
  1. Day 1  Arrive In Tripoli

    Our senior local guide will warmly greet you on your arrival at Tripoli Mitiga International Airport. After that, you will be helped and transferred to your hotel. On the drive, you will have your first glimpse of the life of the local people in this capital city along the Mediterranean coast.

    Tripoli is Libya’s largest city and is affectionately called “The Mermaid of the Mediterranean.” Its importance was ensured through the centuries by its status as a prime port in the heart of fertile irrigated fields and olive groves, whose grain and oil were exported throughout the Mediterranean by ships that crowded its port.

    This historical city has a wealth of old and new monuments and is an important site of Islamic civilization. Libya’s strategic, geographical position and profound history make it a vital link between not only the eastern and western parts of the Arab world but with Europe and Africa as well.

    Meal(s) Included: Dinner

    Overnight at Alaseel Hotel or similar in Tripoli

  2. Day 2 Tripoli / Leptis Magna

    Today you will visit one of the highlights of any journey to Libya, the renowned World Heritage Site of Leptis Magna. It is famously known to be the best-preserved and most extensive Roman city in the Mediterranean. Originally a Berber settlement made into a trading port by the Phoenicians; it was conquered in the 6th century B.C. under the Aegis of Carthage. The port city grew wealthy not only from slaves, gold, ivory, and precious metals but also due to the rich agricultural land surrounding it.

    Leptis Magna became a great metropolis under the Romans, particularly during the reign of Septimus Severus (193-211 A.D.), born in the city. However, following the end of the Severan Dynasty in 235 A.D., the city fell into decline.

    When the Vandals conquered Tripolitania in the mid-5th century A.D., it fell upon Emperor Justinian to reclaim the land for Byzantium. In the 7th century, the Arabs conquered Tripolitania, and Leptis Magna never regained its former glory. Finally, by the 11th century, the city was abandoned to the encroaching sand dunes.

    In the 20th century, when serious excavations began, archaeologists found that the sand dunes had preserved the ruins remarkably well. We’ll see the Severan Arch, erected in honor of the emperor’s visit, and the marble and granite paneled Hadrian Baths, the largest outside of Rome. Discover the partially covered Nymphaeum, a shrine dedicated to worshipping nymphs, and the Palaestra or Sports Ground. We’ll also explore the amazingly detailed Severan Basilica, the Theatre, the Circus, and the Amphitheatre, where spectacles were held for the amusement of the populace.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Overnight at Alaseel Hotel or similar in Tripoli

  3. Day 3 Tripoli/Benghazi

    This morning we will take a tour of Tripoli, founded by the Phoenicians in 1000 B.C. and conquered by the Romans in 106 B.C.

    Our tour will start with a walk through the district built during the Italian occupation to see the characteristic architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. Then head to the World War II cemetery in Almansura/Tripoli. Afterward, you’ll visit the 1,369 Commonwealth burials, where we will learn the names, nationalities, ages, and personal memorial quotes of the soldiers put to rest there.

    Then, our guide will take you to Al-Saraya Al-Hamra, or the Citadel of Tripoli. It is one of the most important landmarks of the city in Libya. Many rulers made it their headquarters and a center for city administration. These were Libyans and Byzantines, Spanish, Turkish, and Italians. This is not to mention some archaeological artifacts that the castle houses among its flanks.

    In the afternoon (dependent on domestic flight schedules), we take a short flight to Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya and a military supply base during World War II. Benghazi was also the headquarters of the Italian forces during their occupation of Libya from 1911 to 1943. You’ll be transferred to a deluxe hotel to freshen up upon arrival. Later, we will head to a fine restaurant for a typical Libyan lunch before visiting the city’s landmarks. This evening we will enjoy dinner at a fine local restaurant.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Overnight at Al Ryan Hotel or Similar

  4. Day 4  Benghazi / Ptolemais / Qasr Libya / Cyrene

    A morning drive along the coastal road takes us to Ptolemais, the former capital of Pentapolis. Named after Ptolemy III and originally a Hellenistic mercantile city, Ptolemais was founded in the 3rd century B.C. Its importance eventually increased following the acquisition of Cyrenaica by the Romans in 96 A.D.

    Ptolemais enjoyed the prosperity that characterized this era of the Roman Empire. As a result, extensive public works programs were put into place for the upscale citizenry of this flourishing city. During the 3rd century A.D., following a decline of nearby Cyrene, Ptolemais became the region’s capital city. Like Cyrene, it was affected by the earthquake of 365 A.D., after which a reconstruction period followed.

    In the 6th century A.D., Apollonia became the capital of Upper Libya when the water supply system of Ptolemais failed. The downfall of Ptolemais was completed after the Arab conquest of Cyrenaica in the 7th century A.D.

    After our tour of Ptolemais, we’ll continue through the pleasant Green Mountain to Qasr Libya, where we’ll visit an interesting museum that houses more than 50 pieces of mosaic and artifact fragments dating back to the 6th century A.D. The collection of mosaics is considered one of the world’s finest and, intriguingly, depicts pagan subjects and human and animal figures. One panel depicts the Pharaoh Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

    Lunch will be at Albayda, the capital city of the Green Mountain district. After lunch, we will head to the Cyrene Hotel, a few steps from the site in Cyrene, where we’ll stay for the next two nights.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Overnight at Cyrene Hotel or similar in Cyrene

  5. Day 5 Cyrene / Apollonia

    Built on a series of levels, the spectacular ruins of Cyrene are only partially excavated. Walking, we may discover a mosaic or statue long forgotten underneath the sand. Starting from the top of the hills, we will visit the Agora quarter with the gymnasium, forum, Roman basilica, the Temple of Demetra, and Batthus Tomb. Afterward, through a narrow path, you will descend to the Temple of Apollo, the principal building of Cyrene. The temple was built as early as the 7th century B.C. and rebuilt three centuries later. Nearby lies the Fountain of Apollo, whose water was used for healing properties. The Great Baths are in exceptional condition, and inside the Grand Hall, the pipes carrying water from the Fountain of Apollo are still visible. The amphitheater is Roman, but its foundations and style are Greek.

    Later we’ll explore the site of Apollonia and the traditional village of Sousa. Here, our visit includes a detailed viewing of the Greek Theatre in a particularly picturesque location by the sea. Other highlights include the Roman baths, the Eastern, Central, and Western Basilicas, and the Byzantine Palace, a government building in the 6th century A.D.

    Established in the 7th century B.C., Apollonia was the port of Cyrene and continued to be so for more than a millennium. Its importance was such that it remained autonomous from Cyrene during the Roman period and even surpassed it as the region’s major city in the 6th century A.D.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Overnight at Cyrene Hotel or similar in Cyrene

  6. Day 6 Ras Al Hilal / L’athrun / Benghazi / Tripoli

    This morning we will drive through some of the coast’s most spectacular scenery, visiting two atmospheric churches by the sea, Ras al Hilal and L’Athrun. The early Christian site of Ras al Hilal has a three-nave church situated on one of the most spectacular spots on the coast.

    At the often-overlooked site of L’Athrun, we’ll have the rare chance to see a superb Byzantine Basilica where the original marble floor remains intact, and the Corinthian columns showcase crosses carved into them.

    After lunch, we will return to Benghazi (or Labraq airport) for our flight to Tripoli, where you will stay overnight.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Overnight at Alaseel Hotel or similar in Tripoli

  7. Day 7 Tripoli / Qasr Al Haj / Nalut / Ghadames

    Today you’ll head south to the Saharan oasis of Ghadames, the jewel of the desert. En route, you will stop at Qasr Al Haj to visit one of the most beautiful and well-preserved Berber granaries. Continue high into the Nafusa Mountains to the “ghost town” of Nalut. Offering insights into the traditional Berber lifestyle as they were until Libya discovered oil, Nalut shows what life was like before villagers moved from caves to concrete structures. Located on an escarpment reached by a series of hairpin bends, Nalut is the site of a fascinating grain store, some 300 years old, and offers a beautiful panorama of the plains below. After a tour of Nalut, we head further south towards the immense Sahara Desert. You’ll arrive in Ghadames early in the evening and check into your hotel.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight at Dar Ghadames Hotel or similar in Ghadames

  8. Day 8 Ghadames

    Described as the “Pearl of the Desert,” Ghadames is an attractive oasis town on the edge of the Sahara near the border with Algeria. Settled in prehistoric times and a major port of call for the traders and pilgrims en route to Mecca, it was also once the southern outpost of the Roman Empire, although there is now little evidence other than tombs. You will walk inside the old town, which is amazingly picturesque and notable for its “cake and icing” architecture and labyrinthine streets. Your visit will end at a traditional house, richly decorated in local style, where lunch will be served.
    At sunset, weather permitting, you’ll travel into the desert in a 4×4 vehicle to watch the sand dunes change from hues of gold to blazing red. Located within the desert are about 10,000 Tuareg nomads, notable for the fact that men and not women are the ones who wear veils. The blue dye used in the veils and clothing of nobles frequently transfers to the skin, causing the Tuareg to be known as “blue men.” Marriage is monogamous, and Tuareg women enjoy high status; inheritance is through the female line, and it is usual that women can read and write the Berber Tifinagh script. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant after your safari tour.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight at Alaseel Hotel or similar in Tripoli

  9. Day 9 Ghadames / Gharyan / Tripoli

    After the Saharan experience, proceed to Gharyan, northwest of Libya. It is the biggest city in Nafusa Mountain. there are cavities dug in a primitive way at the foot of the mountain called Hoosh Al Hafr -Troglodyte Cave, which is mostly deserted historical architectural masterpieces, except for one Troglodyte that dates back to 1666. The son looked after the legacy of his ancestors and made it a shrine for tourists. We will enjoy visiting and having lunch in the atmospheric troglodyte. Also, you will visit the pottery market at Gharyan before your return to Tripoli.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight at Alaseel Hotel or similar in Tripoli

  10. Day 10 Tripoli / Sabratha / Tripoli (Old Town)

    Your Libyan experience starts with a tour to Sabratha, located on the Mediterranean coast about one hour and a half drive west of Tripoli. In Roman times, the Tripolitania Province had three cities, Leptis Magna, Oea (now the modern Tripoli), and Sabratha. Among all the coastal sites, Sabratha stands out as the most beautiful. A World Heritage Site, Sabratha was founded by the Canaanites in the 6th century B.C. and ruled by Carthage, Phoenicia, Numedia, and Rome in 46 B.C.
    The most spectacular site in Sabratha is the theatre, built during the reign of Emperor Commodus (161-192 A.D.) with its three-story backdrop of columns; it remains in use today as an arena for both theatre and concerts. Other monuments and areas of interest include the Temple of Liber Pater, the Basilica of Justinian, the Capitolium, the Temple of Serapis, the Temple of Hercules, and the Temple of Isis. After a day immersed in the region’s history, return to Tripoli in the afternoon.

    After lunch, Start your exploration of the old town of Tripoli. The many historic mosques and the lively medina (walled city) display features typical of Afro-Mediterranean towns.
    There are several interesting mosques in the old town, and you will visit the best known, the elegant Gurgi Mosque, first constructed in 1833. Other points of interest are the Arch of Marcus Aurelius and Santa Maria degli Angeli church, the oldest church in Tripoli, which today still offers a service of worship for its people.
    A unique feature of Tripoli’s architecture, when walking through the medina, it is typical to come across Roman columns that have been reused as building material. The medina in Tripoli is one of the classical sites of the Mediterranean where the basic street plan was laid down in the Roman period when the walls were constructed and have changed little in the interim period.
    Continue the tour and stroll through the souks, which provide the best shopping in the city. As still, only very few tourists visit Libya, the souk is authentic as it gets and caters to local tastes. North African handicrafts include silver and gold jewelry, silks, carpets, rugs, pottery, and items made from camel skin. Most places have fixed prices, and the souks are wonderful places to see weavers, coppersmiths, leatherworkers, and jewelers ply their trades.

    Meal(s) Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight at Alaseel Hotel or similar in Tripoli

  11. Day 11 Tripoli / Departure

    After breakfast, transfer to Mitiqa International Airport for your flight after an unforgettable tour. (B)

Trip Includes

  • Meeting and assistance upon arrival and departure
  • Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers
  • Hotel accommodation in the listed properties
  • Transportation in private vehicle
  • Experienced tour guide
  • Admission to listed sites
  • Meals indicated

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Cost of visa
  • Meals not listed
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuity to driver and guide
Request A Quote

Book Your Trip

11 Day TourBook TourCustomize Tour